Minor League Wrap (8/31-9/7/09)

Jay Yencich · September 8, 2009 at 6:05 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

The regular minor league season of 2009, with nearly nine hundred games in the books, is done, so this is the final wrap covering most of the teams. The Rainiers and the Mavericks both made the playoffs, the Peoria M’s won theirs, and the D-Jaxx end up on the out, looking in. I hope it’s been educational and at least somewhat entertaining for you all. Of course, the action never really ends, so I’ll be around with winter league stuff and other reviews in the offseason.

To the jump!

They Played in Peoria:
As was the case with their last title in 2007, the M’s had to beat out the Giants for the Arizona League title, and this one ended up being close. After getting out to a 3-0 lead, with a home run by Kevin Mailloux and some solid hitting from Ramon Morla, Mario Yepez, and Mark Angelo, with some less productive singles out of Morban, Peoria right-hander Chris Kessinger let a run score on a hit by pitch, a balk, and a single in the sixth, and another scored on a walk followed by a triple in the seventh. He struck out six through seven innings, and through the first five innings, he had only allowed two hits and a plunked batter. All-star closer Jeff Breedlove managed to shut it down, just barely, with four hits, a walk, and three Ks in the final two. Breedlove was joined by Mailloux and lefty Anthony Fernandez on the all-star team.

While the ’07 squad featured such future prospects as Tyson Gillies, Mario Martinez, Jake Wild, Fabian Williamson, Juan Fuentes, and Daniel Carroll, whose star has since fallen a bit, and had contributing performances from Anthony Phillips and Dwight Britton, this year’s squad had a more veteran look. The great performances of this season came from college hitters such as Evan Sharpley (.333/.429/.614 in 132 AB), 2B Kevin Mailloux (311/.397/.570 in 151 AB), and last year’s draft pick C Henry Contreras (.423/.524/.692 in 52 AB). The outfield had the best prospect, however, with CF Julio Morban (.266/.303/.513 in 154 ABs) as the youngest player on the roster, backed up by VSL veteran CF Mario Yepez (.290/.339/.387 in 217 AB) when he was stuck DHing. The infield belonged to another long-time Aguirre Mariner, IF Jetsy Extrano (.272/.345/.457 in 151 AB), who will probably try to carve out a place for himself as a utility infielder.

The pitching got an all-star caliber performance out of Kessinger during the regular season, with a 66/8 K/BB in 66.0 innings, but the league decided on the southpaw, Fernandez, and his higher hit and walk rate in 53.0 innings because he was four years younger at nineteen. Miguel Celestino, who had weak returns in his stateside debut (76 H, 48/23 K/BB in 66.2 IP), was one of the only other teenagers on the pitching staff, which was otherwise anchored by college hurlers such as Kessinger, Breedlove (10 S, 23 H and 29/3 K/BB in 29.2 IP), John Housey (20 H, 32/8 K/BB in 27.1 IP), and Matt Otteman (22 H, 28/5 K/BB in 24.0 IP). In other words, don’t expect great things from this squad, though a few solid org players are likely.

Tacoma Rainiers (4-4 this week, 74-70 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 31st 2009
Salt Lake 5 (ANA – 2), Tacoma 3
W: Rodriguez, Fr (5-4, 3.91); L: Olson (2-3, 4.79); SV: Mosebach (7)

Tuesday, September 1st 2009
Salt Lake 10 (ANA – 1), Tacoma 1
W: Salmon (7-4, 4.72); L: Esquibel (0-1, 8.44)

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009
Salt Lake 2 (ANA – 2), Tacoma 11
W: Hernandez, G (9-9, 5.39); L: MacDonald (8-12, 6.13)

Thursday, September 3rd 2009
Salt Lake 4 (ANA – 1), Tacoma 0
W: Mendoza, T (2-1, 2.91); L: Baldwin (6-11, 4.57)

Friday, September 4th 2009
Colorado Springs 6 (COL + 5), Tacoma 9
W: Seddon (9-8, 4.51); L: Smith, G (1-2, 7.28); SV: Manuel (4)

Saturday, September 5th 2009
Colorado Springs 4 (COL + 4), Tacoma 6
W: Thomas, J (2-4, 4.48); L: Munter (4-6, 3.93); SV: Koplove (3)

Sunday, September 6th 2009
Colorado Springs 5 (COL + 5), Tacoma 2
W: Rogers, E (3-5, 7.42); L: Morrow (5-3, 3.60); SV: Belisle (9)

