Minor League Wrap (7/20-26/09)

Jay Yencich · July 27, 2009 at 6:05 am · Filed Under Mariners 

After the poor showing over the weekend with Cleveland in town, perhaps we’ll be focusing more on the future in the coming weeks. Of course, the last time I was saying something like that, it was May, and things got better from there, but May also didn’t have the Angels going on eight-game winning streaks.

To the jump!

International Updates:
This is basically a repost from last week, but here goes.

In addition to their big signing of lefty outfielder Guillermo Pimentel out of the Dominican, the Mariners have been active in Venezuela again, where they have a reputation of being the best in the business. The big signing was Alexis Parma/Alexy Palma, who fits in the Halman/Almonte mold of being rather big, fast, and a hard-thrower, but lacking the baseball skills to do much more than hit for power. He’s probably the second-highest dollar signing we’ll see this period (I’m guessing Choi and Kim are third and fourth).

In addition to that, we signed pitchers Julian Alvarado and Daniel [Alejandro Romero] Mata and third baseman Andres Brito [Miguel Fernandez]. The non-bracketed parts are what I’ve seen the names reported as most often. Mata is the one I know the most about, as he’s 6’3, has a 7/3/1993 DOB, and throws in the high-80s. Alvarado is supposedly the better one, but aside from him also being 6’3, I haven’t heard much. Brito, the third or fourth biggest hitter signing of the year for us, was supposed to be well-regarded on the Venezuelan market and he’s another guy who they think will hit for power. On these three, the Mariners spent about a million total, so they’re all six-figure signings. Parma and Mata had experience on the national teams too.

Just because they were fairly high dollar signings, don’t expect them in the U.S. right away. Some of the lower end ones still spend a couple of years in one of the summer leagues.

Tacoma Rainiers (4-3 this week, 49-52 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 20th 2009
Sacramento 4 (OAK + 23), Tacoma 2
W: Simmons (5-5, 5.27); L: Vargas, J (1-2, 2.93); SV: Rodriguez, H (2)

Tuesday, July 21st 2009
Sacramento 11 (OAK + 23), Tacoma 7
W: Eveland (8-2, 4.14); L: Shell (2-3, 7.22)

Wednesday, July 22nd 2009
Sacramento 1 (OAK + 22), Tacoma 11
W: Fister (6-2, 3.87); L: Williams, J (1-4, 7.28)

Thursday, July 23rd 2009
Sacramento 11 (OAK + 23), Tacoma 6
W: Reineke (5-3, 4.50); L: Hernandez, G (3-8, 6.32)

Friday, July 24th 2009
Las Vegas 4 (TOR – 6), Tacoma 8
W: Thomas, J (1-4, 4.68); L: Purcey (4-4, 4.48)

Saturday, July 25th 2009
Las Vegas 1 (TOR – 7), Tacoma 2
W: Seddon (6-5, 4.36); L: Richmond (0-1, 1.69); SV: Messenger (20)

Sunday, July 26th 2009
Las Vegas 9 (TOR – 8), Tacoma 14
W: Shell (3-3, 6.98); L: Romero, Da (1-3, 6.38); SV: Thomas, J (6)

Hitter of the Week:
DH Jeff Clement, L/R, 8/21/1983
7 G, 28 AB, 10 H, 6 2B, HR, 8 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .357/~.400/.679

Saunders, who was 7-for-21 this week was disqualified for obvious reasons. Of course, this is good news for the Mariners in 2010, but raises an interesting problem. It seems that the Mariners are getting too left-handed. A team that two years ago only had Ichiro and Ibanez (and technically Broussard) as the only southpaws in the batting order is now getting too left-handed. Huh. That doesn’t bode well for Clement, who hit four doubles in a game earlier in the week and would otherwise be a great candidate for a call-up, except that he still lacks a position. Sure, he’s getting some reps at first, but he hasn’t been behind the plate in months now, and with how Moore has been doing, he might not be getting the chance any time soon.

