Minor League Wrap (6/15-21/09)

Jay Yencich · June 22, 2009 at 6:05 am · Filed Under Minor Leagues 

Dave adds: We’re happy to announce that Jay has agreed to join us full time as a USSM author. He’s done a fantastic job with the recaps, and we were so impressed we asked him to take on a larger role. He’ll still be doing the recaps through the season, but he’s also going to be doing more posts on the goings on below the major league level and generally boosting the site’s coverage of the team’s farm system. We’re really happy to have Jay on board as an author. Welcome to the team, Jay.

A few quick notes before we get things rolling. First off, the Midwest and California League All-Star Games, with M’s farmhands well-represented, will be taking place on Tuesday, not that you would miss a match-up against our hated interleague rivals for the world. Second, Everett and Peoria have started play, with Pulaski also getting going on Tuesday, so be patient as the recaps adjust to the added workload. The first half is over. Let the endurance run begin.

To the jump!

One Title, One Near Miss:
When the Mavericks captured the first-half title earlier in the week, it was a no-doubter to those of us watching them, but there was more significance to the franchise than was immediately evident. The Mavericks had gone sixteen years without winning the first-half title, and haven’t won the title in twelve. The intervening years have not been kind to the team, as declining interest and deteriorating facilities led to suggestions last season that the team was going to be moved to Carolina. A strong Mavericks team might make the difference in convincing the local authorities to pool together some money for much needed improvements, and could secure the team’s future in the High Desert region for some time.
For the Lumberkings, entering their first year as a Mariners affiliate, all did not fall into place. Facing a team with which they were tied for second in the division in the Cedar Rapids Kernals, they walked away with a split, losing games led by Lorin and Pribanic, but winning ones fronted by Venegas and LaFromboise. While they remained tied with the Kernals, and the top two typically advance, Cedar Rapids owned the tie breaker and the first-place team, should there have been a three way tie, had the run differential advantage despite a season split. Better luck in the second half, Clinton.

Tacoma Rainiers (2-5 this week, 34-36 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, June 15th 2009
Tacoma 11, Portland 2 (SD – 1)
W: Fister (3-0, 4.44); L: Buschmann (3-7, 6.65)

Tuesday, June 16th 2009
Tacoma 7, Portland 5 (SD – 2)
W: Baldwin (5-3, 4.54); L: Inman (0-2, 6.21); SV: Messenger (13)

Wednesday, June 17th 2009
Tacoma 3, Portland 5 (SD – 1)
W: Lawrence (1-0, 1.50); L: Rowland-Smith (1-3, 6.92); SV: Moreno, E (7)

Thursday, June 18th 2009
Reno 8 (TOR – 4), Tacoma 5
W: Urquidez (1-1, 2.57); L: Hull (5-3, 4.70); SV: Slaten (2)

Friday, June 19th 2009
Reno 10 (TOR – 3), Tacoma 2
W: Ambriz (3-4, 4.45); L: Hernandez, G (3-6, 5.12)

Saturday, June 20th 2009
Reno 2 (TOR – 2), Tacoma 1
W: Valdez, C (6-4, 3.50); L: Fister (3-1, 4.37); SV: Korecky (9)

Sunday, June 21st 2009
Reno 11 (TOR – 1), Tacoma 2
W: Barnette (6-6, 5.83); L: Baldwin (5-4, 4.81)

Hitter of the Week:
3B Chris Shelton, R/R, 6/26/1980
7 G, 28 AB, 7 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5/2 K/BB, .429/~.467/.821

Should the team ever tire of clutch singles by Sweeney (actually his, xbh% is pretty high), might I suggest an alternative? After little power to start June, just three doubles in his first thirty-four at-bats, Shelton has begun to hit again, and is now at .324/.407/.535 for the month, aided by a week where half of what he hit was going for extras. He even got a triple in there, which seems like a miracle, but just so no one starts getting ideas, his D at third is still pretty horrible. Either he’s at first or DH.

