The Seattle Mariners 2012 AFL Group

August 31, 2012

I have been in a few conversations since the Seattle Mariners announced their 2012 Arizona Fall League (AFL) rosters about who really ‘should be’ going and I just want to set the record straight about something:

There is a reason why these guys were picked

Let’s take a look at what those are.

Stefen Romero

I partially expect a player with Romero’s skill set (16 HRs in 2011) to hit some serious bombs in the California League (11 HRs in 276 ABs) but he kept the power and hit game going into the Southern League (10 HRs in 227 ABs) and that was a welcome surprise for me.

Cal League to Southern League is possibly the hardest adjustment of one singular level in all of MiLB baseball (just ask Rich Poythress) and yet Romero hit .333/.378/.588 with a 0.967 OPS with Jackson.

Here’s the reason he is AFL bound:

Romero finished 8th from the bottom in BB% at 4.7% (250+ ABs) in the Cal League and the Southern League at 5.7% (220+ ABs).

Romero will benefit from the AFL Instructional League in terms of his pitch recognition and strike-zone awareness because it won’t always be this easy to hit 21 HRs and knock in 95 RBIs.

Mike Zunino

We all know Zunino absolutely tore a hole through the pitching in the NWL (.373/.476/.736/1.210) before being successful in his jump to the Southern League. In 41 games Zunino has only grounded into 2 double plays and walked 22 times in 153 at-bats.

56 hits in 41 games with 14 doubles and 13 HRs tells me that not only is he hitting the ball squarely but he is seeing the ball well all the way to the plate.

Here’s the reason he is AFL bound:

Zunino is a first year guy and first year guys with HIGH ceilings go to the AFL. Hultzen did it in 2011 and Ackley did it in 2010. From what I have been told however Zunino will be reporting late as he is set to be married once the season concludes. Congratulations Mike!

James Paxton

James Paxton is neck and neck with Trevor Miller in my opinion for Mariners MiLB SP of the Year. Paxton has posted a 9.31 K/9 ratio going 9-4 in 21 starts with a 3.05 ERA making him by far the most successful of ‘The Big Three’ here in 2012.

Paxton stranded 75% of runners for 3rd in the Southern League (100+ IP)

Here’s the reason he is AFL bound:

Paxton will finish 3rd in the Southern League in K% which is a great sign but Paxton also will finish 3rd in BB% at 11.9%. His .322 BABIP against is 8th from the bottom in the league (100+ IP) and he allowed 4.57 BB/9 over the course of the season.

Carl Willis, Mariners Pitching Coach, has praised Paxton over his time in the system as having, “an uncanny ability”, to repeat his delivery to the plate.

If he can get his pitch location to mirror his ability to bring the ball to the plate he is as good as any prospect in baseball.

Nick Franklin

It’s easy to see why Franklin was once rated the 53rd overall prospect in baseball after being a 1st round pick in 2009 out of Lake Brantley HS; the alma-mater of Jason Varitek and Jemile Weeks.

Franklin is leading the Southern League in BABIP at.378, he is 5th in SLG, 4th in OPS, and 2nd in AVG at .322 (220+ at-bats).

I should point out that Franklin has a .978 fielding percentage at 2B over 96 games and a .942 fielding percentage at SS over 245 games; 2B is blocked with Ackley.

Here’s the reason he is AFL bound:

Franklin has batted .245 in 275 plate appearances for Tacoma placing him in the bottom 15 in the league over 250 appearances.

His BABIP dropped from .378 in Jackson to .299 at Tacoma and his K% increased 7.7% after the promotion to 23.6%.

I am still high on Franklin and he’s only 21 but he is at a point where he doesn’t need any more AA at-bats, he’s proven that, but he wasn’t ready to be the September call-up the Mariners were hoping.

Vinnie Catricala

I have heard a lot of Vinnie Catricala criticism since the AFL rosters were announced with much of it coming from Stefen Romero supporters. Which is funny once you take a look at their MiLB stats:

Stefen Romero: Between High Desert and Jackson in 2012 Romero has hit .346/.386/.584/0.970 with 21 HRs and 95 RBIs. He has 160 hits thus far and has 33 doubles.
Vinnie Catricala:  Between High Desert and Jackson in 2011 Catricala hit .349/.421/.601/1.021 with 25 HRs and 106 RBIs. He racked up 182 hits, 12th in all of the minor leagues, with 48 doubles.

Catricala is a ++ defender at 1B, I know he is supposed to be a 3B, but that isn’t going to happen. He is a career .992 fielder in the minor leagues at 1B with a range factor of 8.71.

Here’s the reason he is AFL bound:

Don’t really need to explain this one to you; .226/.292/.336 line in AAA this season with just 9 HRs and 55 RBIs in 443 at-bats.

Catricala remains in my mix for Mariners 1B in 2013 with a strong AFL and Spring Training. (Though I really hope this need is addressed via trade waivers before the end of the season or in free agency in the off-season).

Bobby LaFromboise, Logan Bawcom, and Carson Smith

All three of these guys were shut-down in 2012:

Bawcom: 74 Ks in 62 IP with a 2.03 ERA allowing just 2 HRs.
LaFromboise: 69 Ks in 65.2 IP with a 1.37 ERA allowing just 1 HR.
Smith: 74 Ks in 60.2 IP with a 2.97 ERA allowing just 1 HR.

Here’s the reason they are AFL bound:

Another common pigheaded argument I have heard against the Mariners AFL selections is why three relievers are going to an instructional league.

My answer: Because no one wants to open the newspaper, flip to the box-score from the previous night, and see 5.50 ERAs streaking down the pitching column.

The AFL is a great place for relievers to work on their velocity and pitches they otherwise might not have the ability to throw in a MiLB game situation due to late inning relief roles.

Forrest Snow

I am going to skip over the positive statistic sections for Snow and go right for the punchline.

Here’s the reason they are AFL bound:

MiLB career: 1.360 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, and a 4.96 ERA with a 10-22 record.

My guess is that Snow is the ‘Project Guy’; a guy that the Mariners development staff knows can deliver but he just isn’t quite getting whatever it is he needs in running through the MiLB motions season to season.

He is a University of Washington alum and Seattle native which makes him all the cooler.


Seattle; It’s OK to talk about Taijuan Walker

August 30, 2012

Let’s take a look at Taijuan’s 2012 season in three pieces:

From 4/09 – 5/27 – 2.24 ERA

  • 9 GS (4-1) – 44.1 IP, 38 H, 11 ER, 14 BB, 44 K.
  • 3.14 K/BB ratio

In these 9 starts Walker posted 2 quality starts  (mainly due to pitch count control) and never allowed more than 2 ERs in a single game.

From 6/02 – 7/14 – 8.07 ERA

  • 7 GS (1-4) – 31.2 IP, 33 H, 28 ER, 23 BB, 33 K.
  • 1.43 K/BB ratio

In these 7 starts Walker posted no quality outings and allowed more than 3 ERs (allowing 4+ runs four times) in every game thrown.

From 7/20 – 8/28 – 3.90 ERA

  • 8 GS (2-4) – 46.1 IP, 48 H, 20 ER, 12 BB, 34 K.
  • 2.83 K/BB ratio

In these 8 outings Walker posted 4 quality starts and allowed 2 ER or less in four of his starts.

What the Pundits say.

The consensus is that Walker has been rushed, because of his current age, and needs more time adjust to those of MLB-ready age.

I disagree.

As of 8/30/2012 Taijuan ‘Sky’ Walker has thrown 227 innings of minor league baseball; being drafted at 17 out of Yucaipa High School with the 43rd overall pick in the Supplemental Round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

This is not a youngster who is just getting his feet wet in a relieving role; which he did in 2010 in the AZL league.

This is a guy who was named the organization’s top MiLB pitcher in 2011 striking out 113 in 89.1 innings. Walker allowed just 4 HRs while posting the 10th best WHIP (1.117) at 18-years-old in those 89.1 innings with Clinton.

This isn’t a discussion about rushing a prospect to the major leagues; it’s a discussion about a MiLB pitcher working through some mechanical issues and it’s OK to talk about.

I am a Seattle Mariners fan and I am telling you that it’s OK to mention that Taijuan is working through some mechanical hitches; the same way it’s OK to talk about Danny Hultzen’s 6.09 ERA in Tacoma.

Neither has flamed out from the Top-50 and there is no need to rip your hair out.

Take a look:

  • Gio Gonzalez, who was also drafted out of High School posted a 4.66 ERA in his first full AA season in 2006 walking 81 batters and allowing 24 HRs.
  • Randy Johnson in his only AA season in 1987 walked 128 batters and posted a 1.629 full season WHIP.
  • Roy Halladay posted a 5.40 ERA in his only stint with a AA squad before his MLB debut giving up 22 runs in 36.2 innings; a total WHIP of 1.555.

Don’t look at Walker’s June and July as a reason to doubt the Mariners organization or get down on the talent he brings to the mound.

Look at his full season in the three pieces I listed above and take notice that whatever mechanical malfunction he was going through is coming under control.

Walker has nearly doubled his K/BB ratio in his past 8 starts compared to those in the middle of the season.

Baseball pitchers, especially MiLB players, change their leg-kick, release point, and foot placement on the mound over the course of developing into MLB starters.

They undergo these changes while experiencing an increase in the velocity of certain pitches while taming the movement of others.

It’s all a part of making it to ‘The Show’ and I for one am encouraged and possibly more excited than ever over Walker’s numbers to close out his 2012 campaign.

For him it’s all a part of earning the moniker so many have dubbed upon him; ‘SkyWalker’.


Venezuelan Summer League MVP – Jesus Ugueto

August 30, 2012

Remember speedy Mariners IF Luis Ugueto who totaled 6 hits for the Mariners batting .214 in ’02-’03; you do? Well they are not related but it’s nice to take a trip down memory lane.

Jesus Ugueto, 21, signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2009; meaning he is currently on his 4th season in the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL). Progress in the VSL from year-to-year is something that scouts look to but not the longevity to stay there.

With that being said Ugueto won the VSL MVP without much competition as he hit .388 in 71 games and did it in crushing fashion.

Ugueto previously had not posted a season above .300/.370/.420/.770 before breaking out for .388/.458/.554/1.013 in 2012.

The VSL Mariners finished 2nd in the league, 4.5 games behind the VSL Phillies, at 44-27. The Mariners led the league in runs and RBIs creating a league best 5.42 runs per game.

Be wary of the numbers that come out of the VSL as the Mariners posted an average batter age of 18.8; a full year older than the VSL Tigers.

Don’t think a year is a big deal? Read here on the new tool MLB teams have to fight against age and identity fixing in International Baseball.

Ugueto posted 107 hits and scored 72 runs being the only player to play all 70-71 games in the 2012 VSL.

