I thought I’d write about the guys in Tacoma, as I’ve seen these guys (many of them, in Tacoma and in Everett) and have followed their careers closely. Interesting things are afoot, and I’m sure the next edition of Dave’s Future Forty will be cause for some great discussion.
Michael Garciaparra’s hitting decently after being promoted to the PCL so Ismael Castro could get playing time at AA. Right now he’s hitting .306/.432/.361. The lack of power’s strange, and the plate discipline’s a step up from anything we’ve seen from him before. He’s only been up a while, but I’m watching his starts, because his progression through the system’s been quite interesting. At 23, there’s room for growth yet. I really soured on him over his defense and his erratic lines, but I’d love to see Garciaparra be what the M’s hoped for when they reached to draft him.
Asdrubal Cabrera’s similarly intriguing. He’s hitting .266/.380/.394 and playing good defense at short. Without hitting for a higher average and a little more power, he’s not a good candidate for advancement. But he’s 20! 20! I’m a big fan.
Adam Jones is only a year older, converted to center field this fall, and looks great, if sometimes raw, in the outfield. He’s still putting a charge into the ball, but rarely: a .233 average with excellent power doesn’t make him ready to replace the Reed/Bloomquist platoon. But he’s 21!
Then there’s Doyle. After scorching the ball on his return, he’s cooled dramatically: .244/.392/.293 is a weird line. He’s still got crazy pitch recognition skills, even if he hasn’t hit for power yet or contact lately. He’ll come around. Whether he comes around fast enough to prevent Carl Everett, your 2007 DH, well… cross your fingers.
What else? Choo’s hitting okay, but he’s looking more and more like a tweener – at 24, we haven’t seen enough from the bat to pass him off at a corner spot, and his defense in center’s not good enough to put him out there regularly either. As a 4th OFer with some basestealing ability, he could help the team, and there’s still the chance he’ll make a leap forward.
Hunter Brown, at .267/.338/.458, continues Tacoma’s proud tradition of having their third basemen outproduce Seattle’s (seriously, how much of a difficulty adjustment do you have to apply to get that down to Beltre’s .221/.285/.295?)(also, how sad is that).
The most interesting thing on the pitching side is the ascension of Cruceta. He’s had a couple of stellar starts lately, and his season line now stands at 2-3, 4.22 ERA, 42 2/3 IP, 1 HR (!), 26 BB, 57 K.
As Appier has fallen out of serious consideration for promotion, Cruceta’s stock has risen. If the team looks to revamp Seattle’s pitching soon, he’s the most likely to get the tap.