Not Left-Handed Enough Mention:
3B Matt Tuiasosopo, R/R, 5/10/1986
6 G, 24 AB, 9 H, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 6/3 K/BB, .375/~.444/.542

Too Left-Handed (And Not Enough Playing Time) Mention:
1B/OF Brad Nelson, L/R, 12/23/1982
5 G, 9 AB, 3 R, 5 H, 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 1/4 K/BB, .555/~.692/1.667

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Justin Thomas, 1/18/1984
1-0, 4 G, S, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, 2 H, 9/2 K/BB, 3/6 G/F, WP

There was a dearth of strikeouts this week from the better pitchers (see below with Fister), but how about this Justin Thomas guy? One might see weeks like this one and wonder why he isn’t in the Mariners bullpen. Well, his command isn’t usually this good. For the year, he’s running a pitiful 39/31 K/BB in 44.2 innings, but this month it’s cleaned up to 14/6, and consequently, he’s only allowed a single run this month. That his average against was cut in half compared to May and June probably helped some of that too. He’s an easy September call-up if he keeps it up.

Missing: Strikeouts Mention:
RHP Doug Fister, 2/4/1984
1-0, G, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2/1 K/BB, 6/9 G/F

From The Training Room:
Mike Wilson looks to be replacing Saunders on the roster and Josh Wilson (no relation) will be joining soon. Hall, Downs, Wells, and Monzon are all still on the DL. Alex Cintron is now with the Rainiers.

Strange Happenings:
Morrow starting falls under the heading of strange, right? He gave up two runs (one earned) in his start this week, but he had six hits allowed and a 5/4 K/BB in four and two-thirds innings.

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (0-5 this week, 16-14 in the second half, 43-57 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 20th 2009
Off day

Tuesday, July 21st 2009
Rain out

Wednesday, July 22nd 2009
Jacksonville 8 (FLA + 6), West Tenn 7 (seven innings)
W: Stone (3-1, 2.11); L: Fields, J (2-2, 5.72); SV: Peterson, M (22)

Jacksonville 4 (+ 7), West Tenn 3 (eight innings)
W: Voss (2-0, 2.63); L: Christensen (0-5, 4.52); SV: Peterson, M (22)

Thursday, July 23rd 2009
Jacksonville 6 (FLA + 8), West Tenn 4 (eight innings)
W: West (5-3, 4.92); L: Cortes (0-2, 9.64); SV: Olenberger (2)

Friday, July 24th 2009
Jacksonville 6 (FLA + 9), West Tenn 3
W: Martinez, Cr (8-3, 2.83); L: Bray (2-6, 3.61); SV: Peterson, M (23)

Saturday, July 25th 2009
Jacksonville 7 (FLA + 10), West Tenn 5
W: Stone (4-1, 2.03); L: Varvao (2-2, 3.00)

Sunday, July 26th 2009
Off day

Hitter of the Week:
1B/OF Johan Limonta, L/L, 8/4/1983
4 G, 14 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 1/2 K/BB, .429/~.500/.786

Even though the D-Jaxx didn’t win anything this week and lost a number of heartbreakers (both pitchers below did well enough to win), I can find something positive to take out of this week as it offers me a rare opportunity to look like I was brilliant. I argued that Limonta was going to have a pretty good month, that June was a deceptively bad month for him given his eye numbers (12/10 K/BB this month, 12/11 in June, compared to 30/14 his first two months). And wouldn’t you know it? He’s hitting .317/.413/.587 in July, recovering his power stroke and clubbing four dingers. He’s still a marginal player, a competent backup at first or in corner outfield positions who can really put the sting on right-handers (.900 OPS overall, including his bad months), but that’s a nice player to have around now and then. I would bet that he’s a better outfielder than LaHair, it’s just a matter of getting his hitting to show up every week.