No player since 2005 (couldn’t trace further) in the Dominican Summer League (DOSL) or Venezuelan Summer League has accomplished 100 hits or 70 runs scored; let alone in the same season.

Tie that in with the 6th highest batting average (.388) in both leagues since 2005 and Ugueto posted one of the greatest all-time seasons in VSL or DOSL history.

Outside typical baseball production Ugueto was king as well - 2nd in 3Bs, 3rd in SBs, 1st in SFs, & 1st in BBs.

The big question that I am asking myself is can a 21-year-old VSL alum come stateside and succeed? Take a look:

  • Sergio Escalona received his call stateside in 2007 at the age of 22 and made his MLB debut in 2009 at age 24.
  • Alexi Ogando was 25 when he left the DOSL in 2009; making his MLB debut in 2010 at age 26.
  • Luis Perez was 22 when he came stateside in 2007; making his MLB debut in 2011 at age 26.

That is it; only those three players since 2005 have been able to break into the Major Leagues. Also note that all 3 of these players are pitchers; no hitter has accomplished the feat since 2005.

Let’s hope that Jesus Ugueto is an exception to this trend; he already did a few things that no one else could do.

 


The 2012 MLB (non-Seattle) All-NON Offensive Team

August 29, 2012

The title says it all; when an article like this is published, it’s good to be a Mariners fan.

 **All of these players are not current starters but represent the player that has played the most games at their position for the team listed.

 C – Chicago Cubs – Steve Clevenger

Clevenger was a 7th round draft pick in the 2006 amateur draft from Chipola College which has surprisingly produced some quality MLB talent (Jose Bautista and Russell Martin); Clevenger however does not fit that mold.

Clevenger is batting .219/.279/.302 on the season with a .580 OPS. 52.2% of the balls that Clevenger puts into play are ground balls which is a great statistic if your name is Ichiro; not so much if its Steve Clevenger and you have 18 career SBs.

Clevenger has thrown out 10% of runners this season going 4-39 from the behind the plate.

Chicago Cubs C Line: .212/.275/.332 & a .607 OPS.
Seattle Mariners C Line: .252/.308/.408 & a .716 OPS.

1B – Tampa Bay Rays – Carlos Pena

It’s not easy to top Justin Smoak as the leagues worst 1B – but we got it done.

Carlos Pena is making 7.25 million in 2012 and is surely not helping his 2013 free agent chances.

The one-time HR king put up 116 HRs between 2007-2009 finishing in Top-10 for the MVP in both 2007 and 2008. But things change.

Pena is striking out at a 30.5% clip while batting .188/.318/.339; his .188 average is the lowest in baseball among qualified players.

Tampa Bay Rays 1B Line: .188/.318/.339 & K% of 30.5%.
Seattle Mariners 1B Line: .195/.274/.330 & K% of 22.3%.

2B – Baltimore Orioles – Robert Andino

Andino is batting .220/.291/.307 in 2012 driving in 21 runs in 98 games played. His Isolated Power (ISO) is 0.87 and he carries an OPS of .599.

His K% ratio is 23.9; which is fine if you are adding an RBI more than once every 4.5 games or hitting a HR more than once every 20 games.

Andino has a .968 fielding rating while the league average for 2B is .983.

Baltimore Orioles 2B Line: .221/.279/.308 & a WAR of -2.1.
Seattle Mariners 2B Line:  .233/.302/.339 & a WAR of 1.7.

SS – Oakland Athletics – Cliff Pennington

I was fully expecting this to be a hard position to find a positive but in comparison to Oakland the Mariners have an All-Star SS.

Pennington was a 1st round pick (21st overall) in the 2005 MLB-First Year Player Draft and the #83 overall prospect in baseball prior to 2006.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Cliff is batting .196/.261/.282 with a .543 OPS through 96 games played; 92 from SS.

Pennington makes Robert Andino look like a stud with just 3 HRs and 18 RBIs in 362 plate appearances. Meaning if you were Pennington’s family and you wanted to tape a game where he hits a HR you would have to record roughly a months worth of games before you caught that hallmark moment.

Pennington is working on a career high .979 fielding percentage with 56 double plays; Ryan has turned 92 double plays.

Oakland Athletics SS Line: .195/.265/.303
Seattle Mariners SS Line: .202/.285/.272

3B – Chicago Cubs – Luis Valbuena

Valbuena has the unfortunate luck of making this list with 53 games started at 3B for Chicago.

He is batting .225/.305/.376 in 60 total games. Valbuena has a BABIP of .250, which isn’t so bad, but his wOBA of .292 at 13 points lower than his OBP is not a good sign.

With 3B being a ‘power position’ you might expect a league average non-pitcher to hit around the same in a given ballpark as your 3B; poor Cubs fans.

Luis Valbuena: .225/.305/.376/.681
League Average:  .260/.325/.413/.737

Valbuena is being OUT hit, run, and slugged by all position players in the league.

Chicago Cubs 3B Line: .202/.270/.332 & a BABIP of .233.
Seattle Mariners 3B Line:  .247/.309/.400 & a BABIP of .288.

RF – Houston Astros – Brian Bogusevic

I know you were all waiting on an Astros appearance; even I was getting a little antsy.

Bogusevic is another former 1st round pick on our list being selected 24th overall in the 2005 draft; just three picks after Cliff Pennington. Yikes.

Pennington and Bogusevic have oddly similar numbers; like they made a pact on draft-day 2005 to be the two worst players in the 2012 season.

Pennington: 332 plate appearances – 3 HRs and 18 RBIs – .196/.261/.282
Bogusevic: 363 plate appearances – 6 HRs and 23 RBIs – .209/.300/.302

Combined these two have 9 HRs and 41 RBIs in 695 plate appearances which calculates to a HR every 77 plate appearance.

Houston Astros RF Line: .216/.295/.319 & K% of 24.4%.
Seattle Mariners RF Line:  .252/.280/.371 & K% of 15.4%.

CF – San Diego Padres – Cameron Maybin

Maybin marks our third 1st round pick from the 2005 draft (10th overall) to make this list.

Maybin is batting .228/.300/.327 with an ISO (Isolated Power) of 0.99.

Maybin is striking out at a career-low rate of 20.1% and is one of our first on this list over a .600 OPS at .627. Maybin somehow hits a higher rate of ground balls than Clevenger (56%) but even his speed cannot help him get on base more than 3/10 times.

In 1148 total plate appearances – Pennington, Bogusevic, and Maybin (2005 1st round picks) have combined to bat .212 with 15 HRs.

San Diego Padres CF Line: .224/.295/.390 with an ISO of .095.
Seattle Mariners CF Line:  .247/.304/.414 with an ISO of .167.

LF – Cleveland Indians – Shelley Duncan

If you can get past one of the Top-10 worst averages in the league (we can’t either) than Duncan’s numbers really aren’t that awful.

Batting .203/.288/.388 on the season with 11 HRs and a .188 ISO makes Duncan an All-Star on this team.

His BABIP of .218 is the 5th worst in the league among batters with 250+ plate appearances and his .976 fielding percentage in LF places him at -9 Rdrs/yr for the season (runs saved above league average from his position).

Cleveland Indians LF Line: .213/.280/.347
Seattle Mariners LF Line: .214/.293/.350

I am not saying be proud of the Mariners .233/.295/.366 season but understand that it can get worse.


#Mariners Minor League Contest – Brad Miller

August 28, 2012

For decades people have looked at athletes and speculated that many don’t put the work into their careers that blue-collar workers invest outside of sports; I am here to tell you that Brad Miller does not fit that mold. Miller would play baseball in Sri-Lanka for $100 dollars if you put a baseball bat, a plane ticket, and a Sinhala dictionary in his hands.

I have greatly enjoyed learning about him from some of his friends and my friend; google.

Windermere, FL is home to 2,462 residents (2010) and you can count the number of paved roads using just your hands. Windermere has one ZIP code, one Area code, and takes up just over 1.1 square miles of land. But there is something in the water in Windermere; this I am sure about.

Paula Creamer (LPGA golfer for all our non-civilized readers), Shaquille O’Neal, Dee Gordon, and Johnny Damon all hail from this small town.

The next athlete put on this list very well might be Brad Miller of the Seattle Mariners.

Miller creates a big splash with his bat, seen here, but what impresses us most about this kid is his ability to stay calm and react appropriately on and off the diamond.

I had a chance to talk with Jabari Henry, Pulaski Mariners OF, who describes playing baseball with Miller, “since we were like 10.” Henry, who attended Olympia High School with Miller in 2007 and 2008, spoke very highly of their time together.

“He always had it in him. He always wanted it and one of the hardest workers I know. When he wouldn’t play well you would never know and that’s the biggest thing I learned from him.”

Much like Cameron Hobson, who I wrote about last week, Miller is a guy that no one ever said didn’t represent his team, school, or organization with 100% of his time and effort.

One of my favorite quotes from Miller entails a case of mistaken identity while he was over in Japan playing in the FISU World University Baseball Championships.

“It was funny, but I actually had one guy in a Clemson hat come up to me both summers, and he would go, ‘Jeff Baker, Jeff Baker!’ I’m like, ‘no way!’, because I saw him two summers ago.”

“He comes up to me wearing the Clemson hat, saying, ‘Clemson, Jeff Baker!’, and this time he has a hat for me to sign, and on the bill it has signatures by Jeff Baker and Danny Ford. It made my day, man. He gave me a big hug and showed me the hat, and it was amazing that I found him both years. Those are the kinds of experiences that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Jeff Baker is a C/1B for the Detroit Tigers who attended Clemson in 2001-2004.

When Miller talks about baseball, a sport his father Steve played at Northern Iowa, you get a sense for how much it means to him to play the game he loves everyday.

“There is a lot of emphasis on details and focusing on improving the little things,” Miller said. “When Major League coach Mike Brumley came over and worked with us on baserunning it really set in how important everything was. I really look forward to getting more time to talk and ask questions to all the coaches. “

Enough chit-chat; let’s talk about the baseball numbers Miller has put up –

Shout-out here to Olympia High School for having the hands-down best historical statistics menus of any high school I have come across.

Miller’s coach at Olympia High School was former MLB pitcher Randy O’Neal. Randy recorded 17 wins off the mound over 7 seasons in the Major Leagues striking out 248.

Brad Miller listed as an INF on the 2005 Olympia H.S. JV squad. Miller played the second most innings on the offensive squad logging 15 games played batting .468/.536/.596 (22-47) with a 1.131 OPS. Miller tied for the team lead in runs with 15.

Miller returned to school in 2006 as part of Olympia’s Varsity squad and played in 24 games over 148 innings. Miller batted .344/.456/.609 with a 1.065 OPS leading the team in doubles, triples, slugging, and OPS among starters. Miller also hit two HRs to finish second on the team.

2007 was Miller’s coming out year in Florida High School Athletics batting .413/.560/.713 with an enormous 1.320 OPS. In 28 games Miller racked up 31 hits, 25 runs, 31 RBIs, 6 HRs, 7 SBs, and walked 26 times.

