September Callups

Dave · August 31, 2008 at 5:27 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

While the M’s have already promoted most of the Tacoma roster to Seattle this year, it sounds like, despite their earlier claims that they weren’t going to do much when rosters expand, the M’s will be adding both Matt Tuiasosopo and Luis Valbuena to the big league roster, along with the obvious guys (Brandon Morrow, Mark Lowe, Rob Johnson, and Jared Wells). Justin Thomas could possibly get called up as well.

Tui’s had an excellent final three months of the season, growing into his body, adding power, and looking like the prospect the M’s hoped he would develop into when they spent $2 million to sign him as an 18-year-old. He’s not anything close to a finished product, but the M’s are hoping that the .305/.383/.546 mark he’s put up since the all-star break is indicative of real improvement. He won’t play much, but if the team decides to rebuild this winter and trades Beltre, he might actually be in the mix for the third base job next spring.

Valbuena is a bit of an enigma, flashing different skills at different times – he occasionally hits for average and has gap power, but he rarely does both at the same times. He’s not a great defender at second base (that’s being kind, honestly), but he’s a left-handed hitter with a decent approach at the plate. He has almost no star potential, but if he can take some steps forward, he could be a decent role player.

And, for what its worth, Morrow made his final Triple-A start today, and it went well – 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K, 82 pitches. He wasn’t throwing strikes, but he got a lot of outs on balls in play and was able to get through six without having to throw a ton of pitches. He’s still got some significant improvements to make, but there’s no reason to think he’s not one of the five best starting pitchers in the organization heading into 2009.


23 Responses to “September Callups”

  1. etowncoug on August 31st, 2008 5:44 pm

    No Victor Diaz? I’m curious to see if he could be a role player.

  2. Dave on August 31st, 2008 5:47 pm

    Sounds like they’re going with the prospects in lieu of the Quad-A types.

  3. joser on August 31st, 2008 5:53 pm

    So if they let Bloomquist walk* this winter, who’s the likely “fast on his feet and does everything while excelling at nothing” guy?

    *Oh, who am I kidding? He’s the Mariners’ BFF: Beloved Face of the Franchise!

  4. ConorGlassey on August 31st, 2008 6:07 pm

    etown – September callups have to be on the 40-man.

  5. tgf on August 31st, 2008 6:12 pm

    So if they let Bloomquist walk this winter, ….

    Don’t tease me.

  6. etowncoug on August 31st, 2008 6:17 pm


    Well they could add him to the 40 man if they wanted to, but I don’t see a bunch of openings on that list. Morse, Bloomquist and Bedard to the 60 day would clear room for Tui, Thomas and Valbuena.

  7. Typical Idiot Fan on August 31st, 2008 7:58 pm

    With Saunders getting hurt, there’s no way they were going to bring him up. No Rob Johnson, though? I would have thought they’d use him as another catching replacement since Riggleman loves mixing around his backstops in games.

    I count 39 on the 40 man roster. Am I missing someone? Luis Munoz is on the 40 man? Seriously?

  8. jordan on August 31st, 2008 8:06 pm

    Tacoma Rainiers tickets for tomorrow are sold out?!?1

  9. SethGrandpa on August 31st, 2008 9:01 pm

    Well figuring the team has two big league quality starters (Felix and RRS), then yes, I’d say Morrow is top 5.

  10. msb on August 31st, 2008 9:06 pm

    Riggleman said Thomas and Valbuena tomorrow, with others to follow; FWIW, Larue said “the Mariners expect to call up catcher Rob Johnson and pitchers Brandon Morrow, Mark Lowe and Jarred Wells.”

  11. lailaihei on August 31st, 2008 9:07 pm

    Well figuring the team has two big league quality starters (Felix and RRS), then yes, I’d say Morrow is top 5.

    Ehh… I think Bedard counts.

  12. mariners2009 on August 31st, 2008 9:08 pm

    “Ehh… I think Bedard counts.”

    I almost forgot we had him…

  13. killer_ewok18 on August 31st, 2008 9:14 pm


  14. JimThomsen1965 on August 31st, 2008 10:22 pm

    So, you play the GM:

    Do you have Morrow pitch winter ball? What are the pros and cons?

  15. JH on August 31st, 2008 10:23 pm


    Do you not put any stock in the Southern League managers voting Valbuena the best defensive second baseman in the league this year?

