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.
The LumberKings are managed by rookie skipper Mitch Canham. You can read about him and his pitching coach here, his hitting coach here, and his fourth coach here.