Thank you for your loyal support as a Mariners Season Ticket Holder this season. Our players and coaches are fortunate that dedicated fans like you are in the stands at Safeco Field, rooting for us each and every game. We love the opportunity we have here, and we're working hard to ensure that you see a good brand of baseball which will lead to championship-level teams for years to come.
When I came aboard, I knew that General Manager Jack Zduriencik and his staff were in the process of laying a solid foundation upon which to build great teams. We all know that there are no shortcuts to that process. Our plan may take a little longer, but when we become one of the best teams in baseball, we plan to stay at that level. By that I mean when we head to spring training each year, everyone - fans, players, opponents - will feel the Seattle Mariners are a legitimate pennant contender.
I feel very good about the progress we've made this season, and our players do too. Our remaining games against American League West division rivals will give our young players experience in meaningful games down the stretch, which will help us in the near future.
Others in the baseball world have noticed what we are doing in Seattle. Recently we received what I believe is the best compliment a Major League manager can get, when two opposing American League managers told our coaches, "I love the way your team plays the game." It is especially gratifying to know that our competitors recognize the strides we have made. More importantly, we want the Mariners to be a team that you love to watch.
While compliments are nice, success in baseball ultimately is measured by a team's W-L record, something that improved significantly during the second half of this season. We have one of the best records in the American League since the All-Star break; played the best defense in the Major Leagues this year; and our pitching staff ranks among the best in the American League. We know we need to address the offense as we enter the off-season.
As Jack mentioned in his message to you a few weeks ago, there is a lot of talent in the pipeline for the future. Our farm clubs finished up with the winningest overall record in all of minor league baseball, with six of the nine teams earning spots in the playoffs. In the MLB.com rankings at the end of the minor league season, the Mariners ranked first among all 30 MLB teams based on point values assigned to each of the top 100 prospects in the minors, just ahead of the Pirates, Diamondbacks and Cardinals. Five Mariners prospects ranked in the top 100 - Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Nick Franklin, Mike Zunino and James Paxton - while many others showed that they can be part of our future teams. And as Jack said, we will have more flexibility in 2013 and future seasons to acquire veteran players who can complement our young core.
There is a lot to look forward to in 2013 and beyond. I truly believe the Mariners are on the road to a period of sustained success, and I hope you feel that way too. The fans in Seattle and the Northwest have proven that they appreciate good baseball and will be there to support us. It's our job to put a team on the field you'll love to watch. You have been an important part of our franchise by being a Mariners Season Ticket Holder. We look forward to having you back on the team in 2013 as we continue our work to build a championship organization. Thanks again.