Minor League Wrap (4/19-25/10)

Jay Yencich · April 26, 2010 at 6:05 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

I can’t say that this will entirely wash away the stain of this past weekend’s performances, but it will help, and if not, just look at Marc’s report from Tacoma again and remember that Cliff Lee will be back soon. Hannahan and Langerhans might be too.

To the jump!

Tacoma Rainiers (2-4 this week, 7-10 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, April 19th 2010
Tacoma 5, Salt Lake City 4 (ANA – 4)
W: Baldwin (1-0, 4.38); L: R. Rodriguez (1-2, 5.14)

Tuesday, April 20th 2010
Tacoma 5, Colorado Springs 6 (COL + 1) (ten innings)
W: Wilhite (1-0, 4.50); L: Speigner (1-2, 5.00)

Wednesday, April 21st 2010
Tacoma 4, Colorado Springs 5 (COL + 2) (ten innings)
W: Johnston (2-1, 1.08); L: Palazzolo (0-1, ***)

Thursday, April 22nd 2010
Tacoma 4, Colorado Springs 5 (COL + 3) (six innings)
W: Roe (1-2, 5.40); L: Olson (1-1, 3.14)

Friday, April 23rd 2010

Saturday, April 24th 2010
Salt Lake 1 (ANA – 3), Tacoma 6
W: French (2-0, 1.44); L: O’Sullivan (1-2, 5.64)

Sunday, April 25th 2010
Salt Lake 4 (ANA – 2), Tacoma 1
W. T. Bell (1-0, 1.35); L: Koplove (0-1, 8.53)

Hitter of the Week:
1B Mike Carp, L/R, 6/30/1986
6 G, 19 AB, 3 R, 4 H, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 6/6 K/BB, .211/~.400/.579

It was a strange week for the Rainiers offense. They averaged only three-and-a-half runs per game, and the first three games were decided by only one run. As you might expect, there weren’t a whole lot of hits on the week, so credit to Carp for making his productive at least, with two of them leaving the park. Even when he wasn’t hitting exactly, he was still seeing the ball pretty well. After entering the week with an 8/1 K/BB, Carp stepped it up and is now at a more respectable 14/7. The hits should come around soon too, as his BABIP is below .270 at the moment.

Still Hitting, Kind Of Mention:
SS Josh Wilson, R/R, 3/26/1981
6 G, 22 AB, 2 R, 7 H, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 4/0 K/BB, .318/~.318/.455

Hit For the Cycle!… Over the Course of Four Games Mention:
SS Chris Woodward, R/R, 6/27/1976
4 G, 14 AB, 4 R, 4 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, 3/1 K/BB, .286/~.333/.714

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Steven Shell, 3/10/1983
0-0, 2 G (GS), 1.35 ERA in 6.2 IP, 3 H, R, 5/2 K/BB, 4/10 G/F

I can’t put Cliff Lee here in good conscience, so how about that Shell feller? The M’s were apparently helping him rework his mechanics during spring training, and he seems to be getting closer. After walking four through his first two starts, spanning nine innings, Shell only walked two this week and managed to keep the hit totals low. Mysteriously, he appeared in relief on Sunday, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because he would have been on pace to start on Tuesday, but he only threw five pitches, getting two quick outs, and the Rainiers have an off-day on Wednesday, so it might be nothing.

Not Really Getting Groundballs As Expected Mention:
LHP Luke French, 9/13/1985
1-0, 2 GS, 2.19 ERA in 12.1 IP, 13 H, 5 R (3 ER), 9/3 K/BB, 7/16 G/F

From The Training Room:
Petit’s still on the DL. David Pauley had his start pushed back by three days at least after the snow in Colorado. Ramon Vazquez joined the team, which sent Travis Denker out, as expected. Hannahan is hitting .227/.370/.500 in 22 at-bats (call him up!) and Ryan Langerhans is hitting .241/.389/.345 in 29 at-bats (why not call him up too?). The Mariners also signed RHP Steve Palazzolo, who is very tall (6’10) and looks like he should have had the lead in some late-70s/early-80s cop movie.

Strange Happenings:
You know who isn’t hitting well? Michael Saunders. Through 51 at-bats, he’s hitting .157/.228/.157. He’s also struck out twelve times. His BABIP is in the basement, but nonetheless, it’s not a good sign if you were among those hoping he could take over in left sometime early in the season and push Bradley to DH… With Palazzolo on board, the M’s organization now has eight Stevens/Stephens, not counting middle names. Name them all and receive a year’s free subscription to USSM!

