News from around the minors…
In his Tacoma debut, Jeremy Reed started in center and went 2-4 with a homer.
You already heard about King Felix, but here’s his complete line: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HR.
After taking a one month sabbatical, the Future Forty is back. I’ve updated my rankings of the Mariners 40 best prospects, and will resume doing so at the beginning of each month. Some notes from this update:
Felix Hernandez takes the #1 position. He won’t lose it unless he gets hurt, promoted, or the M’s acquire David Wright.
George Sherrill cracks the top ten, just two years after being signed out of an independant league. Heck of a lot of hard work from George paid off. Congrats.
I wanted to move Casey Craig higher, but just couldn’t justify anything above #19. People are raving about this kid though.
If Scott Atchison had a legit path to Safeco, he’d be ten spots higher. He’ll be a nice reliever for someone next year at the league minimum. Hopefully the M’s give him a shot.
There are three shortstops on the list. I don’t think any of them are going to play more than a handful of games at the position in the majors. It’s the glaring hole in the organization, despite the fact that we keep drafting them.
Speaking of shortstops, Michael Garciaparra waives goodbye, likely to not be heard from again. What an abysmal selection. Completely undefendable, even at the time. They’d have been better off lighting $2 million on fire in downtown Seattle on a cold winter night. At least that would have kept some folks warm for a while.
Bucky Jacobsen makes an appearance. I know some folks want him a lot higher, but there are a ton of Bucky Jacobsen’s in the minors. He just happens to be ours.
Overall, the farm system still isn’t very good. Picking up Reed gives it a boost, but its still among the bottom ten in the game. Not many guys who are impact major leaguers, but a lot of depth in servicable replacement level types.
All hail King Felix.
In his Double-A debut, Felix Hernandez shut down the Frisco Roughriders, allowing just one run, a solo homer, over 6 innings of work. He gave up seven hits, two walks, and struck out eight. I think this kid is good. Friend of USSM Jamey Newberg was at the game tonight, and I’ll get a full report from him tomorrow. The Missions lost after the bullpen surrendered the lead, but Felix just keeps on rolling. At this point, it’s a pretty easy case to make that he’s the best pitching prospect in the game.
After the game was over and the players were spilling out of the dugout to share their celebratory high fives, Derek and I noticed a player whose jersey clearly read “Leone 26.” I thought this was breaking news, but apparently not.
Blackley looked really good for three innings. Really good, like, “Wow, this guy might pitch a no-hitter” good. I think the M’s putting together a long inning in the bottom of the 3rd — during which they scored four runs and forced a pitching change — may have thrown him off a bit, however, as he struggled through the 4th and 5th before running out of gas in the 6th.
All in all, though, a solid major league debut. He appeared to be keeping the hitters off balance most of the time, using his fastball, curve and change. If I remember correctly, he topped out at 87 on the radar gun. He might even have pitched a bit longer if his control didn’t leave him for a few stretches. When you remember that he was making his major league debut and won’t turn 22 until November, I don’t think there should be many complaints about his performance today.
And Justin Leone gets the call as well, with Miguel Olivo going on the DL. Leone’s likely just up for the 14 days, since he was already on the 40 man. I’d be surprised if he got more than a handful of at-bats.
And, two hours later, the M’s make it official.
Sherrill could be joining Travis in Seattle as soon as tomorrow.
As we speculated on last week, and I wondered about last night, Clint Nageotte is headed back to Tacoma, replaced by the more-ready Travis Blackley. Blackley may take Thornton’s start tonight, as it was his scheduled day to go for Tacoma. Blackley will likely remain up for the rest of the year.
Update: We’ve been told Blackley is definitely starting today.