  16. edgar for mayor on August 31st, 2008 10:57 pm

    Boy I’m excited for Tui!

  17. marc w on August 31st, 2008 11:21 pm

    Echoing JH’s comment above, the Rainiers (and R’s pitchers) seem to be quite enamored with Valbuena’s defense. Who’s telling you it’s poor?

    I’ve seen him play maybe 3-4 times, and I honestly can’t say one way or the other; he looked good if unremarkable in the limited sample I’ve seen, but I’d be pretty surprised if scouts thought he was below average.

    He’s also a guy who, in general, bucks the trend of M’s prospects who can’t take a walk. Here’s one guy who’s generally been above a 10% BB rate.

  18. Dave on September 1st, 2008 6:33 am

    Minor league managers usually vote for the best defensive player in those surveys in the following fashion:

    Who has the best batting average of all players at that position? Does he have a good arm? If yes, then that’s your answer. If no, then pick the guy with the most steals.

    So, no, I don’t put much stock in those surveys. The managers just don’t take them seriously enough for them to matter.

    The negative comments about his defense came from a couple scout friends. They could be wrong, of course, but I haven’t heard anyone say any good things about his glove work.

  19. msb on September 1st, 2008 7:46 am

    Minor league managers usually vote for the best defensive player in those surveys in the following fashion: Who has the best batting average of all players at that position? Does he have a good arm? If yes, then that’s your answer. If no, then pick the guy with the most steals.

    thus preparing themselves for when they get to the Bigs and vote for the Gold Glove winner.

  20. Knuckles on September 1st, 2008 8:52 am

    I’m no scout, but I’ve been nothing but impressed with Valbuena’s defense. He’s got great range and a strong arm from the five or six games I’ve seen.

  21. niterunner on September 1st, 2008 9:35 am

    From Jason Churchill and the PI:

    Valbuena’s defense

    In addition to his skills at the plate, Valbuena is an astute defender at second base, showing above-average range to go with good hands and a strong throwing arm. He’s made one error in 43 games, and his skills around the bag are encouraging.

    “He’s very solid with the glove,” the NL scout said. “i>e moves well, and though he lacks exceptional range, he gets the job done, is very sure-handed and turns the double play extremely well. He may be the best in (the Midwest League).”

  22. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 1st, 2008 11:08 am

    I’ve missed maybe 3 games the last half of the Rainiers season. I’ve never been appalled by anything Valbuena has done defensively (like I have with Tui)…and recently, there’ve been quite a few games where I’ve written several ‘sweet’ comments in my scorebook relating to Valbuena’s defensive play. I don’t give out ‘sweet’ very easily, so I’d agree he’s an above average defender at 2nd, but very inconsistent at the plate.

    Pelekoudas and Boles have been at pretty much every Tacoma game this last homestand of the season, not that either of them will be making the big decisions to come. Lee’s been coming to Tacoma games for a long time, then when he took over as interim GM, he disappeared – now he’s back and it’s good to see.

    Also, I keep meaning to check but haven’t. For a while there, Tui seemed very intent on setting some kind of new PCL record for number of errors in a single season (the guy I sit next to him simply calls him ‘hands of stone’) – but I think his error rate has dropped off a lot over the past month. I’m hopeful he’s finally pulling it all together.

    And sadly, I feel convinced that today is my last day to watch Rob Johnson in Tacoma. He deserves to at least be a backup in the big leagues; I’m only hoping it’s with an AL team so I can still occasionally see him play in person. He reminds me of Dan Wilson – no great shakes (and likely never will be) at the plate, but solid defense and the pitchers rave about working with him (like the anti-Johjima perhaps). He’s PCL catcher of the year.

  23. Adam S on September 1st, 2008 11:47 am

    Given our collection of 5th and 6th starters, “sight unseen” is Morrow the third best starter in the organization right now, behind our two aces? Dave, I realize you said five because that’s how many break camp with the team.

    While I’m surprised at what a dreadful season this has been, if you told me our September rotation would be Felix, Morrow, RRS, Feierabend, and Washburn/Silva, I’d say 60 wins looks pretty good. Has anyone ever put together a rotation that delivered so little for so much money? Maybe the Rockies with Hampton and Neagle?

    Whoever put this team together should be fired? Oh, wait they already did that!

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