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Meet Adam Jones. By nearly unanimous acclaim (Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, John Sickles, Top Prospect Alert, Prospect Insider... enough acclaim), Adam Jones is the best prospect in the Seattle Mariners system, and he starts this year as a Tacoma Rainier. A dynamic talent, the 21-year old Jones was initially thought of as a pitching prospect while still in high school. His fastball was clocked at 96, but he wanted to hit, and the Mariners let him develop as such. First as a shortstop, then moved to centerfield, he's sped through the system, making his major league debut last year.

Photo courtesy of Paul M. Photography

This young man can be fun to watch. Despite being new to the position, he was named the best defensive outfielder in the PCL last year. As befitting a former pitcher, he has a rocket arm. He's a great athlete, presenting a power/speed/defense combination that calls to mind former Mariner Mike Cameron. In 96 games as a Rainier last season he hit .287/.345/.484 with 16 homers and 13 steals.
But don't get too attatched. The Mariners have surrounded the free-agent-to-be Ichiro with the aged, the mediocre and the slightly insane. It doesn't take a genius to think that there will be a spot for Jones in Seattle, probably soon.

Other possible favorite Rainiers: Wladimir Balentien (grip it and rip it hitter), Jeff Clement (power-hitting catcher who... well, can't catch), Jeremy Reed (former top prospect trying to recover after two awful years in Seattle), Ryan Feierabend (lyoung starter who'll be in Seattle before too long).


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