**Note – 2007 was Jabari Henry’s freshman season with Olympia batting .267 driving in 12 and scoring 19 times in 26 games.

2008 was Miller’s final season with Olympia High School. He was named an All-American batting .461/.548/.724 posting a 1.272 OPS over 24 games. Miller recorded a career high 35 hits in 2008 leading the team in triples with 3.

**Note – 2008 was Jabari Henry’s sophomore season with Olympia batting .418/.495/.722 leading the team in HRs with 6.

College scouts and MLB scouts both took notice of Miller’s High School accomplishments on the diamond. Miller was ranked as the 17th best prep ball player in Florida by Perfect Game.  The Texas Rangers drafted Miller in the 39th round of the 2008 MLB-First Year Player Draft (#1173 overall). And to top off the exciting summer Miller was offered a scholarship to play ball at Clemson University.

Miller eventually picked Clemson University.

2009 was Miller’s freshman season with Clemson as he became the first freshman to start all 66 games in a Clemson uniform since 2005. Miller hit .273 posting a .405 OBP and crossed the plate 39 times. Miller finished 11th in the nation in walks, with 53, as the only freshman to break the Top-85 in base on balls. His 53 walks also led the team and ranked 9th in school history. Miller also drive in 36 runs and stole 16 bases.

After Clemson’s 2009 season ended in the Super-Regionals to Arizona State Miller went on to play that summer for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Challenge. As part of a 22-man Team USA squad Miller hit .255 with a .417 OBP stealing 8 bases in 23 games. Team USA won their gold medal match against Germany 8-1 with Drew Pomeranz throwing a no-hitter into the 7th inning. Found a team picture of the 2009 Team USA champions here; not sure where Brad is at, he is #4.

Miller returned to Clemson in 2010 continuing his studies in Marketing while establishing himself as one of the best offensive players in the ACC. Miller hit a team high .357 with 90 hits in 69 games played (9th in school history). Miller crossed the plate 71 times showing his power stroke with 8 HRs and 19 2Bs on his way to 141 total bases for the season. In 30 ACC regular-season games Miller tied for the conference lead in walks and finished 2nd in batting average and on-base percentage. Miller was ranked as the 3rd best prospect in the ACC for the 2011 MLB Draft by Baseball America and the 28th best prospect in the nation for the 2011 MLB Draft by Perfect Game.

Miller joined Team USA again in the summer of 2010 to play in the World University Baseball Championships. Team USA took silver in Tokyo, Japan as Miller hit a team high .441 (15-34); 80 points higher than the next batter. Miller also led Team USA in OBP at .525 scoring 11 times and slugging .647.

Fellow Seattle farm hands Carson Smith and Mike Zunino were both invited to the Team USA trials but did not make the squad.

2011 was Miller’s final season at Clemson and despite missing 7 games to a broken finger he would go on to win the Brooks Wallace Award for the Nation’s Top Shortstop and ACC Player of the Year.

In 49 games in 2011 Miller hit .431; 60 points higher than the next batter. He drove in 44 RBIs, crossed the plate 49 times, and recorded an OBP of .536.

Of the hardware Miller picked up during the 2011 season he had this to say:

“Being a shortstop and taking pride in playing the position – and then also being able to represent Clemson and bring an award back to the school to continue the tradition there, it’s a huge honor,” Miller said.”

Miller accepted his awards the same night fellow Seattle farm hand Danny Hultzen received the John Olerud award for best two-way player in college baseball. The year prior to Hultzen’s victory Mike McGee, another Seattle farmhand, took the award.

Miller would be drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2nd round (63rd overall) of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft joining fellow ACC All-American Danny Hultzen as the Mariners Top-2 picks.

The awards ceremony and MLB draft were far from the end of Miller and Hultzen’s journey to the Major Leagues. Both were asked how well they knew the other in playing through the ACC together:

“We’re not going to talk about how I fared against Danny today,” said Miller, smiling. “Obviously, he’s one of the best pitchers in the country. I was happy to end up on the same team as him this time. We actually got to meet each other earlier this year in Lubbock, Texas at an awards ceremony. It was cool getting to know him after facing him.”

Said Hultzen: “After facing a guy for however many years, you kind of expect what kind of guy he is. You know what kind of player he is — he’s really good. You hope he’s a good guy, too, and Brad’s definitely a good guy. That was good to see.”

Within 48 hours of being drafted by the Mariners Miller reported to Clinton, Iowa to play for the LumberKings; Mariners A-Ball affiliate. Audio of his arrival here.

In 14 games with Clinton Miller hit .415/.458/.528 with a 0.986 OPS scoring 9 times.

Those 14 games were enough to show Tom McNamara and the Mariners scouting staff that Miller was ready for a higher level of competition as he would begin 2012 with High Desert the Mariner’s High-A Ball affiliate.

In 2012 Miller would be named by Baseball America as having the Best Strike Zone Discipline in the CAL League as he batted .339/.412/.524 with 52 walks in 97 games. Miller totaled 139 hits in those 97 games with 33 doubles, 5 triples, and 11 HRs. That’s an impressive 33% of his hits going for extra bases.

Tom McNamara and the Mariners scouting staff once again took notice of Miller and promoted him to Jackson, Mariner’s AA affiliate, to finish out the 2012 season.

There were whispers that Miller would not produce in Jackson after being in the CAL League; infamous for inflating batting statistics. However this would not be the case for Miller. In 34 games, as of 8/28/2012, Miller is batting .320/.415/.440 walking 21 times in just 34 games. Miller is just one double away from reaching 40 on the season and has totaled 270 bases between both teams swiping 23 bases.

Miller is listed as the 91st overall prospect in baseball at Midseason 2012 by minorleagueball.com and the 5th overall prospect in the Mariner’s system.

Miller’s defense has always been something of a question mark to scouts. Miller has 36 errors for 2012 although he has only committed 5 since his promotion to Jackson.

In following Miller’s career from High School to his time spent in the Mariner’s organization I can say that he has always improved his defense the more time he spends at any level. This goes for his time with Clemson and Team USA and I am confident, in line with his fielding at Jackson, that his progress with the Mariners will be no different.


Seattle Mariner Minor League Movers

August 27, 2012

An organization can learn a lot about a prospect’s development/progress from a sample size between 5-10 games at the end of the season:

  • Mike Trout played 5 games at Cedar Rapids (A-Ball) to round out 2009; his draft season.
  • Andrew McCutcheon played 13 games at Williamsport (Penn League) to round out 2005; his draft season.
  • Felix Hernandez started 2 games with Wisconsin to round his 2003 campaign; his inaugural stateside season.

McCutcheon hit .346 in his 13 game stint with Williamsport and never did return to Low-A ball. Felix struck out 18 in two starts and recorded a 1.93 ERA and started the next season in High-A.

Here we go -

At one time I was thinking I would write Dario Pizzano’s section in all caps with bold text  but he has since been promoted to Low-A Everett. **Golf Clap** towards Seattle’s management for this one.

Take a look at Pizzano and 6 others from the Mariners organization that could use a look at the next level.

Dario Pizzano – 15th Round (2012) – Columbia University – OF

Any time you have a 21-year-old hitting over .320 in a rookie ball setting you want to think about getting him promoted. Any time you have a 21-year-old hitting .356/.443/.508/.951 for the season you start thinking about skipping the next level the following year. This is what the Mariners saw as Pizzano received a call-up to Short Season Everett with 7 games remaining. Pizzano led the Appalachian League in hits at the time of his promotion and leads in average by .031 points

James Jones – 4th Round (2009) – Long Island University – OF

Since 2009 Jones has moved up just two levels within the organization after beginning his minor league journey at age 20 in Everett with the Aquasox. At 23 Jones is a .286 hitter over 4 seasons in the minor leagues but is currently topping any of his work done in the minor leagues prior to this year.

Born to lead-off: Since being placed in the lead-off spot July 4th Jones has raked the CAL league with a .361 (68-188) average hitting 14 2Bs, 8 3Bs, and 4 HRs while swiping 15 bases and posting a 24BB/32K ratio (.75 BB/K ratio).

From July 4 to August 11 Jones crossed the plate a total of 38 times; twice more than Mike Trout, with 36. Jones has scored a total of 105 runs in 118 games in 2012.

Jones could not stay in healthy in 2011 as a broken nose and other injuries ended his season in July shaping his return to High Desert in 2012. The Mariners organization lacks a dynamic lead-off hitter. If Jones can start being productive in the 1st half of a season he could find himself MLB bound in 2014.

2012 line: Jones is hitting .314 with a .901 OPS and a .387 BABIP. Jones is in double digits for 2Bs, 3Bs, and HRs with 24 stolen bases, 105 runs, and 74 RBIs.

Verdict: Spend the final 7 games of 2012 with AA-Jackson.

Carson Smith – 8th Round (2009) – Texas State University – CL

Carson Smith has the frame of a closer at 6’6″ 205 and a fastball that can reach 96 MPH. His secondary pitches were described as passable coming into the MLB Draft which is lower than many analysts had placed him on raw baseball talent.

Smith signed to late into the 2011 season and made 2012 his inaugural pro-ball season starting with High Desert in the CAL League.

Shutting it down: Since 6/15 Smith has posted 14 saves in 31.1 IP walking 10 and striking out 46. In this time Smith has allowed no HRs and only 29 base runners (0.93 base runners an inning).

2012 line: Smith has a 3.02 ERA complemented with a 2.83 FIP striking out 10.86 K/9. He is 5-1 on the season from the bullpen with 15 saves in 59.2 innings thrown.

Verdict: Spend the final 7 games of 2012 with AA-Jackson.

Brad Miller – 2nd Round (2011) – Clemson University – SS

Miller received a promotion to Jackson 33 games ago; making him a dark horse to receive another. His numbers have been so eerily similar on both levels that it’s like no jump was ever made.

Nick Franklin, widely regarded as the future SS of the Mariners, has struggled in Tacoma batting .237 over 57 games.

Something to prove: After hitting .337 in 97 games with High Desert many MLB pundits said Miller could not produce the same results outside the CAL League; he has more than proved those analysts wrong. Miller posted a .409 OBP with a .391 BABIP and an 11% walk ratio with the Mavericks.

Proving his worth: Through 33 games in AA Miller is hitting .322 with a .420 OBP posting a .371 BABIP and walking in 14.7% of his plate appearances.

2012 line: .335/.413/.505 hitting 14 HRs , 38 2Bs, 103 runs, and a .918 OPS. Miller has 178 hits in 130 games played for the season.

Verdict: Spend the final 8 games 0f 2012 with AAA-Tacoma.

