Minor League Wrap (7/6-12/09)

Jay Yencich · July 13, 2009 at 10:34 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

Yesterday, people were complaining about a lack of baseball over the all-star break (what, 162 regular season games not enough for you? I get to deal with 700-800 in the minors alone). There won’t be much, if any minor league action on the big day, but today you can check out the Southern League All-Star Game and on Wednesday, the PCL plays the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Just saying.

To the jump!

More Backstops!:
As Dave noted last week, the M’s signed supplemental rounder Steven Baron, who has some of the prettiest glovework you’ll ever see, for a bit over one million dollars. The latest updates from the wire note that Mariners have also signed 9th-round pick and college draftee Trevor Coleman. Coleman has caught such big-time pitchers as Max Scherzer, Aaron Crow, and Kyle Gibson, but his stock slipped towards the end of the season and he fell to us. There’s also Carlton Tanabe, a prep catcher from Hawaii, who has been getting his innings in for Peoria, and Brandon Bantz, who is one of several Pulaski back-ups. Combine this with the success that Travis Howell (not so much recently) and Tommy Johnson, both ’08 draft picks, have been having for Clinton and Pulaski, and the Mariners have some pretty solid catching depth throughout the system.

Tacoma Rainiers (5-2 this week, 44-46 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 6th 2009
Tacoma 4, Salt Lake 5 (ANA + 3)
W: MacDonald (5-9, 5.67); L: Fister (4-2, 4.52); SV: Mosebach (2)

Tuesday, July 7th 2009
Tacoma 7, Salt Lake 6 (ANA + 2)
W: Rowland-Smith (3-3, 5.31); L: Bell, T (2-2, 1.95); SV: Messenger (16)

Wednesday, July 8th 2009
Portland 7 (SD – 3), Tacoma 1
W: Lawrence (3-1, 2.73); L: Baldwin (5-7, 4.93)

Thursday, July 9th 2009
Portland 3 (SD – 4), Tacoma 5
W: Seddon (5-5, 4.52); L: Buschmann (3-10, 6.36); SV: Messenger (17)

Friday, July 10th 2009
Portland 1 (SD – 5), Tacoma 3
W: Shell (2-1, 6.57); L: LeBlanc (2-6, 3.57); SV: Messenger (18)

Saturday, July 11th 2009
Portland 3 (SD – 6), Tacoma 8
W: Fister (5-2, 4.24); L: Silva, W (3-3, 5.26); SV: Thomas, J (5)

Sunday, July 12th 2009
Portland 0 (SD – 7), Tacoma 1
W: Knox (5-4, 5.53); L: Shell (1-1, 8.20)

Hitter of the Week:
CF Jerry Owens, L/L, 2/16/1981
6 G, 25 AB, 5 R, 12 H, 2B, 3 3B, RBI, 2/2 K/BB, .480/~.519/.760

Owens has picked a fine time to start hitting. The Mariners suddenly had need of an outfielder, and with Langerhans, lost that need in the span of ten days. That was the end of June. Owens has been hitting .419 in July. Seven of his last ten games have had multiple hits, and lately, he’s been collecting triples after having nothing but a few scattered doubles in the previous two months. He’s not walking all that much, but he’s gone from empty average to reasonable production. I wonder if there are any other teams in need.

Whenever You’re Ready Mention:
C Adam Moore, R/R, 5/8/1984
5 G, 19 AB, 5 R, 7 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2/1 K/BB, .368/~.400/.579

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith, 1/26/1983
2-0, 2 GS, 1.26 ERA in 14.1 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 11/1 K/BB, 17/11 G/F, HB

In spring training, the Mariners brought in all manner of relievers and hitters to duke it out for a few available spots, with mixed results. Now, they will have RR-S and Vargas and Morrow battling it out to see who will get the fifth spot in the rotation, with an outside chance of usurping Olson as well. RR-S has made some strides recently, surviving against a Salt Lake team that has some of the best hitting in the league (7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 7/0 K/BB) and putting a relatively mediocre Portland squad in their place (7.0 IP. 2 H, 4/1 K/BB) . June was a disaster for him, (0-3, 9.15 ERA in 20.2 IP, 33 H (2 HR), 22 R (21 ER), 11/7 K/BB) but he’s back on track now and with another good start or two I’d be prepared to suggest that he get the call.

