The Mariners announced the promotion of four prospects: righty Justin Dunn, outfielder Kyle Lewis, infielder Donnie Walton, and righty Art Warren. To create 40-man roster space, the club designated utilityman Ryan Court for assignment.
This multi-part move comes as no surprise, as the Seattle organization was reportedly preparing to call up Dunn (link) and Lewis (link) just yesterday. Both have ranked among the organization’s very best prospects.
Walton and Warren are lesser-known entities, but still hold promise of their own. Both ranked toward the back of the club’s latest top-thirty prospect list at MLB.com, though of course the import of such a designation varies depending upon the depth of a system.
Walton, 25, spent the season turning in good numbers at the Double-A level. Over 558 plate appearances, he slashed a sturdy .300/.390/.427 with 11 home runs. He’d have been eligible to be selected in this year’s Rule 5 draft but for the move to add him to the 40-man.
As for Warren, he already went through a winter of Rule 5 eligibility without being taken. This time, he’ll be protected by the M’s. At 26 years of age, Warren worked to a 1.71 ERA with 11.7 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 31 2/3 innings as Walton’s teammate.
The 31-year-old Court finally got his first shot at the majors this year in Seattle, but wasn’t able to stake out a claim to a long-term job. It was still a rewarding season, as he logged his first MLB hit and first home run in a brief showing after entering the campaign in the indy ball ranks. Court is a .262/.355/.423 hitter in over a thousand plate appearances at the highest level of the minors.