DJ Mitchell – 10th Round (2008) (acquired via Trade) – Clemson University – SP

The Yankees thought highly enough of Mitchell that he saw some innings in the big leagues this season before being traded to the Mariners along with Danny Farquhar; who is also throwing in Tacoma.

Controlling the diamond better: Mitchell has thrown 7 starts with Tacoma totaling 42.2 innings (6.02 IP per outing) recording a 2.95 ERA. Mitchell’s strikeout numbers are down posting 5.48 K/9 with Seattle, the lowest in his minor league career, after recording 7.56 K/9 with New York in 2012. Mitchell’s BB/9 and HR/9 numbers are similar but it’s some of his other numbers that tell how good he has been.

Mitchell has a .242 BABIP against leaving 75.4% of runners on base since coming over from New York. In 15 appearances with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2012 Mitchell posted a .308 BABIP allowed and stranded just 65.3% of runners.

Dwight Bernard, Tacoma’s pitching coach, seems to have shown Mitchell how to control the diamond behind him better through pitch location and pitch selection. With the way Noesi and Ramirez have thrown in Tacoma for 2012 this kind of improvement should help Mitchell get a shot at the rotation.

Verdict: Mitchell is on the 40-man roster and we expect him to see the big leagues shortly after the roster expands on September 1st.

Dennis Raben – 2nd Round (2008) – Miami University – OF

Raben is 24-years-old and serving his third season with High Desert in High-A ball. You might look at that and simply move on to the next prospect but his consecutive seasons in High-A ball are no indicator of this kid’s talent.

Raben missed all of 2009 to injuries after a promising .274/.411/.560 performance with Everett post-draft in 2008.

Gotta stay healthy: Raben missed part of 2010, 2011, and 2012 to injuries but has posted a .298/.379/.555 line with a .934 OPS over 4 seasons in the  Seattle Mariners minor league system.

It is agreed that when Raben is healthy he is a promising young slugger.

“He battled some injuries and he’s getting over them now and (a power hitter) is who he is,” Mavericks manager Pedro Grifol said.

Raben has slugged 53 HRs and 195 RBIs over 243 career games played. Split those numbers up and in a 162-game full season Raben averages 34 HRs and 130 RBIs a season.

Though his 2012 numbers have dipped it is agreed upon that Raben is healthier than he has been in recent years and has posted a .303 (24-79) August average with 5 HRs.

2012 line: .274/.370/.474 with an .844 OPS and 40 RBIs in 58 games played. Note that Raben has posted his highest BB/K ratio in 2012; nearly twice as high as 2010.

Verdict: Almonte and Dunigan are not the future of the Seattle Mariners; spend the final 7 games of the season with AA-Jackson.

Robert Shore – 41st Round (2011) – Oklahoma University – SP

There has been a lot of talk about Tyler Pike, Victor Sanchez, and The Big Three (Hultzen, Walker, Paxton) this season but the most overlooked prospect in the Mariners system is Bobby Shore.

Shore tossed one relief appearance for Everett in 2012 before getting the call-up to Clinton. Shore has split 16 appearances with Clinton coming out of the bullpen 8 times and getting 8 starts.

ON-FIRE: In 8 starts with Clinton Shore is 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA. In those starts Shore has not allowed a HR and has given up 2 or less ERs in each outing while recording 6 straight quality starts. Between 2 starts on 8/05 and 8/10 Shore tossed 13 shutout innings with 20 Ks and 0 BBs.

Shore has recorded a strikeout ratio of 25.6% allowing a .196 batting average and a sub 1.000 WHIP since joining Clinton.

2012 line: 4-3 with a 1.81 ERA. Striking out 64 and walking 17 in 64.2 innings. 8.9 K/9 ratio and a 0.974 WHIP.

Verdict: Spend the final 8 games of the season with High Desert.

It’s tempting to send guys like Pike and Sanchez up a level but ultimately with their age it’s best to get them used to the movements and pace of minor league baseball before promoting them late season or fast-tracking them.

On a final closing note; I do not want to see Zunino (.406/.472/.813 over 9 games with Jackson) in Seattle this season. I am happy to see him mashing with the best of them in the Southern League but the kid is going to require some PCL time before making a full-time jump to Seattle; he can have plenty of that in 2013.


Seattle Mariners Universe – August 24

August 25, 2012

Can’t say I am against the effort that both Thames and Saunders put in on that last play; doubt either thought the other was going to get there and neither were going to look off the ball in such a tight situation. Tough break.

In other news; David Pauley does drugs.

Pauley, of Mariners 2011 fame squad, signed with Seattle earlier this season and has thrown in Tacoma. It was not released which drug was the culprit but he was suspended 50-games under the Mariners recreational drug policy. With the lack of Pauley coverage on twitter it would appear no one cares. Fine with me.

To the Tabs!

MarinersThe Mariners showed some real fight in giving up a tough loss to Chicago 9-8 on Friday.

Jason Vargas, who yesterday we highlighted as a Top-10 pitcher in the American League this past month +, looked more like Johan Santana post All-Star break on Friday.

  • Vargas’s line: 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K, and 3 HR allowed.

Vargas appeared to be mechanically unhinging throughout the night as his 3rd HR allowed was tomahawked by 106 pound emaciated SS Alexei Ramirez for his 8th of the year.

Pitch F/X verification: Jason Vargas threw at a PACE of 18.4 second between pitches tonight. Last week we highlighted via Pitch F/X data that Vargas gets the least from his arsenal when he throws between 17 to 18.5 seconds between pitches.

At the end of the night Vargas threw 3 poorly placed pitches and paid for it.

He has performed like a #1 starter for Seattle over the past month and a half from the #2 spot in the rotation and we should expect nothing less in the next outing than a quality start.

Dustin Ackley doubled to lead-off the game and was promptly followed by a Michael Saunders RBI single with no outs in the 1st inning.

Adam Dunn clobbered his 37th and 38th HR of the season off Vargas driving in 3 runs with a solo HR in the 1st and a 2-run blast in the 3rd.

In between Dunn’s moon shots Trayvon Robinson added a HR of his own, his first of the season, to put the Mariners back up at 2-1; their last lead until the 9th inning.

Josh Kinney allowed a run in relief of Vargas through 2 innings while Capps and Perez threw 2 innings combined allowing no runs on just 1 hit.

Capps looked brilliant in hitting 100 MPH on the gun and striking out two of his batters faced throwing 13 of 19 for strikes.

This is where it gets interesting - 

The Mariners come up to bat down 7-2 in the 9th inning. Mr. Perfect Game Philip Humber comes in to pitch for Chicago and gives up a HR to Montero on his 1st batter. Humber finishes out getting Thames to pop out and walking Smoak before being replaced.

Donnie Veal comes in and gives up a double to Trayvon Robinson advancing the slowest runner in baseball Justin Smoak to third base.

Addison Reed replaces Veal and promptly walks Brendan Ryan to load the bases.

Dustin Ackley drives in two runs on an RBI single that was oddly similiar to a Jaso RBI single in the Cleveland series off the glove of Kotchman.

Ackley advances to second base on a Michael Saunders walk.

Kyle Seager sac-fly scores Brendan Ryan from 3B and advances Ackley to third and Saunders to second.

John Jaso, Mr. Clutch, singles in Ackley to tie the ball game and Michael Saunders scores on a throwing error by Alex Rios in RF; Mariners lead!

The awfully uninteresting part of the 9th inning -

Wilhelmsen allows 2 runs in the 9th in 0.1 IP to pick up the loss and the blown save, his 3rd of the year.

‘The Collision’ between Thames and Saunders Eric Wedge was very quick to protest as a catch and drop situation instead of a no catch situation as it was called on the field.

Honestly I do not consider anything that squirts free before the player hits the ground, maybe I am a football fan after all, as a catch.

If you haven’t seen it go take a look. If not for anything else it will give you a stance on whether Thames caught the ball or couldn’t hold on when you are talking by the water cooler on Monday.

In the end Dewayne Wise tagged from second base after the collision and scored regardless.

#FAIL

Trayvon Robinson and Dustin Ackley, two big reasons for the Mariners 2nd half resurgence, both added 3 hits from the plate.

Robinson’s HR was his 3rd career HR in 63 games played.

Montero added the other multi-hit game with 2 base knocks.

John Jaso reached base for the 26th consecutive start – dating back to July 8th.

Tweet @Mariners to push these guys over .500; only 4 games off pace!

RainiersDanny Hultzen night in Tacoma in front of a record crowd quickly turned into relieve Danny Hultzen night as the Rainiers lose 4-2 on Friday.

Hultzen, making his final appearance at home this season with Tacoma, was chased early in his start; WAY early.

  • Hultzen’s line: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 1 K.

I am not going to sit and talk about this one that much for two reasons:

  1. It’s depressing.
  2. Hultzen has pitched well enough in August that a blip in mechanics and the resulting loss to one of the hottest hitting PCL teams isn’t a red flag.

Hultzen threw 16 of 40 pitches for strikes (40%); clearly his release point or some mechanical component wasn’t with him in this start.

Sweeney in long relief of Hultzen threw 5.1 innings allowing just 3 base runners and striking out 3. Missing that quality ‘relief’ start by just 0.2 IP.

Cesar Jimenez threw for the first time in Tacoma since his rehab assignment with AZL. I am not sure the time-table they had on Jimenez without Pauley’s drug suspension but he threw 2 innings of 1 hit ball striking out 2 after receiving the call-up this week.

Steven Hensley closed the game for Tacoma throwing a perfect 9th with 1 K.

Luis Antonio Jimenez and Carlos Peguero continue to tighten the belt against Seattle management who might look at either as a late season addition to an expanded MLB roster if Guti and Carp cannot come back strong in September as Seattle fights towards a .500 season.

Jimenez went 3-4 with a run scored and two doubles raising his 2012 average to .313.

Peguero picked up his 51st and 52nd RBIs of the season going 1-3 with a double.

Franklin Gutierrez, who we just spoke about, was 1-4 with a run scored and a walk as he continues to see the strike zone well in coming back from his concussion.

When speaking directly of Gutierrez returning to Seattle with the recent OF competition in Seattle Eric Wedge said:

“Hopefully, he’ll be back here soon and that turns it up even more,” Wedge said of the competition. “It’s healthy. I think it’s good. We’ve had a chance to watch a lot of players play and we’ve got a lot of guys up here that are helping us win ballgames right now and that’s what you like to see.”

Gutierrez has hit in 5 straight games with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs.

Tweet @RainiersLand to let these guys know we are looking forward to seeing some of them in September!

Generals It was a ‘bullpen night’ for the Jackson Generals as Forrest Snow got the start and Jackson wins a close one 2-1.

First and foremost Jackson gets over the hump in winning their 75th game in an unusual game.

Before you get to far into this one, check out this link, Bleacher Report names Jackson Generals the best Double-A affiliate in 2012.

