After visiting with the frustrating promise that has been Carlos Triunfel yesterday, today we look at a player who has been more of a pleasant surprise:
19. Nate Tenbrink
Position: 1B/3B/OF | Hits: L Throws: R
DOB: 12/21/1986 | HT: 6’2″ WT: 201 LB
Notes: Tenbrink is a bit of an odd duck as far as prospect lists go. He wasn’t particularly heralded when he was picked out of the seventh round of the 2008 draft, but his performances over the last two seasons have made him pop up on the prospect radar. His versatility and strong 2010 numbers, even in spite of a pitch to the head in just his fifth AA plate appearance that cost him several weeks of playing time, have really highlighted a player who figures to find a way to be useful to the Mariners organization.
Tenbrink brings a smooth, level lefty swing and a good eye to the plate. His power is more of a line drive variety than straight home run power. Still, he gets enough loft on his swing that he ought to manage right around 20 HR a year, especially if he winds up in a park that’s kinder to left-handers.
Tenbrink’s defense is going to determine how quickly he moves from here, however, and what sort of role he carries in the future. Originally brought up as a third baseman, he has also seen significant time at first base and in the outfield corners. The Mariners started moving him around in no small part because his glove at third was shaky, though he does have the athletic skills to be at least decent there, if a little shaky with his arm.
If Tenbrink’s 2010 experience as a roving corners guy continues in the future, he could have a role as at least a super-utility guy that seems plenty of starts and action, not dis-similar to a Mark DeRosa type of role. Adding something of a complication to his future status is that like Carlos Triunfel, Tenbrink needs to be added to the 40-man roster after the season to protect him from being taken in the Rule 5 draft.
2011 Outlook: Starting in AA Jackson, with a chance to move to AAA Tacoma to fill holes from injury or promotion.
Major League ETA: Late 2012/Early 2013