No Longer Walking the World Mention:
LHP Justin Thomas, 1/18/1984
0-0, 3 G, S, 0.00 ERA in 6.2 IP, 4 H, 4/1 K/BB, 8/8 G/F

From The Training Room:
LHP Cesar Jimenez is back with the squad and has 2.1 innings in the books right now, three hits, one walk, no Ks. Saunders is also back from his injury thing, which means Redman is getting almost no playing time.

Strange Happenings:
I talk a lot about the High Desert offense, but the Rainiers are hitting .283/.351/.449 as a team and are near the lead or leading in various categories. Considering the makeup of the team, no one should be surprised.

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (5-1 this week, 14-6 in the second half, 41-49 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 6th 2009
West Tenn 7, Huntsville 5 (MIL – 1)
W: Souza (6-6, 3.35); L: Bramhall (4-6, 6.26); SV: Varvaro (4)

Tuesday, July 7th 2009
West Tenn 6, Hunstville 1 (MIL – 2)
W: Bray (2-4, 2.95); L: Holliman (7-3, 4.57)

Wednesday, July 8th 2009
Mobile 2 (ARI + 2), West Tenn 3
W: Parker (5-4, 3.56); L: Torra (6-7, 3.54); SV: Aumont (2)

Thursday, July 9th 2009
Mobile 1 (ARI + 1), West Tenn 3
W: Munoz, L (3-4, 4.48); L: Parker, J (4-4, 2.98); SV: Varvaro (5)

Friday, July 10th 2009
Mobile 5 (ARI + 2), West Tenn 1
W: Roemer (5-5, 3.38); L: Pena, L (1-1, 4.50)

Saturday, July 11th 2009
Mobile 3 (ARI + 1), West Tenn 4
W: Orta (3-1, 1.84); L: Maine (2-3, 3.35)

Sunday, July 12th 2009
All-star break

Hitter of the Week:
1B/OF Johan Limonta, L/L, 8/4/1983
5 G, 17 AB, 3 R, 7 H, 2B, RBI, 2/4 K/BB, .412/~.524/.471

Limonta may be in the midst of one of his good months, if the walks are coming back. Last year, in a quarter of a season in the Cal League, he had a 32/20 K/BB. That dropped to 87/37 in his remaining 98 games with West Tenn, but this year he seems to be back on his way again with a 51/32 ratio. He could have a future as a platoon player (.309/.398/.461 vs. RHB currently), but one cause for concern at present is that he only has three home runs with more than half a season in the books. Last year, he had twelve. He’s still on pace for about thirty doubles, but we need more dingers from him.

The Other First Baseman Mention:
1B Thomas Hubbard, L/R, 4/16/1982
6 G, 23 AB, 3 R, 7 H, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 3/3 K/BB, .304/~.385/.435

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Luis Munoz, 1/10/1982
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, 4 H, 5/2 K/BB, 5/5 G/F, WP

Pitching was quite solid this past week, and was a big part of why they won five of six. Parker went seven innings, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out three, the recently-traded Souza had two runs on five hits and a walk against six Ks through seven innings as well, and Bray also hit seven in his first outing, with one run scoring on four hits, a walk, and two Ks. As the strikeouts were lacking on the others, I’m going to end up with Munoz here.

Will Be Pitcher of the Week at Some Point Mention:
RHP Ricky Orta, 11/6/1984
1-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.1 IP, 2 H, 5/1 K/BB, 2/5 G/F

From the Training Room:
Carrera went back on the DL, and has been the trend recently, instead of finding themselves another outfielder, they signed another indy league castoff infielder, Travis Garcia. Souza, as we all know, headed out and was replaced by Dan Cortes.

Strange Happenings:
Nick Hill had an off week, but some of the other relievers did pretty well for themselves. Fields had two hits and a K in two innings of work and Varvaro had four Ks and to two walks in three innings. Aumont, however, had two runs score against him on two hits and three Ks in an inning of work. Of course, one of those runs was unearned, so there was some other stuff going on behind him.