Also Can Hit Mention:
IF Mike Morse, R/R, 3/22/1982
7 G, 28 AB, 6 R, 10 H, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 7/0 K/BB, .357/~.357/.500

“Catcher of the Future” Mention:
C Adam Moore, R/R, 5/8/1984
7 G, 26 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 4/0 K/BB, .308/~.308/.500

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Doug Fister, 2/4/1984
1-1, 2 GS, 3.38 in 10.2 IP, 12 H (HR), 4 R, 8/1 K/BB, 13/11 G/F, WP, 2 HB

De-fault? Fister held the Beavers to two runs on Monday, and the Aces to two runs on Saturday. The Rainiers averaged nearly eight runs allowed in the other five games this week. For the past month or so, there hasn’t been any other pitcher on the Rainiers staff that’s even been remotely interesting, which is perhaps to be expected with Vargas and Olson already in the bigs. Outside of Fields, who has really been great of late, Fister seems to be the closest pitcher in the system to being MLB-ready.

Reliever-that-did-not-suck Mention:
LHP Justin Thomas, 1/18/1984
2 G, 0.00 ERA in 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3/2 K/BB, 1/3 G/F

From The Training Room:
The only injury news of the week was that Johjima has been down on rehab appearances, catching five innings on Saturday and, including DH play on Sunday, going 2-for-6 overall. Tui remains on the DL, RR-S remains not very good, giving up five runs on nine hits in six and a third innings earlier in the week.

Strange Happenings:
Gaby Hernandez through five innings: 3 H, 8/1 K/BB, HB
Gaby Hernandez after being pulled without recording an out in the sixth: 5 R, 6 H, 8/3 K/BB, HB

The Week in Preview:
6/23-6, vs. Las Vegas (TOR, 30-41), All Times 7:05 pm PDT
6/27-8, at Reno (ARI, 35-36), 7:05 pm PDT Sat, 5:05 pm PDT Sun

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (2-4 this week, 27-43 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, June 15th 2009
West Tenn 0, Carolina 2 (CIN + 8 ) (five innings)
W: Cochran (1-0, 1.72); L: Souza (4-6, 3.40)

Tuesday, June 16th 2009
Off day

Wednesday, June 17th 2009
Montomgery 5 (TB – 4), West Tenn 3
W: Mason (3-3, 6.69); L: Bray (1-4, 3.35); SV: Morlan (4)

Thursday, June 18th 2009
Montomgery 2 (TB – 5), West Tenn 7
W: Parker (4-3, 3.77); L: Mann (4-4, 5.20)

Friday, June 19th 2009
Montomgery 4 (TB – 4), West Tenn 1
W: Rollins (6-5, 3.74); L: Munoz, L (2-3, 4.98); SV: Wlodarczyk (4)

Saturday, June 20th 2009
Montomgery 4 (TB – 3), West Tenn 3 (seven innings)
W: Phillips, P (2-0, 0.00); L: Aumont (0-1, 0.00)

Montgomery 1 (- 4), West Tenn 2 (seven innings)
W: Hill (1-3, 3.38); L: Wlodarczyk (0-2, 6.82); SV: Orta (1)

Sunday, June 21st 2009
Off day

Hitter of the Week:
UT David Espinoza, S/R, 12/16/1981
6 G, 17 AB, 7 H, 3B, 2 RBI, 1/2 K/BB, 2 SB, .412/~.474/.529

Castoffs need some attention now and then too. Espinosa has already had some of that, as he was a first-round pick by the Reds back in 2000 and signed an eight-year major league contract at $2.75 million. He’s never made his major league debut. Whoops. He was traded to Detroit in 2002, where his hitting was erratic from one year to the next. He was released after 2007 and spent last year in the independent leagues. He went 0-for in his first two games, but picked things up from there.

He’s Still Hitting Mention:
1B Marshall Hubbard, L/R, 4/16/1982
6 G, 19 AB, 7 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3/1 K/BB, .368/~.400/.578

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Steven Shell, 3/10/ 1983
0-0, 2 G (GS), 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (ER), 8/1 K/BB, 2/7 G/F

Forget the mediocre relief appearance earlier in the week. Shell gets on here for his start on Saturday, which had him allow just two hits through five innings while striking out six. This came against a Biscuits team that largely confounded the D-Jaxx throughout the series. It will take some work on his command before Shell is ready to contribute on a big league level, but double-A is treating him better so far, with one earned run through nine innings, five hits, and a 12/4 K/BB, compared to twelve earned runs through 13.2 innings, twenty hits, three of which left the park, and a 13/6 K/BB with the Rainiers.