Monday, September 7th 2009
Colorado Springs 2 (COL + 4), Tacoma 11
W: Hernandez, G (10-9, 5.23); L: Deduno (0-1, 6.35)

Hitter of the Week:
SS Oswaldo Navarro, R/R, 10/2/1984
7 G, 23 AB, 2 R, 11 H, 4 2B, 5 RBI, SB, 5/2 K/BB, .478/~.520/.652

A week ago, Navarro hit .400, and this week he came close to breaking .500, and that’s a feat that’s interesting enough on its own. There were other interesting moments, like LaHair getting seven doubles and Shelton’s double-digit walks, but I thought, why not Navarro, for old time’s sake? Almost a third of his double output for the season has come in the past week, and that about covers what has been the trouble with him over the years. He had twenty-seven doubles in sixty-eight games in Everett back in 2004 and has only cracked that total in full-season ball once, with twenty-nine and a career high nine home runs in Wisconsin in 2005, his second highest total being four. He’s not awful at taking walks, but he’s pretty bad at hitting overall and his defense has been in decline for a few years, which closes the small window the improved hitting opens. He’s one of a few fixtures of ours in the high minors that I don’t really expect to return next season.

Power Mention:
1B/LF Bryan LaHair, L/R, 11/5/1982
8 G, 31 AB, 7 R, 11 H, 7 2B, HR, 10 RBI, 6/4 K/BB, .354/~.429/.581

Walks Mention:
3B Chris Shelton, R/R, 6/26/1980
8 G, 25 AB, 6 R, 8 H, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 5/10 K/BB, .320/~.514/.480

Leading Off For the Rainiers, Then Mention:
CF Jerry Owens, L/L, 2/16/1981
8 G, 33 AB, 7 R, 11 H, 2B, 3B, RBI, 5/4 K/BB, 2 SB, CS, .333/~.405/.424

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Gaby Hernandez, 5/21/1986
2-0, 2 GS, 1.80 ERA in 15.0 IP, 8 H (HR), 4 R (3 ER), 11/5 K/BB, 5/26 G/F, HB

Here’s something I didn’t expect to be saying in April: the Rainiers would have never made it to the playoffs without Gaby Hernandez. After posting a 3-9 record through July, he won the last seven decisions, including a complete game on Wednesday, a two-run affair that had five hits, two walks, and three Ks, and the decisive game on Monday in which he let one earned run score on three hits, three walks, and eight Ks in six frames. He had a few more Ks this week than he’s usually been getting, but he’s also giving up fly balls like it’s going out of style.

See You with the M’s Mention:
RHP Brandon Morrow, 7/26/1984
0-1, GS, 2.25 ERA in 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (ER), 6/0 K/BB, 6/1 G/F

From The Training Room:
The Rainiers added Anthony Phillips, Carlos Silva, and Stephen Hensley with the various promotions.

The Rainiers will square off against the Sacramento River Cats for the PCL Conference Championship, with the Cheney Stadium games starting at seven in the evening on Wednesday and Thursday before the series heads to Sacramento.

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (1-6 this week, 35-35 in the second half, 62-78 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 31st 2009
West Tenn 1, Mississippi 2 (ATL + 2)
W: Reynoso (7-9, 3.47); L: Bray (7-7, 2.88); SV: Kimbrel (6)

Tuesday, September 1st 2009
West Tenn 2, Mississippi 4 (ATL + 1)
W: Osuna, E (4-3, 3.97); L: Hill, N (5-6, 3.10); SV: Marek (2)

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009
Off day

Thursday, September 3rd 2009
Tennessee 3 (CHC + 4), West Tenn 8
W: Rohrbaugh (3-3, 3.40); L: Carpenter, C (0-3, 4.78)

Friday, September 4th 2009
Tennessee 13 (CHC + 5), West Tenn 3
W: Cales (3-0, 5.87); L: Munoz, L (8-7, 4.08)

Saturday, September 5th 2009
Tennessee 3 (CHC + 6), West Tenn 1
W: Cashner (3-4, 3.39); L: Cortes (1-5, 4.94); SV: Schlitter (22)

Sunday, September 6th 2009
Tennessee 7 (CHC + 7), West Tenn 0
W: Chen, H (8-11, 4.48); L: Bray (7-8, 3.11)

Monday, September 7th 2009
Tennessee 5 (CHC + 8), West Tenn 4
W: Carrillo, M (4-1, 4.21); L: Hull (0-1, 10.29); SV: Cales (2)

Hitter of the Week:
1B/OF Johan Limonta, L/L, 8/4/1983
6 G, 19 AB, 2 R, 6 H, 3 2B, RBI, SB, 3/3 K/BB, .316/~.409/.474