High Desert Mavericks (2-5 this week, 9-9 in the second half, 52-36 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 6th 2009
Visalia 9 (ARI – 4), High Desert 10
W: Paredes (5-4, 4.56); L: Dietz (3-3, 1.91); SV: Richard, S (5)

Tuesday, July 7th 2009
High Desert 2, San Jose 12 (SF + 7)
W: Barnes, S (9-3, 2.93); L: Hume (9-4, 4.75); SV: Mixon (2)

Wednesday, July 8th 2009
High Desert 2, San Jose 6 (SF + 8 )
W: Odle (5-7, 5.37); L: Adcock (5-5, 4.39)

Thursday, July 9th 2009
High Desert 1, San Jose 3 (SF + 9)
W: Tanner (7-3, 3.36); L: Wild (4-5, 3.29); SV: Runzler (2)

Friday, July 10th 2009
High Desert 0, Modesto 2 (COL – 6)
W: Graham, C (5-4, 3.47); L: Ramirez, J (6-5, 4.27); SV: Baker, C (22)

Saturday, July 11th 2009
High Desert 1, Modesto 0 (COL – 7)
W: Hensley (4-1, 4.18); L: Durst (2-9, 5.02); SV: Richard, S (6)

Sunday, July 12th 2009
High Desert 1, Modesto 3 (COL – 6)
W: Riordan (5-5, 4.69); L: Hume (9-5, 4.66); SV: Baker, C (23)

Hitter of the Week:
RF James McOwen, L/R, 9/26/1985
6 G, 21 AB, 2 R, 6 H, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 6/4 K/BB, CS, .286/~.400/.524

Friday finally brought an end to it, when he went 0-for-3 with a walk, and then Sunday brought an end to whatever safely reached streak he had. Still, with the bigger names not performing or on Futures Game duty, McOwen was the best hitter remaining even if he did hit in only four of his six games. The streak itself was a big deal, the longest since the 50s, and MLB.com and Baseball America were both in on it before it ended. I hope he enjoyed the national attention while it lasted.

Future Leadoff Man Mention:
CF Tyson Gillies, L/R, 10/31/1988
5 G, 19, 2 R, 6 H, RBI, 4/3 K/BB, 2 SB, .316/~.409/.316

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP J.C. Ramirez, 8/16/1988
0-1, GS (CG), 2.25 ERA in 8.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 6/1 K/BB, 6/10 G/F

This week would have been bizarre even by non-High Desert standards. The Mavericks had two complete game losses and if not for the need to get the bullpen some work, they might have had two other complete games. Wild’s is listed below, but for now we’ll focus on the second by Ramirez. Mainly, I want to talk about the recent improvements in his command. Since the all-star break, he’s run a 19/2 K/BB in 25.2 innings. Pre-break, it was 54/30 in 73.1 innings. I think I can be bold enough to say, that’s pretty significant. The average against he’s putting up in his two July starts, .208 to his .266 mark for the year, could also be important. At a time when most pitchers are tiring due to the intense heat, Ramirez is looking like he’s putting things together. That’s a huge plus for us.

Other CG Loss Mention:
RHP Jake Wild, 8/18/1984
0-1, GS (CG), 2.25 ERA in 8.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 4/1 K/BB, 6/12 G/F, HB

From the Training Room:
The departures for the Futures Game brought in UT Leury Bonilla.

Strange Happenings:
Let’s talk about other pitching performances. If not for the fact that he laid an egg on Monday, Hensley would have been POTW, as he had an outing on Friday in which he allowed five hits over seven innings and struck out ten. Hume also put up a good run on Sunday, pitching seven and two-thirds innings before a two-run triple did him in. He also had his issues on Tuesday. Adcock was never in consideration.

Clinton Lumberkings (2-5 this week, 7-10 in the second half, 47-40 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 6th 2009
Kane County 6 (OAK – 1), Clinton 5
W: Figueroa, P (10-2, 3.23); L: Cleto (0-1, 6.00); SV: Murray (4)

Tuesday, July 7th 2009
Kane County 10 (OAK 0), Clinton 0
W: Capra (3-6, 3.62); L: LaFromboise (5-4, 4.17)

Wednesday, July 8th 2009
Dayton 6 (CIN – 3), Clinton 1
W: Fairel (6-4, 2.98); L: Venegas (3-4, 4.59); SV: Gaffney (4)

Thursday, July 9th 2009
Dayton 1 (CIN – 2), Clinton 0
W: Partch (5-7, 5.08); L: Jimenez, Jo (4-2, 2.63); SV: Gonzalez, A (10)

Friday, July 10th 2009
Dayton 0 (CIN – 3), Clinton 6
W: Kasparek (5-5, 2.51); L: James, M (1-3, 4.50)

Saturday, July 11th 2009
Clinton 3, Quad Cities 5 (STL – 1)
W: Frevert (2-0, 0.00); L: Pribanic (7-5, 2.53); SV: Carpenter, D (6)

Sunday, July 12th 2009
Clinton 12, Quad Cities 4 (STL – 2)
W: Renfree (2-0, 2.08); L: McGregor (3-6, 7.60)

