As recently as 2017 and 2018, the annual offseason announcements of prospect lists and farm-system rankings from various media outlets were not met with great enthusiasm from Mariners fans.

They were reminders of how lacking the organization was in prospect talent and depth.

But when general manager Jerry Dipoto convinced ownership to enact a rebuild plan after the 2018 season, often referred to as the step back, he culled a mass of veteran players off the big-league roster in multiple trades while bringing back prospects in return. Add in draft picks and international signings and the Mariners have seen their prospect talent level and farm-system stock soar.

On Monday, Baseball America, one of the leading outlets in prospect reporting and evaluation, released its 2021 preseason list of the Top 10 prospects in the Mariners organization.

As expected, outfielders Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic — two of the top prospects in all of baseball — sit No. 1 and No. 2. Those are the same spots they were ranked in the preseason Top 10 in 2020 and in the 2020 midseason Top 10 for Baseball America.

Seattle had four players who were in the preseason Top 10 last season who “age out” of prospect status by playing full seasons at the MLB level — first baseman Evan White (No. 3), left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield (No. 7), right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn (No. 8), outfielder Kyle Lewis (No. 10).

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All three of the Mariners’ first-round choices under amateur scouting director Scott Hunter are on the new Top 10 list.

Right-hander Logan Gilbert, who was the 14th overall draft choice in 2018, moved up to No. 3 after being the No. 4 prospect in the 2020 preseason and No. 5 in the midseason Top 10.

Right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock, who was taken with the sixth overall choice in the most recent draft, is ranked No. 4 on the list. He was No. 3 on the Mariners midseason Top 10. The drop is likely due to the organization not allowing him to pitch in intrasquad games at the alternate training site.

Right-handed pitcher George Kirby, the No. 20 choice overall in 2019, was slotted at No. 7. He was the No. 5 prospect on the preseason 2020 list and ranked No. 6 at midseason. Part of his slide down in the rankings was not throwing much this summer and the addition of Hancock and two other prospects in the Top 10 acquired in a trade.

Outfielder Taylor Trammell and right-handed pitcher Andres Munoz were part of the Padres package sent in return for catcher Austin Nola. Trammell is ranked as No. 6 and Munoz is ranked at No. 10 despite having Tommy John surgery in 2019.

Shortstop Noelvi Marte, 19, moved up to No. 5 and is the youngest player in Seattle’s Top 10. Marte was ranked No. 6 going into 2020 and No. 7 at midseason.

Catcher Cal Raleigh (No. 8) and right-handed pitcher Juan Then (No. 9) made their first appearances in the Top 10. Raleigh ranked as high as No. 11 in the organization’s Top 30. The Mariners put Then on the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

Baseball America also will release a Top 100 prospects in all of baseball in which Rodriguez and Kelenic are expected to remain in the Top 10 after being No. 6 and No. 9, respectively. The magazine also will release its organizational rankings. Seattle was ranked No. 3 in the midseason organizational rankings.

Baseball America Top 10 Mariner prospects

No. 1 Julio Rodriguez

  • Position: Outfield
  • Age: 20
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2022
  • Of note: The expectation is that he’ll start at Class AA, but Seattle might have him report to High Class A Everett because he has played in only 17 games at the High-A level.

No. 2 — Jarred Kelenic

  • Position: Outfield
  • Age: 21
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2021
  • Of note: Fans want to see him on the opening-day roster, but the Mariners are expected to slow-play his start and not bring him up until after mid-May to get him at-bats and control his service time.

No. 3 — Logan Gilbert

  • Position: Right-handed pitcher
  • Age: 23 — turns 24 on May 5.
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2021
  • Of note: He was expected to debut in 2020, but the shutdown and shortened season delayed that plan. Seattle will want to get him at least 10 to 12 starts before calling him up.

No. 4 — Emerson Hancock

  • Position: Right-handed pitcher
  • Age: 21 — turns 22 on May 31
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2023
  • Of note: The Mariners were ultra-careful with Hancock after the draft. He’ll likely start at Low Class A Modesto and be on a strict innings count this season. But his talent could mean he moves quickly in the system.

No. 5 — Noelvi Marte

  • Position: Shortstop
  • Age: 19
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2023
  • Of note: He’ll make the jump to Low Class A Modesto after looking at times overmatched at the plate during summer camp and at the alternate training site while facing higher-level competition.

No. 6 — Taylor Trammell

  • Position: Outfield
  • Age: 23
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2021/opening day 2022
  • Of note: The Mariners hope some recent changes to his swing and approach will yield improved production. They could start Trammell at Class AA, but expect him to be at Class AAA Tacoma by the end of the season.

No. 7 — George Kirby

  • Position: Right-handed pitcher
  • Age: 22 — turns 23 on Feb. 4
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2022/opening day 2023
  • Of note: Inability to maximize his throwing program during the shutdown left Kirby behind other pitchers at the alternate training site. He’ll likely start at High Class A Everett.

No. 8 — Cal Raleigh

  • Position: catcher
  • Age: 24
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2021
  • Of note: Raleigh will be the everyday catcher in Tacoma and ready to make his debut if there is an injury or a lack of production on the big-league club. His power bat could expedite that process.

No. 9 — Juan Then

  • Position: right-handed pitcher
  • Age: 20 — turns 21 on Feb. 7
  • Projected MLB debut: Midseason 2022
  • Of note: While he has been starting in the minor leagues, his power fastball and improving slider could allow him to debut as a reliever sooner than expected, perhaps this season.

No. 10 — Andres Munoz

  • Position: Right-handed pitcher
  • Age: 21 — turns 22 on January 16.
  • Projected MLB debut: Debuted with the Padres on July 12, 2019.
  • Of Note: The Mariners expect him to be fully recovered and at full strength from Tommy John surgery by mid-June. He’s already throwing in his rehab program.