MarinersTalk is moving! Starting May 30, MarinersTalk is joining the folks at Seattlesportsinsider.com as a blog titled "Mariners Prospect Talk". We'll leave this site up as an archive and look forward to seeing you at our new home!

Movin' on Up!

To the deluxe new SeattleSportsInsider.com

 

Starting, I guess, now ... all of the new content here at MarinersTalk.com will be "movin' on up" to the new, improved SeattleSportsInsider.com.

We'll have some new fancy technical wizardry that will make it easy to find our content -- which will be re-christened "Mariners Prospect Talk."   But it will be one-stop shopping with all of Doc's/jemanji's/Jeff's content plus extra doses of Gordon.

And there are even more things planned for down the road (so I'm told).

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For now, all of the "old" content will still be here, and all of our links to the "archived" rankings and whatnot will still work.  Eventually, we'll be moving that over as well, but the admin folks will do it in a way that ought to make it user-friendly.

***

Thanks again to Klat and to Jeff for helping us launch this site on their platform, and for all of you for continuing to click.

Content-wise the idea is that nothing will change (except we may take the opportunity to write about stuff other than Mariners minor leaguers, and we've been given the OK for that; but it won't be at the expense of what you've come to expect).  We'll just be part of a bigger SSI instead of two separate blogs.

The plan is for the next "Game Action Recap" to be the inaugural "Prospect Talk" recap at SSI, and we'll be seeing you over there.

 

Mariners Minor League Game Action Recap for May 28

Bonus content imported from Gordon's shouts ... plus e-RAM, Taylor and Pimentel excel ... etc.

 

AAA -- Tacoma 5, Colorado Springs 4  -- Box

The return-to-AAA debut for Dustin AckleyJesus Montero at 1b for the fifth game in a row.  Mike Zunino (Talk40 #1) on the road, so, of course, he hits a home run.  Brad Miller (Talk40 #6) walked twice.

And Gordon was there ... so I hope he doesn't mind if we poach his items from the Shout Box.

Ackley: Hit the ball hard to the OF (all caught, but he was swinging and not getting deep into counts) and bunted when asked for a situation (almost beat it out to first). Turned a nice DP, was cordial before the game talking to fans and looking people in the eye and thanking them when they wished him well. His attitude is right. No entitlement there. I still think he'll be fine.

Montero: Looked way worse. Head hanging, had a couple tough plays at first and missed one badly (not his fault, Liddi made a horrible throw) but two throws pulled him off the bag. He had some pretty good fielding plays out there too, though, on some sharp grounders - he'll learn the position. At the plate, though, he's completely lost and has NO plan of attack. Sometimes he swings like his eyes are closed, it's just terrible. I'm worried about where his head is at. Somebody's got to get in his ear.

Follow-up thoughts: And to be clear on Montero (reading back over what I wrote last night) he wasn't hanging his head in the field. He was up and smiling in the field. I think he loves being on the field too much to be a good DH, maybe. But it was at the plate where you could see that not only was he lost, he KNEW he was lost. Dragged his bat back to the dugout with him after one K, literally dragging it in the dirt like an 8 year old after a bad AB, shoulders slumped, head down. That worries me, especially since he had a good game like 3 days ago.

Miller: All angles and bone. He looks like a player from 1965, and that baggy uniform... he and Nick Franklin are gonna need tailors to make their uniforms not look like scrub hand-me-downs from older brothers. No batting gloves, had the second-best sound off his bat of any player on either side tonight (And with the humidor balls most of them sound like wet thuds, but not his). He has a good arm but going into the hole is dicey, and throws back to first from there... they scare me. Seeing him a couple of times out there I don't think he's better than Franklin at SS (though his arm may be better) but I'd be fine seeing them play next to each other.

Zunino: Good fun to watch at catcher, and definitely works with the pitcher out there. Takes control of the game, even when the umps are being a lil weird. And his was the hardest hit of the game by either side. He murdered a home run thirty feet up a retaining wall out behind the outfield wall to LCF (so oppo). Just crushed it. That serious power he has is really serious when he catches one. No doubters are fun.