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (3-4 this week, 7-10 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, April 19th 2010
Huntsville 9 (MIL + 3), West Tenn 2
W: A. Rivas (2-0, 1.13); L: Cortes (0-1, 8.78)

Tuesday, April 20th 2010
Huntsville 4 (MIL + 4), West Tenn 3
W: Hand (1-0, 2.16); L: Rohrbaugh (1-1, 1.80)

Wednesday, April 21st 2010
Huntsville 7 (MIL + 5), West Tenn 0
W: Rogers (1-1, 1.98); L: Robles (1-1, 4.15)

Thursday, April 22nd 2010
Huntsville 1 (MIL + 4), West Tenn 8
W: Pineda (1-0, 1.76); L: Bowman (2-1, 4.61)

Friday, April 23rd 2010
Huntsville 1 (MIL + 3), West Tenn 12 (seven innings)
W: Hensley (1-1, 1.80); L: Cody (2-1, 7.50)

Saturday, April 24th 2010
West Tenn 6, Mobile 2 (ARI – 2)
W: Cortes (1-1, 7.36); L: Roemer (1-1, 2.67)

Sunday, April 25th 2010
West Tenn 4, Mobile 11 (ARI – 1)
W: Layne (2-0, 2.77); L: L. Munoz (0-1, 5.79)

Hitter of the Week:
LF Mike Wilson, R/R, 6/29/1983
7 G, 26 AB, 5 R, 10 H, 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 5/3 K/BB, .385/~.448/.923

This probably isn’t going to make JH happy, because he and I were talking about Peguero yesterday, and how his improvements in plate discipline and his all-around offensive game took us by surprise, considering he was right there with Halman for strikeouts last season. By contrast, we know Wilson can hit. He set the Mariners spring training home run record last season with eight. He set the Jaxx’ own home run record in ’08 with twenty-seven. Considering he’s been around double-A since 2006, there’s no reason Wilson shouldn’t hit, if he’s healthy. But that’s been part of the problem, as he’s played less than seventy games in two of the last three seasons. If he manages to remain healthy, he might work his way into Tacoma, and could theoretically have a future as at least a bench bat, though I admit, I’m not as high on him as some minor league watchers.

But Look At Those Eye Numbers Mention:
RF Carlos Peguero, L/L, 2/22/1987
6 G, 24 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3/3 K/BB, .333/~.407/.750

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Michael Pineda, 1/18/1989
1-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 7 H, R, 6/0 K/BB, 4/5 G/F

I would compare Pineda’s recent outing against Huntsville to Felix’s last outing against Baltimore, where the King just cruised along, more or less ignoring the hits that he was giving up. Except Huntsville is probably the third or fourth best offense in the league, featuring hitting prospects such as Brett Lawrie, Jonathan Lucroy, and Lorenzo Cain whereas the Orioles are hardly impressive. As an added note, they have the third best walk totals in the league right now, and couldn’t do a thing versus Pineda. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until June to see either of the top two again, and at the rate Pineda’s going, he might be in Tacoma by then.

Eight Walks Through His First Two Starts, But Now… Mention:
RHP Steven Hensley, 12/27/1986
1-0, GS, 1.59 ERA in 5.2 IP, 3 H, R, 4/1 K/BB, 9/4 G/F

From the Training Room:
Nick Hill landed on the DL, which is not entirely surprising given how much trouble he had during the first couple of starts. Luis Munoz is now in the rotation to replace him. Steve Bray also joined the team again as Palazzolo joined the Rainiers.

Strange Happenings:
Dan Cortes is running a 7.36 ERA, which is bad, but not as bad as it seems, as his tRA is 5.81 and his FIP is around five. Walks remain a problem for him, as he has ten in 18.1 innings… Walks have been a problem for some in the bullpen. Mumba Rivera and Josh Fields both have eight, in 10.2 and 10.1 innings, respectively. By contrast, Edward Paredes has run 14/0 K/BB in his first 9.1 innings, which would be hot, if not for the fact that he’s also allowed fourteen hits.

High Desert Mavericks (4-2 this week, 10-7 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, April 19th 2010
Lancaster 6 (HOU – 5), High Desert 2
W: Wild (2-0, 5.52); L: Bass (0-1, 4.58)

Tuesday, April 20th 2010
Rain Out?!?