Not a Former Brewer Mention:
IF Travis Garcia, R/R, 4/18/1982
5 G, 2 R, 15 AB, 6 H, 2 2B, RBI, 3/2 K/BB, .400/~.471/.533

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Nick Hill, 1/30/1985
0-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 8/2 K/BB, 6/4 G/F, WP

As far as results went, Hill and Munoz were nearly identical. The main difference was that Hill didn’t have that extra run score against him and also threw a wild pitch, and Hill retired the first twelve in order where Munoz topped out at eight. The reason I ultimately pick Hill should be obvious enough: he’s a southpaw, he’s younger, and he’s more consistent. It’s also to point out that, following this article, we shouldn’t have to worry that much about his service demands anymore, as a few months of stuffing envelopes over at West Point seems to have done the trick for the time being. After all, he’s on the cusp right now, and what better recruiting tool than to have this guy in the majors?

Nearly Twin Results Mention:
RHP Luis Munoz, 1/10/1982
0-0, GS, 3.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 8/2 K/BB, 5/5 G/F

From the Training Room:
Colt Morton went on the DL, having injured himself getting back to the bag on a pickoff attempt. That brought Flaming Bees Fleming Baez back to the Southern League.

They Said It:
“Some people have said that it almost gives them something to look forward to, reading about how I’m doing online,” he said. “My success is their success as well. It’s pretty neat in a way. I really feel like I am doing the right thing and I am having an impact.”
Nick Hill, on pitching while his classmates are in Iraq

High Desert Mavericks (5-2 this week, 17-14 in the second half, 61-40 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 20th 2009
High Desert 2, Rancho Cucamonga 12 (ANA – 1)
W: Brasier (4-1, 4.53); L: Wild (5-6, 3.65)

Tuesday, July 21st 2009
High Desert 7, Rancho Cucamonga 2 (ANA – 2)
W: Richard, S (6-1, 6.86); L: Carmona, I (0-5, 5.70)

Wednesday, July 22nd 2009
Flooded clubhouse

Thursday, July 23rd 2009
High Desert 9, Bakersfield 1 (TEX – 1) (seven innings)
W: Hensley (6-1, 3.82); L: Tatusko (3-5, 3.98)

High Desert 5, Bakersfield 1 (- 2) (seven innings)
W: Hume (11-5, 4.39); L: Hyatt (1-1, 7.52)

Friday, July 24th 2009
High Desert 1, Bakersfield 5 (TEX – 1)
W: Murphy, T (7-8, 7.10); L: Mortimore (2-3, 6.60)

Saturday, July 25th 2009
Lancaster 4 (HOU – 1), High Desert 7
W: Flores (1-0, 0.00); L: Wolf (2-5, 6.00)

Sunday, July 26th 2009
Lancaster 8 (HOU – 2), High Desert 9
W: Paredes (6-4, 4.67); L: Abad (2-4, 4.64); SV: Richard, S (8)

Hitter of the Week:
CF Tyson Gillies, L/R, 10/31/1988
7 G, 31 AB, 9 R, 17 H, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3/2 K/BB, 4 SB, .548/~.576/.742

In the past ten games, Gillies has only had one that didn’t have at least two hits. So it’s mostly singles. Whatever. He has a quarter of his season’s home run output in that span (the past two games, actually), and he seems to have learned how to put his speed to good use, as through that same ten game span he’s six for six on attempts. The only thing that’s been off for him of late has been walks. He’s 17/9 in his K/BB for this month, but was 18/17 in June and 11/13 in May. He still has one of the best rates in the system, walking every ninth time up or so. A leadoff man who can give you about 70-80 walks a season is pretty good.

Walked… Last Week Mention:
1B Joe Dunigan, L/L, 3/29/1986
6 G, 23 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 4 2B, HR, 10 RBI, 6/0 K/BB, .391/~.391/.696

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Donnie Hume, 8/29/1985
1-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, R, 11/3 K/BB, 2/5 G/F

After the doubleheader earlier in the week, Hensley will go down with an extra inning pitched and a “complete game”, but Hume, I find more interesting because he struck out nearly half the batters he faced. Like a lot of the mid-tier starters we have in the org, I feel like I talk about consistency quite a bit with Hume. On the 7th, he was chased after four and a third innings, having let eight runs score on nine hits and a walk. Following that, on the 12th, he let three runs score on five hits and a walk through seven and two-thirds innings, but only struck out one. You see where I’m going with this? They don’t have to worry about him going deep, as he usually gets to five or six, and they certainly don’t have to worry about his splits, which indicate that he’s about equal against both batters. They need to worry about getting the same pitcher to show up on the mound two starts in a row.