Obviously, there's nothing I can add to that.  (Except I will point out that Brian Moran (Talk40 #35) rung up four strikeouts in 1.2 IP.)

 

AA -- Jackson 5, Huntsville 4  -- Box

As noted in the "News" post yesterday, and in the Shout Box, it was the rehab debut of Erasmo Ramirez, or e-RAM The Electric Supercharger as we like to say (website).

His line:  5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

At the end, it was one of those double-edge-sword "W's" for Tyler Burgoon (26intheMix).  Blew the save in the top of the 9th with a solo home run, only to see his mates pick him up with a walk-off rally in the bottom of the inning.  James Jones (Watch List) got the game-ending single.

Leon Landry (Talk40 #18) was pinch-hit-for in the 4th inning, which is never a good sign.  The team twitter feed didn't mention it, so we'll see if there's something to report.

 

High-A -- High Desert 9, Lake Elsinore 7 -- Box

Well, so what if it doesn't take all that much to send a ball out of dry, windy Mavericks Stadium in Adelanto, California.  Chris Taylor (Talk40 #28) sent two out of the park, and for a shortstop with a .444 OBP, we'll take 'em.  He's got 67 hits and 37 walks so far.

And ... OK ... it was the kind of night in which Steven Baron, who's never had more than four home runs in a whole season, got his third of the year.  But still ...

Hot-and-cold pitcher Seon-Gi Kim (26intheMix) was back to "cold" (0.1 IP, 4 ER), but the Mavs prevailed anyway, thanks to increasingly interesting Stephen Shackleford (Watch List) closing the door with his seventh save.

 

Low-A -- Cedar Rapids 9, Clinton 4 -- Box

Interestingly, the LumberKings got to face the two top draft picks of 2012 on consecutive nights.

Monday night, Carlos Correa of the Astro organization got three hits, and Tuesday night it was Byron Buxton of the Twins system ... also getting three hits.

If you're curious: SS Correa (age 18) is at .292/.410/.424 and CF Buxton (age 19) is at .332/.436/.556.  Those were the two guys taken ahead of Zunino.  So nobody's regretting their picks so far.

Clinton did get an opposite-field homer from The Electric Bat! of Guillermo Pimentel (26intheMix), who also singled.

 

Looking Ahead

Andrew Carraway (Watch List) goes for Tacoma in Colorado Springs, and we'll be hoping for more input from Gordon.  Dylan "Sharkie" Unsworth (26intheMix) will take the mound for Clinton.

Mariners Prospect News for May 28

A few news updates

 

Good news on pitchers:

Danny Hultzen (Talk40 #4), who put up a 2.78 ERA in his first four starts before heading to the disabled list, and Erasmo Ramirez, who made waves last year in the Seattle rotation, but never made it out of Spring Training this year, are both about to start pitching again.

The better news is about Ramirez, who is slated to make his first rehab start tonight (Tuesday) for AA Jackson.  The man you may know as e-RAM The Electric Supercharger (but probably not) -- explanation here (I still don't know what it does, but it sounds super-cool) -- put up a 3.36 ERA in eight starts and eight relief appearances for the big club in 2012, with an even 1.00 WHIP.

Hultzen is farther off, as he will just start pitching in Arizona, but the fact that they released Francisco Martinez (Talk40 #40) rather than put Hultzen on the 60-day DL indicates that they expect him to be back in action fairly soon.

 

***

They weren't kidding when they said that Jesus Montero was going to be working at first base.  After one game as DH, Montero has started four games in a row there.  As we've already noted, Rich Poythress (26intheMix) was sent down to Jackson, so there's no real competition for playing time.

 

***

Tacoma was in need of pitching help, so, even though Chance Ruffin (Watch List) and Taijuan Walker (Talk40 #2) deserve a shot at a promotion, they were on their rest days and weren't going to help fill in for Hector Noesi, who was recalled to Seattle.

Therefore, it was Forrest Snow (Watch List), not new to the Rainiers, who got the call and pitched right away on Tuesday.  James Gilheeney, who had just made a not-so-exciting start, went back to AA.

I would hope that Ruffin and/or Walker will get a call when the Rainiers need a starter.