It was a step forward and a few steps back for Limonta this past season, as his first full year in double-A didn’t quite compare to his three-quarters of a year last season. The good was in that he walked fifty-four times in 126 games, better than thirty-seven in 98 games last season, and cut his strikeouts from eighty-seven to seventy-four along the way. The bad of it was that he lost about sixty points off his slugging, finishing with two fewer doubles and four fewer home runs, not even taking the High Desert numbers into account. He also hit left-handers quite a bit worse, a .723 OPS last season to this season’s .605. I would have had him as a dark horse for making the 40-man coming into the year, but now I’m not quite as confident in his abilities.

Veteran Catcher Mention:
C Jose Yepez, 6/19/1981
6 G, 16 AB, 5 H, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1/2 K/BB, .313/~.389/.438

Lots of Singles Mention:
CF Mel Stocker, S/R, 8/15/1980
4 G, 11 AB, 8 H, 2 RBI, 1/0 K/BB, 2 SB, CS, .727/.727/.727

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Dan Cortes, 3/4/1987
0-1, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (ER), 7/3 K/BB, 7/6 G/F

It stings a bit that what might be Cortes’ best outing was marred by a loss as the offense wasn’t able to muster much of a fight. Overall, I’m pleased with what we’ve seen out of him the last three outings though. He’s averaged six innings, eight strikeouts, about three walks, and four hits or so. That’s closer to what he did last season, even if the prospect of four walks per nine doesn’t really excite me. I still put him behind Nick Hill, who has struggled recently, on the starting pitcher depth chart. Maybe the M’s will try to get him some additional work in Venezuela, but I haven’t heard anything yet to that effect.

See You in the AFL Mention:
RHP Anthony Varvaro, 10/31/1984
0-0, 3 G, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, H, 8/4 K/BB, 3/3 G/F

From the Training Room:
To recap the DL ending the season, Aumont, Fields, Kahn, Orta, and Villarreal weren’t pitching, Morton and Quiroz weren’t catching, and Mojica and Prettyman weren’t playing the field. One can see why the Jaxx didn’t quite make it to the playoffs. Triunfel did make it back, but hit an empty .200 through five games.

Strange Happenings:
Starting pitchers got the decision in six of the seven games this week, and lost all but one of them. Hill gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits, two walks, and nine Ks through five innings this week. Poythress drew five walks, but didn’t hit well. Halman and Carrera made the post-season all-star squad. They like home runs, I guess, because otherwise you can’t really justify Halman there.

High Desert Mavericks (4-3 this week, 40-30 in the second half, 83-57 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 31st 2009
Off day

Tuesday, September 1st 2009
Lancaster 2 (HOU – 10), High Desert 6
W: Zapata (3-0, 7.18); L: Wolf (5-7, 5.34)

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009
Lancaster 0 (HOU – 11), High Desert 7
W: Hensley (9-3, 4.21); L: Cespedes (8-10, 5.01)

Thursday, September 3rd 2009
Lancaster 14 (HOU – 10), High Desert 8
W: Fairchild (3-3, 7.06); L: Ramirez, J (8-10, 5.16)

Friday, September 4th 2009
Modesto 5 (COL – 1), High Desert 17
W: Robles (3-2, 2.78); L: Hollingsworth (3-3, 4.83)

Saturday, September 5th 2009
Modesto 8 (COL – 2), High Desert 9 (ten innings)
W: Richard, S (8-1, 5.12); L: Cedeno (0-2, 4.91)

Sunday, September 6th 2009
Modesto 5 (COL – 1), High Desert 4
W: Jarrett (5-4, 4.64); L: Pineda (4-2, 2.84); SV: Williamson, J (3)

Monday, September 7th 2009
Modesto 18 (COL 0), High Desert 6
W: Cedeno (1-2, 4.32); L: Esquibel (0-1, 14.54)

Hitter of the Week:
OF James McOwen, L/R, 9/26/1985
6 G, 19 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, CS, 4/2 K/BB, .421/.435/.895

The Mavericks had enough offense in outfield alone to power the team to victory, but combined with the support that they got on the infield, they ended up scoring an average of more than eight runs for the week, giving them a fifty point lead as a team in the OPS race to end the season. The birthday twins, McOwen and Lo, did most of the damage for the Mavericks, both slugging well over .850 for the week and pushing poor Peguero, and his thirty-one home runs, to a somewhat distant third with a .714 slugging. There isn’t much more that could click for the offense, so my only concern is whether the pitching, who gave up double-digit runs twice in the past week, will be able to keep up.