  • Snow’s line: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Snow hasn’t worked from the rotation since July 25th making his last 7 appearances from the bullpen. Snow gets the hook after 4 innings and 57 pitches, 43 for strikes, which tells me that the Mariners organization believes Snow is more valuable from the pen in the long run.

Snow has given up just 1 run in his past 8 innings thrown after struggling mightily through June and July. Snow posted an 8.42 ERA in AAA earlier this season and carries a 4.76 ERA in Jackson after tonight.

Moises Hernandez allowed The Lookouts only run of the ball game through 2 innings of work.

Yoervis Medina worked the next 2 frames picking up his 4th victory and Logan Bawcom picked up his 17th save; this one coming against his former team.

Bawcom tweeted after the game:

Prob my favorite Save of my career. Excited to be a @jacksongenerals and a @Mariners !!! #yusss

Bawcom has been phenomenal since coming over in the Brandon League trade allowing a .174 BABIP against with 10.13 K/9 and a 2.53 ERA from the closing role for Jackson.

Yoervis Medina has been just as phenomenal as Bawcom allowing just 5 runs since June 23rd with a 1.07 ERA.

I tweeted before the contest that Medina might be headed up to Tacoma after Pauley’s drug suspension left Tacoma a reliever short (filled by Cesar Jimenez at the moment) with a pending MLB call-up from the staff in September. Medina himself is a 40-man roster addition, though I would believe he is behind DJ Mitchell for the MLB call up, but could be a valuable addition to Tacoma in ending their season strong.

The Generals were out-hit 10 to 3 in this contest but pulled it out.

Brad Miller added 2 of the Generals 3 hits scoring Francisco Martinez on an RBI double in the 1st inning to start the scoring in this contest.

Johermyn Chavez hit a solo HR in the 4th inning which turned out to be the game winner for Jackson.

Denny Almonte went 0-2 with a walk and an outfield assist.

Yes there was little enough offense that I spoke of an 0-2 performance with a walk.

Tweet @JacksonGenerals to congratulate the club on their 75th win of 2012!

Mavericks What is weirder than an extra inning game in the CAL League? An extra innings game where the final score is a field goal; Mavericks lose 2-1 in 12.

Taylor Stanton turned in a superb performance getting the start for High Desert.

  • Stanton’s line: 7 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

Inland Empire’s starter Eswarlin Jimenez threw the same line as Stanton; both receiving no-decisions.

Andrew Kittredge threw 3 innings of 3 hit baseball striking out 5 lowering his 2012 ERA to 3.47.

Stephen Kohlscheen, who has been outstanding as of late, allowed the game winning run after a Mario Martinez errant throwing error on a botched double play, to take the loss in 1.2 innings thrown.

Mario Martinez added the lone RBI for the Mavericks on a 5th inning sac-fly.

John Hicks continues to certify himself as Jackson’s 2013 starter at catcher going 2-4 from the plate swiping his 22nd bag while throwing out a runner in the loss.

Steven Proscia, Leon Landry, and James Jones all added two hits for the Mavericks while Jones was the only player to cross the plate scoring on the 5th inning sac-fly.

James Jones added two OF assists with one coming at home plate.

Tweet @HDMavs and let them know we like to see double-digit runs and not double-digit innings played from them.

LumberKings Clinton falls to the Bees 4-1 on Friday but takes the series from Burlington 2 games to 1.

Rusty Shellhorn vs. AJ Cole
 AKA
Mariners vs. Athletics
Athletics Win

That is a pretty accurate box score for what the LumberKings accomplished on Friday but let’s talk about the rest in light of not being rude.

  • Shellhorn’s Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 3 K.

Shellhorn flew through the first 6 batters of the contest in a hurry with 3 Ks. However the 3rd inning proved difficult as Burlington sent 7 men to the plate scoring 3 times.

This was Shellhorn’s 2nd start with Clinton after making his second jump of the season from Everett. Shellhorn has had succcess with all 3 ballclubs this season; 1.53 ERA with Pulaski, 2.76 ERA with Everett, and 3.75 with Clinton after tonight. I think it’s safe to say that barring an injury or an offseason setback that Shellhorn will start next season with High Desert in the CAL League.

Kyle Hunter threw 2 innings of 1 run relief for Clinton with 3 Ks as Joshua Corrales closed out the game striking out the final 3 batters of the game in 1 inning worked.

Ji-Man Choi and Guillermo Pimentel added 2 hits a piece for Clinton with Pimentel picking up the lone RBI of the night.

Kevin Rivers and Jamal Austin added the only other two hits of the night for Clinton; Rivers scoring on Pimentel’s RBI single in the 7th inning.

Clinton turned two double plays.

Tweet @LumberKings to welcome Ji-Man Choi back to the organization after missing 2011 with an injury.

AquaSox Victor Sanchez took the mound for Everett and did not disappoint as Everett falls to Yakima 4-3 on a 9th inning rally.

Sanchez ran his ERA in 2012 down to 3.29 as everyone’s favorite 17-year-old starter (There aren’t many more above Rookie-Ball) threw his way to a no-decision on Friday.

  • Sanchez’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 6 K.

I said it yesterday with Seon Gi-Kim on the mound for Clinton; a great pitcher allows fewer base runners than innings thrown consistently.

With Sanchez I can add that tossing more Ks than innings thrown while allowing less base runners than innings thrown is the true quality start.

In 9 of 14 starts Sanchez has allowed no more than 1 base runner over his innings thrown coming in even or under innings thrown in 6 starts.

Sanchez is 1st in IP, 2nd in Ks, 3rd in Wins, 6th in WHIP, and 10th in ERA while throwing in the NWL this season. That is a lot of Top-10 for a guy who will not see his 18th birthday until 2013.

John Sickels, baseball columnist, recently updated his list of Top 120 baseball prospects and Sanchez made the list at 111. Pretty good for a 17-year-old having success above rookie ball.

Oliver Garcia kept his inherited runner from scoring but was on the mound as Yakima scored their 2nd un-earned run of the game; ultimately Garcia tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball.

Brandon Plotz, the AquaSox ‘closer’ received the blown save and recorded his 2nd loss of the season allowing 2 runs over 2 innings on just 2 base runners striking out 3. Plotz tweeted after the game:

Change-ups to righties is a No no! #NoBueno

Referring to the 9th inning game winning HR from 9-hole hitter Michael Lang

Alfredo Morales and Jamodrick McGruder recorded two hits for Everett.

Michael Faulker added an RBI from the 9-hole going 1-4.

Patrick Kivlehan hit his 11th HR of the season alongside his 2nd 2B of the season to put his RBI total at 46. Kivlehan is now tied for 1st in the league in HRs and tied for 2nd in RBIs.

Tweet @EverettAquaSox to keep Victor Sanchez going and show your love for Kivlehan as he plays towards a possible NWL MVP.

Rookie Pulaski fell to Elizabethton 7-5 on Friday in probably the best looking loss of the day within the Mariners Organization; unless you are in the Mariners bullpen.

  • Kaalekahi’s line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K, and 1 HR allowed.

Charles Kaalekahi, a 15th round pick from the 2010 draft, has resurrected a career that was not  throwing quality innings before 2012.

In 2011 with AZL Kaalekahi allowed a .305 average against, a 1.56 WHIP, and BABIP of .362. His K’s were also down at 17% and 7.20 K/9.

In 2012 with Pulaski Kaalekahi is striking out 23.1% of batters faced for a ratio of 8.65 K/9 and is allowing a .253 average against.

Add Friday’s quality start and Kaalekahi is even at 4-4 on the season with a 3.19 ERA.

Nate Koneski and David Holman allowed 5 runs in 3 innings to close out the game giving up 7 hits combined.

Koneski’s ERA for 2012 jumped from 2.84 to 4.05 in picking up the blown save. Koneski was the Mariners 15th round pick in the 2012 MLB draft and has struck out 24 batters to just 3 walks allowed; a ratio of 10.8 K/9 on the season.

Jordy Lara went 3-4 from the plate with two doubles and two RBIs.

Tyler Marlette, headed back towards his .300 batting average he saw towards the beginning of the month went 2-4 with a run scored, double, and an RBI.

Martin Peguero added the other lone RBI for Pulaski. Peguero was caught stealing and picked off in the ball game.

Pulaski lead-off hitter Gilmer Lampe went 1-3 from the plate scoring once and walking twice.

The AZL Mariners lost to the AZL Royals 6-2 after taking a 2-run lead in the 1st inning Friday.

The combined outing from 5 different AZL pitchers isn’t much worth talking about as they allowed 15 base runners striking out just 3.

I’ll mention George Mieses who threw an inning of shut-out relief because he recorded all 3 outs via ground-out.

The other inning of scoreless relief belonged to Daniel Mata who lowered his 2012 ERA to 5.06 with Friday’s showing.

Gabriel Guerrero, Vlad’s nephew (I know I say that every day but wouldn’t be great if he filled out like Vlad), hit his 1st stateside HR in putting AZL up 2-0 in the 1st inning with a 2-run shot scoring Lopes from 1B.

Cory Scammell hit a triple in going 1-4 from the plate.

Miguel Sanchez, catching for the Mariners, allowed 3 past balls in the game.

Tweet @PulaskiMariners to root Kaalekahi to a strong ending in his breakout season. Tweet @MinorLeagues to congratulate Gabriel Guerrero on his 1st career stateside HR.

 


Seattle Mariners Universe – August 23

August 24, 2012

Mariners had the day off; so really this installment of Seattle Mariners Universe should be called Jabari Henry Universe, Leon Landry Universe, or Steven Proscia Universe the way these three guys played today.

So you do not miss it:

  • Jabari Henry, for this week (with 3 games left), is hitting .692, .764 OBP, 3 HRs, 8 RBIs, and scored 6 times. #MiLB Player of the Week- All LevelsIs there an award for that? There needs to be!

To the tabs!

Rainiers Rainiers drop the second game of #MegaSeries2012 to the Las Vegas 51′s 6-1.

I feel like I have never posted any positive comments on Hector Noesi, not even after his near no-hitter last outing striking out 11, but unfortunately for him he couldn’t keep the streak going and the positive comments will not start today.

  • Noesi’s line: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K, and 1 HR allowed.

I realize that I have praised pitchers on here before for lasting 6 innings and striking out 6 but I hold Noesi into a different light.

First off he is 25 years old; same as Justin Croak Smoak. I give Beavan some slack because he is 23 and seems to understand that you need to get better to stay in the Major Leagues.

Noesi’s peripheral #’s in MLB this season:

  • 0.78 GB/FB ratio – Meaning he allowed more Fly-Balls than Ground-Balls (45.9% to 35.7)
  • 65.7% LOB – Somehow his runners left on base #’s are actually worse in Tacoma (58.7% in AAA)
  • 1.86 HR/9 – It’s common to allow 2 HRs in a game, oh wait, that’s for the entire season…

The only reason I haven’t started cuthectornoesi.com is because all Michael Pineda can do this season is drive drunk and Jose Campos was shut-down after 5 outings with ‘Elbow Inflammation’ allowing 8 ERs off 10 base runners in his final start lasting 2.2 innings.