 

***

How do Jabari Blash (Watch List) and his 13 homers in 122 ABs stack up?  Well, it turns out that the minor-league leader is George Springer, a guy that some had touted as an option for the Mariners in 2011, when Hultzen was the pick (Springer ended up going at No. 11 to the Astros).

Springer has 15 HR , and there are nine guys tied with Blash at 13.

But ... Springer's homers came in 178 ABs, and none of the other nine has nearly as few ABs as Blash's 122.

So, in terms of HR per AB, Blash is the leader in all of minor-league baseball at the moment.

 

Mariners Minor League Game Action Recap for May 27

Blash Splash 13 leads run parade ... Liddi, Poythress as well ... and Tyler too! ... etc.

 

Holiday action featured a lot of guys crossing the plate on their way to the cookout.  Also a fair amount of news that we'll cover in a separate post.

 

AAA -- Tacoma 11, Reno 10  -- Box

Scheduled starter Hector Noesi was a surprise callup to Seattle, so the Rainiers put Jonathan Arias (Watch List) on the spot.  Arias has been pretty effective in relief (10.7 K/9) but the spot start, especially in a hitter's park like Reno, apparently wasn't his thing (2.2 IP, 5 ER).  He was followed by Forrest Snow (Watch List), who'd just gotten recalled from Jackson, and he wasn't much better (2.2 IP, 3 ER).

But the offense stayed with it, and ... well, you know, "Liddi" is Italian for Slugger!  Alessandro went 4-for-5, with a home run, a double and two singles.

It was the double that was the key to the big 9th-inning comback rally.  Entering down 10-6, the Rainiers led off the inning with a Mike Zunino (Talk40 #1) single, followed by a Franklin Gutierrez double.  After Brad Miller (Talk40 #6) walked, Liddi's double plated two (making it 10-9).  The final blow was delivered by Stefen Romero (Talk40 #11), whose double brought in the two winning runs.

Liddi's home run was his ninth, and he also had a stolen base.

 

AA -- Jackson 9, Montgomery 3  -- Box

Matching Liddi blow for blow (though they are no longer teammates) was Rich Poythress (26intheMix).  "The Mayor" was 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two walks.  OK, no stolen base.  But Liddi didn't have any walks ... so they're even.

Vinnie Vindication Watch: 2-for-4 with a walk for Vinnie Catricala (Talk40 #10).  Since re-discovering his stroke on May 4: .366/.451/.507.  Prior to that: .183/.210/.226.

And speaking of hot streaks:  Carson Smith (Talk40 #13) in his last nine outings ... 10.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 BB, 13 K; .171 SLG-against.

 

High-A -- High Desert 7, Lake Elsinore 6 [11 innings] -- Box

This game started in a predictable way in the 1st inning:

Every 11 plate appearances!  Still going!  (By which we mean Jabari Blash (Watch List) ... it was Blash Splash 13!)

The game was knotted at five going into extras, and the Storm took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 11th before Blash reached on an error, which set up Ramon Morla for the walk-off two-run homer to end it.

Dominic Leone (Talk40 #25), like Smith, one of our out-on-a-limb favorites, had his seventh straight scoreless outing, during which time he has 10.0 IP, 3 BB, 11 K.

 

Low-A -- Quad Cities 11, Clinton 4 -- Box

Nothing went too well for the LumberKings, as the River Bandits scored early and often, paced by three hits and four RBI from 2012 No. 1 overall draft pick Carlos Correa.

Tyler Marlette (26intheMix) continued his strong offensive year with a home run, a double and a walk (he's now at .344/.400/.521), but he was about the only bright spot.

 

Looking Ahead

Dustin Ackley is slated to join the Rainiers in Colorado Springs, where Jeremy Bonderman is on tap to return to the mound.  Reportedly, his opt-out date is June 1, so it could be the last time.  Or not.  We'll see.

 

Question Time: Howzabout Dario Pizzano?

A: Seems like we've had this debate before ...

 

It's Question Time!

