Fall League Mariners

DMZ · October 9, 2004 at 11:28 am · Filed Under Mariners 

There are six Mariners playing in the Arizona Fall League:

Greg Dobbs, who we’ve seen and has missed almost all of 2003 with a tendon injury
Michael Morse, who lost a huge chunk of time this year to suspension
Shin-Soo Choo, who hit .315/.382/.462 in San Antonio in 132 games

And pitchers:
Brett Evert, the waiver claim worth watching (though his line in Tacoma wouldn’t show it)
Jared Thomas, got 60 innings of relief work in San Antonio, decent numbers
Jon Huber, Inland Empire. On the year, he got almost 140 innings in a good year in the Cal League… I’m not sure why he’s headed to the AFL.

AFL ball is good for purposes of getting players, particularly those who’ve missed playing time for one reason (injury) or another (cough), time on a field against decent competition. However, it’s not good for trying to make evaluations based on time there. The list of bad players who had great stats against AFL competition is long and undistinguished. The talent is not there to make this a good test.


19 Responses to “Fall League Mariners”

  1. Scott on October 9th, 2004 1:16 pm

    Derek, how do Mariners decide who goes to fall league and who goes to winter league? Isn’t Joel supposed to pitch some games too?

  2. JPWood on October 9th, 2004 2:33 pm

    The IE66 site shows Jon Huber with just 32 innings, an ERA north of 6 and a K/BB ratio that is respectable but not exciting. I’d say he cries out for the AFL.

  3. Dave on October 9th, 2004 2:40 pm

    There is a difference between the Arizona Fall League, which is what Derek is referring to in this post, and the Fall Instructional League, which is where Pineiro and Guardado are scheduled to throw. The AFL is a league sponsored by MLB of Double-A and higher prospects (with a few exceptions) that was designed to give team’s a place to pit their best prospects against each other. It has evolved into being a glorified batting practice session, with some good hitting prospects teeing off on organizational filler for pitchers. The performances there are completely worthless.

    The Fall Instructional League is like spring training during October. A team invites most of the players it considers prospects to play intersquad and intrasquad “games”. However, the entire point of the league is to teach. One player can lead off every inning if a team so decides. Occasionally, they will setup scenarios, such as starting an inning with a runner on first, to help teach a sidestep. The schedules are not available to the public, and no records are officially kept.

    You’ll see Fall Instructional League referred to as “Instrux” (or Instructs when the Times is spelling it) by most people in baseball. Instrux and the AFL are two different animals. Of course, neither one is even remotely useful for evaluating talent, regardless of what some people would have you believe.

    Often, a team will encourage their international prospects to play winter ball in their home country, as to keep getting reps during the offseason. Occasionally, you will see Americans playing winter ball, but it isn’t very common. Most American prospects are invited to Instrux or the AFL and then take the rest of the offseason to do their own training.

  4. DMZ on October 9th, 2004 3:09 pm

    I’ll correct the post: Huber pitched 140 IP at that level, 32 with Inland Empire. I should have been clearer.

  5. JPWood on October 9th, 2004 3:14 pm

    I should have checked BBA. They give the Lake Elsinore figures too, which don’t change the K/BB question but certainly look better from there out, and with a weaker team. Things are clearer now.

  6. Scott on October 9th, 2004 4:11 pm

    Dave, thanks for the information. I appreciate it. I always learn so much from this site. Thanks again.

  7. John on October 9th, 2004 8:23 pm

    Re: Comment # 3 (Dave): “Of course, neither one [AFL and FIL] is even remotely useful for evaluating talent, regardless of what some people would have you believe.”
    A case in point: One October, the Philly scouts were so impressed by SS DESI RELAFORD that they traded TERRY MULHOLLAND to the Mariners for him.

    In response to someone’s “The primary purpose of the AFL…,” it seems to me that the primary purpose is to provide those Phoenix-area
    folks with additional income.

  8. stan on October 9th, 2004 9:32 pm

    I went to Arizona in 1994 to take in some AFL games…. I remember seeing Nomar and Michael Jordan play that fall… The weather was good and you could take in quite a few games… Watching baseball under the Arizona sun sure beats dodging raindrops in the Northwest.

  9. Sisler\\\'s Ghost on October 9th, 2004 10:42 pm

    There has been talk here in the Islands of bringing back the Hawaii Winter League in the next season or two. I remember watching Ichiro playing for the Hilo Stars and (gasp!) leading the league in hitting…


  10. positivepaul on October 10th, 2004 11:05 am

    Guys (and girls):

    The M’s website is having a poll right now as to who the M’s should go after in the free agent market (bat). Delgado is in the lead — NOOOOO!!!!!!! Get out there and knock him off the pile!!!!

  11. eponymous coward on October 10th, 2004 11:22 am

    Any front office that makes player personnel decisions based on Intryweb polling is beyond hope. (That or they know they are beyond hope, and are taking a St. Louis Browns/Bill Veeck approach.)