Complete Game in the DH Mention:
RHP Steven Hensley, 12/27/1986
1-0, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 5 H, R, 6/1 K/BB, 4/11 G/F

From the Training Room:
RHP Ruben Flores got his well-deserved promotion to the Cal League, where he hasn’t pitched since 2007. Diaz, Pineda, and Vega are still on the DL and that makes me sad.

Strange Happenings:
Liddi remembered to walk at home this week too, with another three on Saturday.

Clinton Lumberkings (3-2 this week, 12-16 in the second half, 52-46 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 20th 2009
Peoria 0 (CHC – 4), Clinton 6
W: LaFromboise (6-5, 3.84); L: Shafer (7-6, 4.56); SV: Flores, R (18)

Tuesday, July 21st 2009
Off day

Wednesday, July 22nd 2009
South Bend 10 (ARI – 1), Clinton 2
W: Zepeda (2-2, 3.48); L: Pribanic (7-6, 3.44)

Thursday, July 23rd 2009
South Bend 3 (ARI – 2), Clinton 11
W: Kasparek (7-5, 2.49); L: Rodriguez, R (3-8, 5.10)

Friday, July 24th 2009
Oh no, Lightning!

Saturday, July 25th 2009
West Michigan 2 (DET + 7), Clinton 8
W: Venegas (4-4, 4.41); L: Villarreal (3-1, 1.39)

Sunday, July 26th 2009
West Michigan 4 (DET + 8), Clinton 2
W: Crosby (8-3, 2.92); L: LaFromboise (6-6, 3.88); SV: Stohr (14)

Hitter of the Week:
LF Jake Shaffer, L/L, 8/16/1987
5 G, 18 AB, 4 R, 9 H, 2B, 2 RBI, 2/0 K/BB, .500/~.500/.556

Not a great deal is expected of Shaffer, who was drafted in the 15th round and hit just .247/.314/.344 for Pulaski in thirty-one games last season, but the M’s liked something, well-enough to skip him over Everett and put him in Clinton to start the year. Lately, it’s been paying off, as he’s hit .333/.388/.472 for July, .400 in his last ten games, and the past week, well, you get that above. Of his twelve doubles, seven of them have come this month, but that highlights some of the problem as well. Only about 30% of his hits have gone for extra-bases this year, and as he’s often in left, that doesn’t work out very well. I see him as sort of a lesser McOwen, not quite enough bat for a corner, not enough wheels for center.

Not Walking This Week Mention:
CIF Nate Tenbrink, L/R, 12/21/1986
5 G, 21 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 1/0 K/BB, .286/~.286/.429

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Kenn Kasparek, 9/23/1985
1-0, GS, 2.70 ERA in 6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 7/1 K/BB, 5/7 G/F, HB

Given the run totals, this was an off game for him, but when you look at the log for the game, a different picture comes to light. Kasparek started out the seventh and gave up two hits, but when Matt Renfree came in to record the last out of the inning, he couldn’t quite do it. Renfree gave up three singles before he finally got the last man to pop out. Prior to that, Kasparek had been his usual self, and riding a streak of nine batters retired in a row. If a spot opens in High Desert, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see what he can do there.

Good Every Other Start Mention:
LHP Bobby LaFromboise, 6/25/1986
Monday: 1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP, 4 H, 6/2 K/BB, 1/13 G/F
Sunday: 0-1, GS, 4.50 in 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R (3 ER), 6/2 K/BB, 6/5 G/F, WP

From the Training Room:
An injury to regular DH Kris Sanchez brought in IF Jetsy Extrano from the Arizona League. Soon, many more will know this name. RHP Brandon Josselyn was promoted to fill the vacancy left by Flores.

