Minor League Wrap (5/31-6/6/10)

Jay Yencich · June 7, 2010 at 7:05 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

I’ve got a draft post coming scheduled for a couple hours from now. Reading, for your Monday morning.

To the jump!

Tacoma Rainiers (5-1 this week, 28-25 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 31st 2010
Tacoma 7, Las Vegas 4 (TOR – 10)
W: White (1-0, 0.00); L: Valdez (0-2, 12.41)

Tuesday, June 1st 2010
Tacoma 12, Sacramento 3 (OAK – 3)
W: French (6-2, 1.93); L: Halama (1-1, 2.08)

Wednesday, June 2nd 2010
Tacoma 9, Sacramento 7 (OAK – 4)
W: Petit (1-0, 7.59); L: Rodriguez (0-2, 2.40)

Thursday, June 3rd 2010
Tacoma 2, Sacramento 10 (OAK – 3)
W: Mortensen (7-2, 4.30); L: Feierabend (0-1, 22.50)

Friday, June 4th 2010
Tacoma 2, Sacramento 0 (OAK – 4)
W: Seddon (6-2, 3.43); L: Blackley (1-1, 2.08)

Saturday, June 5th 2010
Las Vegas 2 (TOR – 11), Tacoma 5
W: Pauley (1-3, 3.34); L: Mills (4-4, 4.54)

Sunday, June 6th 2010
Rain out.

Hitter of the Week:
3B Matt Mangini, L/R, 12/21/1985
6 G, 23 AB, 3 R, 7 H, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4/1 K/BB, .304/.333/.826

We see .400 hitters now and then, as Carp managed this week. We do not often see guys slug over .800. Mangini is three-quarters of the way to his home run total for all of last season, and has tied his total for the ’08 season. His glove being a bit lackluster, he needed to hit in order to vie for any kind of major league job and now he’s doing just that. Sure, he’s striking out a little more and walking a little less, but for whatever reason he’s just killing the ball. Seven of the home runs are coming against right-handers, so you might be able to see him platoon at some point in the future. He still hits left-handers, mind you, as if you normalize the BABIP a bit, the difference is only .100 points of OPS, but he mostly ends up with doubles against southpaws at this point.

.400 Hitter Mention:
LF/1B Mike Carp, L/R, 6/20/1986
6 G, 20 AB, 6 R, 8 H, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 6/2 K/BB, .400/.455/.600

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Chris Seddon, 10/13/1983
1-0, GS, SHO, 0.00 ERA in 9.0 IP, 3 H, 4/2 K/BB, 14/6 G/F, WP

This was an easy call with Seddon throwing the second complete game shutout for the Rainiers this season. Facing off against former Mariner Travis Blackley, Seddon needed just 106 pitches to get twenty-seven outs from the Sacramento lineup. It got a little tight when, with two outs, he allowed a walk and a single to put the tying runs, but after chatting a bit with the coaches, he settled down enough to strike out the last man. It was sort of the Washburn special as shutouts go, but with more groundouts, as you might not want to get too much in the outfield with Mike Carp in left that day.

Finally Got His First Win Mention:
RHP David Pauley, 6/17/1983
1-0, 2 GS, 3.21 ERA in 14.0 IP, 12 H (2 HR), 5 R, 11/3 K/BB, 17/11 G/F, 2 HB

From The Training Room:
This is mostly old news, but IF Jack Hannahan was successfully outrighted and LHP Garrett Olson and RHP Sean White were both called up on Tuesday… LHP Ryan Feierabend ended up with the team again as RHP Steven Shell landed on the DL for reasons I don’t know yet. Feierabend ended up letting six runs score in two innings. Five of them were earned. That’s something…. Cordero was also called up, as I posted, and RHP Luis Munoz was brought in from West Tenn to replace him, for a little while, then RHP Wes Littleton joined the team. UT Jeff Dominguez was also sent back to the Jaxx… On Sunday, LHP Luke French was called up and the M’s brought in RHP Yoervis Medina from extended. SS Jack Wilson will also be joining the team.

