This team is pretty good.
Ichiro’s hitting .400 since the beginning of May. Jamie Moyer and Gil Meche are a combined 17-4. Bret Boone has been the most valuable player in the American League to date. Kazuhiro Sasaki hasn’t given up a run since coming off the disabled list. The last time they lost a road game was May 14th, 13 games ago. They are one win away from their 6th sweep of the year. To put that in perspective, they’ve only lost 4 series’ all year.
Not a bad start.
Mariners Draft Recap: Rounds 6-10
Sixth Round (#176): Eric Oâ€™Flaherty, LHP, Walla Walla HS (Walla Walla, WA)
The Mâ€™s grabbed the best arm in the home state this year with their fourth consecutive selection of a left-hander. At 6â€™3, he fits the Mâ€™s profile of big kids with big arms, though he doesnâ€™t have standout velocity yet. He pitched most of his senior year at 86-88, but has been clocked at 90-91 in the past. The key for him is the above average movement he gets on his fastball and his feel for a curveball. His ceiling is every bit as high as Fagan and Feierabend, and he was a steal in the 6th round.
Seventh Round (#206): Jeremy Dutton, 3B, North Carolina State University
The Mâ€™s add another college third baseman to the mix, though that may not be his position as a professional. Dutton has above average gap power and a solid approach at the plate, and youâ€™ll hear him described as a professional hitter. Along with that label usually comes the stigma that youâ€™re not much of a fielder, and that applies to Dutton. His actions at third are questionable and thereâ€™s a decent chance he ends up at first base or in the outfield. His bat will have to carry him to the show.
Eighth Round (#236): Tom Oldham, LHP, Creighton University
Oldham is a break from the big southpaws the Mariners had been selecting. Heâ€™s a 6â€™2 pitcher with below average velocity who gets by on movement and command. Heâ€™s not likely to get into the 90â€™s with his fastball, and heâ€™s not the most projectable kid in the world. His strength is his understanding of how to work both sides of the plate and set up hitters. Heâ€™s somewhat similar to Troy Cate, last years 6th round selection, though Cateâ€™s stuff is a notch better.
Ninth Round (#266): Justin Ruchti, C, Rice University
A cost-conscious pick as much as anything else, Ruchti wonâ€™t demand much money as a college senior. He doesnâ€™t have any standout skills, but can do everything well enough. His work behind the plate is what got him drafted, and his bat may struggle in pro ball. Heâ€™s likely an organizational player and a longshot to reach the majors.
Tenth Round (#296): Michael Cox, 3B, Florida Atlantic University
If everything breaks right for Cox, the Mâ€™s have another David Bell. Heâ€™s an above average defender at third base who has the actions to play second in a pinch. Heâ€™s a spray hitter with occasional pull power but wonâ€™t be a middle of the order hitter. Heâ€™ll work hard and outperform his tools, but there isnâ€™t a lot of upside here. Heâ€™s got a better shot at making the big leagues as a second baseman.
Minor League Highlights for Tuesday, June 3rd
Tacoma 1, Sacramento 0. 3B Luis Figueroa singled in OF Jalal Leach in the fourth inning to give the Rainiers the only run they would need. Behind stellar pitching from RHP Brian Sweeney (6 1/3, 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts), the Rainiers shut out the Rivercats. After a short bump in the road, Sweeney appears to be back on track. RHP J.J. Putz tossed yet another scoreless inning of relief and hasnâ€™t been scored on in nearly a month. RHP Aaron Taylor tossed a perfect ninth for his 14th save of the year. 1B J.R. Phillips (yes, that J.R. Phillips) went 0-4 in his debut.
San Antonio 2, Frisco 0. LHP Matt Thornton continues to show no ill effects during his rehab, tossing 7 shutout innings and lowering his ERA to 0.47. He gave up just 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Heâ€™s now allowed just 12 base runners in his 19 1/3 innings of work at AA. 3B Justin Leoneâ€™s remarkable year continued as he went 2-3 with 2 more doubles (giving him a league leading 22) and a walk. He is now 10th in batting average, 2nd in on base percentage, 2nd in slugging, 1st in extra base hits, and 1st in runs in the Texas League. Considering that Woolf Stadium is the toughest park for hitters in the Texas League (Leone is hitting .364 on the road, just .302 at home), heâ€™s having a true breakthrough season.
Inland Empire 4, Stockton 3. RHP Kevin Olore continued to set the league on its ear with 6 1/3 strong innings, but LHP Justin Blood got the win in relief. Olore gave up just 2 runs in 6 1/3 innings and struck out 9. He really belongs in AA, but there just isnâ€™t a spot for him on the Missions staff. RHP Mike Steele got his 14th save and lowered his ERA to 1.99 by getting the last four outs of the game. Offensively, OF Cristian Guerrero got 3 hits while 3B Hunter Brown and 1B John Castellano both hit home runs.
Wisconsin 7, Fort Wayne 4. The T-Rats made it a perfect day for the Mâ€™s organization behind the bat of Rene Rivera. The catcher went 2-3 with 2 doubles and a walk, scored twice, and drove in a run, as Wisconsin managed to get 7 runs out of just 7 hits. RHP Tanner Watson got his first win of the year, giving up 2 runs in 6 innings, though he failed to strike anyone out and walked two. Bryan Heaston got his 6th save with a perfect 9th.