Hitter of the Week:
3B Nate Tenbrink, L/R, 12/21/1986
6 G, 24 AB, 4 R, 10 H, HR, 2 RBI, 2/1 K/BB, .417/~.440/.542

Tenbrink has proven to us that he can hit. Moving from a relatively friendly league in the Northwest to a rather unpleasant one in the Midwest, he’s improved his OPS by .160, in part due to a bump in average of about a hundred points. He’s also proven himself capable of picking in at the hot corner and has shown additional versatility by playing at first and in left. What he can’t do very well is hit for power. He hit his seventh home run this past Friday, but he only has two extra-base hits in July and only 31.7% of his hits are going for extras overall. That’s not exactly good for a corner man. And if he’s not going to hit any more than that, well, he could stand to walk a little more.

Three Catchers Makes for No Playing Time Mention:
C Travis Howell, R/R, 1/13/1985
4 G, 13 AB, 3 R, 5 H, 2B, RBI, 3/2 K/BB, .385/~.467/.462

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Kenn Kasparek, 9/23/1985
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP, 3 H, 5/0 K/BB, 12/4 G/F

I was going to suggest that it had been a rough month or so of outings for Kenn with Two N’s, given that I feel like I haven’t written about him in a while, but then I went back and looked at his last ten starts in his profile. 4-1, 1.94 ERA in 55.2 IP, 46 H, 12 ER, 52/12 K/BB. Whoops. I think what got me is that before this outing, in which he refused to hand out a single free pass, he had a three start string where he gave out eight of them in 12.2 innings, which is par for the course for some pitchers we know, but quite unlike Kasparek. This time out he had a string of ten retired from the first to the fourth and his last eight batters yielded five groundouts and three Ks. He’s usually a slight flyball pitcher, but I’ll take it.

Buy Him a Ticket to California Mention:
RHP Ruben Flores, 5/19/1984
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 3.2 IP, 2 H, 3/0 K/BB, 5/3 G/F

From the Training Room:
Cleto ended up on the DL after giving up five hits and two walks in an inning and a third. Perhaps we asked too much of him too soon. Esquibel made use of frequent flyer miles to get back to Clinton in time for a start. Lorin came off the DL on Sunday to throw three innings, of which one could say that he limited the damage. Saito should be with the team any time now. Still waiting on Seager.

Strange Happenings:
Ogui Diaz, infielder, pitched an inning on Tuesday for no reason I can figure out. Nunez also hit his first home run.

Everett Aquasox (5-2 this week, 15-8 overall)

Monday, July 6th 2009
Yakima 2 (ARI – 3), Everett 7
W: Czyz (2-1, 2.70); L: Taveras (0-1, 3.98)

Tuesday, July 7th 2009
Yakima 3 (ARI – 4), Everett 7
W: Reid (2-0, 6.23); L: Hale (0-2, 9.00)

Wednesday, July 8th 2009
Yakima 2 (ARI – 5), Everett 4
W: Kirkland (1-0, 2.86); L: Odegaard (0-1, 4.50)

Thursday, July 9th 2009
Everett 8, Tri City 6 (COL + 6)
W: Roy (1-2, 14.21); L: Bennigson (2-1, 2.50); SV: Carraway (1)

Friday, July 10th 2009
Everett 7, Tri City 10 (COL + 7)
W: Federico (3-0, 5.93); L: Lewis (3-1, 7.82); SV: Ruiz (3)

Saturday, July 11th 2009
Everett 1, Tri City 4 (COL + 8 )
W: Scurry (2-1, 2.93); L: Czyz (2-2, 3.34); SV: Ruiz (4)

Sunday, July 12th 2009
Everett 2, Tri City 1 (COL + 7)
W: Burnett (1-0, 1.26); L: Bennigson (2-2, 2.14); SV: Cooper (5)

Hitter of the Week:
OF Ryan Royster, L/L, 10/13/1985
7 G, 25 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5/4 K/BB, .400/~.483/.840

As the season was about to begin, I started to hear a lot about Ryan Royster. “Watch out for him,” they said. “He’s like a different player this year!” Yes, yes, player improves in second season in Everett, a timeless classic, I know. Well, right now this doesn’t look like the same Royster who .196/.337/.268 last season. We’re roughly at the third mark and he still has an OPS above 1.000. I’m not ready go wild over a college draft pick improving as he has, particularly since he’s not logging that much time in center, but I’ll admit I was wrong if he keeps it going like this. Perhaps he should be doing it in Clinton though.