Strange Happenings:
The Rainiers went 5-1 in spite of all the call-ups… Halman played in only three games, so he wouldn’t qualify for anything this week, but he did have a couple of home runs, a double, and a 4/2 K/BB in those games. He had a couple of outfield assists too… Mike Wilson also had home runs in consecutive games on Friday and Saturday.

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (6-0 this week, 32-23 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 31st 2010
West Tenn 3, Chattanooga 0 (LA – 7)
W: Robles (4-2, 3.31); L: Castillo (2-6, 2.63)

Tuesday, June 1st 2010
West Tenn 5, Chattanooga 2 (LA – 8 )
W: Pineda (5-1, 2.20); L: Sexton (2-5, 4.81)

Wednesday, June 2nd 2010
West Tenn 3, Chattanooga 1 (LA – 9)
W: Hensley (6-2, 1.50); L: Withrow (1-3, 5.60)

Thursday, June 3rd 2010
West Tenn 10, Chattanooga 9 (LA – 10)
W: Littleton (2-2, 7.00); L: Pfeiffer (2-2, 3.00)

Friday, June 4th 2010
Rain out.

Saturday, June 5th 2010
Mississippi 2 (ATL – 4), West Tenn 4
W: Bray (3-3, 2.52); L: Diamond (2-5, 4.45)

Sunday, June 6th 2010
Mississippi 2 (ATL – 5), West Tenn 12
W: Robles (5-2, 3.32); L: Cordier (4-4, 4.23)

Hitter of the Week:
2B Dustin Ackley, L/R, 2/26/1988
6 G, 19 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 2B, 4 RBI, 1/6 K/BB, .526/.615/.579

It’s been said that the best players have the ability to make everyone around them look better, but in Ackley’s case, I think he’s come full circle again and is back to making everyone else look worse. “Oh, you want to try to hit .400 this week, Alex? Hold on, I’m going over .500.” Jerk. Kidding aside, Sunday night’s game finally pushed his OBP over .400, which means that the differential there is over a hundred and fifty points. Ackley has a safely reached streak going back twelve games now, and is undeniably locked in at the moment. Maybe soon, he’ll start hitting the ball with more authority, as only a third of his hits have gone for extra bases so far.

Unusually Distant Runner-Up Mention:
3B Alex Liddi, R/R, 8/14/1988
6 G, 27 AB, 5 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 6 RBI, CS, 6/2 K/BB, .370/.413/.444

League-Leading Nineteen Doubles Mention:
LF/1B Johan Limonta, L/L, 8/4/1984
6 G, 26 AB, 4 R, 9 H, 4 2B, 5 RBI, SB, 7/2 K/BB, .346/.393/.500

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Mauricio Robles, 3/5/1989
2-0, 2 GS, 1.54 ERA in 11.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 14/3 K/BB, 7/11 G/F, WP

Even when Robles isn’t that good, he’s still pretty good. The not-good was his Sunday outing, which was still near-quality at two runs allowed through five and a third innings on five hits, three walks, and five Ks, but by subtraction, you can probably figure out that he only allowed three hits and rung up nine through six innings on Monday. In that game, after a one-out single in the first, he retired ten straight, and eight of those struck out. That’s ludicrous. The walk rate, however, isn’t getting any better, and from April to May, it jumped up by half a point. I’m keeping my enthusiasm under control for that reason, because it’s hard to see him going deep into games on a regular basis like this.