Long Relief Mention:
LHP Danny Christensen, 8/10/1983
0-0, G, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP, 2 H, 3/0 K/BB

From the Training Room:
Aumont is now in West Tenn, as I noted earlier in the week. Marc and I will soon be lobbying for “Here Comes a Special Boy” by Freezepop to be his warm-up music. Okay, maybe I’m kidding. The corresponding move was that RHP Aaron Cotter got released. It’s a little sad because he did about as well as one could hope from a NDFA. The other big news of the week is that CF Ezequiel Carrera is off the DL and back hitting at the top of the order. The corresponding move was that Halman was moved to the DL, having not played since the 13th. I’d make a snappy comment about that, but I do like Halman and have since he signed, and he seems to be struggling with the mental side of the game at the moment. C Colt Morton and LHP Nick Hill both emerged from the restricted list, which sent Jose Yepez and Joey Newby back to High Desert, respectively. Triunfel, Prettyman, and Wilson are all still DLed.

Strange Happenings:
I lost the notes I took because the .doc didn’t save last night, but the relief corps have been pretty awesome. Aumont’s loss came on an unearned run, caused by his own throwing error, and otherwise he induced two groundballs and struck out one. Fields had a grounder, a fly out, and a K in one inning this week (June: HR, 6 K, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP). Orta and Varvaro continue to deal.

The Week in Preview:
6/22-7, at Mobile (ARI, 37-32), All Times 5:05 pm PDT except Weds (10:05 am PDT)
6/28, vs. Mississippi (ATL, 31-38), 2:05 pm PDT

High Desert Mavericks (2-5 this week, 43-27 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, June 15th 2009
Rancho Cucamonga 3 (ANA – 10), High Desert 2 (ten innings)
W: Brasier (2-0, 3.68); L: Paredes (4-4, 4.99)

Tuesday, June 16th 2009
Rancho Cucamonga 1 (ANA -9), High Desert 0 (six innings)
W: Schoeninger (1-1, 4.26); L: Wild (3-3, 3.06)

Wednesday, June 17th 2009
Rancho Cucamonga 3 (ANA -10), High Desert 4
W: Mortimore (2-1, 7.36); L: Haynes (0-3, 4.26); SV: Aumont (12)

Thursday, June 18th 2009
High Desert 4, Inland Empire 7 (LAD – 7)
W: Sexton (2-8, 3.21); L: Ramirez, J (4-3, 4.54); SV: McCarter (4)

Friday, June 19th 2009
High Desert 4, Inland Empire 6 (LA – 6)
W: Alvarez, M (1-0, 3.18); L: Jensen (1-1, 5.47)

Saturday, June 20th 2009
High Desert 12, Inland Empire 2 (LA – 7)
W: Adcock (5-3, 3.70); L: Wall (0-3, 6.16)

Sunday, June 21st 2009
High Desert 0, Inland Empire 6 (LA – 6)
W: Milton (1-0, 0.00); L: Wild (3-4, 3.75); SV: Johnson (1)

Hitter of the Week:
3B Alex Liddi, R/R, 8/14/1988
7 G, 25 AB, 5 R, 10 H, 3 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3/3 K/BB, .400/~.464/.640

A few weeks back I made the claim that Liddi was evolving as a hitter. How did that end up working out for me? Good and bad. In the past ten games, he’s had a 5/6 K/BB, but in the nine games prior he had two walks to fourteen Ks. June has statistically been his worst month so far, batting .280/.353/.467 with seventy-five at-bats in the books. Part, though not all of that, was his BABIP suddenly correcting itself pretty sharply. Given his developmental history, I should have anticipated a little more unevenness. Of course, Liddi actually showing off his tools on the field instead of in practice is still a plus.