Second in Cal League Homers Mention:
RF Carlos Peguero, L/L, 2/22/1987
7 G, 28 AB, 6 R, 10 H, 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 7/3 K/BB, .357/.406/.714

Still Trouble with Stolen Bases Mention:
CF Tyson Gillies, L/R, 10/31/1988
6 G, 28 AB, 8 R, 12 H, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 3 SB, 2 CS, 2/3 K/BB, .429/.484/.536

Even a Fourth OF Hits Mention:
OF Kuo-hui Lo, R/R, 9/26/1985
4 G, 16 AB, 4 R, 6 H, 3B, 2 HR, 77 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .375/.444/.875

Fifth Too Mention:
OF Brent Johnson, R/R, 5/21/1982
5 G, 16 AB, 6 R, 6 H, HR, 4 RBI, SB, 2/0 K/BB, .400/.444/.600

Not an Outfielder Mention:
1B Joe Dunigan, L/L, 3/29/1986
7 G, 28 AB, 5 R, 12 H, 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 2 SB, 5/2 K/BB, .429/.467/.679

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Stephen Hensley, 12/26/1986
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 7/1 K/BB, 6/5 G/F, 2 HB

Hensley gets to repeat on the wrap for two consecutive good outings, though I still wish I could say more about him turning a corner or something. He was facing Lancaster in Adelanto again, just like last time, and the familiarity clearly didn’t help anyone get a read on him. But then again, when stopping to think about it, he has improved greatly from the first half to the second. His first seven outings in the league had him giving up forty-one hits in 36.0 innings, with twelve walks and six home runs contributing to twenty-two runs against him, and only twenty-four Ks. The second half saw him cut down his average by seventy points, walk only six more despite 41.1 more innings pitched, allow only four more home runs, and strike out another sixty. If you weren’t convinced before that he might be ready for double-A, maybe you will be now. I do see that he’s listed on the Tacoma roster right now, for some reason…

See You in the DWL? Mention:
RHP Michael Pineda, 1/18/1989
0-1, 2 GS, 2.45 ERA in 7.1 IP, 4 H (HR), 3 (2 ER), 12/1 K/BB, 4/6 G/F, WP, HB
[was ejected for hitting a batter in final outing, after throwing behind him on the previous pitch]

But For the Unearned Runs… Mention:
LHP Mauricio Robles, 3/5/1989
1-0, GS, 1.80 ERA in 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (ER), 8/2 K/BB, 3/4 G/F

From the Training Room:
Hensley is apparently in Tacoma now, which brought in Andres Esquibel. I’m hoping that doesn’t last through the playoffs. Alexis Fonseca quickly went on the DL, so the M’s promoted Kyle Seager from Clinton to get him a taste of playoff action. Since Fuentes was already on the roster, the loss of a catcher didn’t turn out to be a big deal.

Strange Happenings:
The Mavericks took home some hardware in the post season awards, with a press release stating that Alex Liddi was named league MVP and Jim Horner the Manager of the Year. The last time that happened? Back in 1998, and the manager then was Don Wakamatsu, with Brad Penney as the MVP. How about that? Dunigan and Hume also made the all-star team.

The Mavericks, having won their division in both halves, don’t start play until the 12th.

Clinton Lumberkings (2-5 this week, 29-38 in the second half, 69-68 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 31st 2009
Quad Cities 8 (STL – 9), Clinton 5 (twelve innings)
W: McCully, N (1-0, 7.58); L: Hann (2-2, 1.38)

Tuesday, September 1st 2009
Off day

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009
Clinton 1, Burlington 2 (KC + 2)
W: Odenbach (2-0, 2.95); L: Moran (0-3, 3.24); SV: Thompson, J (8)

Thursday, September 3rd 2009
Clinton 1, Burlington 3 (KC + 3)
W: Runion (5-11, 6.63); L: LaFromboise (8-9, 4.03); SV: Hardy (9)

Friday, September 4th 2009
Clinton 5, Burlington 4 (KC + 2)
W: Vasquez (3-3, 5.66); L: Lehmann (5-7, 5.92); SV: Hann (11)

Saturday, September 5th 2009
Peoria 8 (CHC + 17), Clinton 3
W: Antigua (4-0, 3.62); L: Saito (2-7, 4.06)

Sunday, September 6th 2009
Peoria 4 (CHC + 16), Clinton 5
W: Renfree (3-2, 2.60); L: Kreier (5-4, 3.77); SV: Hann (12)

