As I promised in the site’s very first post, Mariners Farm Review will be bringing you plenty of prospect coverage, and the headline of prospect coverage is the organizational ranking.
The Mariners’ system is much stronger and deeper than it was even two years ago before current GM Jack Zduriencik took charge, with the Mariners adding in quality players at all levels of the organization. Helping demonstrate this were two teams winning their league championships in 2010, with both the Tacoma Rainiers (Pacific Coast League – AAA) and the Everett AquaSox (Northwest League – Short Season) taking home trophies. It’s also reflected in the players that are on this list; two years ago, the grade of player in this bottom five of our Top 20 would have a real shot at cracking the top ten players in the organization before Zduriencik arrived.
So who makes the grade this year? We’ll be releasing the 2011 Top 20 one day at a time, working our way from number 20 all the way up to the cream of the organization, with a writeup on each player. Starting us off this year is…
20. Carlos Triunfel
Position: SS | Hits: R Throws: R
DOB: 2/27/1990 | HT: 5’11” WT: 200 LB
Notes: Triunfel is a player who’s star has fallen a long ways. His 2009 season was derailed by a broken leg that limited him to just eleven games, and when the Mariners decided to challenge him with a promotion to AA West Tennessee to start the 2010 season, he failed to rise the occasion, hitting just .257/.286/.332 on the year. Triunfel still has two strong traits in his favor: he can put the bat on nearly any pitch, and his arm is a rocket at any position.
The problem for Triunfel is that he is far too aggressive at the plate. Part of that might stem from wanting to impress the organization, but the fact is that he swings at a lot of pitches that he shouldn’t, and while he doesn’t swing and miss that much, he winds up making too much weak contact, helping lead to his career groundball rate of over 50%. His career walk rate of only 4.2% doesn’t help matters either.
Another part of the trouble with Triunfel is that he’s never shown the power that many expected of him, even as his frame has thickened in the last couple of years. He only has 78 career extra base hits in 1,423 PA’s (5.5%), and only fifteen of those are homers, eight coming in High Desert in 2008 and seven in Jackson (formerly West Tennessee) in 2010. Triunfel’s power numbers need to go way up if he’s ever going to live up to the potential that scouts drooled over when he showed up in 2007.
Possibly the largest issue with Triunfel is his defense. Except for a few brief cameos at second base, he’s played shortstop throughout his minor league career, but it’s doubtful that anyone would say that he’s played it well. He’s already racked up 108 errors in his short career, and his range has become so limited that there’s a fair chance he would have made more if he could actually get to the balls. Triunfel’s best position moving forward is probably at third base, where his range concerns are lessened and his arm can be taken the best advantage of. That change might finally be forced with star prospect Nick Franklin arriving in Jackson and more than likely being given the every day shortstop job.
So if there are all of these negatives to Triunfel’s game, why is he on this list? Well, when he first arrived in the system, he simply oozed promise and potential. While he’s not quite as lean and athletic as he used to be, there’s still a fair bit to dream on with him, especially since he’s still young and has room to grow. If he can start to turn things around, and helping that could be as simple as getting him to adopt a more patient approach at the plate, there’s still a lot of hope for his future.
2011 Outlook: Repeating AA should give Triunfel a chance to improve on his lackluster numbers from 2010. If his bat comes around, don’t be surprised if he gets a late-season cameo in Tacoma, but as he’s still just 21 years old, the organization can afford to take a little bit more time. Also, Triunfel must be placed on the 40-man roster after the 2011 season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
Major League ETA: Late 2012/Early 2013