Aquasox, Mariner Alternative

Dave · June 18, 2007 at 12:28 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

If the M’s are driving you up the wall, but you still want to take in some outdoor baseball and see some good young talent, can I suggest making a trip (or ten) to Everett Memorial Stadium? The Aquasox begin their 2007 Northwest League season tomorrow night at 7:05 pm, kicking off a five game home series against the Yakima Bears that runs through Saturday night.

And, don’t worry, we won’t let you head up I-5 without knowing who to look for when you get there. The M’s have put some good young talent in Everett this year, including two of the organization’s best teenage pitchers.

Juan Ramirez makes his stateside debut, and will spend the first two months of his life in Everett as an 18-year-old before he turns 19 in mid-August. A 6’3 RHP out of Nicaragua, he’s a true power arm with a big curveball, and he’s one of the highest upside guys in the organization. He’s going to be the guy you’ll want to schedule your trips to Everett around.

But he’s not the only good young arm on the roster. Also appearing as an 18-year-old, Doug Salinas is another promising young arm who spent last summer in Peoria with the Arizona League complex team. He’s more projection than performance at this point, but the M’s think he could turn into a pretty good pitcher down the line.

Also showing up on the Aquasox roster, though an official announcement that he’d been signed hasn’t yet appeared, is Nolan Gallagher, a 6’3 RHP out of Stanford that the Mariners selected in the 4th round of this year’s draft He had a terrible junior season after heading into the year as the Friday starter for the Cardinal, but the M’s liked his arm and were willing to bet on it just being a down year. There was some thought that he might head back to school for his senior season and try to re-establish his value, but the M’s obviously convinced him to sign, and he’ll attempt to turn his fortunes around in Everett.

On the offensive side, OF Greg Halman returns for a second tour of the NWL, where he put himself on the map last year with an explosive display of power and a troubling lack of pitch recognition. After struggling in Wisconsin, the M’s have sent him back to short-season ball to work on refining his approach at the plate and turning his raw tools into baseball skills.

Also on the team is 20-year-old infielder Deybis Benitez, who I saw take some hacks when I was down in Peoria in March. Tall and gangly, he barely used his legs at all when he swung the bat, generating all his movement from his arms. If the hitting coaches can work with him on incorporating his lower half, there are things to like about his swing.

Playing next to Benitez is potentially interesting 18-year-old infielder Edilio Colina, who spent a few weeks in the California League last month to fill in while High Desert dealt with some injuries. I don’t know a ton about Colina, other than that he’s considered intriguing by some folks in the organization, and the team is showing some faith in him by sending him to the NWL as a teenager. He won’t begin the year with the Aquasox, however, as he joined the Rainiers to fill out their roster. Generally, when a team is willing to yank a guy around like this, it means he’s not much of a prospect, so react accordingly.

The rest of the line-up will be filled out with organizational players like Marquise Liverpool and Ogui Diaz. Kalian Sams looks like a player, but has yet to prove that he is one. And, for those wondering, 1st round pick Philippe Aumont won’t show up in Everett until August, at the earliest, as the team will have to go through the process of getting him a visa. Even though the government has done better about getting through the paperwork, it still takes a while. But, if all goes well, I do expect him to end the year in Everett. You’ll just have to settle for Ramirez and Salinas until he gets there.

And, if you can’t make it up to Everett, you can always catch the games on Northsound 1380 am, and listen to friend-of-USSM Pat Dillon announce the games. They also stream the contests live on the Aquasox website

Oh, and finally, without being too self-promotional, pick up a program while you’re there. I’ve heard it contains an article by a good looking guy.


34 Responses to “Aquasox, Mariner Alternative”

  1. Mr. Egaas on June 18th, 2007 12:32 pm

    Halman is really a treat to watch. He just looks and acts like a true player.

    Worth the price of admission.

  2. Dave on June 18th, 2007 12:33 pm

    You mean minus the whole “pitch recognition of a two year old” thing?

  3. dnc on June 18th, 2007 12:37 pm

    Dave, where does Ramirez figure to land on the Future Forty, at this point? I assume he’s similar to Tillman/Butler, though obviously a notch behind them in development?