Monday, September 7th 2009
Peoria 4 (CHC + 17), Clinton 3
W: De Leon, M (5-3, 2.84); L: Cooper (0-1, 9.28); SV: Beliveau (3)

Hitter of the Week:
IF Nate Tenbrink, L/R, 11/3/1987
6 G, 27 AB, 3 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI, 3/2 K/BB, .370/~.414/.629

I had a legitimate reason to put Savastano here for a change, but while he has been playing more defensively challenging positions of late, the case against him has been much the same as ever: it’s hard to get excited about a defensively-limited hitter with a 21% extra-base hit rate. Tenbrink has worse plate discipline, but swings lefty, has over 10% more of his hits go some distance, and showed off some extra versatility this week by playing up the middle, with two games at short and a game at second to end the season. Savastano had some games at short too and a little over one at second, but for whatever reason, I feel more optimistic about Tenbrink going forward.

Still a Bridesmaid, It Seems Mention:
IF Scott Savastano, R/R, 6/12/1986
7 G, 27 AB, 4 R, 11 H, 3B, 4 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .407/~.449/.481

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Andrew Carraway, 9/4/1986
0-0, 2 GS, 2.31 ERA in 11.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 14/1 K/BB, 13/7 G/F, WP

Rain and cancellations meant that Carraway had to go ten days between starts, not that it slowed him down any. Both outings he had this week looked roughly identical to one another, though the second had an extra walk, out, and run scored. Comparing his Everett stint to his Clinton one isn’t easy because he spent most of his games with the Aquasox in relief. That aside, he did lose his dinger problem (four in 25.0 IP, to none in 39.2 IP) and had little lost in his overall performances. Given his stuff and that brief home run problem, I don’t know that I’d start him in High Desert to open 2010, but the loss of Pribanic and Lorin may force just that, if they don’t hold back on the arms that are currently there.

One Last Time Mention:
LHP Bobby LaFromboise, 6/25/1987
0-1, GS, 3.52 ERA in 7.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 6/2 K/BB, 7/9 G/F

From the Training Room:
Seager moved up to High Desert, so Ochoa came off the DL. Daniel Carroll was hit by a pitch and pulled in the final game. He needs to do something about that.

Strange Happenings:
Shave Hansen has had two four-walk nights in the past ten days. Cheyne Hann gave up more runs on Monday and took his second loss before settling down for the rest of the week.

Everett Aquasox (3-4 this week, 39-37 overall)

Monday, August 31st 2009
Salem-Keizer 9 (SF + 18), Everett 7 (ten innings)
W: Stoffel, J (1-0, 0.00); L: Pullen (3-2, 4.34)

Tuesday, September 1st 2009
Vancouver 4 (OAK – 5), Everett 9
W: Roy (2-2, 6.15); L: Adames (5-6, 6.48)

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009
Vancouver 12 (OAK – 4), Everett 6
W: Straily (5-3, 4.12); L: Burnett (2-4, 4.66)

Thursday, September 3rd 2009
Vancouver 4 (OAK – 3), Everett 3
W: Peterson, M (2-1, 4.87); L: Rios (1-2, 3.09); SV: Hoehn (6)

Friday, September 4th 2009
Everett 8, Vancouver 4 (OAK – 4)
W: Kirkland (4-5, 4.83); L: Morla (1-7, 4.86)

Saturday, September 5th 2009
Everett 11, Vancouver 4 (OAK – 5)
W: Stanton (5-3, 3.61); L: Krol (0-1, 8.10)

Sunday, September 6th 2009
Everett 4, Vancouver 6 (OAK – 4)
W: Christensen (5-0, 4.94); L: Pullen (3-3, 4.73); SV: Hoehn (7)

Hitter of the Week:
OF James Jones, L/L, 9/24/1988
5 G, 20 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 4 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 4/3 K/BB, .400/~.478/.750

Can’t complain about the offense this week, as there were six hitters I counted with averages around or above .350 (Martinez, Coleman, Billingsley, Franklin, Jones, and Dotel). Jones played the fewest games of the group, but probably had the nicest peripherals, aided by a 3-for-4 night which I caught, followed by a 4-for-5 night in Vancouver. He hits well to all fields, though his month-to-months were a little odd. In July, he hit .378 and ran a 9/7 K/BB, but had only two extra-base hits in forty-five at-bats. In August, he only hit .252 and ran a less impressive 28/10 K/BB in 103 at-bats, but had 38.4% of hits go for extras this time. Another odd thing is that even though his speed is rated above-average, he didn’t succeed in stealing a single base. If I’m to look into the crystal ball on this one, I’d suggest that Jones is a physical player whose tools overwhelmed the league, but will likely struggle a little bit as he gets higher up.