Innings Eater #1 Mention:
RHP Steven Hensley, 12/27/1986
0-0, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 3 H, R, 7/2 K/BB, 5/5 G/F, HB

Innings Eater #2 Mention:
RHP Steve Bray, 12/22/1980
1-0, GS, 2.45 ERA in 7.1 IP, 6 H (HR), 2 R, 4/1 K/BB, 13/6 G/F, WP

Innings Eater #3 Mention:
RHP Michael Pineda, 1/18/1989
1-0, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 4 H, R, 4/1 K/BB, 7/5 G/F

From the Training Room:
There were a lot of moves this week as well, though not all of them were injury related. RHPs Dan Cortes and Wes Littleton were both activated and RHP Luis Munoz was also sent to Tacoma and back. The second time, Littleton took his spot on the Rainiers roster… C Travis Scott was also released, for reasons not clear to me, and C Hassiel Jimenez was added from extended to replace him… With Dominguez rejoining the team, OF Jake Shaffer was sent back to High Desert.

Strange Happenings:
West Tenn has won eight straight. Unfortunately, the Tennessee Smokies have been red-hot too and thus, they’ve only made up a game and a half in the standings… The D-Jaxx had an eleven-run fifth inning on Sunday. The totals: fourteen men to the plate, five singles, a home run, four walks, and a hit batter. The first ten men to the plate in that inning all reached.

High Desert Mavericks (4-2 this week, 33-23 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 31st 2010
High Desert 2, Lake Elsinore 14 (SD + 17)
W: Bass (4-2, 3.02); L: LaFromboise (4-3, 4.94)

Tuesday, June 1st 2010
High Desert 5, Lake Elsinore 1 (SD + 16)
W: Vasquez (2-1, 2.84); L: Schmidt (5-3, 3.26)

Wednesday, June 2nd 2010
Off day

Thursday, June 3rd 2010
High Desert 3, Inland Empire 1 (LA – 14)
W: Kasparek (5-1, 2.65); L: Redding (2-3, 4.72)

Friday, June 4th 2010
High Desert 5, Inland Empire 3 (LA – 15)
W: Wild (5-1, 3.55); L: Miller (0-4, 3.23)

Saturday, June 5th 2010
High Desert 1, Inland Empire 2 (LA – 14)
W: Smit (4-3, 3.34); L: Hann (0-3, 5.46)

Sunday, June 6th 2010
High Desert 16, Inland Empire 1 (LA – 15)
W: LaFromboise (5-3, 4.58); L: Eovaldi (1-3, 3.40)

Hitter of the Week:
2B Kyle Seager, L/R, 11/3/1987
6 G, 23 AB, 6 R, 7 H, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI, SB, CS, 5/6 K/BB, .304/.448/.522

The other second baseman we drafted out of the North Carolina school system seems to be imitating the first. He’s not at the even mark yet, but he’s pulling close with a 40/34 K/BB, after a somewhat “down” May that had him go leave with a 24/13 mark. Seager seems to be pretty professional about his hitting too, as he has negligible splits for both left/right and home/away, save for the fact that he hasn’t hit a home run against left-handed pitching yet. Not that I think we’ll ever know him for his power stroke. Defensively, I can’t say I’ve heard good things. Most of the metrics I’ve looked at put him as a bit below average as well, so his future might be as a decent hitting left-handed utility infielder, considering he doesn’t have the power for a corner.

Seven RBI on Sunday Mention:
1B Rich Poythress, R/R, 8/11/1987
5 G, 19 AB, R, 7 H, 2B, HR, 8 RBI, 6/2 K/BB, .368/.391/.579

Still Hitting, and Playing the OF (But Not Walking) Mention:
LF/1B Dennis Raben, L/L, 7/31/1987
6 G, 24 AB, 6 R, 9 H, 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI, 10/1 K/BB, .375/.407/.583

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Anthony Vasquez, 9/19/1986
1-0, G, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 4/2 K/BB, 9/4 G/F, HB

You couldn’t really go wrong picking either Vasquez or Carraway this week. For me, I think it came down to Vasquez getting groundballs and Carraway giving up a home run in a park that isn’t easy to hit it out of, but that’s really splitting hairs. Vasquez’ two walks this week were the first of his Cal League tenure, which is up to 19.1 innings now, and that roughly matches his season pace as well. Vasquez is starting to intrigue me, because I know he doesn’t have top tier stuff, but the command is quality and, unlike a lot of junkballers that eat up right-handed hitters with change-ups, Vasquez is actually performing quite a bit better against lefties, with an incredible 70% groundball rate when facing them, suggesting he has a pretty nasty two-seam. I prefer this to the alternative, because change-up artists are either doing long outings or nothing at all, where Vasquez might be able to do both long and short stints.

