The Seattle Mariners have three very strong hitting prospects listed in Minor League Ball's top 50 talents for 2013. Catcher Mike Zunino is currently ranked eighth on this list, with shortstop Nick Franklin 16th and shortstop Brad Miller 25th overall.
Of the three prospects, Zunino is probably the closest. The Golden Spikes Award winner was drafted third overall with the 2012 MLB Draft. He was assigned to the Everett AquaSox and immediately flourished, batting .373 and posted a 1.210 OPS. Zunino was elevated to Double-A Jackson midway through August.
When the Mariners first drafted Mike Zunino, a lot of people were wondering what that meant for the organization's future at the catching position, what with Zunino, Jesus Montero, John Jaso, and a handful of others. I felt like that was hasty; you don't make plans around low-level prospects. You accumulate as much talent as you can and you answer questions as they come up. Now, it's worth wondering about the organization's future at the catching position, because the Mariners are looking to push Zunino hard, and he could conceivably debut before long in 2013. Zunino is no longer the idea of an almost-ready catching prospect. Zunino is an almost-ready catching prospect, probably, meaning decisions could need to be made soon if they haven't been made already.
Franklin has performed OK at Triple-A Tacoma, hitting .243 with an OPS of .725 this season. The Mariners drafted him in the first round in 2009 and he's since been working his way up the Seattle farm system. Miller was drafted by Seattle in the second round in 2011 and has worked his way up from High-A High Desert to Double-A Jackson.