A breakthrough season for the Mariners’ minor-league system just got a little better.
Three of Seattle’s top prospects -- right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn, center fielder Jarred Kelenic and first baseman Evan White -- have been selected to participate in the MLB All-Star Futures Game, a showcase event for baseball’s best up-and-coming talent.
The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, July 7, at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, two days before the MLB All-Star Game. The Futures Game will air on MLB Network.
This marks just the third time in the 21-year history of the Futures Game that the Mariners have had three prospects selected. In 2004, Felix Hernandez, Shin-Soo Choo and Jeremy Reed represented Seattle; and in 2013, Taijuan Walker, Ji-Man Choi and Brad Miller were selected.
Typically, MLB reserves two roster spots in the Futures Game for each organization. The Mariners are one of five teams who had three prospects selected for this Futures Game, joining Detroit, Miami, Tampa Bay and San Diego.
In its midseason prospects rankings, MLB Pipeline’s top-100 list features six Mariners: Kelenic (No. 24), Dunn (No. 67), Logan Gilbert (No. 68), Justus Sheffield (No. 74), White (No. 81) and Julio Rodriguez (No. 87).
Two years ago, the Mariners didn’t have a single prospect ranked in the top 100.
In the signature move of their step-back plan, the Mariners acquired Kelenic and Dunn from the Mets last winter as part of the trade that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to New York.
Kelenic, still a teenager for another three weeks, has been even more impressive than the Mariners hoped he could be.
In 65 games between Low-A West Virginia and High-A Modesto in the California League, Kelenic (pronounced KELL-nick) is hitting .296 with 13 home runs, 17 doubles, four triples, 11 steals and a .936 OPS. His 13 homers are tied with Modesto catcher Cal Raleigh for the most among Mariners minor-leaguers.
Kelenic turns 20 on July 16. It’s not a stretch to think he could arrive in Seattle by the time he turns 22.
Dunn, 23, is 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA with 90 strikeouts and 21 walks in 70.1 innings pitched for Class AA Arkansas this season. Since May 15, he is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA (14 ER, 43.0 IP) with 52 strikeouts and 12 walks in eight starts.
White, 23, the Mariners’ first-round draft pick in 2017, extended his hitting streak in Arkansas to 23 games with two hits Thursday night. During his streak, he is hitting .374 (37 for 99) with 25 runs, two doubles, two triples, seven homers, 18 RBI and four walks since May 24.
In 2018, White was one of nine players to receive a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove as the best first baseman in all of minor-league baseball. He was also named the Alvin Davis “Mr. Mariner” Award recipient for his exemplary play and leadership skills, both on and off the field.