In a Groove Mention:
3B Mario Martinez, R/R, 11/13/1989
7 G, 28 AB, 3 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 3B, 6 RBI, 4/1 K/BB, .357/~.379/.500

Ten+ Game Hitting Streak Mention:
C Juan Fuentes, R/R, 1/28/1986
7 G, 27 AB, 4 R, 9 H, 2 2B, HR, 4/2 K/BB, .333/~.379/.519

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Andrew Carraway, 9/4/1986
1-0, 3 G, S, 0.00 ERA in 3.2 IP, H, 7/0 K/BB, 3/2 G/F, WP

I don’t know how many people have noticed so far, but our 12th-round pick from this year is pretty good. Meet Andrew Carraway, who presently has a 17/1 K/BB in 10.2 innings pitched. From the first look, one would suspect that he is some kind of flamethrower, but this isn’t the case at all, as his heater has merely average velocity. Instead, he’s relying on plus command of that and an assortment of other pitches to keep hitters off-balance and guessing at whatever is coming next. He could move back to the rotation at some point, if there’s the need.

Former Catcher Mention:
RHP Chris Kirkland, 10/6/1985
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, 6/3 K/BB, 6/5 G/F, WP, HB

From the Training Room:
Coleman was added to the roster, so the ‘Sox now have four guys capable of catching, with Fuentes, Israel Nunez, and Welsh still on the roster.

Strange Happenings:
Burnett is still doing his Nuke LaLoosh impersonation. In twelve innings this week, he walked eight, threw a wild pitch, and hit five. Only three runs scored, however. Maybe everyone’s terrified of him.

Pulaski Mariners (3-3 this week, 6-13 overall)

Monday, July 6th 2009
Danville 4 (ATL + 2), Pulaski 3
W: Himpsl (1-0, 7.71); L: Chang (0-2, 5.02); SV: Berryhill (4)

Tuesday, July 7th 2009
Danville 23 (ATL + 3), Pulaski 7
W: Lorick, J (1-1, 9.58); L: Cloud (0-1, 8.53)

Wednesday, July 8th 2009
Pulaski 3, Princeton 0 (TB 0)
W: Diaz, N (1-2, 3.91); L: Dettrich (0-2, 3.00); SV: Josselyn (1)

Thursday, July 9th 2009
Rain out

Friday, July 10th 2009
Princeton 1 (TB – 1), Pulaski 4
W: Maurer (1-1, 4.50); L: Rodriguez, W (0-2, 4.11); SV: Vasquez (2)

Saturday, July 11th 2009
Pulaski 8, Greeneville 4 (HOU + 1)
W: Merry (1-0, 1.13); L: Garcia, G (0-2, 12.15)

Sunday, July 12th 2009
Pulaski 7, Greeneville 13 (HOU + 2)
W: Gonzalez, An (2-1, 14.73); L: Chang (0-3, 7.02)

Hitter of the Week:
3B Vinnie Catricala, R/R, 10/31/1988
6 G, 30 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 6/1 K/BB, .300/~.322/.567

The report on Catricala coming out of three years in Hawaii was that he had just recently hit the weight room and learned how to hit for power. He hit thirteen home runs as a junior after a little over half that for his college career before that. In Pulaski, he’s picked up right about where he left off and has three home runs so far, tied for the team lead with Britton (de Jesus is one behind). The league is averaging out to thirteen home runs, with Elizabethton (28) and Princeton (5) on the extreme ends of things. Pulaski currently has sixteen, but if the team is going to be successful in their own division, Catricala and the offense need to chip in a bit more.

Needs to Hit for more Power Mention:
OF Jarrett Burgess, R/R, 8/10/1990
6 G, 20 AB, 5 R, 7 H, 3B, 2 RBI, 5/2 K/BB, .350/~.409/.450

Pitcher of Week:
RHP Brandon Maurer, 7/3/1990
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 2 H, 5/0 K/BB, 7/5 G/F

I thought about talking up Diaz again, who is younger and equally deserving, but Maurer is another guy who has steadily been improving after a rocky start to the season. If you know anything about him, you probably know that he was a 23rd-round pick last year and was a teammate of uber-prep Gerrit Cole, though the parallels don’t go much further than that. He was the closer his junior year in high school and moved into a swingman role for his senior year without too much dropping in his performances, and an improvement in his command from the looks of it (52/16 in 43.2 IP, from 17/9 in 13.0 IP). He’ll be interesting to watch on that value, as this week’s outing was mostly a crushing of a feeble Princeton lineup, but I’ll take what we can get as wins go at this point.