Hitter of the Month?:
RF James McOwen, 9/26/1985
7 G, 27 AB, 4 R, 11 H, 3B, 2 RBI, 3/1 K/BB, SB, CS, .407/~.429/.481

James McOwen has hits in his last thirty-two games. In the past two years, there has only been one steak of thirty. He is closing in on the Cal League record of thirty-five, and credits a slightly opened stance to helping him see the ball better. So how is the 6th-round pick from 2007 faring in this, his second turn in the Cal League? He’s cut down on his Ks by about 20%, which is good, but his stolen base trend is down quite a lot (thirty last year, on pace for maybe fifteen this year), and his average has been bolstered mostly by singles, as his extra-base hits are slightly down. He seems to be taking a different approach up there, which works for him, but it’s rather different from what we saw of him last season.

Should Give Halman Lessons Mention:
CF Tyson Gillies, L/R, 10/31/1988
6 G, 19 AB, 3 R, 5 H, 4/8 K/BB, SB, .263/~.481/.263

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Nathan Adcock, 2/25/1988
1-0, 2 GS, 1.26 ERA in 14.1 IP, 8 H (HR), 2 R, 14/6 K/BB, 16/10 G/F, WP, HB

Credit to Adcock, when he’s on he’s on. One curious thing I have seemed to notice from week to week is that he seems to be better when he’s pitching with a near-even ground/fly. For example, on Saturday, he gave up two hits and four walks through eight innings while striking out eight, and ran a 7/6 ground/fly. Monday, it was a 9/2 ground fly, and two runs allowed on six hits, two walks, and six Ks. It could just be statistical noise of some kind, as he also gets three and a half grounders per fly at home and is dead even on the road. He might have two different attack patterns that he’s developed, which you can’t really blame him for.

“I think I’m getting the hang of this” Mention:
RHP Steven Hensley, 12/27/1986
0-0, 2 G (GS), 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 6 H, R, 5/2 K/BB, 8/7 G/F

From the Training Room:
Pineda and Harben are still disabled, but the team added Jose Yepez and Joey Newby from West Tenn.

The Week in Preview:
6/25-7, vs. Bakersfield (TEX, 34-36), All Times 7:05 pm PDT
6/28, vs. Lake Elsinore (SD, 39-31), 3:05 pm PDT

Clinton Lumberkings (4-3 this week, 40-30 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, June 15th 2009
Clinton 10, Beloit 5 (MIN – 16)
W: Venegas (1-2, 4.25); L: Leavitt (0-1, 12.10)

Tuesday, June 16th 2009
Clinton 1, Beloit 2 (MIN – 15)
W: Tarsi (2-1, 2.13); L: LaFromboise (4-2, 3.02); SV: Testa (7)

Wednesday, June 17th 2009
Clinton 4, Beloit 1 (MIN – 16)
W: Kasparek (4-4, 2.71); L: Berlind (2-7, 3.99); SV: Flores (12)

Thursday, June 18th 2009
Clinton 1, Cedar Rapids 4 (ANA + 11)
W: Correa (4-4, 3.74); L: Pribanic (6-3, 2.36); SV: Kohn (5)

Friday, June 19th 2009
Clinton 1, Cedar Rapids 6 (ANA + 12)
W: Nabors (1-3, 3.00); L: Lorin (4-4, 2.45)

Saturday, June 20th 2009
Clinton 6, Cedar Rapids 0 (ANA + 11)
W: Venegas (2-2, 3.44); L: Smith (4-3, 3.69)

Sunday, June 21st 2009
Clinton 6, Cedar Rapids 4 (ANA + 10)
W: LaFromboise (5-2, 3.34); L: Flores (3-3, 3.52); SV: Flores (13)

Hitter of the Week:
3B Mario Martinez, R/R, 11/13/1989
5 G, 18 AB, 3 R, 5 H, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 5/1 K/BB, .277/~.316/.444
With the division and a chance at the playoffs possibly on the line, the offense picked a fine week to flail about hopelessly. Pitching was the only thing keeping them in games, and 5-for-the-week was the best I saw out of anyone this week. Martinez was one of them, who got on the list by virtue of a lack of playing time. For the month, his OPS is under .500. I saw in a BA chat recently that one of the staff writers commented on this being a bad year for the system. It doesn’t seem quite like that sometimes with the continued improvements of Saunders, Carrera, Moore, and Carp, the breakouts in the High Desert lineup, as well as the Clinton rotation, but taking inventory, Halman has floundered, Triunfel and Tui have been injured, Martinez and deJesus have been non-factors, Cleto was trapped in the Dominican Republic for what seemed like forever, every pitcher of interest in West Tenn has been injured at some point, and Pineda has been on the DL. Not good.