Everett Aquasox (3-4 this week, 22-14 overall)

Monday, July 20th 2009
Everett 16, Spokane 10 (TEX – 8 )
W: Stanton (2-1, 5.17); L: O’ Campo (1-2, 9.17)

Tuesday, July 21st 2009
Everett 2, Spokane 8 (TEX – 7)
W: Ross (3-1, 2.29); L: Esquibel (0-1, 7.15)

Wednesday, July 22nd 2009
Everett 8, Spokane 3 (TEX – 8 )
W: Carraway (3-0, 1.42); L: Thompson (1-3, 5.52)

Thursday, July 23rd 2009
Tri-City 10 (COL + 9), Everett 3
W: Bennigson (3-2, 1.55); L: Burnett (1-2, 2.87)

Friday, July 24th 2009
Tri-City 8 (COL + 10), Everett 5
W: Brothers (1-0, 0.00); L: Kirkland (2-2, 3.95); SV: Ruiz (8)

Saturday, July 25th 2009
Tri-City 3 (COL + 11), Everett 1
W: Ballard (4-1, 1.88); L: Pullen (2-1, 2.51)

Sunday, July 26th 2009
Tri-City 5 (COL + 10), Everett 11
W: Esquibel (1-1, 5.71); L: Kuo (1-1, 6.27)

Hitter of the Week:
RF James Jones, L/L, 9/24/1988
7 G, 28 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 2B, HR, 6/4 K/BB, .357/~.438/.500

He ended up getting some strong competition from Martinez, Gebbers, and the 26-game safely reached streak by Fuentes, but really, it was probably going to be Jones all along. I think the M’s are looking pretty intelligent right now for taking him as an outfielder and not a pitcher. Not that his experience lobbing fastballs didn’t help him any, as he managed to gun down a runner in Stanton’s start on Saturday. The runner happened to be straying from first, thinking that he might be able to get a double. That was a bad idea. Jones has two assists in nine games since turning pro. Word is going to get out eventually, but let’s enjoy the reactions in the meantime. Also, MiLB.com, please start listing him batting and throwing lefty. Thanks.

Now, About Those Walks… Mention:
3B Mario Martinez, R/R, 11/13/1989
7 G, 34 AB, 3 R, 11 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 8 RBI, 9/0 K/BB, .324/~.324/.529

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Christian Staehely, 9/28/1985
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 5.2 IP, 6/3 K/BB, 4/6 G/F

It’s a shame because this week, the two starters who turned in dominant performances over the weekend had stinkers to open things. Stanton had a 8/2 K/BB and only three hits allowed on Saturday through seven innings, and on Monday, he had six runs score against him in five innings, compounded by three home runs. On Sunday, Esquibel held the Dust Devils to two earned runs, with six hits allowed and another 8/2 K/BB through six innings, and on Tuesday he had seven runs score against him in four and a third innings. Staehely gets the nod here because he’s among the best of the remainders. One of two Ivy Leaguers in the system (Princeton. Brandon Josselyn, a Yalie, is with Clinton), Staehely has run a 23/4 K/BB through 18.2 innings this year.

Welcome to the NWL Mention:
LHP Jonathan Hesketh, 6/3/1986
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 3.0 IP IP, H, 3/0 K/BB, 4/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
Nothing on the level of last week, but LHP Jonathan Hesketh got promoted from Peoria as RHP Phillip Roy went on the DL. I’ve also concluded that C Israel Nunez must be on the DL because there isn’t much reason for them to be carrying five catchers on the roster otherwise.

Strange Happenings:
Burnett’s wacky command finally caught up with him as a six walk, two wild pitch, hit batter performance helped lead to six runs scoring against him in five innings. Prior to that, you know, he had been in the top ten for ERA.

