Seattle Mariners Minors: No Offense On The Horizon

When the Seattle Mariners dealt Michael Pineda to the Yankees this offseason, they acquired Jesus Montero -- one of the game's very best young bats. With this trade, the Mariners were clearly attempting to address their offensive woes, as the club lacks offensive firepower. So far, though, Montero hasn't been hitting, and there's still not much behind him in the minors that will turn Seattle's offense around.

It's an extremely small sample size, but so far Montero is hitting just .241/.259/.370 through his first 54 at bats with the Mariners. Montero has drawn only two walks and has struck out 11 times -- a ratio that he'll have to improve on in order to become an elite major league hitter.

It's certainly likely that Montero will turn it around, and probably sooner rather than later. Seattle still will need to restock their system with hitters. Seattle's best hitting prospect behind Montero is Nick Franklin, who is having success in AA at age 21. Franklin is hitting .281/.343/.438 through his first 64 at bats. From a shortstop, those stats are perfectly acceptable, but they're far from impactful.

Vinnie Catricala, thought to be one of Seattle's better offensive prospects headed into this year, has struggled mightily in AAA. Through his first 66 at bats, Catricala is hitting a meager .182/.214/.212.

So, what conclusions can we draw from three, really small sample sizes? Not much, other than Montero will eventually hit, Franklin looks like he'll be a quality, though not impactful, player and that the Mariners will be desperate to add bats throughout their system in this year's MLB draft.

If the Mariners are looking to compete in the near-future, with Felix Hernandez and their stable of pitching prospects, they will likely have to sign a major free agent or two. It wouldn't shock me at all if Seattle became players in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes this winter.

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