Better in Everett than in Peoria Mention:
SS Nick Franklin, S/R, 3/2/1991
6 G, 20 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, SB, 2/1 K/BB, .400/.429/.600

Nice Last Week Mention:
C Trevor Coleman, S/R, 1/19/1988
5 G, 22 AB, 2 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 5/1 K/BB, .363/~.391/.545

Getting It Together Mention:
IF Ben Billinglsey, L/R, 10/27/1986
7 G, 23 AB, 9 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 7/6 K/BB, .391/~.517/.696

Should Break in Full-Season, Finally Mention:
OF Welington Dotel, R/R, 10/2/1985
7 G, 30 AB, 8 R, 13 H, 2 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, SB, 2 CS, 5/1 K/BB, .433/~.451/.767

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Jonathan Hesketh, 6/3/1986
0-0, GS, 2.57 ERA in 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 11/0 K/BB, 6/3 G/F, HB, WP

The starting pitching wasn’t getting it done this week, the wind perhaps knocked out of their sails after really blowing an opportunity to get even with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean Hesketh is any less deserving. Of the hits he allowed, one was a close play at first that probably should have gone the way of the ‘Sox, and his second run probably shouldn’t have scored, as Martinez and Franklin both missed a dribbler of a single and the following single was missed because Cerione slipped in the outfield. Of course, you could also point to his 39/4 K/BB in 27.0 innings as a reason for his appearance here. That works fine by me. I don’t expect as much of that as he moves up the ladder, as his stuff doesn’t warrant it. We may only really know what we have in him after he hits double-A.

Second in Strikeouts Mention:
RHP Taylor Stanton, 1/15/1988
1-0, 2 GS, 2.08 ERA in 13.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R (3 ER), 10/2 K/BB, 15/14 G/F

From the Training Room:
Franklin and Mailloux came up from Peoria for some games, with Phillips heading to Tacoma. I believe Staehely ended the season on the DL, missing the last two+ weeks.

Strange Happenings:
Ahead of Stanton’s eighty-one strikeouts in 87.1 IP, you’ll find Chris Kirkland, who led the league with eighty-five in 85.2 IP. Don’t expect that alone to get them on the end of season prospect lists, as both had lower rates than a number of guys who had fewer overall K.s

Pulaski Mariners (0-2 this week, 28-36 overall)

Monday, August 31st 2009
Pulaski 0, Johnson City 3 (STL + 6)
W: Lawler (2-1, 4.05); L: Gillheeney, J (0-3, 4.84); SV: Terry (6)

Tuesday, September 1st 2009
Pulaski 1, Johnson City 6 (STL + 7)
W: Ferrara (4-1, 3.24); L: Witten (1-2, 13.50)

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009
It’s over.

Hitter of the Week:
OF Brandon Haveman, L/R, 6/21/1986
2 G, 8 AB, 2 H, 1/0 K/BB, .250/.250/.250

Fill-in-the-blank Mention:
Have you seen the hitter of the week?

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP John Housey, 6/4/1988
0-0, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, H, R (0 ER), 9/1 K/BB, 2/4 G/F

One Last Outing on Throw Day Mention:
RHP Brandon Maurer, 7/3/1990
0-0, G, 0.00 ERA in 3.0 IP, 3/0 K/BB, 1/5 G/F

Strange Happenings:
Baseball America rather likes Brandon Haveman, and reports that the Mariners will try him at second during instructs.


15 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (8/31-9/7/09)”

  1. The Ancient Mariner on September 8th, 2009 9:15 am

    Your hitter of the week in Pulaski jibes rather oddly with the team scoring 11 in its next-to-last game . . .

  2. Jay Yencich on September 8th, 2009 9:50 am

    That would be my proofing error for the week, since the Pulaski section was added as an afterthought.

    The M’s were actually shut out 3-0. Haveman’s two hits were from that game.

  3. Mike Snow on September 8th, 2009 11:32 am

    From the training room, but no longer one of ours – the Pirates probably won’t be calling up Jeff Clement, as he missed the last week of the minor league season with a strained oblique.

  4. dchappelle on September 8th, 2009 11:35 am

    Jay, these wraps are great. Without them I honestly doubt I could name more than 20 of the M’s minor leaguers.