They Said It:
“I didn’t know that,” Jones said with a laugh when informed of the gaffe. “That’s kind of funny.”
RF James Jones, to the Everett Herald on hearing that an internal memo from the Mariners to the Aquasox had listed him as a pitcher, 7/23/09

Pulaski Mariners (6-1 this week, 15-17 overall)

Monday, July 20th 2009
Pulaski 6, Princeton 4 (TB + 2) (twelve innings)
W: Cloud (1-1, 6.39); L: Yates (0-1, 4.82)

Tuesday, July 21st 2009
Kingston 6 (NYM – 7), Pulaski 8
W: Ortiz, Ri (1-1, 4.38); L: Almonte, Y (0-1, 11.57); SV: Moran (1)

Wednesday, July 22nd 2009
Kingston 3 (NYM – 8), Pulaski 5
W: Tome (2-3, 7.43); L: Torres, Jh (0-2, 3.00); SV: Merry (1)

Thursday, July 23rd 2009
Kingston 7 (NYM – 8), Pulaski 9
W: Buckborough (2-0, 16.43); L: White, Jo (1-3, 7.97); SV: Valdez (2)

Friday, July 24th 2009
Bristol 5 (CHW – 5), Pulaski 6
W: Suda (1-1, 3.07); L: Serafin (4-1, 1.64); SV: Moran (2)

Saturday, July 25th 2009
Bristol 6 (CHW – 4), Pulaski 3
W: Upchurch (3-4, 5.40); L: Vasquez (2-1, 3.80); SV: Negus, P (1)

Sunday, July 26th 2009
Bristol 0 (CHW – 5), Pulaski 2
W: Maurer (2-1, 4.25); L: Rienzo (0-3, 5.91); SV: Valdez (3)

Player of the Week:
LF Dwight Britton, S/R, 7/17/1987
6 G, 24 AB, 5 R, 10 H, 3 HR, 8/0 K/BB, SB, CS, .417/~.417/.792

Want to know how deep our Latin American scouting can go? Britton was born on an island off the coast of Nicaragua which only has a population of a little over six thousand and an area of ten kilometers. How did they get baseball there? While the islands were a British protectorate for a little less than two and a half centuries, I’m guessing it was the 57-year usage of the island by the U.S., ending in 1971, that did that. Back to Britton… a fifth of his hits so far this year have left the yard, and a little over a third of his hits total have gone for extra-bases. This would all be great news, but he’s running a 35/6 K/BB for the season, and so his numbers, while neat, are probably not sustainable.

Not as Good as Last Week Mention:
SS Gabriel Noriega, S/R, 9/13/1990
6 G, 19 AB, 6 R, 7 H, 2 2B, RBI, 6/2 K/BB, SB, CS, .368/~.429/.474

Pitcher of Week:
RHP Brian Cloud, 12/2/1985
1-0, 3 G, 1.50 ERA in 6.2 IP, 3 H, R, 7/2 K/BB, 7/6 G/F, HB

I’m not getting any luck with the starting pitching performances this week. Pulaski was the same story as Everett, as Maurer has eight Ks and only three hits allowed on Sunday, but gave up five runs on eight hits against three Ks through four innings on Tuesday. Anthony Vasquez, who has recently entered the rotation, gave up five runs in four innings despite striking out eight on Saturday, but on Monday he was in line for a win for a while there, albeit with a less interesting performance. So I get Cloud, who pitched enough to cover roughly a start. He was a fifth-year senior signing out of Texas Tech, who relieved throughout his college career prior to this year, when he made four starts out of twenty-one appearances in an otherwise undistinguished season.

Brazilian Scouting Mention:
RHP Jean Tome, 9/5/1989
1-0, GS, 3.60 ERA in 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5/1 K/BB, 1/6 G/F, BK, HB

From the Training Room:
RHPs Kyle Witten and John Housey are both on the roster, after a stint in Peoria. Thus far, only Witten has appeared in a game. It looks like he’s replacing Nolan Diaz, who hasn’t pitched since the 15th. Housey may be replacing Leonardo Rodriguez, who was demoted to Peoria. Eric Thomas hasn’t pitched since June either, so I guess that explains the extra pitcher. LHP James Gilheeney, as predicted, is on the roster but hasn’t played yet.

Strange Happenings:
All four of the hits that the M’s had on Sunday were doubles. No one else even reached.