Wednesday, April 21st 2010
Lancaster 3 (HOU – 6), High Desert 5 (seven innings)
W: Nation (1-0, 0.93); L: Godfrey (0-1, 3.18)

Thursday, April 22nd 2010

Friday, April 23rd 2010
High Desert 7, Lake Elsinore 1 (SD – 1)
W: LaFromboise (2-0, 2.93); L: J. Reyes (1-1, 4.70)

Saturday, April 24th 2010
High Desert 2, Lake Elsinore 3 (SD 0)
W: Brach (1-0, 1.04); L: Moorer (0-1, 3.86)

Sunday, April 25th 2010
High Desert 4, Lake Elsinore 2 (SD – 1) (seven innings)
W: Kasparek (1-1, 3.09); L: Schmidt (0-2, 6.38)

High Desert 10, Lake Elsinore 2 (- 2) (seven innings)
W: Czyz (1-0, 2.57); L: J. Berger (0-1, 7.00)

Hitter of the Week:
IF Nate Tenbrink, L/R, 12/21/1986
6 G, 23 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI, 4/1 K/BB, .348/~.375/.652

Tenbrink isn’t hitting .400 anymore. “So what”, I say. He’s still the best hitter on the Mavericks roster right now, and has been one of the top ten hitters in the league for some time. About the only complaint I have for him this particular week is that, while he walked six times in the week and a half prior, he only managed to do so once this time around, and I would think that he should be developing enough of a reputation to be able to work some pitchers for that free pass.

Fairly Distant Second Mention:
1B Rich Poythress, R/R, 8/11/1987
5 G, 18 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3/2 K/BB, .333/~.400/.444

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Bobby LaFromboise, 6/25/1986
1-0, GS, 1.69 ERA in 5.1 IP, 4 H (HR), R, 5/1 K/BB, 5/6 G/F

To this point, the starting rotation that the Mavs opened the season with (I include Cleto in this) has run a 3.52 ERA in 76.6 IP. Not exactly the expected outcome, given that there’s only one big prospect in the bunch, and he’s now on the DL. But LaFromboise has helped the rotation keep pace, and has earned his two victories thus far. Part of that is that he’s managed to run a pretty good 16/4 K/BB in 15.1 innings pitched, and has avoided the longball for the most part. As ever, further tests will come as he begins to log significant time at home, but he did face Lake Elsinore twice in a row, not a bad offense as a team, and managed to learn from his mistakes enough to hold them at bay this time around.

Relief Stud Mention:
RHP Blake Nation, 5/16/1987
1-0, 3 G, 0.00 ERA in 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2/2 K/BB, 7/5 G/F

From the Training Room:
Ryan Feierabend had two hits and two Ks through two innings of work this week.

Strange Happenings:
Jake Wild had some consideration as a mentionable for striking out fourteen in 9.2 innings. The issue? Thirteen hits and four walks, leading to an ugly ERA in one start. Which he won anyway. Cal League Baseball!

Clinton Lumberkings (3-4 this week, 8-10 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, April 19th 2010
Clinton 0, Beloit 1 (MIN + 2)
W: Osterbrock (1-1, 3.38); L: Vasquez (0-2, 1.45)

Tuesday, April 20th 2010
Burlington 3 (KC – 7), Clinton 4
W: Housey (2-0, 5.14); L: Lafferty (1-1, 3.09)

Wednesday, April 21st 2010
Burlington 1 (KC – 8), Clinton 15
W: Hesketh (1-1, 10.95); L: Mitchell (0-3, 11.32)

Thursday, April 22nd 2010
Burlington 4 (KC – 7), Clinton 2
W: Paukovits (1-1, 3.46); L: Stanton (1-1, 5.19)

Friday, April 23rd 2010
Kane County 5 (OAK – 2), Clinton 4
W: Schultz (1-0, 4.50); L: Josselyn (1-2, 4.50)

Saturday, April 24th 2010
Kane County 1 (OAK – 3), Clinton 3
W: Moran (1-0, 0.00); L: Huttenlocker (1-1, 3.00)

Sunday, April 25th 2010
Kane County 6 (OAK – 2), Clinton 3 (seven innings)
W: Straily (2-0, 4.05); L: Blandford (0-2, 4.11)

Hitter of the Week:
SS Nick Franklin, S/R, 3/2/1991
6 G, 24 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 2 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4/3 K/BB, .375/~.444/.792

Just like in High Desert, we have another repeat. I’m certainly a fan of what Raben has managed to put together, given that he missed all of last season, but I don’t think I need to explain why Franklin would get preferential treatment here. If I do, just go to MiLB.com and order the Batting Leaders by OPS, then check the ages of everyone above 1.000. Franklin, at nineteen, is keeping up with hitters two and three years older than him. He’s also coming around as average goes against left-handers, but with it comes with more support of my two swings comment, or two approaches at least. As a left-handed batter, he’s running a 12/5 K/BB, whereas everything he’s gotten as a right-handed bat has been put into play, and three of the four hits have gone for extras. It’s kind of odd.