Moe "the dog" -- longtime denizen of Our Little Corner of the Internet -- wants us to devote a little more of our precious cyber-real-estate to Ivy Leaguer Dario Pizzano (26intheMix), and, of course, we said we would.

And, like it or not, the discussion will sound more than a little like the one we've been having about Justin Smoak.

Pizzano is an outfielder, it's true, but he's not about to sniff center field, and we think his career ladder fits along the lines of the guys we've been tossing around as comparables for Smoak.  In other words: high batting average and OBP, indicating strong Plate Skills, but with a question of how much actual offensive help they'll produce.  To-wit (in ascending order of MLB ISO):

Dave Magadan .288/.390/.377  -- minors ISO .080 | MLB ISO .089

Sean Casey .302/.367/.447 -- minors ISO .193 | MLB ISO .145

John Olerud .295/.398/.465 -- skipped minors | MLB ISO .170

Kevin Youkilis .282/.384/.481 -- minors ISO .142 | MLB ISO .199

***

Two things to remember:

  1. League average ISO is about .150 (actually, usually a bit higher)
  2. "Somebody's gotta catch" (in other words, you gotta use four "glove guys" in your lineup every day)

***

Meaning what?

Meaning every time you use a "bat" position on a guy with under-150 ISO, you probably need to "make it up" somewhere else.  Of course, that's not an Iron Law or anything ... it's just a way of looking at things.  Yes, you can make it up with OBP as well, but not entirely ... especially since you anticipate that your "glove" positions will be tilted toward OBP.

So, as we were saying in the Justin Smoak comments, if you're an everyday guy at a corner spot and you are not expected to produce more than 150 ISO, then it's not a good sign.

Casey, as you can see from his minor-league stats, was expected to produce ISO, and, in his prime, he did.  He just didn't do it often enough.  Smoak is the same way.  We'll see how it turns out.

***

Moreover, as Youkilis demonstrates, and the lamented Mike Carp may yet demonstrate, sometimes the Plate Skills monster can develop into the ISO beast.

***

So where does that leave Pizzano?

  1. We know he's limited to a "bat" position on the diamond (1 triple, 5 steals in 105 games ... indicates not much speed).  He's gonna be on a corner of some kind, and not 3b.
  2. We know he's 22 and still in Low-A.  Not insurmountable, but most who go on to MLB hitting success are much higher than that at 22.  Nick Franklin, for example, is 22 now.  I'm a believer in the notion that the development staff people do have some idea of where to place guys.
  3. We know his ISO so far in the minors is .151

***

That does NOT mean leave him for dead.  He has a window of opportunity.  It just doesn't strike me as a particularly big one.

 

 

Mariners Minor League Game Action Recap for May 26

Not a lot of offense anywere, but Walker is strong again ... etc.

 

If you missed it in the Shout Box, Thirteen (aka Logan from LookoutLanding) has a hot rumor that Dustin Ackley will go down to Tacoma and Nick Franklin (Talk40 #7) will come up to Seattle.

That makes sense, since I think that was their goal when the initiated the botched Robert Andino waiver process.  If true, it also cements the parallels between Ackely and Alex Gordon, as was noted recently at SodoMojo.

There's certainly way more upside in Ackley's bat, so let's hope we can unlock it.

 

AAA -- Reno 8, Tacoma 4  -- Box

The offensive "Big Four" lineup -- Mike Zunino (Talk40 #1) C; Jesus Montero 1b; Nick Franklin (Talk40 #7) 2b; Brad Miller (Talk40 #6) SS -- only lasted one game, as Zunino sat out the day-game-after-a-night-game.  And, if Franklin gets called up, then Saturday might be the only time it trots on to the field.

Miller got his first AAA hit (after a pair of walks on Saturday), but overall there weren't many fireworks.  Franklin Gutierrez had a pair of hits, but the offense as a whole had zero walks, 11 strikeouts and just two XBH.

And James Gilheeney, who has been alternating good starts with ugly ones, was on schedule for ugly, and followed the plan (4.2 IP, 5 ER). 