    Also, what about the outfielder we signed last year to plenty of fanfare (right behind Triunfel) – I want to say his name was Mario Martinez? Is he headed to Peoria?

  4. joser on June 18th, 2007 12:38 pm

    Do you have probables for the starting pitchers this week (does the team publish that at all)? If we should be planning our trips around Juan Ramierez, I guess we need to know when he pitches. Oh, and I suppose we should keep our eyes peeled for new minority owner Jay Buhner too.

  5. Dave on June 18th, 2007 12:41 pm

    Ramirez is a high ceiling, high risk arm. I want to talk to some scouts who see him pitch before I stick on the Future Forty, but I’m guessing he’ll end up a notch ahead of Tillman/Butler, probably in a similar range to where I’ll put Aumont, most likely.

    And yes, Mario Martinez is ticketed for Peoria.

    I’m going to try to talk to Pat on my way home from work and get the probables for this weeks games, and I’ll edit the post with that information when I get it.

  6. Safeco Hobo on June 18th, 2007 12:42 pm

    Any word on Mangini? Will he surface in Everett this summer? Has he signed yet?

    Here’s to a Montana born battery with Rob Johnson and Gallagher!! (sorry, not a lot of true MT prospects out there to get excited about)

  7. Dave on June 18th, 2007 12:43 pm

    He hasn’t signed yet, and given how aggressive the M’s are with their prospects, I suspect that he’ll head to High Desert when he does sign.

  8. Mr. Egaas on June 18th, 2007 12:48 pm

    You mean minus the whole “pitch recognition of a two year old” thing?

    Maybe I got him on a good night. His first AB, he smoked a 3-0 fastball over the LF wall for a homer. 2nd at bat, he got brushed back and then smoked a 3-1 (I believe) curve for another homer. 3rd AB, he lined a ball to right and got robbed.

    He doubled in his 2 remaining ABs. Anything he swung at, he hit hard, and made some great plays in CF.

    But it’s probably a night to night thing. heh.

  9. dnc on June 18th, 2007 12:49 pm

    Given the M’s penchant to overpromote kids, is Martinez’s placement in Peoria an indication that the kid is crazy raw, or is it just a function of the outfield depth in the lower minors (Halman, Lo, Sams, Peguero, et all).

  10. Dave on June 18th, 2007 12:50 pm

    I’m guessing that if Halman would have been able to handle full-season ball, Martinez would have started in Everett. With Halman needing another year in the NWL, that would have made for a crowded Aquasox outfield, so Martinez gets to hang out in Peoria.

  11. Grizz on June 18th, 2007 1:05 pm

    Halman had enough at-bats in Wisconsin (187 AB) to suggest that his performance, even in a pitcher’s league, was more than just a slump (182/234/273, 8/77 BB/K).

  12. Dave on June 18th, 2007 1:09 pm

    As we discussed last year, Halman simply has a long ways to go in his pitch recognition skills. At this point, he swings at every pitch as if it’s a fastball, regardless of whether it actually is or not. Anything that moves, or isn’t a strike, is a swing-and-a-miss. He can hit pitches a country mile when he’s on them, but in the end, he’s basically just hoping he gets lucky and the pitcher puts it exactly where he thinks it’s going before the pitch leaves the hand.

    He’s young, and it’s not unheard of for guys to make huge leaps forward in pitch recognition, as it certainly is a learnable skill. But Halman is one of the most extreme cases of grip-it-and-rip-it that I’ve ever seen.

  13. dnc on June 18th, 2007 1:42 pm

    What kind of stuff does Salinas have?

  14. Dave on June 18th, 2007 1:46 pm

    Low-90s fastball, raw breaking stuff, okay command. The college hitters in the NWL might light him up if he hasn’t taken a big step forward, but he’s a projectable kid. He’s one you’re not going to want to judge by results.

  15. dnc on June 18th, 2007 1:51 pm

    You’re an impeccable resource Dave. Thank you.

  16. rainiersfan on June 18th, 2007 2:01 pm

    Can I find a list somewhere that shows who the Mariniers have signed from the 2007 draft to this point? I am trying to find out if Nick Hill out of Army has signed yet.

  17. Dave on June 18th, 2007 2:23 pm

    The M’s haven’t made it public yet, but Hill is on the Aquasox roster, so he has signed.