    Anyway, yeah, thanks for the AFL/Instrux explanation. Why, though, wouldn’t you put decent pitchers there instead of, say, in winter ball? I sort of wonder if Soriano’s issues this year stem from usage during winter ball, for instance- he had a GREAT season down there, came back here for Spring Training, and pfffft goes his elbow.

  12. WsuMojo on October 10th, 2004 12:45 pm

    Why are so many people voting for Delgado (though yes he has hit well in Safeco) when our biggest whole is 3B, does everyone want a combo of Leone and Speizio there again next year? I’m surprised Beltran isn’t #1….even though we all know the likelyhoodd of that is .01%, at least a CF means that we no longer have 6 hits a game drop in front of Winn and somebody that can throw out a runner from centerfield, unlike Winn who I have seen slow runners tag up on him from the infield dirt practically.

  13. Patrick R. on October 10th, 2004 1:00 pm

    What struck me as most ridiculous is the comments saying that while Beltran was one of the best CF in the game, he’s overpriced (we don’t even know what other people will offer, and unless someone’s going to shell out 17 million a year for him, I can’t really say he’s overpriced to the point of ignoring him), and we need someone who can hit for power and drive in runs…

    Excuse me?

    Beltran had better Isolated Power, and drove in 103 runs, and he was playing in the 2 hole in Houston. He also had 38 friggin’ home runs.

    He also happens to be 5 years younger than Delgado, and plays a great up the middle defense. We have a guy who can play first (Bucky) and I see no reason to sign Delgado when he might be only a slight upgrade but for an extra however many million dollars.

    Say no to Delgado.

    Winn can be traded, should Beltran be signed. That should not be an issue. I can’t think of any substantial reason why Delgado should be beating out Beltran and/or Beltre.

  14. JPWood on October 10th, 2004 2:35 pm

    Delgado is beating everyone else in this patently ridiculous poll simply because Edgar was widely quoted a few weeks ago as saying that he knew him well and really liked him and thought Delgado should be the off-season priority.
    So blame Edgar.

  15. Kyle S on October 10th, 2004 2:36 pm

    I think if the Yankees are interested in acquiring a free agent, that free agent by default becomes “overpriced.” Is there any reason why they won’t make a run at Beltran? Sure, they had pretty good production from their center fielders this season, but if they have the money, he’d be a huge upgrade for them.

    I feel that the downturn in free agent signings from the past few seasons will be reversed this offseason, especially considering how many teams are rumored to be after marquee players. Even considering that downturn, most of last offseason’s big free agents still walked away with pretty big contracts; Tejada or Vlad Guerrero were probably the two best “deals,” and they weren’t signed cheaply. This offseason, I predict the price for Beltran, Drew, and others to be even higher.

  16. John on October 10th, 2004 2:40 pm

    Re: # 11, “Any front office…”
    A case in point occurred some years ago, with the front office of the Seattle Sonics.
    They were about to trade SHAWN KEMP for SCOTTY PIPPEN when a huge negative sentiment was expressed by KJR listeners.
    The Sonic front office acceded to the listeners’ whims.

    W/R/T: BAVASI traded away AARON LOOPER, and (for some mysterious reason) in a couple of days, he traded away another pitcher to get Looper back.

  17. John on October 10th, 2004 2:47 pm

    W/R/T: the last paragraph of Dave’s comment (# 3):
    Why is SHIN-SOO-CHOO playing in Arizona?
    Is he being show-cased?

  18. David J Corcoran on October 10th, 2004 3:05 pm

    Well, John, Daddy wanted Aaron Looper back, so Bavasi had to make it so!

  19. msb on October 11th, 2004 12:11 pm

    “W/R/T: BAVASI traded away AARON LOOPER, and (for some mysterious reason) in a couple of days, he traded away another pitcher to get Looper back.”–Comment by John — 10/10/2004 @ 2:40 pm

    not so mysterious; from the LA Daily News at the time:

    Roster crunch: Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said there was a perfectly good reason for an unusual minor-league trade this week in which he sent Triple-A pitcher Aaron Looper back to Seattle, just nine days after the Dodgers acquired him from the Mariners for utility infielder Jolbert Cabrera.

    This time, the Reds got minor-league left-hander Glenn Bott, who was assigned to Double-A Jacksonville (Fla.) and not added to the 40-man roster. That was the key, because Looper was taking up a 40-man spot and had to be designated for assignment on opening day when the Reds purchased the contracts of spring training invitees Jose Lima, Jose Hernandez and Olmedo Saenz.

    “We thought Looper could help us at the big-league level this year,” DePodesta said. “But we didn’t have (outfielder Milton) Bradley at the time.”

    The Dodgers acquired Bradley from Cleveland on April 4, putting the roster at 40. To clear room for Lima, Hernandez and Saenz, catcher Todd Hundley was placed on the 60-day disabled list, and Looper and outfielder Wilkin Ruan were designated. Ruan since has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Jacksonville.