Fifteen Days Older Mention:
RHP Andrew Carraway, 9/4/1986
0-0, GS, 1.35 ERA in 6.2 IP, 5 H (HR), R, 6/1 K/BB, 6/7 G/F

From the Training Room:
Shaffer, as noted earlier, came back down to the Mavs, but that was in part because OF Maximo Mendez wound up on the DL, again… Cleto continues to do three inning “starts” here and there, Vasquez relieving his outing this week. He let a run score on two hits and a walk and rung up four.

Strange Happenings:
It’s not quite what the D-Jaxx did, but the Mavericks scored seven in the ninth inning on Sunday. That’s twelve men to the plate, three singles, a double, a home run, two hit batters, two walks… That same game, at times, featured an opposing battery of Eovaldi/Ishibashi, and later, Aguasviva/Ishibashi. And we thought the Aquasox were the United Nations of Baseball.

Clinton Lumberkings (2-4 this week, 32-25 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 31st 2010
Clinton 7, Kane County 4 (OAK – 6)
W: Guzman (3-1, 4.09); L: Jimenez (1-3, 2.01)

Tuesday, June 1st 2010
Clinton 2, Bowling Green 7 (TB – 8 )
W: Lobstein (2-3, 5.36); L: Lewis (3-1, 5.40)

Wednesday, June 2nd 2010
Clinton 11, Bowling Green 2 (TB – 9)
W: Hesketh (3-4, 5.24); L: Colome (4-4, 2.52)

Thursday, June 3rd 2010
Rain out.

Friday, June 4th 2010
Clinton 6, Dayton 7 (CIN – 11)
W: Braun (1-0, 2.25); L: Cooper (2-2, 4.00)

Saturday, June 5th 2010
Clinton 5, Dayton 7 (CIN – 10)
W: Johnson (2-4, 5.13); L: Gillheeney (3-4, 2.76)

Sunday, June 6th 2010
Clinton 4, Dayton 3 (CIN – 11)
W: Ramirez (4-2, 2.19); L: Villarreal (3-4, 3.59)

Hitter of the Week:
SS Nick Franklin, S/R, 3/2/1991
6 G, 28 AB, 7 R, 9 H, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 5/1 K/BB, SB, .321/.345/.750

Remember the days when we’d promote a highly regarded teenaged shortstop to the Midwest League and spend the next five months rationalizing his performance, making claims that he wasn’t doing as bad as the numbers indicated? I think Franklin has safely bypassed that. While none of the four home runs this week came while facing a left-handed pitcher, he did take one guy to the opposite field, which is an encouraging sign. His slugging for the season approaches .600, and there are only two ahead of him in the whole league, one of which is twenty-two and on a return tour. The complaint I have of his performances is the same I’ve had in weeks past, at the risk of banging the same drum over and over. He still isn’t walking enough, which is something that is seeming to afflict everyone on the team except Jones.