Potentially Our Top First Base Prospect Mention:
1B Dennis Raben, L/L, 7/31/1987
7 G, 24 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 5 2B, HR, 4 RBI, CS, 7/4 K/BB, .375/~.464/.708

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Anthony Vasquez, 9/19/1986
0-1, 2 GS, CG, 0.81 ERA in 11.0 IP, 6 H (HR), 8/2 K/BB, 15/8 G/F, HB

About the only thing that’s been able to stop Vasquez so far has been rain. On Saturday afternoon, he could only pitch three innings due to it, and all the while had given up two hits and two walks while striking out three. Prior to that, he threw an eight-inning complete game in a losing effort against Beliot, where the other team’s pitching was just slightly better than him all evening. Some people are starting to talk a bit about him, but one should bear in mind that Vazquez was drafted as a senior and has a great deal more experience than most other pitchers being trotted out there. Still, it might make him an appealing option later in the season for the Cal League, if the need arises there.

Not a Starter… Yet Mention:
RHP Erasmo Ramirez, 5/2/1990
1-0, 2 G, S, 1.03 ERA in 8.2 IP, 8 H, R, 8/0 K/BB, 8/8 G/F

From the Training Room:
No changes since last time, but Jason Churchill reported earlier in the week that infielder Gabriel Noriega has given up switch hitting and is now a full-time right-handed bat, which gives Franklin that much more of an edge on him.

Strange Happenings:
Through his first two starts, Jonathan Hesketh had an ERA of 17.18, having given up nineteen hits in 7.1 innings, running a 6/5 K/BB in that span. On the 21st, he abruptly went back to normal, pitching a five inning-stint and allowing just two hits, though one of those left the park, and recording an 8/1 K/BB… Kalian Sams’ seven home runs only tie him for the league lead… The starting rotation has only allowed six earned runs to score in the last 43.0 IP. Unearned runs, however, is a different story.


17 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (4/19-25/10)”

  1. littlelinny6 on April 26th, 2010 9:55 am

    Is Pineda still on a very strict pitch count? I’ve noticed he’s thrown no more than 85 or so pitches in a game. Does this have to do with the elbow problems he had last year? Plus, if he continues to dominate when do you see him in Tacoma?

    What do you make of Nick Franklin’s recent tear? Is he a much better hitter than originally thought or is he just going through a good 3 week stretch? I’d think he’d end up in HD sometime this year but with Diaz (who should be in WT) and Truinfel ahead of him I worry he may have nowhere to play. Thanks for the great work Jay.

  2. Jay Yencich on April 26th, 2010 10:37 am

    Triunfel hit two home runs this week. How I forgot to mention that, I don’t know.

    Is Pineda still on a very strict pitch count? I’ve noticed he’s thrown no more than 85 or so pitches in a game. Does this have to do with the elbow problems he had last year? Plus, if he continues to dominate when do you see him in Tacoma?

    He threw 90 the last time out, actually, but part of it is just that the M’s have been very strict about how they go about handling their pitchers. I’ve heard, for example, that Cleto’s shoulder thing might not be that bad, but as the issue had been present in ST, the second it flared up again they benched him.

    In Pineda’s case, they’re going to keep things going slow with him for the time being and allow him to work into things. It’s not as though the team is suffering because of it either; despite being kept to that strict count, he’s pitched more innings per start than anyone just because he’s so efficient.

    I don’t think he moves before June though, even at the current pace. They have every reason to be careful with him, and bringing him to the PCL might not be wholly appropriate until the weather heats up anyway.

    What do you make of Nick Franklin’s recent tear? Is he a much better hitter than originally thought or is he just going through a good 3 week stretch? I’d think he’d end up in HD sometime this year but with Diaz (who should be in WT) and Truinfel ahead of him I worry he may have nowhere to play.

    I don’t think anyone expected him to be developing power this quickly. Alliant Energy Field is probably one of the best hitting parks in the league, and he’s played twelve games so far at home, putting up the bulk of his numbers there and doing rather awful on the road (20 AB, .150/.190/.250). But I can’t wholly chalk it up to the park because the conditions in the MWL early in the year aren’t usually conducive to hitting. I’d prefer to credit improved conditioning and the fact that he was spending so much of the offseason and pre-spring training in Peoria, but the teams they’ve faced so far haven’t been great pitching squads, with the exception of Beloit and Quad Cities, to a lesser extent (Burlington is AWFUL). It’s something we can be on the watch for in the upcoming seven-game roadtrip starting tomorrow. I’m cautiously optimistic.