Back to real baseball -

Danny Farquhar (another former Yankee), who has allowed just 1 run in his last 17 outings recording a 0.33 ERA, threw 1 inning of 1 runner baseball striking out 2 to cap the game for Tacoma.

Nick Franklin inches closer to .250 for Tacoma with a 2-5 performance from the lead-off spot. I would like to see him in the lead-off a few more games but understand that Darren Ford has exceptional base running abilities.

Franklin Gutierrez picked up the only RBI for Tacoma.

Luis Antonio Jimenez went under the radar reaching base all 4 times at the plate while going 1-1 recording 3 walks.

Four Tacoma batters struck out 2 times.

Carlos Peguero added an OF assist.

I am trying to create more positives – but they are not there – 11 LOB and 0-8 with RISP.

Tweet @RainiersLand to tell Guti how excited you are to see him reclaim his CF crown in just over a week. He hasn’t played in Seattle without Ichiro on his right.

Generals Taijuan Walker threw another so-so game as the Generals fell to the BayBears 5-2.

Walker’s line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, and 1 HR allowed.

From a fan’s standpoint I am very excited to see Taijuan Walker get the call to Tacoma in 2013 and eventually succeed in the Major Leagues signing a 15-year contract with Seattle for $120 dollars. Yes, dollars, not millions; it’s my blog.

From a blogger’s standpoint I wish ‘SkyWalker’ would lean towards either being a mechanical wreck or being a phenom so he could be easy to write about.

Taijuan Walker – Month by Month:

  • April: 3-0 1.63 ERA
  • May: 1-1 2.85 ERA
  • June: 0-3 9.35 ERA
  • July: 3-2 3.41 ERA
  • August: 0-2 5.06 ERA

All in all this works out to a 7-8 record with a 4.30 ERA in 117.1 innings thrown.

His FIP is a positive 3.86 on the season though many of his peripheral numbers have faded from last season.

His K% is down 12.5% from 2010, HR/9 is almost doubled from 2011 (though still a 0.69), BABIP is .313 and his WHIP is 1.380 compared to a 1.120 in 2010.

I really hope from a fan’s standpoint and from a blogger’s standpoint that Taijuan can finish 2012 in convincing fashion and make a confident jump to AAA in 2013.

Jonathan Arias finished out the game in relief throwing 2.1 innings of baseball allowing just 2 hits.

Denny Almonte hit his 11th HR of the season – just his 2nd since June 6th – while Brad Miller picked up the other RBI of the game on a sac-fly scoring Leury Bonilla.

Rich Poythress and Joe Dunigan added multi-hit games for Jackson with 2 hits a piece.

Almonte’s HR was the only XBH of the game for Jackson who went 0-2 with RISP.

Chih-Hsien Chiang added an OF assist while Mike Zunino added a caught stealing.

Mike Zunino failed to reach base for only the 2nd time this season and 1st time since July 26th. He has reached safely in 34 of 36 ballgames.

Tweet @JacksonGenerals  to get Taijuan Walker and the rest of the gang over 75 wins!

Mavericks High Desert put up 2 or more runs in 7 straight innings in beating Lake Elsinore 18-9 in their series finale; sweeping them 4-0.

Brett Shankin dropped his 2012 ERA 0.86 points in the outing; problem is the number it settled on is 7.03.

  • Shankin’s line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Shankin moved to 7-2 on the season with the victory. Only in the CAL League can you post a 7.00+ ERA and win 7 of 9 decisions. I bet Hector Noesi is jealous.

I am going to skip over Wes Alsup, who posted a 0.00 ERA in the outing failing to record an out in allowing 6 ERs, and Tyler Blandford.

Carson Smith threw a perfect 1.1 innings in relief of the 9-run 8th inning put up by Lake Elsinore.

Smith has allowed just 2 ERs – in 1 outing – since June 14th – giving him a 0.59 ERA over that time. He has struck out 22 batters since his last run allowed.

All 10 batters for High Desert hit safely in the contest (Carlos Ramirez replacing Mario Martinez).

Mike McGee hit his 3rd home in his past 4 games started going 2-5 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs. He is hitting .411 in those 4 games.

Leon Landry added to his MiLB XBH title for 2012 with a 3-4 performance crossing the plate 5 times with two walks, a HR, and 2 RBIs.

James Jones, John Hicks and Dennis Raben each added 2 RBIs with Jones adding 2 hits.

Mario Martinez, who left after fouling a ball off his knee, was 3-4 with a double and three runs scored.

All those performances aside – Steven Proscia put up one of the best MiLB games of the year – going 4-5 with a double, 2 HRs, 4 runs, and 6 RBIs.

Proscia is now batting .337 on the season with High Desert with 22 HRs and 90 RBIs. #CalLeagueMVP#1

John Hicks not only threw out a runner on the bases but added a pick-off at 1B for good measure.

Tweet @HDMavs to congratulate these guys on winning both their 1st and 2nd half titles in 2012!

LumberKings Clinton won their extra innings contest with Burlington in the 10th inning 3-1 on Thursday.

Seon Gi-Kim took a tough no decision as Stephen Shackleford allowed his inherited runner to tie the game in the 7th.

  • Kim’s line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 3 K.

What makes a great pitcher’s line you ask? Allowing less base runners than innings pitched is the key in my opinion. You can strike out 11 and still give up 8 hits but if you only allow 6 runners in 6.1 innings chances be that you are at least in the running to pick up a win 80% of the time.

Kim is 2-1 over his last 4 starts posting a 2.85 ERA.

Outside the inherited runner that scored off Shackleford (who threw 2.2 scoreless innings) the pitching was near flawless. Brazis threw an inning of no run baseball to pick up his 3rd save and drop his ERA to 1.20.

Dillon Hazlett recorded Clinton’s only regulation RBI in the 2nd inning going 1-4 with a double.

Ji-Man Choi, who has been hot, reached base 3 times going 0-2 with 3 walks.

Ramon Morla, posted the only multi-hit game and the game winning 2-run HR in the 10th, going 2-5 with 2 RBIs.

Clinton turned 3 double plays in the game.

Tweet @LumberKings to congratulate the squad on their 38-21 second half (6 games up in their divison).

AquaSox Everett took their 2nd straight against Yakima to kick off their 5 game set 6-1 on Thursday.

Marcos Reyna took the ball for Everett in his 2nd start of the season after 15 relief appearances.

  • Reyna’s line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

Reyna has allowed just 1 run over his 2 starts totaling 9.1 innings striking out 12 and walking 4.

Blake Hauser picked up his 3rd win in relief and Dominic Leone picked up his 5th save.

Leone now has a 1.48 ERA on the season and has gone 30.1 innings since being drafted without allowing a HR.

Jamodrick McGruder added 2 RBIs for Everett going 1-3 from the plate with a walk.

Janelfry Zorrilla went 2-3 scoring twice and hitting a 3-run HR in the 6th inning.

Marcus Littlewood added the other multi-hit game for Everett going 2-3 scoring twice with a walk.

James Zamarripa added an OF assist for Everett.

Tweet @EverettAquaSox to wish the boys luck in the playoffs in just under two weeks!

Rookie Pulaski lost their Thursday contest to Elizabethton 6-4.

I will start off by saying that the 1, 2, 3 hitters for Elizabethton read like the future hitters in the Twins organization. Byron Buxton, Candida Pimentel, and Max Kepler. The 3 reached base 8 times but only added 1 RBI in the win.

Jochi Ogando and Isliexel Gonzalez threw 8 innings of ball for Pulaski with Zaragoza and Pereira finishing off the contest.

  • Ogando’s line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 K.
  • Gonzalez’s line: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 4 K.

Martin Peguero picked up an RBI going 1-4 from the plate with a double.

Dario Pizzano went 3-4 from the plate with a run scored and a double to raise his 2012 AVG to a league leading .364.

Jabari Henry, who we mentioned before the tabs, went 3-4 scoring twice with a double, a HR, and 3 RBIs.

And because I cannot mention it enough:

  • Jabari Henry, for this week (with 3 games left), is hitting .692, .764 OBP, 3 HRs, 8 RBIs, and scored 6 times. #MiLB Player of the Week - All levels - Is there an award for that? There should be.

The AZL Mariners beat the AZL Royals 11-7.

Stephen Landazuri, rehabbing with AZL, started his second game on a pretty strict pitch count:

  • Landazuri’s line: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Landazuri has walked none over 3 innings of rehab ball tossing 4 Ks.

Jose Flores picked up his 3rd win of the season throwing 4 innings of perfect baseball with 5 Ks.

Cameron Copping picked up his 1st save of the season striking out the final batter of the ballgame.

Joseph DeCarlo reached base 4 times going 1-2 with 3 walks, a run scored, and 2 RBIs.

Nathan Melendres went 4-6 with a double, scoring once, and driving in 2 runs as he continues to rehab with AZL. He is batting .529 there so far. Kristian Brito added 2 RBIs as well.

Luke Guarnaccia went 2-4 with a triple, scoring twice, and knocking in one run.

Cory Scammell went 3-4 from the plate scoring three times and walking once.

Gabriel Guerrero, Vlad’s nephew, went 1-5 from the plate scoring twice and driving in a run.

Tweet @PulaskiMariners to keep Dario Pizzano headed towards his 2012 batting title in the Appy League. Tweet @MinorLeagues to congratulate the AZL Mariners on another well earned victory; strong kids on the farm all around!


Seattle Mariners Universe – August 22

August 23, 2012

Mariners Seattle wins their 8th straight game and 15 of their last 16 games at home as they knock off Cleveland in sweeping style 3-1.

The Big Three is much older than we expected coming into the season as Felix, Vargas, and Iwakuma are lighting up the second half of the baseball season.

Over the past 30 days in the American League all 3 pitchers are:

  • Top-10 in ERA: Felix at 1.72, Vargas at 2.13, and Iwakuma at 2.15.
  • 3rd in combined WAR between 3 SPs at 2.9 (behind Moore, Shields, and Price & Verlander, Scherzer, and Fister).

While Iwakuma falls off a little in finesse statistics Vargas and Felix are Top-10 in the AL in HR/9, BABIP, FIP, and AVG.

Noted here that Blake Beavan, who doesn’t receieve much press (even from me), is 2nd in the AL the past 30 days with 0.85 walks per 9 innings among qualifying SPs. Though I must admit at the same time that there is something to be said for the pitcher who throws an abundance of strikes and gives up hits in lieu of walking batters.

Hisashi Iwakuma jumped into the Top-10 in ERA, as we listed above, due to his performance in Wednesday’s game.