Not An Empty .400 Mention:
3B/1B Vinnie Catricala, R/R, 10/31/1988
6 G, 22 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, SB, 2/2 K/BB, 2 HBP, .409/.500/.773

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Jonathan Hesketh, 6/3/1986
1-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 2 H, R, 6/0 K/BB, 3/8 G/F, WP

Hesketh is a bit of an enigma to me. Despite two fewer starts and 15.2 fewer innings, he’s just one strikeout behind Gilheeney’s team-leading fifty-five Ks. This certainly isn’t the first time he’s had a week like this either, as I’d point to April 27th in Cedar Rapids when he struck out nine and only allowed three hits in five innings. If not for the leadoff triple in the sixth, in all likelihood, Hesketh doesn’t allow a run this week or have anyone get past second base on him. Heck, he had as many runners reach on errors as he did on hits. And yet, of his ten starts, he’s failed to reach five innings on four occasions and this was the first time he’d exceeded five. The outing prior to this one, he walked four in five innings. Last year, Hesketh looked like a breakout candidate, albeit one of a limited ceiling. This year, he looks lost at times.

Consecutive Three-Inning Saves, w/ Six Ks Mention:
LHP Brian Moran, 9/30/1988
0-0, G, SV, 0.00 ERA in 3.0 IP, 3 H, 6/0 K/BB, 0/3 G/F

From the Training Room:
RHP Tyler Blandford was placed on the DL again after a two-inning stint on the 26th of May where he struck out four. There wasn’t really a corresponding move, as they had been doing the paper move trick of moving a guy to Pulaski without actually moving him.

Strange Happenings:
On Wednesday, Lumberkings batters hit six home runs and were hit by pitches four times. There weren’t even any ejections… All told, the Lumberkings hit twelve home runs this week. Franklin had a third of those. Catricala had a quarter… Franklin had an eight-game hitting streak snap on Sunday. He also made two errors this week… James Jones recently had a string of three consecutive games with home runs, but it bled over from last week to this one, so no mention for him… This week’s series between the Lumberkings and the Bowling Green Hot Rods was the first ever, as the latter just moved to the league this season.


9 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (5/31-6/6/10)”

  1. mutpup on June 7th, 2010 7:27 am

    Any word on Nate Tenbrink? He should be off the DL by now right?

  2. Mid80sRighty on June 7th, 2010 7:40 am

    Great stuff as usual Jay!

    Interesting that Raben isn’t walking much. I saw him a few times when he was at Everett and it seemed like he had a pretty mature eye at the plate. Perhaps he’s trying to be more aggressive this year in hopes he can make up for his lost year?

  3. coasty141 on June 7th, 2010 9:13 am

    Great job as is usual Jay. Couple of questions…

    Out of the three corner guys in the High Desert (Poythress, Chavez, and Raben) who’s bat do you like the best?

    Also, Did anyone expect Ackley to show this much patience at the plate? 40 BB’s on 167 AB’s when you really aren’t hitting the ball is impressive.

  4. littlelinny6 on June 7th, 2010 11:59 am

    I’m not Jay but I did get a chance to go to the Inland Empire vs. HD game Saturday night for Carraway’s start.

    Poythress: Takes a good hack at the plate but had some issues with soft stuff from the IE starter. Defensively, he’s got good hands as he easily scooped up a couple hot shots right at him. However, his lateral range at 1B leaves something to be desired.

    Raben: He played DH so I didn’t get to see him at 1B but at the dish I’d say he has the most promise of the three. Patient approach and he hits the ball hard. Had a double and also at 400+ ft. HR he hit foul to RF. Need to see more but he looks like he can hit. The fact he’s LH doesn’t hurt either.

    Chavez: His swing and general playing style reminds me of Jose Guillen, both the good and bad. Got a good arm in RF and went back on a few balls nicely. At the dish just like Jose 94+ mph fastballs at his eyes he loves. His bat speed looks above average but his selectivity at the plate needs to improve as does hit contact rates.

    Carraway: Limited damage throughout the night but he gets away with subpar stuff by not walking anyone. He was sitting 88-90 most of the night peaking at 91 once or twice. He has a very odd delivery in my opinion—Little Big League esk, hard to explain.

    Hope this helps.

  5. littlelinny6 on June 7th, 2010 12:04 pm

    A few more notes about the IE vs. HD game saturday:

    Seager: Patient approach, line drive swing but hard to see much power ever. Defensively he was OK on the night but I’d see him as an offensively minded utility player as a ceiling (think Tui but actually a good baseball player).