Frequently Second-Best Mention:
IF Scott Savastano, R/R, 6/12/1986
7 G, 23 AB, 4 R, 5 H, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 4/6 K/BB, SB, .217/~.379/.348

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Cheyne Hann, 9/17/1984
3 G, 0.00 ERA in 5.1 IP, 3 H, 8/0 K/BB, 2/6 G/F

The starters were all good, but slightly flawed. As you’ll see below, they lacked strikeouts throughout. So I’m taking this opportunity to highlight Hann, the other elder reliever on the roster aside from Flores. Through his last seven outings, he’s allowed four hits in 10.1 innings, walked just one, and struck out sixteen. For the season, he has a 42/6 K/BB in 38.1 innings. With Lorin hitting the DL, Hann is filling his spot on the All-Star roster, and deservedly. I just wish that meant that he was also headed to California soon, instead of the Mavericks adding another demotion from West Tenn.

Honorable Mention:
The Rotation!
4-3, 7 GS, 2.66 ERA in 40.2 IP, 35 H (HR), 18 R (12 ER), 24/6 K/BB

From the Training Room:
Brett Lorin is on the DL this week with a strained groin. As the Lumberkings are headed into their All-Star Break (as are the Mavs, be on the lookout for games on Tuesday), they decided they didn’t need an extra pitcher and brought in catcher Tommy Johnson. Gallagher, Suriel, and Carroll are still on the DL.

Strange Happenings:
Pribanic still gets groundballs, ten to four this week. The rest are off and on, as Venegas had seven to four one outing and six to twelve the next, LaFromboise was ten to five in his first outing and at even sixes in the second, and Kasparek and Lorin were both five to seven.

The Week in Preview:
6/25-8, vs. Beloit (MIN, 27-43), All Times at 5:00 pm PDT except Sun (12:00 pm PDT)

As the Aquasox only have two games on record, Arizona only has one, and next week will be somewhat brief anyway, I’ll get to them then. Someone needs to head up to Everett Memorial and take notes on Tuesday, because it will be the first time in the past five years that I’ve missed opening day, though I’m sure there are many hereabouts who could beat that. Pulaski gets going on Tuesday.


7 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (6/15-21/09)”

  1. Dave on June 22nd, 2009 8:48 am

    For those wondering about Halman, he’s been sent to Peoria to try to get his swing fixed. He DH’d for the AZL Mariners yesterday, going 0 for 3 with, you guessed it, three strikeouts. Maybe the M’s can fix him, but he looks an awful lot like Reggie Abercrombie right now.

    Oh, and Maikel Cleto made his Mariner debut in that game as well – 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 R, 1 ER. At least he’s here and pitching again, though.

  2. msb on June 22nd, 2009 10:09 am

    Excellent news on Jay.

  3. Jay Yencich on June 22nd, 2009 10:15 am

    Also, on the Peoria rehab note, Clinton OF Daniel Carroll as 1-for-5 with a double and Rainiers LHP Cesar Jimenez struck out one and hit two pitching in the first inning.

    And Halman’s rehab seems as much mental as anything.

  4. Sneekes on June 22nd, 2009 10:30 am

    Completely agree with msb. Jay’s long been one of my favourite bloggers.

  5. patl on June 22nd, 2009 1:27 pm

    Awesome news – thanks for joining the fun, Jay!

  6. decatur7 on June 22nd, 2009 9:32 pm

    Awesome. Congrats, Jay. Will you still be doing updates on Mariner Minors or will that migrate over to USSM exclusively?

  7. Jay Yencich on June 23rd, 2009 5:20 pm

    Thanks all.

    I’ll still be doing the daily updates at my own site, decatur, as long as I’m able.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.