    As for the depth chart, yes, it’s a little screwy, because Ackley and Triunfel aren’t yet doing anything that would lead one to consider moving them to Tacoma, and in High Desert, Diaz has been off to a slow start, where Seager has been tearing it up. It’s not something I’m going to lose sleep over; Franklin has been doing far better than any of us could have foreseen, but the questions you can raise about his performances, while not damning, are not insignificant either. It’s like some of the High Desert guys last year: the numbers say promotion, but it’s not as though they’re stagnating where they are.

  3. joser on April 26th, 2010 12:54 pm

    The note about Noriega giving up switch-hitting struck me as funny because your immediately-prior comment about Franklin’s different approaches (or at least results) as a RH vs LH hitter already had me musing that perhaps that development lay in his future.

  4. Jay Yencich on April 26th, 2010 1:07 pm

    Correct, but Franklin is better from the left-side and getting that from a guy playing up the middle is valuable.

  5. marc w on April 26th, 2010 3:04 pm

    Bray, Shell, Palazzolo, Hensley, Baron, Penney, Richard… that’s all I got. Who’s the 8th?

    As for Pineda, I asked someone with the team, but they (quite rightly) didn’t exactly let me in on the time table for his promotion.

    Brian Moran’s a moderately interesting guy who’s doing well but doesn’t have great pure stuff. He’s got a funky delivery/arm angle that gave college hitters fits, and if he keeps this up, he should see HD soon.

    Wilson’s already been with Tacoma, and that didn’t go so well. I wonder if he’s firmly in the org depth sort of mold now. Eh, maybe he puts it together and makes a run at Scott McLain’s all-time AAA HR record, or he becomes a less-Italian Val Pascucci. There are worse lots in life. Peguero’s numbers are eye-popping; it’d be interesting to hear if they’ve done anything different in terms of instruction, or if he’s just played enough baseball now to know that striking out all the time is less fun.

  6. littlelinny6 on April 26th, 2010 3:17 pm

    When I saw Peguero last year he was a complete all or nothing hitter, struggling to make contact on 88 mph straight fastballs so unless he is hitting this well one month from now with a similar eye ratio he still sucks.

    Any word on Cleto and how long he’ll be expected to be DLd?

  7. Mike Snow on April 26th, 2010 3:17 pm

    Maybe Bray got double-counted because he’s pitched in both AA and AAA this year?

  8. Jay Yencich on April 26th, 2010 3:18 pm

    Bray, Shell, Palazzolo, Hensley, Baron, Penney, Richard… that’s all I got. Who’s the 8th?

    (deep breath)


  9. Mike Snow on April 26th, 2010 3:23 pm

    Ha, very good, Jay. Is Kahn actually still with the organization, or is his career over at this point?

  10. Jay Yencich on April 26th, 2010 3:25 pm

    Kahn is still around, re-signing after he was removed from the 40-man in the off-season, but as one would expect at this point, he was placed on the DL as soon as the year began. Incidentally, it was his shoulder that was damaged this time, not either of his knees.

    re: Cleto
    I don’t actually know, as I’ve heard little, but it may turn out to be similar to Pineda last year where they absolutely will not let him think of getting back on the mound until he has no pain whatsoever.

  11. Matt the Dragon on April 26th, 2010 3:27 pm

    Bray, Shell, Palazzolo, Hensley, Baron, Penney, Richard… that’s all I got. Who’s the 8th?

    Hecht? He didn’t say they were all players.

  12. joser on April 26th, 2010 5:25 pm

    Nevermind all the Stevens/Stephens, the completist in me wants the team to pick up a “Shaun.”

  13. Jay Yencich on April 26th, 2010 5:40 pm

    I think we get extra credit for having a Chone.

  14. Mike Snow on April 26th, 2010 5:40 pm

    They could also draft Stefan Sabol or trade with the White Sox for Stefan Gartrell. I’ve had a hard time finding a Stephan, though. (Of course, this is without even getting into the Estebans.)

  15. Matt the Dragon on April 26th, 2010 5:42 pm

    the completist in me

    made me think of this as a description for Jr.:

    Intimate, inaccurate, a family in a way,
    made the trip to Vulnerable and back on the same day

  16. joser on April 26th, 2010 10:49 pm

    I think we get extra credit for having a Chone.

    No, that’s the point — only the team with Chone can have the full set. But we’re a “shaun” short.

  17. garrett161616 on April 26th, 2010 11:25 pm

    What kind of projections are people giving for Seager? Like majors ETA and what kind of role and position he would play?

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