 

AA -- Montgomery 1, Jackson 0  -- Box

Taijuan Walker (Talk40 #2) lost the pitcher's duel in Montgomery by giving up a solo homer in the 1st.  That was all she proverbally wrote, as the Jackson offense produced nada.  The Mayor -- Rich Poythress (26intheMix) -- returned to the Generals lineup for the first time in 2013, but was hitless (as was most of the lineup).

Walker's line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.  Since we're seemingly accumulating, at Tacoma, every player who's ever been ranked in the Baseball America Top 100 (and that includes Corey Patterson!), why not add Walker to the mix?  He's on the same rotation schedule as Gilheeney ... just sayin'.

 

Low-A -- Quad Cities 5, Clinton 2 -- Box

You know there's not a lot of offensive output when light-hitting shortstop Ketel Marte (26intheMix) is your offensive leader (two hits, stolen base).  Marte SLG = .242.  It was his second consecutive two-hit game, though.  And he doesn't strike out much.

Gabriel Guerrero (Talk40 #16) doubled and now has 11 hits in his last seven games.

 

Looking Ahead

The holiday schedule has afternoon starts for all four games.  Hector Noesi gets the nod for the Rainiers in Reno.

 

Mariners Minor League Game Action Recap for May 25

Strong pitching all over the map ... but Landazuri and Ruffin are the best ... yes, Montero triples ... etc.

 

All kinds of interesting pitching performances today, so let's get to it.

 

High-A -- San Jose 6, High Desert 3 -- Box

I don't usually start with High Desert, particularly for a losing effort, but Stephen Landazuri (Talk40 #24) is a guy whom I've been touting for a long time as "one to watch."  He's never gotten a lot of love from anyone else, so I'm gonna keep pushing.

It disturbed me that he started the year in Clinton when he should have been slotted for High Desert, but not to worry.  He pitched his way up the ladder quickly, and now, Saturday:

5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

His High Desert ERA is down to 3.57 and his overall K/9 is up to 8.9.

The game itself fell apart when George Mieses (26intheMix) gave up three runs in the 8th.  Nor was there much excitement on offense, with Jabari Blash (Watch List) managing only a double instead of his usual feats of prowess.

 

AA -- Jackson 3, Montgomery 1  -- Box

And right up there with Landazuri is Chance Ruffin (Watch List), whom I dropped all the way out of the Spec66 after he mysteriously lost all effectiveness last year.  (He was No. 19 on the original 2012 list.)  Well, now he's been re-made as a starter, and is showing why he was drafted a few slots after Taijuan Walker (Talk40 #2) and why he was considered a key part of the Doug Fister trade:

6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

With Casper Wells already in the dumpster and Francisco Martinez (Talk40 #40) teetering on the edge of the dumpster about to fall in, it's up to Charlie Furbush and Ruffin to provide any dedemption to the trade.

I'd like to see Ruffin go to AAA after Jeremy Bonderman opts for free agency (though I'd also  like to see Walker get that shot).

On offense, Leon Landry (Talk40 #18) had his second home run in as many games, giving him five on the year.  He's been picking himself up off the mat after a terrible April.

 

Low-A -- Clinton 1, Quad Cities 0 [7 innings] -- Box

Low-A -- Quad Cities 6, Clinton 5  [7 innings] -- Box

And in Iowa, it was the Teen Titan double bill.

Game 1: Victor Sanchez (Talk40 #12) 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Game 2: Tyler Pike (Talk40 #14) 4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 5 K

OK, so Pike maybe doesn't belong in the group today, and it was his second game in a row with a bout of wildness.  But his ERA is still just 2.55.

In Game 1, it was another Teen Titan -- Gabriel Guerrero (Talk40 #16) -- starting the game's only rally with a double before being brought home by Jabari Henry (26intheMix) with a double of his own.

In Game 2, Gaby, Nephew of Vlad had yet another double, and a single.  He has 10 hits and five XBH in his last six games.  And, yes Moe, Dario Pizzano (26intheMix) had a double and a single as well.

And Grady Wood (26intheMix) deserves a mention: 1.2 IP, 0 R, 4 K.