Dispatches from the Land of Rehabbers:

RHP Chad Cordero: GS, 0.00 ERA in 1.0 IP, H, 3/1 K/BB
OF Julio Morban: 6 G, 25 AB, 2 R, 5 H, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 9/1 K/BB, SB, CS, .200/~.231/.320
LHP Robert Rohrbaugh: G, 4.50 ERA in 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 6/0 K/BB

Former catcher Jonathan Arias and former infielder Ogui Diaz are both pitching now.


20 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (7/20-26/09)”

  1. BillH on July 27th, 2009 8:29 am

    It’s hard not to get excited about James Jones. He’s showing better plate discipline lately: first 6 games played – 8 K’s, last 3 games played – 0 K’s. He’ll be a fun guy to follow.

  2. Dave on July 27th, 2009 8:39 am

    The reports on Jones have been tremendous so far. It’s early, but that’s looking like a fantastic pick right now.

    Also, Jay mentioned Nick Hill again, but I’ll throw this out there – don’t be surprised if Hill is in Seattle before the end of the year. The M’s really like this kid, and unlike the rest of the LHPs in the organization, he throws strikes and gets groundballs. There’s a decent chance he’ll be among the M’s call-ups in September, and he might even get here before that.

  3. halibuthank on July 27th, 2009 8:42 am

    Really amazing coverage of the Mariner minor leagues. Absolutely amazing. It’s so interesting to watch the numbers of guys who do, and don’t, get the call-up. Whether it’s because of a position block in the majors, a fatal flaw in their game, or team politics, it’s fascinating to have a better view of that aspect of the game. Thanks.

  4. tgf on July 27th, 2009 9:04 am

    Re: Hill

    He has mostly been a reliever this year, but has made a couple of starts in a row. Did the Jaxx just need a couple of fill-in starts, or do the M’s see him as a starter now?

  5. Dave on July 27th, 2009 9:26 am

    They’re giving him a try as a starter again. His change-up has taken a step forward this year, and his reverse platoon split in relief suggested that he might be able to do more than be a reliever.

    So far, so good. With his sinking fastball, above average change, and an okay breaking ball, he’s got a starter’s repertoire.

  6. Mike Snow on July 27th, 2009 9:32 am

    But if he’s a starter, wouldn’t they want him to spend more time in the minors building stamina and nailing down his secondary pitches? Or is the rotation going to be shaky enough after trading Washburn that they’re willing to rush Hill?

  7. Jay Yencich on July 27th, 2009 10:02 am

    But if he’s a starter, wouldn’t they want him to spend more time in the minors building stamina and nailing down his secondary pitches? Or is the rotation going to be shaky enough after trading Washburn that they’re willing to rush Hill?

    Not necessarily so. In four seasons for West Point, three were over eighty innings pitched, and if you combine that with his debut season, he had a 119.2 innings pitched in 2007 and 102.1 innings pitched last year, when he had ten starts for the Mavericks. He’s dealt with a considerable workload before, his arm is fresh from not pitching much when he was over at West Point earlier in the year, and as Dave’s reports say, his stuff has improved in the past year.

    I’m getting to the point where I wouldn’t mind seeing what he can do in the rotation with the big club.

  8. Vital on July 27th, 2009 10:19 am

    Any word on Aumont? His MiLB page says he hasn’t pitched since July 8th.

  9. The Ancient Mariner on July 27th, 2009 10:31 am

    I’m starting to get really optimistic about Hill, too. It’s great to be able to enjoy a smart FO that’s good at their job, but it’s also good to have the reminder of the things that the last regime did well, too; the juxtaposition of Hill and Jones is helpful that way.

  10. Dave on July 27th, 2009 10:37 am

    Aumont had a death in the family.

  11. Mike Snow on July 27th, 2009 10:49 am

    Well, I guess I’m not sure what to make of Hill’s full history. He’s proven capable of dealing with a starter’s workload before, and I’d credit him as being less unproven in that regard than Morrow, who only had one full season in college, even without the diabetes issue. And I suppose college was recent enough for Hill, but with the way his development’s been handled I just locked into thinking of him as a reliever. Even granting that he’s made more progress on stuff and repertoire than expected, 10 starts at Class A and now a couple at AA is not much to show that those gains have been consolidated well enough to hold up at the highest level (at this point I basically discount college completely because I don’t know enough about the context).