  18. Evan on June 18th, 2007 2:24 pm

    I like that Aumont’s helping to demonstrate how hard it is for Canadians to get US work visas.

  19. Greg08 on June 18th, 2007 2:47 pm

    Do you think that theres any chance that he wont sign because he doesnt get a chance to because of visa problems?

    stupid question, but i would like to know.

  20. JH on June 18th, 2007 2:53 pm

    Wow, the roster’s actually right around league average as far as age goes. Only 5 teenagers. Unheard of for a Mariners affiliate.

  21. Dave on June 18th, 2007 2:54 pm

    Do you think that theres any chance that he wont sign because he doesnt get a chance to because of visa problems?

    I’m not even sure I understand what you’re asking, but either way, the answer is no. He’ll sign.

  22. dnc on June 18th, 2007 3:10 pm

    One interesting note about Colina – in 61 ab’s in High A he drew 4 walks and only K’d once.

    Obviously that’s a small sample size, but it sounds like he either has a masterful understanding of the strike zone for a teenager, or he has an amazing ability to put the bat on balls out of the zone (and not hit them anywhere, looking at his line).

    I’d assume it’s the former.

  23. msb on June 18th, 2007 3:22 pm

    Aumont pretty much will be eligible for a P visa as soon as he has a signed contract with the M’s:

    “In order to receive a P visa, athletes must submit a tendered contract in an individual sport “commensurate with international recognition in that sport, if such contacts are normally executed in the sport.”

    Additionally, the athlete must provide evidence of at least two of the following:

    Proof of significant participation, by the athlete or the team, with a major U.S. sports league

    Proof of significant participation in an international competition with a national sports team

    Proof of significant participation in a prior season with a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition

    A written statement from an official of a major U.S. sports league or an official of the governing body of the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized

    A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized

    Evidence that the individual or team is ranked if the sport has international rankings

    Evidence that the alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport

    P visas do not have a numerical quota. The initial approval of a P visa for an individual athlete is limited to five years. “

  24. Dave on June 18th, 2007 3:29 pm

    They aren’t immediate. It still takes some time to process everything.

  25. msb on June 18th, 2007 3:56 pm

    oh, yeah. it just isn’t usually a problem for a Canadian athlete with a contract …

  26. mariners23 on June 18th, 2007 4:45 pm

    well I plan on going to all 5 games when there in Spokane.

  27. Typical Idiot Fan on June 18th, 2007 6:53 pm

    Will Carlos Triunfel go to Everett too or will he stay with Wisconsin? I’ve noticed he has been mising from the lineups for a while now.

    Also, do any other players go down there? Maybe Butler with his problems?

  28. Matthew Carruth on June 18th, 2007 6:57 pm

    Triunfel has a broken finger or something.

  29. Dave on June 18th, 2007 7:00 pm

    Triunfel has a broken thumb and will be out of action for another couple of weeks. But no, he’s never going to play in Everett.

    Butler’s on the DL too – he’s got arm problems, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was done for the year.

  30. dw on June 18th, 2007 7:34 pm

    I’ve always loved how Memorial Stadium was just crammed into that corner of the city’s property — the right field wall dinks in to follow the property line, while the home plate entrance is smack next to the running track.

    Other parks (e.g. Albuquerque) imitate the crammed-in feel, but Everett’s park is such a wonderful afterthought.

  31. ConorGlassey on June 18th, 2007 7:47 pm

    Any word on the starting pitchers for the opening homestand?

  32. Dave on June 18th, 2007 8:20 pm

    I wasn’t able to track down anyone from the Aquasox tonight. I’ll make sure I find out tomorrow and put a note up on the blog.

  33. teddyb on June 19th, 2007 8:25 am

    Edward Paredes starts tonight Rounding out the starting rotation for the first couple weeks will be right-handers Juan Ramirez, Rob Harmon, Doug Salinas and Gallagher. that came out of the everett news paper i thought i would let you all know.

  34. dnc on June 19th, 2007 10:30 am

    Thanks Teddyb.

    Sounds like two prospects and two semi interesting arms (Paredes and Gallagher). I know nothing about Harmon.

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