 

AAA -- Tacoma 9, Reno 5  -- Box

No, Blake Beavan didn't join the pitching parade (6.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 K).  Three of his runs came on a pair of homers that Beavan coughed up to longtime AAA star Kila Ka'aihue, whom -- interestingly enough -- we were just discussing in the Rich Poythress thread.

But the Rainiers prevailed with offense of their own, a nice chunk of which came from ... starting first baseman Jesus Montero: double, triple, walk.  The idea of a Montero triple remains intriguing, but maybe the AAA wake-up call is working.

Interestingly, every Rainier in the lineup got a hit except AAA first-timer Brad Miller (Talk40 #6).  He did, however, draw a pair of walks in his debut.  For those seeking to read tea leaves: in their first game on the same roster, Miller played SS and Nick Franklin (Talk40 #7) 2b.  Those tea leaves have been setting up that way for a long time, of course.  Franklin had two singles.

Rehabbing Franklin Gutierrez had his first AAA homer of the year, but the biggest hitting star was Eric Thames, who got his sixth home run plus a single and a walk, and finished with four RBI.

 

Looking Ahead

Tacoma has an afternoon game in Reno, with Hector Noesi slated to be on the hill, while the aforementioned Taijuan Walker is set to pitch for Jackson at night.

 

Gordon's Draft Insight (from Gordon Gross)

Too good to just be buried in a comment

Gordon posted this as a comment to my draft thread, but I'm going to promote it to a full article, since it's worth it.  -- Spectator

 

No high school catchers!

That is my demand. :)

As for the rest... This is the kind of year where we might get a real gem even though we’re not drafting in the top-10.  Kinda like last year’s draft, actually, where my favorite David Dahl went 10th to the Rockies (and then had an attitude bump and a leg injury after being all kinds of awesome in early action).

Just saying, this year is weird again with nobody really standing out above the rest.  It’s not a “draft 1st or be forgotten” kind of draft.  Though drafting earlier is always preferable, because you don’t have to wait for somebody else to make a mistake, this should be like last year with good players available throughout most of the first round even without true standout talents.
 
And maybe that’s a dis-service to the best players in this draft, but I don’t think the #1 college hitter is really better than the #3, and I couldn’t tell you which prep hitter is head and shoulders better than the rest.  I know who I LIKE best, but there's no Bryce Harper.  Getting the third-RANKED high-school hitter still might get you the best talent.  So that could be very fun.  I can’t see 3B Kris Bryant ever getting to us, as the best-rated college hitter.  I don’t think Moran will either, but he was a couple weeks ago and might again if Frazier and Meadows both move back up as the top prep bats.  Right now it looks like 4 of the top 5 are gonna be college hurlers Gray and Appel, Bryant, and prep pitcher Kohl Stewart, with the 5th rotating in and out by site and preference. So let's talk about a couple of em.
 
---------------------
 
Colin Moran , college 3B (picture) – We drafted his brother and obviously have taken a look at him, but he’s moving up draft boards the last couple of weeks and displacing prep kids left and right.  Maybe he feels more like a sure thing, even though he might move to first base.  Why you should care:  Colin has a GREAT eye, good blood-lines (funnily enough, that does matter in baseball) good work ethic and I think we all know that we love our UNC players (and by proxy their coaching setup that delivers these kids to us).  He might wind up at first base as he’s a little bit of a tweener but the Ms will no doubt let him try 3rd for a while. And he's only 20.  I wanted him, but I doubt he'll fall within 4 picks of us, sadly.
 
DJ Peterson, RH college 1B – everyone hates his D at 3rd, but has echoes of Gar at the plate so the bat is his major league tool. Why you should care: because he looks like freaking GAR at the plate.  Didn’t you hear me?  He has the same batting stance, the same elbow placement, the same kind of swing, the same all-field ability… he lunges at too many pitches but other than that he’s really clean.  It'll come down to pitch recognition and zone control, which I can't tell at this point. He doesn’t hit for “as much” HR power as you might want for a future 1B type (he plays in Albuquerque which is a bit of a launching pad being at 5000 feet, so don’t take his HR totals at full value) and yes, he’s RH, but man… if he comes through on his promise as a pure hitter you’re not gonna care.  Some people HATE Peterson and barely have him in the first round, if at all, but I’d personally be happy to take another “worst pick in the first round” nominee like Nick Franklin was. So I guess I like him more than most. And if any team would value an Edgar-type enough to "overdraft" him it would be the Ms you'd think.  Don't be surprised at all to hear his name.
 
