Liddi, E. Ramirez Take MiLB Honors
Perhaps youâ€™ve noticed, but if you havenâ€™t, the Mariners have announced their Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Year, this time passing the award to High Desert third baseman Alex Liddi and Venezuelan Summer League right-hander Erasmo Ramirez. Mavericks manager Jim Horner also won an award for player development. The rest of the winners per affiliate run like this:
AAA Tacoma: C Adam Moore, RH Gaby Hernandez
AA West Tennessee: OF Ezequiel Carrera, LH Nick Hill
A High Desert: 3B Alex Liddi, LH Donnie Hume
A Clinton: INF/OF Scott Savastano, RH Kenn Kasparek
Short-A Everett: 1B Geradro Avila, RH Tyler Stanton
Rookie Pulaski: 3B Vincent Catricala, RH Brandon Maurer
Rookie Peoria: OF Mario Yepez, RH Chris Kessinger
Dominican: C/1B Hector Mercedes, RH Richard Vargas
Venezuelan: INF Carlos Ramirez, RH Erasmo Ramirez
Liddi joins such previous minor league MVPs as Bryan LaHair and Greg Halman, and if that gives you a moment of pause, it should. These awards are often given out to players well-liked by the development staff that have had tremendous statistical success in a season, but are no means an indicator of future stardom. Iâ€™ve pointed out the progress heâ€™s made in his plate discipline and his development as a hitter throughout the season, yet that same development is, obviously, not complete. The real test for him will be when he reaches the less hitter-friendly, more experienced Southern League next season. Heâ€™ll have to be added to the 40-man in the offseason, so weâ€™ll have three years to see what we have in him, four if he falls under that same clause Balentien did, and I suspect he does. Keep in mind that Adam Jones was also a minor league MVP at one point, not to draw unfair comparisons.
Ramirez has captured the imagination of prospect hounds with a stat line that looks like it was generated on an old NES with a fair share of Game Genie codes entered. Heâ€™s even been mentioned on the Building to the Future segment during the broadcasts, and endorsed columnist Larry Stone got around to profiling him in a recent Times article. As Stone states, the numbers are misleading, as heâ€™s not a second Felix Hernandez or even a J.C. Ramirez, but has slightly above-average stuff that he can command well, and down in the zone. The hitters in the Venezuelan Summer League are frequently confounded by any pitcher with a passable offspeed pitch or even a modicum of command. The last pitcher that I saw dominate hitters like this in the VSL was Cesar Jimenez, though I feel like Iâ€™ve been saying that all the time. Expect to see Ramirez turn up in Pulaski or Everett next season.
As for the rest, Avila wins over Jones I guess because heâ€™s been an org favorite for years and went on a great tear now that heâ€™s finally healthy. Thatâ€™s no knock on Jones though. Catricala over Haveman or even Noriega is a bit surprising, as is Savastano over Tenbrink. The rest plays out about as expected. Fister, Vargas, or Olson werenâ€™t going to make it as the top pitcher in Tacoma because all spent large chunks of the season in the MLB.