  5. SonOfZavaras on September 8th, 2009 12:18 pm

    I second that, what dchappelle said, Jay. Myself, I know virtually all the names- even the VSL and DWL names- but it’s hard to keep track of 40+ “names and skill-sets that intrigue” over the course of the season.

    You do a crackerjack job. In the off-season, it’s going to be reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal interesting to see who goes up a level, and who stays.

    I’m thinking Halman repeats Double-A, Gillies and Liddi promoted. McOwen and Peguero also promoted.

    I’m not sure what the Tacoma team will look like next year, though. Any thoughts, Jay?

    Tacoma almost certainly won’t be “Prospectville” next season, but who knows what lurks in the off-season….Zduriencik will be pulling off some moves, to be certain.

    I’m thinking (barring trades, of course)that Tui and Saunders are with the big club in 2010, and Nick Hill MAY be the #1 or #2 starter in Tacoma. Maybe Cortes has a shot, but I’m a bit more reserved on his chances of seeing AAA.

    And also, Jay…Julio Morban. My crystal ball has spoken, and says he’ll be one of the hottest names in the system in short order.

    Where will Morban be, IYO, to start 2010?

  6. cdowley on September 8th, 2009 2:45 pm

    Thanks so much for these this year, Jay. I used to do similar work doing NFL draft prospect roundups, so I can appreciate the kind of work that goes into this, especially trying to track down stats and news in some of those out-of-the-way areas.

    Carraway is a pitcher that intrigues me for some reason (probably helps that he was born the same day as my best friend…). Any thoughts on his timeline/usefulness in the organization?

  7. Jay Yencich on September 8th, 2009 3:58 pm

    I’m thinking Halman repeats Double-A, Gillies and Liddi promoted. McOwen and Peguero also promoted.

    I’m not sure what the Tacoma team will look like next year, though. Any thoughts, Jay?

    Tacoma almost certainly won’t be “Prospectville” next season, but who knows what lurks in the off-season….Zduriencik will be pulling off some moves, to be certain.

    I think West Tenn has the potential to be the most exciting team in the system. Hume and Hensley are probably going to get a foothold in the rotation there, less sure about Ramirez (weak results) and Pineda and Robles (lack of playing time). Were it me, that would be the rotation going from the outset and Cortes and Hill would get to sink or swim in Tacoma. More realistically, I think Robles, Pineda, and maybe Cortes get to split their seasons between locales. Hill starts in Tacoma either way I think.

    The outfield would probably be as you say, Halman, McOwen, Peguero, and Gillies, probably Lo too, with Carrera having moved on to Tacoma, where he’ll play with Mike Wilson if he’s still around and whoever else is out there on the market. The left to right infield would probably be, Liddi, Diaz, Triunfel/Colina (utility), and Dunigan/Poythress with Scott behind the plate. I’ll say that Limonta and Mangini are probably Rainiers and that, barring some leaps by the bullpen crew in West Tenn, Moore, Carrera, and maybe Tui are the best prospects in Tacoma to start the season. The Rainiers continue to store our fifth starters until something better comes along (welcome back, Ryan Feierabend).

    And also, Jay…Julio Morban. My crystal ball has spoken, and says he’ll be one of the hottest names in the system in short order.

    Where will Morban be, IYO, to start 2010?

    Morban’s throwing arm kept him from playing the field much until the end, leaving him to DH much of the season, but he plays a legit center and that’s where he ought to be for your 2010 Clinton Lumberkings on opening day. I think that a few of the college OFs might jump directly to High Desert to facilitate that, but that’s speculation on my part. It’s either Clinton or Everett for Morban.

    Carraway is a pitcher that intrigues me for some reason (probably helps that he was born the same day as my best friend…). Any thoughts on his timeline/usefulness in the organization?

    Carraway is another pitchability guy like Hesketh, but with better stuff (high 80s touching low 90s), right-handed, and not quite as crafty. His ceiling is as a back-end starter or long man in the bullpen. Could move quickly because they need him to and he could probably handle it, but there’s not a tremendous reward there. He’s part of that template of passable stuff and great poise/experience that the M’s seemed to seek out in this last draft.

  8. Lonnie on September 8th, 2009 11:40 pm

    Barring an outstanding season in Winter ball, I really can’t see either Ramirez or Pineda getting promoted to AA West Tenn.

    We might have a bit of a dilema next year, and I bet no one saw it coming as this season started out. We currently have three third sackers who and maybe just two places to put them. Liddi has nothing more to prove offensively at High Desert and deserves the promotion to AA West Tenn. Mangini came around a bit in the second half of the season and may be ready for AAA. Tui’s future may be in a state of flux. If Beltre is resigned, what becomes of Tui? Some have said that he should transition to the OF, which would help matters a bit. I think that in ’10 one of these guys will probably be either traded or will be forced to make a move to the outfield.