Clint Frazier, RH high-school OF – amazing prep bat, a little small and a little old for those looking for reasons to doubt him. Why you should care: because if the doubters go for better height/weight players, or safer players, then it's somehow conceivable that Frazier will get to us.  And if he does we should draft him and then celebrate.  I would have put Frazier over Dahl last year and I adore Dahl's game.  Frazier has great batspeed, quick hands, good speed and a nice arm. More importantly, he might just have "It." Clint is my favorite possible player for us this year as far as upside goes, because his upside is Eric freakin' Davis.  Somebody else will undoubtedly have the same conclusion and nab him before we draft, but weird things happen in drafts, so I'm listing him here.
 
Other guys in our range who we'll no doubt talk about in the next couple of weeks are:
 
- Hunter Renfroe, college OF - gettin a lot of traction in the top half of the first recently
- Sean Manaea, college LHP (mentioned in the original post)
- Braden Shipley, college RHP – a RAW, high-velo arm without experience but with some upside (yes, that means he'll be Carter Capps-ing it in the pen, probably)
- Ryne Stanek, college RHP – we drafted him before, and he's become the pitcher we thought he'd be. 
- Dom Smith, LH high school 1B – small for the position but has an arm for the OF if we want, strong swing
- Austin Meadows, LH high school OF - Michael Saunders-like

 

I left off the HS catchers (personal bias), prep pitchers (longest and riskiest to the majors) and some others.  I find all the players on this list interesting.  You may not, but this is my scatter-gun look at the top players who might slip to our spot.  IMO, one of those guys should be a Mariner at the end of Day One unless all the GMs take my opinions seriously and draft them before they get to us. *laughs* There should be at least two of them at our spot though, realistically.
 
Hope we get the right one.
 
~G

Mariners Prospect News for May 25

If I can keep it all straight ...

 

Let's see if we can straighten all this out:

 

Seattle

Jesus Sucre (Watch List) goes up from Tacoma.  He will be the backup catcher, and just that.

Carlos Triunfel (26intheMix) also goes up.  He will backup at shortstop primarily, but also second and third.  Same role as discarded Robert Andino.

Andino, after all the drama (whether real or manufactured; and whether it was what they intended all along) is Designated for Assignment.  If no one wants him, then the Mariners can keep him and assign him to the minors, although I believe at that point he could also reject the assignment and become a free agent.  I'm not sure about his status in that regard, and, frankly, don't particularly care.

And, as already well known, Jesus Montero is sent down.

 

Tacoma

Montero comes to Tacoma to play first base and DH.  Instructor Chris Woodward will be his personal first-base coach (except not a "first base coach" -- you get it).  He already played first base Friday night.

Roster-filler catcher Brandon Bantz comes up from Jackson to take Sucre's place as backup to Mike Zunino (Talk40 #1), which Montero will not be.

It has been widely reported that Brad Miller (Talk40 #6) will come up from Jackson to fill Triunfel's slot.

So they also had to clear a place for Montero to play 1b/DH, and that meant bad news for Rich Poythress (26intheMix).

 

Jackson

Poythress returns to the site of his "Mayor-hood" -- he's spent so much time in Jackson, he's considered "The Mayor."  It's even his "Twitter handle."

Unfortunately, the move pretty much ends his chance to ever be a major leaguer barring an unusual series of injuries.  Guys in line for the majors don't get moved down to AA at this stage.

Catcher Michael Dowd moves up from High Desert to fill Bantz' catching spot.  The Generals will be in a bit of a hole behind the plate with John Hicks (Talk40 #27) on the disabled list, but the versatility of Jack Marder (Talk40 #17) can help them out there.  For the most part, however, Marder has not been catching this year.

Moreover, with Poythress replacing Miller, Marder will probably end up as the main second baseman, with Gabriel Noriega as the full-time shortstop.