  • Iwakuma’s line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Iwakuma has posted 5 quality starts in his last 7 outings; missing the other two only on innings pitched (not runs allowed).

Over those 7 starts Iwakuma has struck out 42 and walked 14.

Michael Saunders went deep in the 1st inning for a solo HR to kick off the scoring. This was his 4th HR in the past 4 games hitting .421 (8-19) over the past 5 games with 7 RBIs.

Saunders hit only 4 HRs from June 12th to August 17th.

Casey Kotchman recorded the only RBI for the Indians singling in Choo in the 6th inning off Oliver Perez (Iwakuma’s runner) shortly after Iwakuma was yanked.

Capps, Furbush, and Pryor all threw pieces of an inning with Wilhelmsen picking up his 19th save allowing just 1 walk with a strikeout in the 9th.

How cool was it to see the ERAs in the box score of yesterdays game starting with Iwakuma: 3.64, 1.83, 3.86, 2.03, 2.08 and 2.37.

Kyle Seager and John Jaso scored on an Eric Thames double in the bottom of the 8th inning to break the tie and hand Wilhelmsen the save opportunity.

The man with the chops cannot be stopped!

Other than Thames other 3 at-bats where he struck out – but the game winner erases ALL!

More of the same from Jaso reaching three times and scoring with a 1-2 performance and two walks.

Kyle Seager went 2-4 with a run scored as he attempted to right the ship and bring his average back above .250 for the season.

Tweet @Mariners to keep the guys rolling; only 3 games below .500 and 7 out of the wildcard. 


Rainiers Sean O’Sullivan has 14 wins on the season and his Las Vegas 51′s are 16.5 games ahead of Tacoma but no one told Andrew Carraway that Wednesday as the Rainiers knocked off the 51′s 3-1.

  • Carraway’s line: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Carraway has been on a learning curve since arriving at Tacoma 18 starts ago on May 11th. Carraway was downright untouchable at Jackson earlier this season in 7 starts (4-0); receiving a promotion before Carter Capps, who is now with the Seattle Mariners, and Danny Hultzen.

In 9 of his 18 AAA starts Carraway has registered a quality start and has walked 1 or less batters in 12 of those 18.

Carraway has an ERA of 4.51 in Tacoma but his BABIP allowed is 0.44 points lower than his time in Jackson which tells me he just loses the handle sometimes; which is part of going through the minor leagues.

Bobby LaFromboise and Shawn Kelley were both tremendous in relief striking out 4 combined in 3 innings; LaFromboise has an ERA of 1.57 and Kelley a 1.04.

Carlos Peguero picked up the only RBI for Tacoma hitting a single that scored Luis Antonio Jimenez in the 4th inning.

Mike Curto, the Rainiers on-air announcer, tweeted after Jimenez’s triple:

Luis Jimenez just came two feet away from becoming the 3rd player in 53 years to homer over the giant wall in CF at Cheney. Settled for 3B.

So dude is batting .308 with 20 HRs and 77 RBIs and has the kind of power to hit the ball that far and he can’t find a Major League inning or at-bat anywhere around the league; baseball can be about the right timing and sometimes it never happens.

Carlos Triunfel got the other extra base hit for Tacoma going 1-3 with a run scored.

The Rainiers turned three double plays behind Carraway.

Tweet @RainiersLand to wish the Rainiers luck in their 9-game series with Las Vegas.

Generals The Jackson Generals could not pick up their 75th win on Wednesday as Mobile was victorious 9-3.

Steve Garrison struggled for the Generals allowing 14 base runners in 5 IP striking out none and allowing 7 runs (6 ER).

Yes I know I did not post his line like I usually do; but do you really want to see it all written out?

The only worthwhile pitching of the game for Jackson to speak of was Mauricio Robles throwing 2 innings perfect baseball with 2 Ks to round out the game.

Robles, a 40-man roster presence for the Mariners, strugled mightily through 6 appearances with Tacoma earlier this season before making the transition down to Jackson. He has allowed just 2 HRs in 45.1 innings with a 3.77 ERA. His BABIP allowed is .263 and he is stranding 72% of runners compared to 55% at Tacoma earlier this season.

Denny Almonte and Jesus Sucre recorded the only multi-hit performances for Jackson each totaling 2 hits.

Chavez and Chiang each recorded an RBI.

Brad Miller recorded the 3rd RBI for Jackson in reaching base three times going 1-3 with 2 walks.

The Generals recorded a double play, an outfield assist, and a pickoff in the game.

Francisco Martinez, listed on the Mariners 40-man roster, went 1-4 with two runs scored and a walk.

Tweet @JacksonGenerals to keep these kids chugging along till the end of the season and their play-off run!

Mavericks The winning and hitting continues for High Desert as they move to 33-8 in their past 41 contests winning 8-3 over Lake Elsinore.

Cameron Hobson pitched well for the Mavericks a day after we featured him in our #Mariners Minors for the Fans article.

Hobson’s line; 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Hobson picked up his 9th win since making the jump to High Desert; he is now 9-3 on the season for the Mavericks.

Tyler Burgoon and Tyler Blandford delivered the only thing we see now days from the Maverick’s bullpen; zeroes.

Blandford threw 1 inning of perfect work while Burgoon allowed 4 hits over 2 innings striking out 4.

Kyle Glaser, a sports reporter who covers the Mavericks, recently tweeted me:

Tyler Burgoon told me the staff’s motto is “No runs, no excuses”. Pitchers have done a fine job recently.

They have thrown tremendously down in the bullpen lately with Burgoon, Kohlscheen, Blandford, and Smith all working on possible late-season promotions.

Click here for an article from Kyle released last night highlighting the city’s agreement to host the Mavericks for an additional three seasons!

The 3, 4, and 5 hole hitters (Landry, Raben, Proscia) went 7-11 with 4 runs scored, 3 doubles, and 6 RBIs in the rout.

Proscia led the group at 3-3 with two doubles, a run scored, 2 stolen bases and 2 RBIs.

Hicks and Noriega added the other RBIs for High Desert with 1 a piece.

James Jones, Maverick’s lead-off hitter, reached base twice scoring twice while going 1-4 with a walk.

Mickey Wiswall failed to reach base for the first time in nearly a month with an 0-4 performance being the only Maverick not to reach.

Tweet @HDMavs to tell them how excited you are to see them playing there for another 3 years!

LumberKings Mayckol Guaipe moved to 4-0 on the season as Clinton handled Burlington 5-1 on Wednesday.

  • Guaipe’s line: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6K.

Since July 21st over 7 starts Guaipe is 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA allowing just 3 HRs. He has struck out 24 and walked 9 in that time.

Guaipe started the season with Everett but received a promotion after just 2 outings with the AquaSox.

David Colvin, who seems like the only reliever we see in Clinton anymore, threw 3 innings of 2 runner baseball with 3 Ks. Colvin has 10 appearances of at least 3.0 innings pitched on the season with a 3.32 ERA.

Clinton used 3 HRs from Paolini, Dowd, and Blash to score all 5 of their runs.

Paolini and Dowd both hit 2-run shots while Blash added a solo shot to cap the scoring at 5-1 in the 6th inning.

Blash, Dowd, and Paolini all recorded multi-hit games to go with their HRs while Ji-Man Choi added 2 hits of his own scoring once in a 2-5 performance.

The 2 hits bumped Dowd’s average back up to .300 as he joins Kevin Rivers in qualifying for league statistics (at-bats/g) while batting over .300 for Clinton.

Tweet @LumberKings to congratulate the boys on their day of long-balls!

AquaSox Everett kept the winning going as they celebrated a 6-2 win over in-state rival Yakima on Wednesday.

Scott DeCecco got the ball for Everett and threw a quality start and then some.

  • DeCecco’s line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 8 K, and 2 HR allowed.

DeCecco needed a quality start after allowing 9 ERs in his last outing on August 17th.

This is the 3rd time this season that DeCecco has struck out 7+ batters with Everett.

Grady Wood and Matthew Vedo allowed just 1 walk and no hits over 2 innings of work striking out 3 to close the contest for Everett.

Marcus Littlewood and Brock Hebert both added 2 RBIs for the AquaSox as Littlewood hit 2-4 from the plate with a double.

Hebert went 1-4 scoring twice with a triple.

Taylor Ard and Patrick Kivlehan, the 3 and 4 hitters for Everett, added the other 2 RBIs as Ard went 2-5 reaching base 3 times with a walk.

Michael Faulkner went 3-4 from the plate with 2 runs scored swiping his 13th base of the season from the 9 spot.

Tweet @EverettAquaSox to root Everett through the remainder of the season as they prepare for the playoffs at the beginning of September.

Rookie Pulaski couldn’t keep pace with Bluefield as the Mariners were clipped 7-6 on Wednesday. Pulaski was trailing 6-1 at the end of 5 but just didn’t have enough mustard on their comeback to get past the Blue Jays.

Blake Holovach got the start for Pulaski and though he got into some trouble it was Domingo Brazoban in relief that gave up the game.

  • Holovach’s line: 3.1 IP, 4 H , 3 R, 3 BB, and 1 K.
  • Brazoban’s line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, and 4 K.

Either way you look it wasn’t pretty. Holovach takes loss to move 1-5 on the season with a respectable 3.86 ERA.

Reginald Lawson was the big swinger for Pulaski tallying a 3-4 performance with a run scored, RBI, and a SB.

Felipe Burin added 2 RBIs pinch-hitting for Jordy Lara and going 1-2.

Dario Pizzano added an RBI going 1-4 with a walk.

Gilmer Lampe, batting lead-off, went 1-3 with 2 runs scored, SB, and a walk.

AZL Mariners had the day off.

Tweet @PulaskiMariners to congratulate Reginald Lawson on his 3 hit performance.

 


Seattle Mariners Universe – August 21

August 22, 2012

What else can I say about the sea of yellow that totaled 39,204 fans on Tuesday other than it was simply electric ALL game long.

To the tabs!

Mariners 39,204 fans showed up for Felix Hernandez ‘appreciation day’ on Tuesday; a far cry from the 21,889 that attended his Perfect Game just 6 days before. The pictures and video that were simulcast from the stadium showed a strong united fan base; something Seattle has lost sight of the past few seasons.

Hernandez delivered for every fan that attended his night on Tuesday.

  • Felix’s line: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, and 5 K.

Felix joins Tom Browning of the Reds as the second pitcher to throw 7+ innings in their next outing following a ‘Perfecto’ while allowing 1 run or less.

Felix now has a 1.53 ERA over his past 13 starts allowing just 2 HRs over 100 IP. That is a HR allowed every 50 innings.

In terms of pitching ‘complete outings’ Felix is experiencing career highs in K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 while posting a 2.83 FIP in 2012.

Before his outing Felix Hernandez took to the radio with local sports station KJR and had this to say about his future in Seattle:

“You guys will be happy. I’m not going anywhere… I promise.”