He Still Gets Mentioned [Mention]:
RHP Nolan Diaz, 3/28/1991
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP, 6 H, 5/0 K/BB, 10/5 G/F

From the Training Room:
Nothing doing.

Strange Happenings:
On Friday, Pulaski had a rain delay lasting two hours and fifty-one minutes. The game itself lasted only two hours and fifteen minutes.

Dispatches from the Land of Rehabbers:

SS Jetsy Extrano: 7 G, 28 AB, 8 R, 11 H, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 4/1 K/BB, SB, .393/~.414/.750
OF Julio Morban: 6 G, 18 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 6/2 K/BB, .167/~.250/.333
LHP Robert Rohrbaugh: GS, 0.00 ERA in 1.0 IP, H, 1/0 K/BB
3B Matt Tuiasosopo: 5 G, 11 AB, 4 R, 5 H, HR, 2 RBI, 3/3 K/BB, .455/~.571/.727


28 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (7/6-12/09)”

  1. TomG on July 13th, 2009 10:59 am

    Speaking of catching depth…what should we make of Travis Scott? Park/league/age mirage or is he really as good as his walk rate/IsoP suggests?

  2. Jay Yencich on July 13th, 2009 11:02 am

    He’s in his third season in the Cal League, so I’m not crazy about him even though I like the prospect of a lhb at catcher. This is the first season where his home/road splits have been permissible, i.e., he’s hitting better on the road now than he is at home, whereas before it was the opposite, by a lot. He really ought to be in double-A at this point and I’m hoping that this catching logjam gets fixed soon.

    On that note, I wouldn’t be averse to calling up Moore at this point, since Clement still isn’t doing anything but DHing, but that’s the front office’s decision to make.

  3. Jon on July 13th, 2009 11:24 am

    Clement is starting to get some game time at first base, at least.

  4. marc w on July 13th, 2009 11:26 am

    RE: Jimenez, he’s actually got 1 K since returning… 1K, 1BB, 3 hits.

    Any word on if they might move Saito back into the rotation? He succeeded there in college, with great reports on his velo deep into games. Guess I’m not really sure why KC put him in the pen… if there was a health concern, sure, but if it was just “he’s short,” then I’d love to see the M’s revisit that.

  5. Jay Yencich on July 13th, 2009 11:31 am

    I’m not sure either, but I’ve heard mixed reports on his velocity since turning pro. There are one or two people who are saying that it’s dropped since college, which would be why his numbers are good but not great. Otherwise, yeah, I would hope they give it a try but acquiring him alone is a step towards overcoming that height prejudice.

    The Seattle Mariners: We’re not just drafting guys over 6’6 anymore.

  6. TomG on July 13th, 2009 11:33 am

    Thanks for the response, Jay.

    Follow-up question: a little while back someone (forget who) commented that, after Aumont moved to the pen, the Mariners lacked any kind of serious starting pitching prospect that could contribute in the near future (i.e. 1-2 years). At about the halfway point does any starter’s performance this year suggest they might soon be able to contribute at the big league level in that time frame?

  7. Jon on July 13th, 2009 11:35 am

    John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com recently did a report on Saito’s KC MiLB team and had him at around 88-89 with the heater. Good enough, but not quite low 90s like he was in college.

  8. Dave on July 13th, 2009 11:41 am

    The M’s pitching depth is significantly better than most people give them credit for. You can now add Cortes to the Ramirez/Pineda/Adcock/Pribanic/Lorin/Hensley/Kasparek group.

    There probably isn’t an all-star in there, but when you have eight guys that have a chance to turn into solid back-end starters, odds are one or two of them will develop into a quality pitcher.

  9. TomG on July 13th, 2009 12:08 pm

    The M’s pitching depth is significantly better than most people give them credit for. You can now add Cortes to the Ramirez/Pineda/Adcock/Pribanic/Lorin/Hensley/Kasparek group.

    Not to mention guys on the fringe like Hume and Fister but, I guess what I was really asking, could we reasonably expect any of those guys to step into the rotation next season and provide a handful of capable starts like Vargas has provided? Seems to me that Cortes would be the best bet yet he really has struggled with his control this season and most people see him eventually bullpen-bound.

