The Clinton LumberKings roster includes five players ranked by Baseball America among the top 30 Seattle Mariners prospects.
The highest-ranked player, outfielder Braden Bishop (No. 7), batted .320 with 2 HR, 22 RBI and 13 SB in 56 games with the short-season Everett AquaSox last year. Baseball America says he is one of the fastest runners in the Mariners organization, adding that he “covers a lot of ground in center field and is an advanced defender well-suited for Seattle’s spacious Safeco Field.”
Fellow outfielder Luis Liberato, the 13th-ranked Mariners prospect, returns to Clinton after having a bad experience there last year. He started the 2015 season with the LumberKings, struggled at the plate, and injured his leg in May, causing him to miss a month. He salvaged what was left of his season in short-season ball, and now gets a second chance to prove himself in the Midwest League.
Shortstop Rayder Ascanio (No. 20) also returns to the Midwest League after struggling in High-A, batting only .229 in 77 games there. Baseball America calls him “a defensive wizard” and believes he will, at least, become a defensive utilityman in the major leagues.
Two other prospects to watch are LHP Nick Wells (No. 21) and RHP Kyle Wilcox (No. 22). Both of them drew their first full-season assignments with Clinton this year.
Click here to see the entire LumberKings roster.