Looks like Felix was right again, I am happy, just hearing that news.

Mr. Chops Eric Thames got the scoring started in the 5th inning with his 6th HR of the season putting the Mariners up 1-0. The solo job was his 2nd in as many games.

Casey Kotchman tied the game in the top of the 7th before the Mariner bats decided to send Felix out on top.

Michael Saunders, who hit the ball hard in going 0-3, led off the bottom of the 7th with a walk and advanced to third on a single from Kyle Seager that ricocheted off Kotchman’s glove at first the next batter up.

John Jaso then sent a Roberto Hernandez pitch to the warning track and over the wall with a ground-rule double that scored Saunders advancing Seager to third base.

Jesus Montero, slumping as of late (1-20), came up to the plate and sent a 3-run HR into the facing of the middle deck at Safeco Field to close the scoring and game out at 5-1.

Lucas Luetge worked like a buzzsaw through the final 1.1 innings in striking out 2 allowing just 1 base runner.

Luetge would tweet after the game:

Probably the most fun I’ve ever had pitching. What an awesome crowd!!! #Mariners

The Mariners turned two double plays and Trayvon Robinson, who was 1-3, made another outstanding catch in LF as the Mariners defense continues to lead all of baseball in fielding percentage at .990.

Seattle has now won 14 of their last 15 games at home, owns the best record in the AL since the All-Star Break, and has a better record than Bobby V’s Boston Red Sox. Quite a game of baseball these youngsters are putting on the field this past month and a half.

Tweet @Mariners to send your praise to a Mariners ball-club that is only 4 games below .500 and streaking.

Rainiers On Monday we saw Erasmo Ramirez push himself further off from a September rotation call-up and on Tuesday we saw DJ Mitchell move a little closer to a call-up as he allowed 3 ERs for just the 2nd time in his past 8 contests. Tacoma did the rest with their bats taking their first ever series victory over Reno 14-5.

  • Mitchell’s line:  6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K, and 2 HR allowed.

“(Mitchell’s) pitched well for us his last couple starts,” Brown said. “We just didn’t give him any runs. Tonight we did.”

This was Mitchell’s first outing since June 5th allowing multiple HRs stranding over 80% of runners put on base for the 6th time in his past 8 outings (95.2%). I pointed out yesterday that with Mitchell being a part of the 40-man rotation he is almost a sure bet to receive a call-up in September with the way Noesi and Ramirez have performed in Tacoma with dark-horse rotation candidate Maurer getting shut-down for the season.

David Pauley was strong in relief of Mitchell throwing a scoreless inning and David Hensley allowed 2 runs over 2 innings to close out the game.

It would be Mitchell’s 2nd trip to the big leagues this season as he made 4 relief appearances with the Yankees prior to being traded.

Usually I would save the best for last, but I am to excited, Franklin Gutierrez went 2-3 with 3 runs scored, BB, 2 HRs, and 5 RBIs from the plate. Gutierrez in his 4th rehab game with Tacoma, starting in the last three, hitting 5-12 (.416) with 6 RBIs over those last 3 games.

“I wasn’t really thinking home run with either of them,” Gutierrez said. “I was just trying to make contact, trying to get my timing back.”

Luis Antonio Jimenez and Guillermo Quiroz joined Guti in hitting HRs; Jimenez added his 20th of the season at Tacoma.

Vinnie Catricala reached base three times going 1-3 with two walks.

Jimenez, Quiroz, and Peguero tallied 3 hits a piece with Carlos Triunfel adding 2.

I am curious to see what Peguero haters have to say if he finishes the season batting 0ver .300; he is currently at .290.

Tweet @RainiersLand to congratulate Franklin Gutierrez on his strong return to organized baseball.

Generals The Generals laid down their typical offensive performance on Tuesday as 7 batters reached double figures in hits as James Gillheeny took the start; Generals win 7-5.

Via Chris Harris on twitter, the Generals On-Air Broadcaster after the game:

The @jacksongenerals after tonight’s 15-hit performance now lead the SL in average (.264), slugging (.406), total bases (1727) & HR (104)

  • Gillheeny’s line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K in picking up a no-decision.

The Generals went to the bullpen 4 times including Forrest Snow who picked up his 4th win of the season allowing 1 run over 1 inning while striking out 3. Logan Bawcom picked up his 16th save of 2012 closing out this LONG 9-inning contest at 3:41.

You know there were a lot of base knocks when the team puts up 7 runs but manages only 3-16 with RISP on the game.

Chih-Hsien Chiang added 3 RBIs going 2-5 with the game-winning 2-run double in the 9th inning.

Johermyn Chavez and Denny Almonte picked up the other RBIs for Jackson at one a piece.

Zunino continued his strong play reaching base 4 times in a 2-3 performance with 2 BBs, 2 runs scored and a double. He is batting .421 since being called-up from Everett.

Tenbrink, Miller, Poythress, Bonilla, and Chavez all added two singles a piece with Miller and Poythress reaching base three times.

Brad Miller is today’s #Mariners Minor League for the Fans player of the day being featured in an article chronicling his journey towards the big leagues. Click here to see yesterday’s article on High Desert starter Cameron Hobson.

Tweet @jacksongenerals to help the boys celebrate their 74th win of the season; 4th most in Jackson history.

Mavericks Ambioris Hidalgo, who has been less than spectacular in 2012, received his first start at ‘High-A’ High Desert on Tuesday. The Mavericks are Hidalgo’s 3rd stop of the 2012 season posting a 4.74 ERA and 5.07 FIP with Everett and a 5.67 ERA and 5.36 FIP with Clinton. High Desert snagged the win with a late surge moving to 32-8 in their past 40 games; score of 6-4.

  • Hidalgo’s line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

Hidalgo retired the first 12 batters he faced before struggling in the 5th inning.

Tim Griffin threw 4 innings of long relief allowing 1 run while Stephen Kohlscheen picked up his third save closing out the game with an inning pitched. Kohlscheen has posted a BABIP of .347 (yikes) on the year but carries a 12.23 K/9 ratio in 39 innings of work.

Jones, Martinez, Raben, and Proscia – who read like a wrecking crew as of late – all added 2 hits for High Desert with Jones adding his 8th triple of the year and Proscia picking up his 20th HR of the 2012 campaign.

Mike McGee added a HR with a 1-4 performance; his 15th of the season.

Wiswall went 1-3 with a walk and an RBI to bump his recent performance to 19 of 20 games hit safely.

Mario Martinez added the 6th RBI for the Mavericks.

Tweet @HDMavs to encourage the boys to finish strong after their recent 32-8 performance.

LumberKings Clinton kept the winning going with a 3-2 victory over Cedar Rapids after a strong performance from their pitching staff.

Robert Shore threw 6 innings of solid baseball before being tripped up in the 7th inning allowing the only 2 runs of the afternoon for Cedar Rapids before Kyle Hunter came in and retired the side without allowing either inherited runner (2-2) to reach the plate.

  • Shore’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

This outing puts Shore’s ERA with Clinton at 1.75 and gives him 4 wins on the season.

Shore threw only one previous outing with Everett in 2012 before being called up to Clinton. Since his call-up Shore has thrown 61.2 innings striking out 9.05 K/9 allowing just 0.29 HR/9. Opponents are batting .263 in this time.

Matt Brazis continued his strong play throwing 1.1 innings of scoreless relief dropping his Midwest League ERA to 1.29

Dillon Hazlett picked up the only multi-hit game of the evening going 2-3 with 2 runs scored and a double.

David Villasuso picked up the other extra base hit of the game with a double of his own in going 1-2 with an RBI.

Jamal Austion and Patrick Brady picked up the 2nd and 3rd RBIs for Clinton in the victory.

Tweet @LumberKings to root Shore on as he faces a possible promotion to High Desert or Jackson before the season is over.

AquaSox Everett chased Eugene starter Will Scott in the 4th inning and put together a 9th inning rally but fell short 7-5 on Tuesday losing to the Emeralds.

Dylan Unsworth took the ball for Everett continuing his strong velocity showing striking out 6 and walking none.

  • Unsworth’s line: 7 IP, 8 H, 5 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, and 1 HR allowed.

The loss is Unsworth’s 2nd in a row moving to 4-2 on the season. In his last three outings he has struck out 18 while walking 1.

A Ketel Marte ground-out and James Zamarripa double in the 9th inning put Everett within 2 but they could not add any further runs to finish out the contest in winning style.

Taylor Ard hit his 10th HR going 1-5 with 3 RBIs.

Ard ranks 3rd in hits (72), 2nd in HRs (10), 1st in doubles (20), 1st in RBIs (51), and 1st in total bases (128) in the Northwest League.

It was a strong overall game as the AquaSox turned 2 double plays, stole 2 bases, and walked 6 times.

Tweet @EverettAquaSox to congratulate Taylor Ard on his solid NWL campaign.

Rookie Pulaski put up 12 hits in a 9-6 victory over Bluefield on Tuesday.

Bluefield chased Min- Sih Chen after 4 innings of work allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks striking out 4. It seems that 4 was not his lucky number on this day.

Lars Huijer and David Holman were strong in closing out the victory combining to pitch 4 innings of scoreless ball with 5 Ks and 0 BBs.

Lara, Henry, Marlette, and Lawson batting 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th combined to go 7-17 (.411) from the plate with 4 HRs and 8 RBIs in the victory. All 4 players recorded a HR while Henry continued his strong play reaching base 5 times in going 3-3 scoring twice and knocking in 4 RBIs while walking twice.

Henry is now batting .404 over his past 13 games raising his season average to .260.

Dario Pizzano added 2 hits with a double and a run scored from the 3 spot.

The AZL Mariners took their Tuesday contest against the AZL Cubs 4-1.

Luke Taylor pitched like Tyler Pike in receiving a no-decision.

  • Taylor’s line: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K.
This was Taylor’s 1st start of the 2012 season after striking out 18 in 18.1 innings of relief work. The Washington State native from Woodinville, WA has a 2.70 ERA on the season.
Matt Anderson continued his scoreless 2012 campaign throwing 1.2 innings with two strikeouts of his own.
Cameron Copping rounded out the game tossing 0.1 innings from the bullpen.
Cory Scammell picked up 2 RBIs while big international signing Jose Leal and Charles Jimenez each added an RBI. Leal signed with the same class that Victor Sanchez came in on:
 ”Jose is a big, strong, raw-boned player who has the potential to be an above average Major League player,” VP of International Operations Bob Engle said. “We feel he has the ability to hit and hit with power. He is a hard worker and has a great mental approach to the game.”

Gabriel Guerrero continued his strong stateside play going 1-3 with a run scored and a double batting .314 with AZL in 2012.

Tweet @PulaskiMariners to congratulate those kids on their BIG offensive day and Luke Taylor on his 1st 2012 start. Tweet @MinorLeagues to welcome Jose Leal into the organization.