    Granted there is a bit of fungibility when it comes to emergency starter types but free-talent back-of-the-rotation additions seem to be more of the lighting-in-a-bottle variety; a few in-house guys(40-man type)already would be a nice thing to have.

  10. Jay Yencich on July 13th, 2009 12:28 pm

    We haven’t had a frontline starter type since we traded Tillman, and before that you might have to go back to Felix or Rafael Soriano. Nageotte might have survived had he not thrown sliders in nine out of every ten pitches and Blackley could have ended up mid or better. There’s no sense in mourning over what could have been, but the perspective can be helpful.

    Right now, yes, Cortes the most likely to provide a couple of starts to next year’s team, but with RR-S/Vargas/Olson already around and Feierabend possibly on the mend by then, plus a few guys who could (stress that) do something like Parker (if he EVER cleans up his command) and some current and former waiver wire bargain picks like Munoz and Pena (same basic points), that’s not a huge concern of mine. We don’t have any great future starters at the moment, but we should have enough to get us by until the wave that’s currently in High Desert/Clinton is ready to break. The real question for me is how many of them we would need to use to get by next season, as 2010 has regularly been the big flashing red warning light for me.

    As Dave said, we may not have an all-star in that group, but the odds are that one or two could pitch around the middle of the rotation, three or four, and not really embarrass themselves. That’s good for us two years or so down the road, but the short-term could be, uh, interesting. Hooray for defense?

  11. Jay Yencich on July 13th, 2009 12:35 pm

    Just to throw an asterisk on that, Parker/Munoz/Pena are all quite unlikely to contribute given 2009 performances. But hey, live arms.

    I wish Orta was capable of starting.

  12. JH on July 13th, 2009 1:11 pm

    Where does Luke Burnett fit into that group of potential back-end starters? Seems like he’s got a good arm (big-$ bonus for a late-round pick), keeps the ball on the ground, and can miss a bat or two (but not more than 1/inning so far).

  13. Jay Yencich on July 13th, 2009 1:33 pm

    Where does Luke Burnett fit into that group of potential back-end starters? Seems like he’s got a good arm (big-$ bonus for a late-round pick), keeps the ball on the ground, and can miss a bat or two (but not more than 1/inning so far).

    He also seems to walk every fourth batter and hit every tenth. Interesting arm, huge guy, basically a sideshow attraction at this point. I’m crossing my fingers that he’s going to still be healthy and in Everett come the end of August because I want to catch one of his starts from behind home plate with a giant tub of popcorn.

  14. Dave on July 13th, 2009 1:35 pm

    Burnett will be a lot more interesting if he starts throwing 92-94 again. Right now, he’s 87-90.

  15. Jay Yencich on July 13th, 2009 1:42 pm

    From the sounds of it, he hasn’t improved much since he was drafted then, which was the risk. I think the earlier predictions of him being a reliever may end up accurate, but first they need to teach him how to pitch.

  16. TomG on July 13th, 2009 1:55 pm

    Think any of his control problems are due to lingering effects from his shoulder problems in college? Like Dave pointed out, his velocity has yet to come around.

  17. Vital on July 13th, 2009 2:10 pm

    I was wondering if you know anything about a guy named Erasmo Ramirez on the VSL Mariners roster. His numbers look good. A strikeout an inning and doesn’t give up walks.

  18. marc w on July 13th, 2009 2:19 pm

    Re: “could we reasonably expect any of those guys to step into the rotation next season and provide a handful of capable starts like Vargas has provided?”

    Yes, I think so. I think I’m still taken aback at how capable Vargas has been. He missed all of ’08, and frankly didn’t look good at all when I saw him in Tacoma. It’s just not that high a bar.
    To be fair, Vargas has pitched as well as could be expected for a back-of-the-rotation fill-in guy, and that’s been valuable. But if the question is, can anyone in the M’s system fill in for an injured #5 in 2010 or 2011, then the answer is definitely yes.

  19. homi on July 13th, 2009 2:30 pm

    Jay, love the report dude.

    Speaking of Starting Pitchers what the heck happened to Gaby Hernandez. I’ve seen his line of 3-7 with an Era 5.64 WHIP 1.51 in 81.1 IP BB/K 27/58 … What is going on wasn’t this guy at one time suppose to be some sort of prospect and do you seem him working out his issues?

    From what i was told he has a plus curve ball and average change to go along with a fastball that has some movement and sits around 94 … Seems like a guy with the tools … or did i just get bad info?

  20. Jay Yencich on July 13th, 2009 2:36 pm

    Not bad info. Outdated perhaps.