    Almonte: The guy has ridiculous athleticism and make a few great plays in CF including a nice diving catch. He’s Pedro Cerrano at the dish so he hits the ball hard but contact and discipline is an issue.

    Diaz: Looked OK at SS but nothing really special about him. With Nick Franklin behind him and Truinfel ahead of him I’m not sure what his future is.

    That’s about it for guys to care about in the least.

  6. Jay Yencich on June 7th, 2010 12:38 pm

    Any word on Nate Tenbrink? He should be off the DL by now right?

    Tenbrink is eligible to come off now, but he hasn’t yet. From what I’ve heard, he wanted to be playing the next game after he got hit, but everyone else said no.

    Interesting that Raben isn’t walking much. I saw him a few times when he was at Everett and it seemed like he had a pretty mature eye at the plate. Perhaps he’s trying to be more aggressive this year in hopes he can make up for his lost year?

    He was there with everyone else in Clinton, which isn’t exactly damning, but I think once he got to High Desert he thought, “oh snap, I can knock it into the next county here” and started swinging harder. Just speculation on my part.

    Out of the three corner guys in the High Desert (Poythress, Chavez, and Raben) who’s bat do you like the best?

    Tough question. I like Chavez’ bat a lot more now than I did before when we had just acquired him, to make the obvious statement, so I think he fits in the discussion now.

    Poythress walks the most of the bunch by a little bit, but I have my concerns I voiced earlier about him hitting it out in somewhat cheap parks. Chavez, I haven’t noticed the same problem with, and Raben we would have to judge by different criteria being in a different league for most of the year. He’s right there with Chavez for power regardless.

    If we’re talking about Raben at his Everett levels, the choice becomes obvious, and I think there’s enough to believe the walks are going to return once he settles down a little. That plus the left-handedness make him the top pick if you’re going on past performance as an indicator of future potential. The knee injury he had last year is only likely to affect him defensively if anything.

    Between Chavez and Poythress, it’s really getting to where you’re debating minutae. Poythress walks more, as stated, but if you were to take three of his Lancaster home runs and say they were doubles, they’d be slugging about the same. That, however, would open up a whole new can of worms where we’d be trying to figure out how legitimate Chavez’ performances are, so I’ll give Poythress the benefit of doubt and say that he’s the better hitter, but credit Chavez as the better prospect because he’s not held to playing just first.

    Did anyone expect Ackley to show this much patience at the plate? 40 BB’s on 167 AB’s when you really aren’t hitting the ball is impressive.

    I think that people expected him to hit more more power or a better average, but the walks weren’t on the radar at the time. My question now would be, where do you hit him, assuming Ichiro leads off and Figgins stays at second when he comes around?

  7. littlelinny6 on June 7th, 2010 1:42 pm

    My question now would be, where do you hit him, assuming Ichiro leads off and Figgins stays at second when he comes around?

    I think the answer will hopefully be 3rd as he hits for more power, but who knows. Another possibility is to ease him into the lineup eventually and hit him 9th. If he is ready to start at 2B next year, I would think Figgins moves back to 3B and we trade Lopez this year or non-tender him. Jay, any more reports on Ackley’s defense? It seems he is ready for the challenge of AAA right now. If he hits for more power and can play avg. D at 2B he seems like a superstar. Regardless, it seems like the Ms have found at least an avg. 2B hopefully in the majors.

  8. 2old2jump on June 7th, 2010 2:13 pm

    Any word on Nate Tenbrink? He should be off the DL by now right?

    Probably a little more serious than first thought, Team Doc allowing light workout tomorrow.

  9. Jay Yencich on June 7th, 2010 2:17 pm

    Ackley’s D right now is about average, maybe a touch under, but he’s also playing with a lot of guys who had been in the minors for a while are accustomed to the position. Give it some time and he’ll come around.

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