And the arrival of Poythress presumably means less playing time for Steven Proscia (26intheMix).

Also ... Denny Almonte will join Jackson, but that's just the completion of the Almonte-for-Almonte switch that started when D.Almonte went on the DL at Tacoma and was replaced by Abraham Almonte (26intheMix).  D. Almonte will fight for time in the Jackson outfield, and, reportedly, will no longer be a switch-hitter.

 

High Desert

The Mavericks lose Dowd from their catching corps, and his slot will be filled by David Villasuso, who played a handful of games at Clinton earlier in the year before returning to Arizona.

 

I think that's everything!

 

Mariners Minor League Game Action Recap for May 24

Blash Splash 12? Yes! ... don't lose track of Roenis Elias ... etc.

 

There's so much news, I'm going to put it into a separate "News" article.

In the meantime ... game action ...

 

AAA -- Reno 8, Tacoma 5  -- Box

Puzzling Pax back again.  Even when James Paxton (Talk40 #3) has been good, he's been laboring to get through 5.0 IP on 90+ pitches.  On Friday, it was the same, except for the "good" part: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K.

And 91 pitches.  So Pax won't be on the short list of rotation options anytime soon. His wonderful finish to 2012 is distant in the rear-view mirror.

But Brian Moran (Talk40 #35) has been quietly awesome, even as lefty bullpen guy is maybe the one spot with a surplus right now (Oliver Perez, Charlie Furbush, Lucas Luetge, Bobby LaFromboise (Talk40 #34)).  Moran got three more strikeouts in his inning of work, and now has 37 strikeouts and just 2 walks in 23.1 IP.

On offense, Jesus Montero got the start at first base (that didn't take long) and doubled in four at-bats.

But it was road warrior Mike Zunino (Talk40 #1), who, for whatever reason has been way better away from home, having another strong day after a trip to the airport:  3-for-3, double, HR (8th), walk.

 

AA -- Mongomery 2, Jackson 1  -- Box

Don't put him in the major-league mix yet, but the pitcher moving up fastest in the pecking order is Cuban exile Roenis Elias (26intheMix).  He may be A Little Like a Refugee, but he's been the most consistent guy out there this season. Friday: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K.

Overall: 2.88 ERA | 1.12 WHIP | 7.2 H/9 | 2.9 BB/9 | 7.2 K/9

Elias didn't get any offensive help, with the only scoring coming from Leon Landry (Talk40 #18) delivering a solo shot. Landry has an OPS of .707 in May after an awful .589 in April.  Still looking like more of a Cal League fluke than we'd thought.

 

High-A -- High Desert 8, San Jose 6 -- Box

Picture says 1,000 words:

OK, remember how, in our analysis piece on Blash, we noted that he'd been hitting a home run every 11 plate appearances?  Yep, you got it, it was his 11th plate appearance since the last homer when he went deep for Blash Splash 12!  That's kinda scary.

Oh, yeah, he also had a double and a single (3-for-4) and is now hitting .327/.400/.743.

Jamal Austin had three hits and two stolen bases.

Dominic Leone (Talk40 #25), who may have been the longest limb we went out on in our rankings, seems to be getting the hang of the Cal League, with his sixth consecutive scoreless appearance.

 

Low-A -- Clinton 6, Burlington 0 -- Box

Another very strong, but low-strikeout performance from Dylan "Sharkie" Unsworth (26intheMix): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  Sharkie just won't walk anyone.  Last time it happened was April 14.  His ERA is 2.22 and his WHIP is 0.84.

Good news on the field: Jabari Henry (26intheMix) returned from the disabled list, though he was hitless as the DH.

Guillermo Pimentel (26intheMix) had a triple and two singles.  He's coming along.  Emerging catcher Tyler Marlette (26intheMix) had a double and two singles.

 

Looking Ahead

It's a Teen Titan double header, with Tyler Pike (Talk40 #14) and Victor Sanchez (Talk40 #12) slated to pitch both ends of a Clinton twin bill. 

Your two leading candidates for MLB rotation promotion right now will also go: Blake Beavan for Tacoma and Chance Ruffin (Watch List) for Jackson.

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