"They're not all going to pan out."
When it comes to evaluating MLB prospects, it's a refrain every fan should know by now. In truth, many a Mariner fans are haunted by the phrase. But GM's will continue to repeat the refrain to keep our expectations in check. Although they shouldn't have to, because, of course, they're not going to all work out!
Jerry Dipoto offered the disclaimer again Thursday. "They're not all going to work out." Which is why he isn't satisfied with just 25-year old JP Crawford at shortstop. No, as GM, you hope 27-year old Dylan Moore pushes Crawford for playing time. And you sign and develop 17-year old mega-talent Noelvi Marte to be the future, in case both Crawford and Moore fail after an extended look to weigh and measure their worth as major leaguers.
Dipoto isn't quite as comfortable with the organization's depth at catcher, but if all goes to script the M's could be set at the position for a decade to come.
It starts with Tom Murphy (above). The 29-year old has changed his stars since this time last year. After being cut in Colorado, the Giants picked him up off his waivers. San Francisco thought so much of their acquisition they shipped him to Seattle within days. And in Seattle, for whatever reason, he thrived.
A 28-year old with 10 career big league home runs crushed 18 in 280 at bats during year one of a rebuild. And now he's the unquestioned starting backstop of a big league team with his terrifying blue eyes firmly fixed on a 30 homer campaign. "That's the idea," he told us to start camp.
When Murphy doesn't catch, Austin Nola will. Few major leaguers have sunk as low as getting discarded from the trash heap known as the Miami Marlins. But in Seattle the waiver pickup slugged ten homers of his own and nearly finished with an 800 OPS, earning a major league roster spot for 2020.
And that leads us to the key to Jerry's vision for the decade at catcher. Cal Raleigh hit 29 homers between A & AA ball last fall. And although the switch-hitter struggled in his jump to AA Arkansas, he doesn't buy that he was overmatched. "To be honest, I got tired. I'd never played that many games in one year."
He'll get his chance to prove his longevity and his worth this Spring. And although there's no rush to the bigs--thanks to Murphy--don't be surprised to see Raleigh make his major league debut at some point in 2020.
They're not all going to pan out, but the M's might just be counting on this one.