A Minor Review of 2017: Seattle Mariners by Marc Hulet September 25, 2017 The Mariners had a disheartening end to their playoff hopes in 2017 but the club has some promising young players who should help the club remain competitive. The Graduate: Mitch Haniger, OF: Haniger was absolutely on fire early in the year before he got hurt. When he came back, he didn’t show the same patience at the plate and, as a result, it took a while for him to get back into the swing of things. When he’s going good, Haniger can impact every facet of the game. He may never be a huge batting average guy but, if he can walk more often like he did at the beginning of the year, the 26-year-old hitter can still be an above-average offensive guy when you also consider his power potential. He’s a strong defender in right field and should be a very good player for the Mariners for the foreseeable future. Underrated Acquisition: James Pazos, LHP: The acquisition of Pazos kind of flew under the radar in late 2016. The left-hander had a rough season last year due to injuries and was caught in a roster crunch – which resulted in him being sent to the Mariners for a minor league hurler. Healthy in 2017, Pazos was one of the Mariners better relievers and is a beast on the mound with the ability to overpower hitters for a strikeout or force them to drive the ball into the ground for an easy out. He was significantly better against left-handed hitters than right-handers so he’ll need to work on getting out opposite-handed hitters if he wants to be entrusted with a larger role in 2018. The Stud: Kyle Lewis, OF: The 11th overall selection in the 2016 draft, Lewis has played just 79 professional games due to injuries. When he’s been on the field, though, he’s shown flashes of brilliance. Lewis struck out too much in 2017 at the high-A ball level but he was likely pressing to make an impression and rusty after a long layoff while rehabbing a serious knee injury. The 22-year-old outfielder has the power to be an impact player as a corner outfielder but it remains to be seen how much he’ll hit for average. The 9% walk rate in ’17 gives hope for a strong on-base presence. Lewis might return to A-ball to open up the 2018 season but look for him to spend a good chunk of the year in double-A. The Draft Pick: Evan White, 1B/OF: White was my favorite mid-first-round pick of the 2017 draft. He has an advanced approach at the plate and can play either first base or the outfield. He showed more power in pro ball than I expected — but his debut was cut short after just 14 games due to a quadriceps strain. He should be healthy for the start of spring training and I expect him to move quickly through the lower levels of the minors; seeing him in double-A in 2018 wouldn’t shock me. He has a chance to be an impact player on both sides of the ball. The Riser: Nick Neidert, RHP: The 20-year-old Neidert reached double-A in 2017 as a 20 year old. He’s not overpowering — with a heater in the 90-94 mph range — but he mixes four pitches well and could have two to three plus offerings when all is said and done. He’s not a huge pitcher but he’s athletic and a quick learner. He has above-average control despite his lack of experience and does a nice job keeping the ball in the park. Look for him to spend a good chunk of 2018 in double-A before receiving a significant shot at the Majors in 2019.