    The positive comparison I’d be willing to consider with Hill is Rowland-Smith. He didn’t have much high-level starting experience either, and to all appearances seemed to be on the path for a bullpen career. Lacking the college background, you could even say he was less proven as a potential starter. But he had the repertoire and it didn’t actually take that long to manage the conversion. Still, I’m skeptical of taking an aggressive promotion strategy with Hill simultaneous with shifting him back to starting, I’d rather see them decoupled.

  12. homi on July 27th, 2009 11:27 am

    What is happening to Nathan Adcock? he seems like he has just been destroyed this season.

    Also do you see a promotion due for Brett Lorin who so far is having a nice year.

  13. rebuilder on July 27th, 2009 12:28 pm

    Jetsy Extrano was killing the AZL real interested to see what he does in Clinton at age 20 was kind of old for AZL but he missed a year in the VZL due to injury and surgery.

  14. Jay Yencich on July 27th, 2009 1:55 pm

    What is happening to Nathan Adcock? he seems like he has just been destroyed this season.

    His command has gone south on him. It’s probably in Tijuana by now getting all messed up on tequila. More seriously, check out his walk rates each month. It’s 2.02 in April, great, but then it’s 4.81 in May, 5.84 in June, and suddenly 8.68 in July. He’s lost his ability to induce groundballs the past two months and his line drive rates have more than doubled this month. Either he’s hurt, really lost all semblance of command, or is having some trouble between the ears.

    re: Lorin
    Yeah, I think that’s getting to be appropriate. I see his kind of pitcher as needing a bit of adversity, lest he get too cute with things.

  15. SonOfZavaras on July 27th, 2009 7:12 pm

    Jay, Dave-

    I was reading Jim Street’s blog (yeah, yeah I know….kills brain cells, scientifically proven, I don’t read him often but trade-deadline waiting doldrums knows no mercy), and he mentioned that the M’s had signed 31 of their 2009 draft picks, and had come to terms on three others- including 2nd-rounder Poythress.

    But I’m only aware- thanks to Baseball America- of 29 signees. Does Jim have the right count? Also, who else is in the fold? I’m guessing nobody of particular note, if any- else it would’ve been mentioned…but you never know when that 38th-round pick just explodes on arrival.

    Have you two heard anything along this way?

    To be polite, Jim Street has been known to mess up (on occasion) numbers like ages and batting averages, and years of accomplishments taking place…so any clarification you two could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    I am particularly interested in any news on Nelubowich, Blandford (who already has found his worst critic is our buddy, Jason Churchill), and Griggs.

    FWIW: I, too, am also in favor of promoting Lorin. I still think of him as having the most promise of all the arms we drafted in 2008.

  16. Jeff Nye on July 27th, 2009 7:15 pm

    I hope Poythress signing is true, I’m excited to watch him develop.

  17. lailaihei on July 27th, 2009 7:58 pm

    Suda stopped updating his blog and I haven’t been able to reach him by email…
    Anyway, his latest start is interesting. He doubled his walk total on the year and only struck out two… But also only gave up 3 hits as well as pitched 6 innings. I think at this point he is building up arm strength, which explains why he has more walks and less Ks in his longest appearance this season.

  18. Jay Yencich on July 27th, 2009 8:04 pm

    Yup, Street got this one early. Poythress signed earlier today. The plan is to get him five days worth of ABs in Peoria and then he catches a flight to Jackson and starts playing for West Tenn. Yowza.

    Nelubowich signed a letter of intent to play football for the Cougars and they’re pretty confident he’ll hold to it.

    No word on Blandford. Griggs is going to college.

  19. The Ancient Mariner on July 28th, 2009 10:41 am

    Jay, what do you figure is Poythress’ ETA?

  20. Jay Yencich on July 28th, 2009 11:30 am

    Mid to late 2011 sounds about right.

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