    The curveball was good for one season and then never again, the change stopped making progress, and the fastball is now merely average. He never really had the head for it either, which is something that I tend to grade rather harshly.

    We have him, he’s on the 40-man for some reason, I’ve never been interested in him, and he’s injured now. A brief history of Gaby Hernandez’ time as a Seattle Mariner.

  21. Lonnie on July 14th, 2009 2:11 am

    Carraway has been on my radar ever since his second appearance or so. He seems to me to be in the same mold as Cheyne Hann, and both of them are a lite-version of Shawn Kelley, but could be effective arms in the bullpen.


  22. hans on July 14th, 2009 10:41 am

    No potential front-line starters at all? Have we really given up on Aumont yet?

    Can’t we hold on to some glimmer of hope that he will be able to transition back into starting?

  23. Jay Yencich on July 14th, 2009 11:52 am

    No potential front-line starters at all? Have we really given up on Aumont yet?

    Can’t we hold on to some glimmer of hope that he will be able to transition back into starting?

    We can, but mechanically he’s not exactly sound, he had arm trouble while starting last season, and if you had some difficulty figuring how Morrow could be expected to throw ~200 innings with the limitations of his college experience, you’re going to have a hell of a time with our boy Phillippe.

    Carraway has been on my radar ever since his second appearance or so. He seems to me to be in the same mold as Cheyne Hann, and both of them are a lite-version of Shawn Kelley, but could be effective arms in the bullpen

    That sounds about fair. Kelley, however, benefited from the “push them ’til they fail” philosophy implemented by Bavasi and co., where Hann and a few others have just been languishing about. Hensley is the big one that we got, with Moore as a close second, but otherwise the new administration has not been too keen on promotions yet. I’m on the books as wanting to see Hann/Flores and others move up, but we’ll see how they actually play it.

  24. decatur7 on July 14th, 2009 3:44 pm

    I thought most scouts considered Ramirez to have a #2-#1 starter ceiling and Pineda to have one almost as high – has this been knocked down because of Ramirez’s inconsistency and Pineda’s injuries or am I overestimating the general pre-season consensus about these two?

  25. Jay Yencich on July 15th, 2009 9:45 am

    I thought most scouts considered Ramirez to have a #2-#1 starter ceiling and Pineda to have one almost as high – has this been knocked down because of Ramirez’s inconsistency and Pineda’s injuries or am I overestimating the general pre-season consensus about these two?

    I’ve personally been late on the Ramirez bandwagon. Everyone was telling me he was putting it together last season, which it really ended up looking like, but he’s been terribly inconsistent this year. He’s gone through long stretches of giving up too many hits, not striking out anyone, having his command go all wonky on him, etc. This week, I think, was the first time when everything, and I mean everything, was working for him, but previous inconsistencies make me not want to get too excited too soon. I’ve heard, and probably made Rafael Soriano comps now and then, but although he has been pitching for longer, presumably, he’s still raw as heck and that makes me more conservative in how I look at him. On talent, he could be a #2, on present ability and what he’s put together so far, he’s a #3 or #4.

    re: Pineda, yeah, he drops a bit due to the injuries. However, I heard an interview with Dave Wallace yesterday on the Lumberblog where he said that Pineda deserves to be right there in the discussion with the best arms of the system and he added that Pineda is throwing in Peoria right now, which runs contrary to what I had previously heard. Pineda doesn’t have as much raw ability, but he’s a hell of a lot more polished in general. I’m a little concerned that his delivery may have been what gave him trouble earlier and his breaking pitch isn’t as good as his change, but otherwise he throws good heat with plus command and knows how to use a change.

  26. DMZ on July 15th, 2009 10:01 am

    Polished as in making the lower-minors guys chase a lot? I always worry that that skill set won’t do well against better competition.

  27. Jay Yencich on July 15th, 2009 10:31 am

    Polished as in he commands his fastball better and has a good understanding of his change-up and pitching in general.

    If that were all there was to it (getting guys to chase), then Craig Anderson would have been the best pitcher in the system at one point because he destroyed hitters who couldn’t recognize a change-up. Except that his skillset otherwise sucked and he hit the wall in double-A.

    Pineda is probably closer to putting it all together than Ramirez, but the reason we talk about him is because his stuff is actually pretty good for being a command-based pitcher.

  28. DMZ on July 15th, 2009 10:53 am

    Totally, totally, that’s exactly what I was thinking about. Thanks.

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