Minor League Wrap (7/27-8/2/09)

Jay Yencich · August 3, 2009 at 6:05 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

I don’t have much of an intro going as I spent most of Sunday at CitiField, about two hours of which was in rain delay. It was worth it for the field level tickets though, which a friend of mine scored. If you ever happen to be in that part of the country, I’d recommend giving it a look. It’s cheaper than Yankees Stadium, obviously, and plays better too, if you can get past the issue of planes taking off at LaGuardia every few minutes.

To the jump!

Now Pitching…:
The people love an interesting story, so back in the heyday of Rafael Soriano, I used to get asked off and on who would be the next guy to do that. At the time, the Mariners had also been credited with switching Jorge Sosa to the mound, which Tampa Bay ended up reaping the returns on. Now, mind you, the possibility of getting a Soriano-type arm that turns into a top prospect off of a generic all-arm, no-bat fielder is negligible, but they’ve maintained a certain level of intrigue because you just didn’t see them all that often.

That is, until this season. Discounting Chris Jakubauskas, Chris Kirkland, and Mauricio Robles, who were already pitchers before they got here, the year has seen an incredible influx of arms from fielders that could never hit. Here are some of them:

RHP/C Jonathan Arias:
As a Hitter: .210/.333/.280 career line in 271 AB
As a Pitcher: 5.40 ERA in 18.1 IP, 18 H, 14/6 K/BB

RHP/SS Ogui Diaz, 12/1/1985
As a Hitter: .225/.247/.290 career line in 1044 AB
As a Pitcher: 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3/2 K/BB

LHP/OF Eddy Hernandez, 8/4/1984
As a Hitter: .231/.288/.344 career line in 803 AB
As a Pitcher: 10.00 ERA in 27.0 IP, 38 H, 23/27 K/BB

RHP/IF Fray Martinez, 5/20/1989
As a Hitter: .139/.218/.194 career line in 108 AB
As a Pitcher: 5.70 ERA in 83.2 IP, 97 H, 89/40 K/BB

Arias is now back in the DSL, where Martinez started the year. He’s joined by three others who are also trying it, RHP/OF Rey Lebron, RHP/OF Augusto Marte, and RHP/IF Oliver Garcia. It’s basically spaghetti on the wall in a more abstract form, but if you didn’t have enough project players to stare at in idle moments, by all means… Just don’t expect much from any of them, as most of them have as much trouble with the strikezone as they did when they were hitters.

Tacoma Rainiers (2-6 this week, 51-58 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 27th 2009
Las Vegas 4 (TOR – 7), Tacoma 0
W: Castro, F (5-5, 4.42); L: Fister (6-3, 3.98)

Tuesday, July 28th 2009
Tacoma 3, Reno 5 (ARI + 4)
W: Etherton (9-6, 4.71); L: Hernandez, G (3-9, 6.32); SV: Marte, J (1)

Wednesday, July 29th 2009
Tacoma 4, Reno 11 (ARI + 5)
W: Ambriz (5-7, 5.53); L: Morrow (0-2, 8.56)

Thursday, July 30th 2009
Tacoma 9, Reno 1 (ARI + 4)
W: Seddon (7-5, 4.07); L: Blackley, T (2-6, 5.08); SV: Messenger (21)

Friday, July 31st 2009
Tacoma 0, Reno 8 (ARI + 5)
W: Buckner (6-3, 3.71); L: Manuel (0-1, 13.50)

Saturday, August 1st 2009
Fresno 6 (SF + 9), Tacoma 3
W: Palazzolo (3-3, 4.85); L: Fister (6-4, 3.88); SV: Romero, Fe (4)

Sunday, August 2nd 2009
Fresno 6 (SF + 8), Tacoma 10 (seven innings)
W: Hernandez, G (4-9, 6.27); L: Pucetas (10-3, 3.76)

Fresno 7 (+ 9), Tacoma 4 (seven innings)
W: Matos, O (3-1, 3.11); L: Delgado, J (2-3, 6.32); SV: Espineli (17)

Hitter of the Week:
1B Bryan LaHair, L/R, 11/05/1982
8 G, 28 AB, 14 H, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 7/3 K/BB, .500/~.548/.929

There wasn’t ever really any competition for this, as LaHair pretty much had it nailed down by going 11-for-12 from Tuesday through Thursday, pushing his home run totals over twenty for the year, becoming only the second player in the system to do that who wasn’t aided by High Desert (Halman, for all his faults, being the other one). Two of them came against right-handers, which he’s now slugging .647 against, but the third came versus former Mariner Travis Blackley, which you can take as you will. He’s still roughly half the hitter he is against righties when you put him up against a southpaw. LaHair might have a career as a platoon player somewhere if a team wanted to try it, but it’s not likely here.

Also Probably No Place with the M’s Mention:
CF Jerry Owens, L/L, 2/16/1981
6 G, 24 AB, 5 R, 7 H, 2 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 3/3 K/BB, .292/~.370/.583

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Andy Baldwin, 10/20/1982
0-0, 2 G (GS), 0.00 ERA in 6.2 IP, 5 H, 6/3 K/BB, 5/8 G/F

You may remember Baldwin from the Moyer trade, of which he is the only remaining piece as fellow right-hander Andrew Barb was plucked in the minor league Rule 5 by the Orioles. Baldwin continues to stick it out in the rotation most of the time, but his second season in the PCL has only seen some incremental improvements. Per nine innings, he’s shaved off a hit and a small part of a walk while adding half a K. Maybe a switch to the bullpen would allow him to have a Jon Huber-type role.

Younger and Left-Handed Mention:
LHP Chris Seddon, 10/13/1983
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4/1 K/BB, 7/7 G/F

From The Training Room:
With Robert Manuel coming over in the Balentien trade, Downs was sent down to West Tenn where he made a start. Shell also went on the DL after getting hit by a liner, with Wells coming off in the exchange. When Josh Wilson officially joined the team, Callix Crabbe went to West Tenn.

Strange Happenings:
Your two hitters of the week, LaHair and Owens, tripled in the same game. You can expect that out of Owens, but not so much LaHair, who only has six for his career.

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (2-4 this week, 18-18 in the second half, 45-61 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 27th 2009
Rain out

Tuesday, July 28th 2009
West Tenn 1, Mississippi 4 (ATL – 1) (seven innings)
W: Ortegano (1-0, 1.29); L: Munoz, L (4-5, 4.48)

West Tenn 0, Mississippi 1 (0) (seven innings)
W: Butts (5-2, 3.06); L: Orta (3-2, 2.13)

Wednesday, July 29th 2009
West Tenn 8, Mississippi 7 (ATL – 1) (ten innings)
W: Varvaro (3-2, 2.77); L: Dumesnil (1-7, 4.41)

Thursday, July 30th 2009
West Tenn 3, Mississippi 0 (ATL – 2)
W: Bray (3-6, 3.32); L: Reynoso (6-6, 3.21); SV: Aumont (3)

Friday, July 31st 2009
West Tenn 4, Mississippi 5 (ATL – 1) (ten innings)
W: Kimbrel (1-0, 0.00); L: Newby (0-1, 3.60)

Saturday, August 1st 2009
Rain out

Sunday, August 2nd 2009
West Tenn 2, Chattanooga 6 (LA+ 4 )
W: Castillo, J (7-7, 4.64); L: Munoz, L (4-6, 4.48)

Hitter of the Week:
3B Matt Mangini, L/R, 12/21/1985
5 G, 20 AB, R, 8 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 4/1 K/BB, .400/~.429/.600

The good news for anyone who’s still a fan of Mangini is that he now has as many home runs as he did last season with some thirty-odd games left. The bad news is that the number of home runs he has is eight. Mangini’s power swing never quite materialized, and for his career he’s only had a quarter of his hits go for extra-bases. That’s not good at all, but there are a few reasons for hope. His disastrous half-season in West Tenn last year is being forgotten as he’s bumped up his OPS .241 from that campaign, and his eye has taken a step forward, from 116/35 in 121 games last season to 69/31 now. He’s probably not going to hit enough to make it, so I would instead direct your attention to other 3B above and below him.

Walking, But… Mention:
CF Gregory Halman, R/R, 8/26/1987
6 G, 21 AB, 8 H, 2 RBI, 7/4 K/BB, SB, .381/~.480/.381

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Steve Bray, 12/22/1980
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 8.0 IP, 3 H, 5/1 K/BB, 5/14 G/F

Bray has a particular recipe for success with the D-Jaxx. He gets flyballs. It’s true that he strikes out some guys now and then, like he did this week, but for the season he has a 0.38 ratio for grounders to flies. With Carrera, Halman, Stocker, Johnson, and Limonta all making rounds in the outfield, that might not be so bad an idea. He retired eleven in a row from the second to the fifth and six of those were flies, while three of the remainder were Ks.

Getting Settled Mention:
RHP Dan Cortes, 3/4/1987
0-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, 6/2 K/BB, 8/4 G/F, WP

From the Training Room:
Downs is in, as I noted earlier, and he’ll be replacing Parker in the rotation. With Pena already out, that makes the rotation look rather ugly, but Rohrbaugh is due back any time now. Carrera finally came off the DL, which is great, though it sent Brent Johnson to High Desert, which I guess is his fate as an org guy who has been having an awful year. POYTHRESS WILL BE UP SOON.

High Desert Mavericks (4-3 this week, 21-17 in the second half, 65-43 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 27th 2009
Lancaster 8 (HOU – 2), High Desert 9
W: Jensen (2-1, 4.00); L: Powell (4-2, 3.50); SV: Paredes (3)

Tuesday, July 28th 2009
High Desert 8, Lancaster 7 (HOU – 3)
W: Hume (12-5, 4.58); L: Hicks (8-7, 5.50); SV: Richard, S (9)

Wednesday, July 29th 2009
High Desert 7, Lancaster 10 (HOU – 2)
W: Hudspeth (3-3, 5.30); L: Hensley (6-2, 4.25); SV: Abad (3)

Thursday, July 30th 2009
High Desert 0, Lancaster 9 (HOU – 1)
W: Wolf (3-5, 5.52); L: Mortimore (2-4, 7.29); SV: Tilghman (3)

Friday, July 31st 2009
Lake Elsinore 2 (SD – 2), High Desert 3
W: Paredes (7-4, 4.68); L: Hinson (0-1, 4.97)

Saturday, August 1st 2009
Lake Elsinore 17 (SD – 1), High Desert 7
W: Hefner (11-7, 4.01); L: Ramirez, J (6-7, 5.09)

Sunday, August 2nd 2009
Lake Elsinore 2 (SD – 2), High Desert 10
W: Hume (13-5, 4.46); L: Schmidt (2-5, 7.11)

Hitter of the Week:
2B Jeff Dominguez, S/R, 7/31/1986
6 G, 23 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 6/0 K/BB, .391/~.391/.913

Jeff Dominguez: power hitter. The same Dominguez who has a career high in home runs of five coming into the season, the same Dominguez who only recently hit double digits for his career, had three dingers in the past week. Series split between Lancaster and High Desert do strange things to a man. I’m not inclined to think much of a hitter whose career OPS hovers just above .600 despite playing two season in the California League, so I’ll call this a career week. There haven’t been any major advances in his peripherals, so that’s really all it is.

Small Sample Mention:
C Jose Yepez, R/R, 6/19/1981
4 G, 13 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 2 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 1/1 K/BB, .462/~.500/.846

Long Hitting Streak Mention:
CF Tyson Gillies, L/R, 10/31/1988
6 G, 22 AB, 9 H, 3 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 3/1 K/BB, 3 SB, .409/~.435/.636

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Jake Wild, 8/18/1984
0-0, GS, 2.25 ERA in 8.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 7/1 K/BB, 1/16 G/F

Expectations can be set low for the pitchers this week, as they spent the entirety of it shuttling back and forth between Lancaster and Adelanto. Wild was one of the few “survivors”, so to speak, bumping up his improving K/BB and closing out July at a 37/5 mark in 38.0 innings. One of the other things that interests me about him is that , despite giving up more than enough flyballs to make everyone uncomfortable, his home numbers are better in every facet than on the road. His average against is lower (.274 to .302), his command is better (30/13 in 60.0 innings to 64/11 in 42.1 innings), and he doesn’t give up as many home runs in Mavericks Stadium either (one to four). I don’t get it either.

Bullpen Savior Mention:
RHP Stephen Penney, 8/14/1986
0-0, 2 G (GS), 1.98 ERA in 9.1 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 5/1 K/BB, 16/6 G/F, 2 WP, HB

From the Training Room:
Robles is in, obviously, but he’s being used as a reliever at the moment. I think he’ll probably start in the near future. Johnson entering sent Colina to Everett on paper, but we’ll see if he shows up there for real.

Strange Happenings:
Liddi ran a 5/5 K/BB for the week and had a few innings played at short. Yepez played at third in the same game. Bladergroen hit three home runs this week. It’s been a strange trip.

Clinton Lumberkings (4-3 this week, 16-19 in the second half, 56-49 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 27th 2009
West Michigan 2 (DET + 7), Clinton 3
W: Nation (2-3, 2.93); L: Conn (3-3, 3.48); SV: Hann (5)

Tuesday, July 28th 2009
Clinton 2, Lansing 3 (TOR – 6)
W: Moody, H (1-2, 2.90); L: Josselyn (0-1, 3.38); SV: Daly (18)

Wednesday, July 29th 2009
Clinton 7, Lansing 5 (TOR – 7)
W: Moorer (3-1, 3.05); L: Lirette (3-2, 4.25); SV: Hann (6)

Thursday, July 30th 2009
Clinton 5, Lansing 3 (TOR – 8 )
W: Nation (3-3, 3.23); L: Beck (4-5, 5.23); SV: Hann (7)

Friday, July 31st 2009
Clinton 3, Great Lakes 4 (LA + 2)
W: Pratt (2-4, 5.01); L: Renfree (2-1, 2.11)

Saturday, August 1st 2009
Clinton 5, Great Lakes 2 (LA + 1)
W: Vasquez (1-0, 1.59); L: Martin, E (4-6, 4.17); SV: Hann (8)

Sunday, August 2nd 2009
Clinton 3, Great Lakes 4 (LA + 2)
W: St. Clair (4-1, 3.42); L: Nation (3-4, 3.36)

Hitter of the Week:
C Blake Ochoa, R/R, 9/5/1985
5 G, 18 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2/2 K/BB, .444/~.500/.778

I had Ochoa as hitter of the week a short while ago and thought it was a nice gesture, recognizing a week of achievements in what hasn’t been a particularly interesting minor league career as of yet. I might be off in that assumption. Ochoa is actually several months younger than the other Clinton catcher, and while he’s taken a while to develop, he hit .300/.408/.500 in fifteen games in June and now .359/.391/.516 in eighteen games in July. There may be more there. Depth is just depth most of the time, but it can turn into something more now and then.

Professional [Singles] Hitter Mention:
2B Luis Nunez, R/R, 12/31/1986
5 G, 24 AB, 2 R, 9 H, 2 RBI, 4/1 K/BB, .375/~.400/.375

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Derrick Saito, 12/26/1987
0-0, 2 G (GS), 0.00 ERA in 6.2 IP, 3 H, 8/2 K/BB, 9/3 G/F, 2 WP, HB

I’m pretty sure I mentioned it at the time the trade went down, but how about that paradigm shift in the new org targeting a pitcher that’s a good foot shorter than the kind of guys they used to love to pick in the draft? That’s a bit of an exaggeration; Saito is only 5’9, though he manages to get an awful lot of grounders. His early returns in his new org have been so promising they threw him in the rotation when they got caught short (no pun intended, honest) in the Pittsburgh trade. Pitching coach Lance Painter highlighted Saito’s ability to move the ball back and forth and to throw four pitches for strikes as a reason for starting him. I wouldn’t mind seeing him up there more often.

Taller Lefty Mention:
LHP Bobby LaFromboise, 6/25/1986
0-0, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 6 H, R, 5/0 K/BB, 5/9 G/F

From the Training Room:
The Lumberkings re-stocked the rotation by stealing Carraway and Vasquez from Everett, while sending Moorer to Everett to start and bringing in Moran from Pulaski to fit in the bullpen. Kris Sanchez came off the DL as Venegas went on it, lasing only an inning and a third in his previous start.

Everett Aquasox (3-3 this week, 25-17 overall)

Monday, July 27th 2009
Tri-City 4 (COL + 9), Everett 11
W: Carraway (4-0, 1.44); L: McAtee (0-3, 10.13); SV: Rios (1)

Tuesday, July 28th 2009
Everett 11, Yakima 9 (ARI – 13)
W: Staehely (2-1, 3.80); L: Rodriguez, P (1-3, 3.60); SV: Cooper (7)

Wednesday, July 29th 2009
Everett 4, Yakima 6 (ARI – 12)
W: Harvil (2-1, 4.11); L: Kirkland (2-3, 4.47); SV: Budrow (3)

Thursday, July 30th 2009
Everett 1, Yakima 5 (ARI – 11)
W: Taylor, D (2-1, 7.06); L: Stanton (2-2, 4.26)

Friday, July 31st 2009
Everett 3, Yakima 4 (ARI – 10)
W: Budrow (1-2, 3.00); L: Cooper (0-1, 4.30)

Saturday, August 1st 2009
Everett 11, Yakima 6 (ARI – 11)
W: Staehely (3-1, 3.47); L: Dollar (0-2, 4.19)

Sunday, August 2nd 2009
Off day

Hitter of the Week:
1B Gerardo Avila, L/L, 7/15/1986
5 G, 21 AB, 7 R, 9 H, 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3/1 K/BB, .429/~.455/.761

I’m taking a few liberties this week for the sake of highlighting Avila, whom I’ve liked as a sleeper forever, not that I see this as him “waking up”, so to speak. He’s played in the states since 2006, but never got more than 55 games in after his first crack at it. He’s started seasons in the Midwest League and played as high as the Cal League, but injuries, a sprained ankle and a torn ACL, have hindered him. Why am I interested in him? In 2007, he played in the Venezuelan Winter League, which grades out roughly between advanced and double-A and hit .292/.330/.490 in 96 at-bats when he should have been in way over his head. It’s enough to attract some interest, but again, at this point, it’s likely that he’ll never be anything more than an org player who eventually gets a shot in the high minors.

Not Going Away Mention:
LF Ryan Royster, L/L, 10/13/1985
5 G, 22 AB, 7 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3/3 K/BB, .409/~.480/.773

Proving Critics Wrong Mention:
3B Mario Martinez, R/R, 11/13/1989
6 G, 26 AB, 6 R, 9 H, 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .346/~.393/.577

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Andrew Carraway, 9/4/1986
1-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H (2 HR), 4 R (ER), 7/1 K/BB, 5/6 G/F, HB

Yeah, I don’t really have any qualms about highlighting a guy who was promoted out of the league mid-week. Carraway had a bit of a dinger problem this week, which is understandable if you’ve spent some time in Everett Memorial (and if not, you should spend more time there). I can understand that, and would prefer to look at him only allowing three hits and running a pretty impressive control ratio. The home runs may be something to watch, as he had four in 25.0 IP during his stay in the NWL, so the responses once he gets up to High Desert might be rather unpleasant.

Mexican Scouting Mention:
LHP Jose Rios, 3/2/1990
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2/1 K/BB, 5/4 G/F, HB

From the Training Room:
The website isn’t updating much, but we should get word from the Everett Herald pretty soon what they plan on doing with the rotation and who is coming off the DL or what have you. Taylor Lewis was transferred to Pulaski, according to the roster, so I know that much.

Strange Happenings:
Fuentes’ safely reached streak ended at twenty-eight games and he’s become so despondent that he hasn’t hit since.

Pulaski Mariners (1-3 this week, 16-20 overall)

Monday, July 27th 2009
Bristol 1 (CHW – 6), Pulaski 3
W: Housey (1-0, 1.42); L: Delk, C (2-4, 6.10); SV: Merry (2)

Tuesday, July 28th 2009

Wednesday, July 29th 2009
And rain again

Thursday, July 30th 2009
Still raining

Friday, July 31st 2009
Completely underwater now

Saturday, August 1st 2009
Princeton 5 (TB + 8), Pulaski 3 (seven innings)
W: Dettrich (3-2, 3.18); L: Maurer (2-2, 4.19); SV: Shuman (2)

Princeton 13 (+ 9), Pulaski 7 (seven innings)
W: Mavares (2-0, 3.13); L: Chang (0-4, 6.07)

Sunday, August 2nd 2009
Princeton 5 (TB + 10), Pulaski 4
W: Callender (3-1, 2.84); L: Merry (1-1, 2.61); SV: De La Rosa, J (2)

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP John Housey, 6/4/1988
1-0, 2 GS, 1.54 ERA in 11.2 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 10/6 K/BB, 14/10 G/F

Four days of rainouts left the M’s with only three starters used for the week. There are more interesting guys in the rotation, but Housey earned it by a little more than just default this week. A thirty-sixth round draft pick, Housey comes from baseball bloodlines. his dad is a scout and his brother plays for the Oregon program, but he hasn’t quite gotten the skills down yet, as you can see in the K/BB. Lack of playing time has been a part of that, as he’s been injured off and on and didn’t crack 30 innings any of his years at Miami. Don’t count him as a sleeper yet, as there are a number of picks around those rounds with similar sounding profiles.

The Other Decent Starter Mention:
RHP Brandon Maurer, 7/3/1990
0-1, GS (CG), 3.86 ERA in 7.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R (3 ER), 4/1 K/BB, 12/4 G/F

Hitter of the Week:
2B Cesar Fuentes, R/R, 4/12/1987
3 G, 11 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4/0 K/BB, .272/~.272/.909

At least Housey gave me a sample to work with. Four, or three games in Fuentes’ case is somewhat comical to be trying to scrutinize, but I suppose I’ve done worse haven’t I? Fuentes doubled his season home run total in the past two games and tied his high for last season. That’s a nice personal achievement. I’m not so enthused because with something like this I’m not willing to consider it to be much more than background noise. I know we’d all love to have a hitting second baseman and Triunfel isn’t doing it for us at the moment, but really, just go to the Clinton page and admire Seager’s stats for a little while.

Other Small Sample Mention:
3B Vinnie Catricala, R/R, 10/31/1988
4 G, 14 AB, 3 R, 4 H, 2B, 3 RBI, 0/1 K/BB, .286/~.333/.357

From the Training Room:
Gilheeney might be up any time, as could 26th-rounder RHP Chris Source. Lewis is also on the roster, as seen with Everett. No hitter movements that I see.

Dispatches from the Land of Rehabbers:

RHP Chad Cordero: GS, 0.00 ERA in 1.0 IP
OF Julio Morban: 3 G, 8 AB, 3 R, 3 H, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2/1 K/BB, CS, .375/~.444/1.125
1B Rich Poythress: 3 G, 10 AB, 3 R, 4 H, HR, 2 RBI, 2/2 K/BB, .400/.538/.700
LHP Robert Rohrbaugh: GS, 1.80 ERA in 5.0 IP, 2 H, R, 4/1 K/BB


13 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (7/27-8/2/09)”

  1. curveballlee on August 3rd, 2009 7:29 am

    Interesting reading on minor league players. Good work.

    [deleted, off topic, and really, your crap is getting old fast]

  2. SequimRealEstate on August 3rd, 2009 8:29 am

    Just don’t expect much from any of them, as most of them have as much trouble with the strikezone as they did when they were hitters.

    Love this sentence. Thanks for the laugh.

  3. Paul B on August 3rd, 2009 8:50 am

    He’s still roughly half the hitter he is against righties when you put him up against a southpaw. LaHair might have a career as a platoon player somewhere if a team wanted to try it, but it’s not likely here.

    Assuming that next year Carp will be the lefty used at first or DH, and Branyan if he resigns, then there wouldn’t be any spot for LaHair. If Branyan doesn’t resign, then… Brad Nelson?

    This assumes that Griffey retires or moves on, of course.

    So, is the improvement in LaHair’s hitting real? Or is it a fluke? If it is real, or if it at least looks real, then might he net a prospect in a trade?

  4. Jay Yencich on August 3rd, 2009 9:40 am

    So, is the improvement in LaHair’s hitting real? Or is it a fluke? If it is real, or if it at least looks real, then might he net a prospect in a trade?

    The production has been sustained for long enough so that we might think that it’s legitimate. In past years, he would have power for a few months out of every year and not the rest of the time, but this season, when he’s been healthy (so he claims, compared to previous seasons), he’s hit at least five home runs all but one month.

    As to whether or not he would net a prospect in a trade, I think that this year’s Rainiers roster has proven that the high minors are littered with such players, the Sheltons, the LaHairs, and the Nelsons of the world. LaHair might be slightly better than the revolving door of first basemen the Rainiers used to employ, with such luminaries as Aaron Rifkin, A.J. Zapp, Andrew Barkett, J.R. Phillips, and not to be forgotten, Juan “The Large Human” Thomas (I leave Jacobsen as a DH), but LaHair is not particularly special even compared to these. He’ll have a chance to latch on here or there, I’d show my bias and claim it would be somewhat better than some of the above, but his career path will likely be similar.

  5. NoStars on August 3rd, 2009 10:23 am

    Jay, this is a ton of work you’re awesome. Glad to see Poythress has answered the bell so far. Keep up the good work Jay.

  6. littlelinny6 on August 3rd, 2009 10:45 am

    First of all great work. Any chance we will see some of the guys from HD promoted to AA? Specifically I am thinking about Gillies, Liddi, Dunigan, and Scott. Gillies shows not home/road split but with Carrera coming back he may be blocked or he could play LF/RF in AA. Liddi continues to hit alot at home and despite the splits I would be more interested to watch him at 3B than Matt Mangini. Dunigan seems old for the league and should be challenged but with Poythress going straight to AA it seems he is going to be blocked. Finally, Travis Scott shows no home/road split and is hitting the ball really well in HD and is getting old. Since there are only organizational guys at C in AA wouldn’t it be worth a shot? I know HD will be going to the playoffs but I thought prospect development is more important than results in the minors. Thanks for the insights.

  7. Jay Yencich on August 3rd, 2009 11:12 am

    re: littlelinny6

    That’s funny, because I just got the same questions and answered them over at my blog. At this point, while Mangini does kind of suck, I don’t think we’re going to see the promotion of those three. The argument I made was that all are young, or inexperienced, or are otherwise being challenged a bit.

    Put it in perspective this way. Can you make the argument that there’s nothing more for Gillies or Liddi to learn in advanced-A? I can’t. Despite the fact that they’ve done well individually within the league, they’ve each recently found ways to improve in areas that they hadn’t done so well in before. Gillies is starting to hit for more power and has improved his stolen base accuracy dramatically. Liddi has been working on his plate discipline and has made some improvements the likes of which we wouldn’t have expected out of him in seasons past. They’re not exactly languishing there.

    Dunigan and Scott are slightly different cases. Scott just posted a .496 or .497 OPS in July after having more than double that the previous two months. I want to root for him, but this past month makes it hard to justify a promotion. Dunigan, too, has struggled a bit, which is why I’ve been less enthusiastic about him of late. In June, his average plummeted and in July his plate discipline went with it. His strikeout percentage in plate appearances has gone from 18.3% in May, to 23.4% in June, to 35.5% in July. I don’t think I need to spell that out much more than that.

  8. marc w on August 3rd, 2009 11:29 am

    It’s really great to see Saito stretched out a bit. Now let’s hope Painter can figure out where some of his velocity went.

    As for all of the hitter-to-P conversions, let’s see a few of them in Everett. If anyone can help them, it’s probably Rich Dorman.

    LaHair – yes, he’s not as complete a hitter as some of the other AAAA 1Bs, but he’s now got a bit more positional flexibility and at this point, his platoon splits might help him. Rifkin and Zapp didn’t really have noticeable platoon splits, and Juan Thomas was always more fan favorite than baseball player. LaHair would be an intriguing pick-up for an org that could shield him from lefties. Obligatory Greg Dobbs mention here. Who, by the way, actually hit better vs. lefties in Tacoma.

  9. Jay Yencich on August 3rd, 2009 11:55 am

    marc gets around to replying, always good stuff…

    It’s really great to see Saito stretched out a bit. Now let’s hope Painter can figure out where some of his velocity went.

    Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t rule out the Royals trying to do to Saito what the M’s tried to do to Austin Bibens-Dirkx, reworking a motion that had already been engineered to be good.

    As for all of the hitter-to-P conversions, let’s see a few of them in Everett. If anyone can help them, it’s probably Rich Dorman.

    That’s why I like the pairing of him and Kirkland, but it seems like the vast majority of these guys are former summer leaguers who they’re being especially careful with. If so many are getting rerouted to Yamasa along this path, I’m suspecting they have someone good down there who is showing them the ropes.

    re: first basemen
    Yeah, LaHair sort of does have that position flexibility. I’d take Limonta over him in that regard, but Limonta does not yet have the power output we’re now seeing out of LaHair. The trip down memory lane was really for its own sake, and I think that you’re right overall in that LaHair has his niche in being good at one particular thing and not quite horrible at another rather than being an overall good hitter who does nothing exceptionally well.

    I keep seeing Dobbs when the Phillies games are on the bars I frequent. Nice to see him carve out a career for himself in the NL. I remember when Gillick’s people were just in love with him, even though he never really amounted to much with us, save for him being the only Mariner to date who hit a home run in his first pro at-bat.

  10. littlelinny6 on August 3rd, 2009 12:15 pm

    Sorry if the same question was already asked. I should have checked your blog. Thanks for the info.

  11. Jay Yencich on August 3rd, 2009 12:35 pm

    It’s all right. Some people don’t check both and I don’t mind repeating myself all that much. It’s not like I had to go back and redo the research, I just had a click over a tab and copy notes.

  12. cdowley on August 3rd, 2009 1:00 pm

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you profusely for these Jay. These reports have dramatically increased my knowledge of the day to day workings of the M’s farm system, and info that would previously frustrate me in it’s difficulty to find is all in one easy place.

    Thank you, sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar!

  13. marc w on August 3rd, 2009 4:18 pm

    “You are a gentleman and a scholar!”

    It’s funny because it’s true.

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