  9. Dave on September 9th, 2009 7:55 am

    Mangini isn’t going to be a factor in a decision like that. If Tui doesn’t make the team next spring, he’ll go back to Tacoma, and they’ll just make Mangini a part-time player or move him to another position. He’s not the kind of prospect that anyone is going to lose sleep over stunting his development.

  10. Mike Snow on September 9th, 2009 8:06 am

    It’s also worth noting that Tuiasosopo’s ultimate position is not necessarily settled, and that they were willing to play him at second base for a while to make room for the likes of Chris Shelton. There’s definitely room for him and Mangini to be on the same roster.

  11. Jay Yencich on September 9th, 2009 9:15 am

    In Ramirez’ case, I don’t see a promotion to West Tenn as a reward for what could be considered a successful year of development so much as driven by the necessity of getting him out of Adelanto.

    Ramirez’ home/road splits are, in a word… well, weird. At home, he has his average against jump by sixty points and his home run rate is over six times what it is on the road, which is a respectable 0.27 per nine. What really confuses me though is that, while the walk rate is about the same (3.12 at home to 3.43 on the road), his strikeouts in what should be more friendly pitching environments plummet. He goes from 8.37 per nine at home, where he should probably be a little more afraid of centering the ball, to 4.93 on the road, which doesn’t earn a passing grade, particularly for a pitcher with as much stuff as he does. I don’t know what approach they have him working on out there, but I don’t want bad habits to work their way into his routine and so I think that double-A, while more challenging, would be a stable environment for him and he could probably spend two years or so there and get things squared away.

    Athletic improvements noted, I don’t think Tui’s a second baseman, nor do I think I’m going out on a limb saying that. His defense at the hot corner has likely improved enough to be passable, but Tacoma was in the position of having to find positions for all their bats rather than have the apparent luxury of playing naturals, so I’m not making that much of Tui being put out there. Keep in mind that Cintron was out, Navarro had to play short, and the alternative was Erick Monzon. There is room for Tui and Mangini on the same roster, true enough, but I think there are people out there who are getting a bit too excited about the prospect of Tui at second and I want to quash that before it really gets out of hand.

  12. Mike Snow on September 9th, 2009 9:27 am

    Right, I didn’t want to suggest that he’s the heir apparent to Jose Lopez or anything, just making the obvious point that it’s not too difficult to get him and Mangini on the field at the same time. Who would have thought we’d see Bryan LaHair play more outfield than first base?

  13. Jay Yencich on September 9th, 2009 9:37 am

    I know that’s what you meant, I’m just responding more generally to the comments I’ve seen on the matter.

    The word is that LaHair hasn’t had back problems this season like he usually has, which has contributed to his career-high home run totals and ability to play the outfield, where he claims he’s more at home anyway. Take that with as much salt as suits your taste.

  14. jbetzsold on September 9th, 2009 11:05 am

    I am curious about your evaluation of one Mr. Saito. A small dude who seems to be a darkhorse. What up with him next year?

  15. Jay Yencich on September 9th, 2009 11:54 am

    Zduriencik seems to not have the same height bias Bavasi displayed, at least with respect to the draft. The average Fontaine pitcher in ’08 was about 6’3 and a half, only one came in below 6′ even, and nine of twenty-nine were 6’5 or over. The average McNamara pitcher was under 6’2, with three under 6′, and not one cracked 6’5. I’m not trying to make something out of nothing here, I just happened to get the bug to check it out and figured I’d share so that the five minutes wasn’t totally wasted. But some of the points remain valid. The Mariners were excited about Robles, and at the very least included Saito in the deal, and neither would be 6′ if you put them on the rack for a couple weeks.

    Okay, I’ll talk Saito now. The Lumberkings were willing to use him as the second starter in doubleheaders or as a piggyback guy in situations where an injured pitcher was easing back in. He was also seeming to clear two, or even three innings, a lot more often than he was pitching one or fewer. I haven’t heard anything concrete on what they plan on doing with him, but I can see them trying him in a similar role to what they did with Jake Wild and Travis Mortimore in High Desert, doing the swingman thing and continuing to start for stretches when he seems to have momentum, if you will. Hey now, stop cringing. His stuff seems to be a little up and down, but he’s an interesting story, a walk-on with a better background in engineering than pitching, if I remember correctly.

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