The J-Rod Show is coming to Everett.
And so are several highly regarded pitching prospects.
The Everett AquaSox’s opening day roster was posted Friday in a tweet from the Mariners Player Development Twitter account. That tweet was retweeted by the Seattle Mariners’ account.
The immediate takeaway? Some of the most heralded prospects from baseball’s No. 2-ranked farm system will open the minor league season with the AquaSox.
The headliner is 20-year-old outfielder Julio Rodriguez, one of most talented and exciting prospects in all of baseball. The Dominican Republic native is ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America and the No. 5 overall prospect by MLB.com.
Rodriguez is one of three MLB.com top-100 prospects on Everett’s roster. The other two are pitchers Emerson Hancock and George Kirby, who were the Mariners’ first-round picks from the last two Major League Baseball drafts.
Hancock was the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s draft. The former University of Georgia star is MLB.com’s No. 7 right-handed pitching prospect and No. 27 overall prospect.
Kirby, a right-hander from Elon University in North Carolina, was the No. 20 overall pick in the 2019 draft. He is MLB.com’s No. 82 overall prospect.
Among the other top pitching prospects on Everett’s roster are right-hander Juan Then and left-hander Brandon Williamson.
Then, a 21-year-old Dominican Republic native, is the No. 9 overall prospect in the Mariners’ farm system, according to MLB.com
Williamson, a 2019 second-round draft pick out of Texas Christian University, is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 10 overall prospect in the Mariners’ organization.
Kirby, Then and Williamson each appeared in at least seven games with the AquaSox in 2019, which was the most recent minor league season.
The AquaSox’s influx of talent stems largely from a franchise rebuilding process that’s yielded a promising crop of young prospects and a massive turnaround for the Mariners’ minor league system. After being rated as the worst in baseball prior to the 2018 season, the Mariners’ farm system was ranked No. 2 by Baseball America in February.
It’s also a product of the AquaSox moving up to the High-A level of MLB’s recently consolidated minor league system. Everett was a Short Season-A team under the previous setup, which meant it was five steps from the majors on the minor league ladder. As a full-season High-A team in the new setup, the AquaSox are now just three steps from the big leagues.
Everett begins its season Tuesday with the opener of a six-game road series against the Hillsboro Hops.
The AquaSox then return to Everett for their home opener on May 11, which kicks off a six-game series against the Tri-City Dust Devils.
Here’s a full list of the AquaSox’s 30-man opening day roster: