Minor League Wrap (8/30-9/6/10)

Jay Yencich · September 9, 2010 at 6:05 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

Before I get started with this, the Last Wrap of the Season, I’d like to note that the Mariners moved RHP Dan Cortes off the AFL roster and added RHP Tom Wilhelmsen instead. This probably means that they’re planning on calling up Cortes once the Rainiers season ends. I’d add more but Wilhelmsen gets talked about anyway below, so…

To the jump!

The Big Dance:
The end of even-numbered years marks the beginning of the affiliation shuffle, the mysterious proceedings where teams and minor league affiliates change pairings. Sometimes, it’s something that’s beneficial for both parties, like Wisconsin hooking up with the Brewers in the Midwest League, or San Bernardino winning the prized Dodgers affiliation in the Cal League.

In other cases, it’s an opportunity for an ownership group to consolidate their holdings within a particular organization. When the Mariners were forced out of San Antonio in the Texas League, it was in part because the Padres needed somewhere new to go and the team was owned by the same group that owned the Eugene Emeralds.

For others, it’s a painful process. The Boston Red Sox were left without a dance partner a few years back and ended up in the launching pad that is Lancaster in the California League, and were so eager to avoid a repeat that they bought the Salem franchise in the Carolina League and moved their affiliation there as soon as the contract expired. The Mariners, of course, as we all know, were not a big time client throughout the Bavasi years, and were often left with whatever was available after the dust settled, High Desert being one of those cases.

When Zduriencik arrived, the M’s were back at zero, and consequently maintained status quo in most cases, except Clinton where a new affiliation was required due to the loss of Wisconsin. This marks the first year since the minor league system was overhauled that the M’s are in the market for new affiliates. As I noted a couple of weeks back, they already made the obvious moves of extending their contract with Tacoma for another four years and Everett for another two, and this past week it was announced that the affiliations have been extended another two years with the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx of the Southern League, with the Clinton Lumberkings of the Midwest League, and with the Pulaski of the Appalachian League, leaving advanced-A as the only question mark.

Ideally, had everything gone right, the M’s would have been able to swoop in and find a Safeco-like park in the Cal League, but those hopes were dashed once Colorado announced an extension of their player development contract with the Rockies. This leaves the pickings for the M’s as rather slim. The only affiliates still open at this time are High Desert, as expected, Inland Empire, Rancho Cucamonga, and Bakersfield. Inland Empire is unlikely to sign with any team but the Dodgers, so that leaves Rancho and Bakersfield as the fresh faces.

Bakersfield has been an affiliate of the Rangers since ’05 and is certainly a hitter-friendly park, but where High Desert has home run factors around 150, Bakersfield seems tame by comparison at 125 or so. As the Rangers have had a great farm system for the past few years, changing things up might also prove to be a hard sell. It’s possible that the only reason that the Rangers haven’t re-signed yet is because the owner of the Bakersfield franchise led the successful bid for the Texas Rangers recently, something that also plays into the possible Myrtle Beach bid in Carolina. Rancho Cucamonga is likely to prove even harder. The Quakes have been with the Angels since ’01, a long time by minor league standards, and affiliates like it when the parent club is local too, so the Angels would probably have to want out first.

Other possibilities are present, but require a bit more maneuvering. There’s always the option of moving the advanced-A affiliate out of the California League and to Carolina, where many teams had agreements due to expire this season and a few have yet to re-sign. Kinston, Lynchburg, Potomac, and Myrtle Beach are all possibilities, and I’d be fine with any of them, though Kinston has a dinger issue with right-handed bats. Drawbacks of switching leagues would include the cost of moving the team’s operations further to the east. I don’t know how likely any of these are, other than Potomac would probably like to keep with the Nationals, the Indians have been in Kinston since 1987, and Myrtle Beach has been a Braves club since 1999. Lynchburg would seem like the best bet.

The alternative is to wait it out in High Desert, with the hopes that the team will not actually remain there. Discussions have been ongoing for the past couple of years that the team would be moving out, with the Carolina League as one possibility and a move to Apple Valley, CA being another. Both proposals were eventually shot down, but even with the team recently working out two one-year lease extensions the fact remains that the city has not been able to maintain the playing field as was hoped. The Mavs appear to be playing the 2011 season in their current stadium, but beyond that, who’s to say with a new owner coming in?

Tacoma Rainiers (4-4 this week, 74-69 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 30th 2010
Colorado Springs 3 (COL – 14), Tacoma 6
W: Robles (2-1, 4.29) L: Muecke (6-8, 5.35)

Tuesday, August 31st 2010
Colorado Springs 1 (COL – 15), Tacoma 11
W: Baldwin (9-7, 4.86) L: Lo (0-1, 9.00)

Wednesday, September 1st 2010
Colorado Springs 10 (COL – 14), Tacoma 4
W: Roe (8-13, 6.04) L: Feierabend (4-7, 5.29)

Thursday, September 2nd 2010
Colorado Springs 3 (COL – 13), Tacoma 1
W: Smith (2-5, 6.12) L: Rowland-Smith (2-4, 5.11)

Friday, September 3rd 2010
Tacoma 7, Fresno 10 (SF + 7)
W: Bautista (3-2, 3.32) L: Cortes (1-2, 5.40)

Saturday, September 4th 2010
Tacoma 3, Fresno 1 (SF + 6)
W: Robles (3-1, 3.54) L: Hacker (16-8, 4.51)

Sunday, September 5th 2010
Tacoma 9, Fresno 0 (SF + 5)
W: Petit (4-2, 4.85) L: Sosa (7-8, 4.07)

Monday, September 6th 2010
Tacoma 6, Fresno 9 (SF + 6)
W: Medders (2-1, 5.46) L: Paredes (0-2, 6.64)

Hitter of the Week:
LF Mike Carp, L/R, 6/30/1986
8 G, 35 AB, 9 R, 12 H, 2B, 5 HR, RBI, SB, 11/0 K/BB, HBP, .343/.361/.800

The final couple of weeks put a different spin on Carp’s season, as he had eight home runs in his last twelve games. One of the home runs from the week before last hit the front fence for the tennis courts at the nearby high school, and if you’ve been to Cheney, you know what kind of distance that is. What keeps me from getting excited about it is that, particularly in the past week, he wasn’t walking and was striking out more often, which suggests that he flipped the mental switch labeled “DINGERS” and everything else was shut down. Also, for the entire season, only one of his twenty-nine home runs came against a left-hander. But hey, DINGERS.

Average and Power Mention:
1B Justin Smoak, S/L, 12/5/1986
7 G, 29 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 3 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 7/2 K/BB, .345/.387/.552

Power and Walks Mention:
2B Dustin Ackley, L/R, 2/26/1988
8 G, 35 AB, 8 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 7 RBI, 8/4 K/BB, .286/.350/.486

DINGERS! Mention:
CF Gregory Halman, R/R, 8/26/1987
8 G, 34 AB, 6 R, 7 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, SB, 12/3 K/BB, .206/.270/.559

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Yusmeiro Petit, 11/22/1984
1-0, 2 GS, 0.00 ERA in 9.0 IP, 5 H, 10/0 K/BB, 5/8 G/F

Petit has become the posterboy for why you shouldn’t prioritize K-rate over stuff at the lowest minor league levels, but this year hasn’t been that bad for him. This week might have been better if rain hadn’t ended his first outing after only two frames. The 8.3 Ks per nine he’s at right now is the second-highest mark for him in triple-A for his career. He’s not keeping a low walk rate, or giving up any fewer home runs than we’re accustomed to out of him, but it’s a start. Another organization might consider giving him a rotation spot, but in our case, he doesn’t really provide anything special on his own, so I’d expect him to look elsewhere for a job in the offseason.

Bad Command, Good Command Mention:
LHP Mauricio Robles, 3/5/1989
2-0, 2 GS, 2.25 ERA in 12.0 IP, 11 H, 4 R (3 ER), 10/5 K/BB, 12/11 G/F

Keeping it Around the Plate, At Least Mention:
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith, 1/26/1983
0-1, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (ER), 5/0 K/BB, 5/9 G/F, WP

Strong Relief Work after Rain Delay Mention:
RHP Andy Baldwin, 10/20/1982
1-0, 2 G, 1.59 ERA in 5.2 IP, 3 H, R, 4/0 K/BB, 7/4 G/F

From The Training Room:
While there was a flurry of moves elsewhere in the system in the early parts of the week, the Rainiers didn’t change quite as much. The Mariners activated LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith from the DL and brought him back up, and C Rob Johnson hit the DL and was replaced by C Jose Yepez, who had been on the DL for the Diamond Jaxx… Finally, on Monday, there was a swap of RHP Steven Shell for RHP Ian Snell on the disabled list.

Strange Happenings:
Despite not being in the league since July, Blake Beavan was named Texas League Pitcher of the Year. I’m not complaining… Going back to Monday the 30th, Matt Mangini had eleven hits in thirty-five at-bats. He had no runs, extra-base hits, or walks.

Playoff Picture:
A best-of-five set with the Sacramento River Cats began Wednesday night, with the Rainiers winning 10-8 after a two-run rally in the ninth. The series moves to Tacoma on Friday, with Saturday’s game, if necessary being played at noon. Sunday’s game would be played at the usual time.

West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (6-1 this week, 73-66 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 30th 2010
Off day

Tuesday, August 31st 2010
Mississippi 2 (ATL – 5), West Tenn 7
W: Grube (4-5, 3.27) L: Gustafson (4-3, 4.72)

Wednesday, September 1st 2010
Mississippi 10 (ATL – 4), West Tenn 1
W: Hoover (2-1, 4.30) L: Gillheeney (0-2, 10.22)

Thursday, September 2nd 2010
Mississippi 2 (ATL – 5), West Tenn 4
W: Munoz (7-6, 3.88) L: Thompson (8-10, 4.72)

Friday, September 3rd 2010
Chattanooga 7 (LA – 3), West Tenn 8
W: Littleton (3-3, 6.85) L: Huber (3-3, 2.30)

Saturday, September 4th 2010
Chattanooga 3 (LA – 4), West Tenn 5
W: Vasquez (1-3, 2.61) L: De La Rosa (3-1, 1.41)

Sunday, September 5th 2010
Chattanooga 2 (LA – 5), West Tenn 13
W: Grube (5-5, 3.23) L: Withrow (4-9, 5.97)

Monday, September 6th 2010
Chattanooga 0 (LA – 6), West Tenn 8
W: Gillheeney (1-2, 6.87) L: Pfeiffer (7-5, 4.06)

Hitter of the Week:
DH Scott Savastano, R/R, 6/12/1986
5 G, 20 AB, 4 R, 9 H, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .450/.500/1.000

Savastano closes the season taking the top spot after regularly being one of the last cuts on the list. I’ll admit some personal bias comes into play on that one. He’s a limited defender who played more at DH than anywhere else this season, and spent the rest of his time mostly between right field and first base. He’s also only had 29.4% extra-base hits through his tenure in West Tenn, an improvement over last year’s 21%, but still hard to swallow from a guy who isn’t an asset on the field. He helps make up for that with his ability to draw 50+ walks a season, so his wOBA is consistently among the team leaders for whatever squad he plays for. If that’s your type of player, even with the shortcomings, I won’t try to dissuade you.

High Average Mention:
3B Alex Liddi, R/R, 8/14/1988
7 G, 27 AB, 6 R, 13 H, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, CS, 7/3 K/BB, .481/.533/.630

Slugging Again Mention:
OF Carlos Peguero, L/L, 2/22/1987
7 G, 27 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 2B, 3 3B, HR, 9 RBI, 8/3 K/BB, .296/.367/.667

OBP Man Mention:
OF/DH Johan Limonta, L/L, 8/4/1983
6 G, 21 AB, 7 R, 8 H, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3/3 K/BB, 2 HBP, .381/.500/.524

It Finally Happened Mention:
CF-LF-RF-2B-SS-3B-1B-C-RHP Leury Bonilla, R/R, 2/8/1985
7 G, 25 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 4 2B, HR, 6 RBI, SB, 6/2 K/BB, HBP, .320/.367/.600
0-0, G, 0.00 ERA in 1.0 IP, H, K, 2/0 G/F

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Anthony Vasquez, 9/19/1986
1-0, 2 G (GS), 2.25 ERA in 8.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 7/2 K/BB, 11/4 G/F, HB

Pitchers with Vasquez basic skill set, that of a left-hander with an average or below fastball and an assortment of secondary offerings, are usually quite suspect until they get to the double or triple-A level. Vasquez has done just that, in one season, and what’s more, the transitions haven’t really fazed him, as he’s still in the 6+ K/9 safety zone even with the Diamond Jaxx and the walks have remained consistently low. For fans of power pitching looking for a suitable follow-up to the theoretical Felix-Pineda one-two, Vasquez is probably not going to be your guy. He’s just one more of the Vargas/French grouping that’s useful, when cheap.

Gets Outs #1 Mention:
RHP Jarrett Grube, 11/5/1981
2-0, 2 GS, 2.13 ERA in 12.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 4/1 K/BB, 17/16 G/F

Gets Outs #2 Mention:
RHP Luis Munoz, 1/10/1982
1-0, 2.70 ERA in 6.2 IP, 6 H (HR) 2 R, 2/1 K/BB, 7/10 G/F

Good Week, but Wonky Command Mention:
RHP Wes Littleton, 9/2/1982
1-0, 3 G, 1.69 ERA in 5.1 IP, 4 H, R, 8/5 K/BB, 1/6 G/F

From the Training Room:
OF Maximo Mendez and LHP Brian Moran escaped High Desert, although in Mendez’ case it may not feel like as much of an escape. A few days later, DH Eddy Martinez-Esteve landed on the restricted list and LHP Robert Rohrbaugh, the DL. It also appears that Haveman came off the DL after a stint of nearly three weeks… SS Nick Franklin was called up from Clinton because SS Carlos Triunfel sprained his finger.

Strange Happenings:
Many have talked about this in the Franklin thread, but for those that didn’t catch it, the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx will become the Jackson Generals next season… One West Tenn player made the Southern League Postseason All-Star Team, and that’s 1B Johan Limonta. Bet you weren’t expecting that… Liddi’s ninety-two RBI lead the entire Southern League. You probably weren’t expecting that either… Bonilla’s position this week is not an error. In the final game of the season, he played nine positions in nine innings.

Playoff Picture:
The D-Jaxx will begin a best-of-five series with hated intrastate rivals the Tennessee Smokies on Thursday evening. The game will move back to Jackson on Saturday, and then immediately back to Knoxville if games are required on Sunday and Monday. The Jackson game will start at 3:05 pm PDT, while the other games begin at 4:15 pm PDT.

High Desert Mavericks (5-3 this week, 75-65 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 30th 2010
Lake Elsinore 7 (SD – 1), High Desert 9
W: Hann (4-5, 6.89) L: Gonzalez (6-5, 7.26)

Tuesday, August 31st 2010
High Desert 1, Rancho Cucamonga 8 (ANA + 6)
W: Richards (4-1, 3.69) L: Cleto (4-9, 6.59)

Wednesday, September 1st 2010
High Desert 8, Rancho Cucamonga 9 (ANA + 7)
W: Meyer (1-0, 1.42) L: Cooper (1-1, 4.50)

Thursday, September 2nd 2010
High Desert 4, Rancho Cucamonga 3 (ANA + 6)
W: Penney (5-3, 3.50) L: Perez (1-2, 3.95)

Friday, September 3rd 2010
High Desert 2, Lake Elsinore 7 (SD + 3)
W: Musgrave (4-4, 2.49) L: Carraway (11-8, 5.33)

Saturday, September 4th 2010
High Desert 13, Lake Elsinore 2 (SD + 2)
W: Reed (1-1, 8.25) L: McBryde (4-4, 4.38)

Sunday, September 5th 2010
High Desert 3, Lake Elsinore 1 (SD + 1) (eleven innings)
W: LaFromboise (10-5, 4.51) L: Beard (0-1, 4.37)

Monday, September 6th 2010
High Desert 10, Lake Elsinore 4 (SD 0)
W: Diaz (1-0, 5.06) L: Oramas (7-3, 3.00)

Hitter of the Week:
2B Kyle Seager, L/R, 11/3/1987
8 G, 33 AB, 6 R, 11 H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 6/2 K/BB, HBP, .333/.389/.636

Some front office folks were wondering why more people weren’t talking about Seager, but you all know him, right? He’s the guy who hit .384/.449/.595 in nearly three-hundred at-bats after the Cal League All-Star Break. I’ve said on a few occasions that I tend to see him as a future utility infielder, but I’m starting to wonder how much of that is him just hanging out in the shadow of the other second base prospect. His defense has certainly improved since he was drafted. At first, he was sold as being a tweener, a guy who probably couldn’t hit enough for third but didn’t have the skills to play the middle infield. Now, some say he’s passable at short, and he’s spent more time at second than anywhere else. He’s high on my list of players to watch in double-A next year.

Continuing to Hit Mention:
LF Jake Shaffer, L/L, 8/16/1987
7 G, 30 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 6 2B, 5 RBI, 6/3 K/BB, .333/.394/.533

Continuing to Slug Mention:
RF Johermyn Chavez, R/R, 1/26/1989
8 G, 32 AB, 8 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 CS, 6/4 K/BB, HBP, .281/.378/.563

Maybe it’s the Playing Time? Mention:
1B Shaver Hansen, S/R, 12/19/1987
8 G, 27 AB, 6 R, 9 H, 2 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, 8/4 K/BB, HBP, .333/.412/.519

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Stephen Penney, 8/14/1986
1-0, 4 G, 2 SV, 1.80 ERA in 5.0 IP, H (HR), 4/2 K/BB, 6/5 G/F

The best reliever on staff grabs the honors again for being involved in the save or the decision for three of the five wins this week. The whole season considered, he only really had one bad month factoring for climate, that being May when he had a .400 average against, and his April and June (combined eleven hits and 21/2 K/BB in 21.2 IP) were spectacular. Aside from the inherited runner issues, one other thing I’m curious about going forward is how his splits are going to run. Penney is far superior against left-handed hitters, and it isn’t that close, as he’s run a 40/3 K/BB in 29.0 innings against them, compared to 24/6 in 37.1 innings versus right-handers. If he can’t strike out more right-handed bats, it might limit his value in the future.

Second-Best Reliever Mention:
RHP Blake Nation, 5/16/1987
0-0, 3 G, 2.57 ERA in 7.0 IP, 6 H (HR), 2 R, 6/3 K/BB, 5/4 G/F

Decent Starter #1 Mention:
LHP Jonathan Hesketh, 6/3/1986
0-0, 2 GS, 3.86 ERA in 7.0 IP, 9 H (HR), 5 R (3 ER), 9/3 K/BB, 5/7 G/F

Decent Starter #2 Mention:
RHP Kenn Kasparek, 9/23/1985
0-0, GS, 3.68 ERA in 7.1 IP, 5 H (HR), 3 R, 4/1 K/BB, 10/7 G/F

From the Training Room:
Just before Sunday’s game, 1B Rich Poythress hit the DL. There was no move to bring in a first baseman, but the following day, Mendez and Moran went to West Tenn and the Mavs got 2B Luis Nunez and LHP Jose Jimenez from the Lumberkings…. Later, a few other moves were made that switched things around, like OF Kuo-hui Lo coming off the DL, RHP Jake Wild going on it, and the Mavs picking up RHP Ogui Diaz from the Aquasox. They’ve been running Shaver Hansen out at first if anyone’s curious… The latter part of the week was marked by a number of players hitting the DL. C Ji-man Choi and RHP Daniel Cooper both landed there, and to compensate, 1B Rich Poythress came off the DL and RHP Timothy Boyce was added from Pulaski. Rarely do I have a player go on and come off the DL in the same week and yet here we are.

Strange Happenings:
Ending the season, we can expect a few Mavs on the leaderboards. Kyle Seager (.345) and Jake Shaffer (.338) are one and two in average for the league, and Seager is also first in OBP (.419) while ranking sixth in walks (71). Slugging has Rich Poythress (.580) and Johermyn Chavez (.577) at two and three, and then trading positions in home runs (Chavez 32, Poythress 31). Seager comes in second for doubles (40), and first for runs scored (126), while Chavez is seventeen behind him. Poythress also lead the minor leagues with 130 RBI, but I’ve mentioned that already. None of this is all that strange, but it goes to show that the talent was spread throughout the lineup.

Playoff Picture:
The Mavericks have a best-of-three series with Rancho Cucamonga. All games will be played at 7:05 pm. The Mavs lost game one 12-7 on Wednesday night in Adelanto.

Clinton Lumberkings (2-6 this week, 74-65 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 30th 2010
Clinton 7, Peoria 2 (CHC – 1)
W: Stanton (12-6, 4.27) L: Searle (6-8, 4.41)

Tuesday, August 31st 2010
Clinton 9, Peoria 10 (CHC – 2) (ten innings)
W: Martin (4-2, 6.11) L: Pryor (0-2, 4.50)

Wednesday, September 1st 2010
Beloit 4 (MIN + 4), Clinton 3 (eleven innings)
W: Munoz (12-5, 4.24) L: Josselyn (3-6, 4.64)

Thursday, September 2nd 2010
Rain suspension.

Friday, September 3rd 2010
Beloit 4 (MIN + 3), Clinton 5
W: Wilhelmsen (6-1, 2.23) L: Tone (3-5, 4.48)

Beloit 8 (+ 4), Clinton 2 (seven innings)
W: Fuentes (1-1, 4.94) L: Arias (0-1, 4.09)

Saturday, September 4th 2010
Clinton 1, Burlington 6 (KC – 21)
W: Sample (6-10, 4.69) L: Stanton (12-7, 4.30)

Sunday, September 5th 2010
Clinton 4, Burlington 6 (KC – 20)
W: Kelley (1-3, 3.84) L: Maurer (0-1, 2.08)

Monday, September 6th 2010
Clinton 6, Burlington 7 (KC – 19)
W: De La Rosa (1-1, 5.09) L: Snow (0-1, 1.35)

Hitter of the Week:
CF Matt Cerione, L/L, 1/4/1988
8 G, 28 AB, 6 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, SB, 5/6 K/BB, HBP, .286/.429/.571

It was referenced during the event, so I’ll put it out there: Cerione hit .427/.566/.827 in 75 at-bats for the month of August. The beginning of September was little like that, as he hit .211/.400/.368 through six games. Skip that part and just consider that his OPS was over 1.000 in the fifty-three games post-ASB, which comprises most of his season. While one might be able to expect good things from him going forward, he does strike out a bit much, 101 times in just 275 at-bats, though he was also good for thirty-seven walks. Like many other things, he improved in the second half, but present power can’t justify the totals easily and it’s hard to imagine him slugging much more.

Doubles Machine Mention:
DH Mickey Wiswall, L/R, 12/25/1988
8 G, 33 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 6 2B, 3 RBI, 8/2 K/BB, .303/.343/.485

Less Dramatic Second-Half Improvement Mention:
RF James Jones, L/L, 9/24/1988
8 G, 34 AB, 7 R, 8 H, 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 5/5 K/BB, .235/.333/.471

Actually, Forget August Mention:
1B Tim Morris, L/L, 12/11/1987
7 G, 27 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, SB, 7/3 K/BB, .296/.367/.444

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, 12/16/1983
1-0, G, 2.70 ERA in 6.2 IP, 5 H (HR), 3 R (2 ER), 7/1 K/BB, 7/5 G/F

The newest member of the Peoria Javelinas did all right for himself in the last outing of the regular season. I’m not sure how a second pitcher below double-A got on the roster, but I feel as though my concerns about his wavering command are at least slightly alleviated. He’s got a live fastball and enough other stuff to make starting a possibility, though I doubt they put him in that role for the AFL season. Any positive impressions that he does make will be a plus though, as his Rule 5 clock is ticking. I think that it’s not ringing yet, as it seems to be defined by time in an organization, not time since being drafted.

Some Pitcher Dave Likes Mention:
RHP Brandon Maurer, 7/3/1990
0-1, 2 G, 2.08 ERA in 4.1 IP, 5 H (HR), 2 R (ER), 6/0 K/BB, 6/1 G/F

Same Camp, but w/o the Errors Mention:
RHP Yoervis Medina, 7/27/1988
0-0, GS, 3.86 ERA in 7.0 IP, 5 H (HR), 3 R, 6/1 K/BB, 9/3 G/F, HB

From the Training Room:
After losing Nunez and Jimenez, the Lumberkings picked up IF Carlos Ramirez and RHP Brandon Maurer from Peoria. With Ramirez around, they didn’t need an immediate replacement for Franklin, but later opted to poach 3B Kevin Mailloux from the Aquasox. They were kind enough to wait until after the ‘Sox took the Western Division title.

Strange Happenings:
I’ve mentioned this already. Franklin broke the home run record. A record which was forty-nine years old. There’s audio of the call, in which the home run just barely cleared the wall. On the plus side, it does give him the league’s home run lead by one… Going into the playoffs, the Lumberkings were swept in the last series by A Horrible Team. The only way they got in was that the guys right behind them were also bad.

Playoff Picture:
Like the Mavs, the Lumberkings are in a three-game set with an Angels affiliate, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, and lost at home 3-2 in the first game. The games in Cedar Rapids will be played at 4:35 pm PDT.

Everett Aquasox (5-2 this week, 49-27 overall)

Monday, August 30th 2010
Eugene 0 (SD – 2), Everett 8
W: Sorce (8-2, 3.68) L: Tabachnik (3-4, 3.83)

Tuesday, August 31st 2010
Off day

Wednesday, September 1st 2010
Vancouver 2 (OAK + 13), Everett 3
W: Seco (3-3, 2.48) L: Ramirez (2-6, 3.41)

Thursday, September 2nd 2010
Vancouver 3 (OAK + 14), Everett 2 (eight innings)
W: Tenholder (4-0, 1.86) L: Housey (0-1, 3.07)

Vancouver 1 (+ 13), Everett 6 (seven innings)
W: Fernandez (8-3, 2.59) L: Quigley (3-3, 7.83)

Friday, September 3rd 2010
Everett 0, Vancouver 1 (OAK + 14)
W: Vidal (4-0, 2.92) L: Sena (0-1, 1.80)

Saturday, September 4th 2010
Everett 9, Vancouver 2 (OAK + 13)
W: Thomas (2-2, 4.22) L: Christensen (0-2, 4.32)

Sunday, September 5th 2010
Everett 4, Vancouver 0 (OAK + 12)
W: Housey (1-1, 2.29) L: Frankoff (3-2, 3.30)

Hitter of the Week:
RF/DH Kevin Rivers, L/R, 8/24/1988
6 G, 17 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 4/7 K/BB, HBP, .353/.560/.588

Rivers’ worst statistical month this season was July, and that still had him batting .303/.453/.525. When facing left-handed pitchers, his OPS only drops thirty-two points, and the eye numbers (13/12 K/BB against LHP, 49/48 against RHP) are pretty much identical, as are his extra-base hit rates. He seems nearly flawless except for one crucial point. It’s well known that Everett Memorial is friendly to left-handers. Rivers takes it to an extreme. At home, he’s batting .429/.463/.565. And on the road? .238/.362/.377. I’d still like to see him in advanced-A somewhere next season, though it’s a rather concerning shortcoming now that we have a full season of data. In the meantime, as Everett has home field advantage throughout the playoffs, opposing pitchers should fear for their lives after the first game or two of the series.

Human Sacrifice, Dogs and Cats Living Together, Mass Hysteria Mention:
LF/RF Kalian Sams, R/R, 8/25/1986
7 G, 21 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 3 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB, 6/6 K/BB, .333/.481/.619

.800+ OPS w/o June Mention:
IF Terry Serrano, S/R, 2/6/1987
6 G, 21 AB, 5 R, 7 H, 3 2B, RBI, 7/3 K/BB, .333/.417/.476

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Jandy Sena, 8/10/1989
0-1, G, 1.80 ERA in 5.0 IP, 3 H, R, 6/1 K/BB, 7/2 G/F, WP

Sena’s outing this week was more of a piggyback start than strict relief, so I’m willing to take him on more grounders and more Ks here. Easily one of the more mysterious picks in the draft, Sena was claimed as either from Marion Military Institute in Alabama or “no school” depending on what source you consulted. Before turning pro, he was a two-way player of some ability and was tracked by scouts, though a draft pick his senior year never materialized, nor did a college commitment to a well-regarded program. Sena can bring it, with a fastball in the low 90s complemented by a sharp curve and an aptitude for inducing grounders. There are some concerns about conditioning with his body type (not so much from him directly), but none that would seem to keep him from being drafted. He might be an interesting find.

Mostly Just Groundballs Mention:
RHP Eric Thomas, 10/8/1986
1-0, 2 G (GS), 0.00 ERA in 8.0 IP, 3 H, 2/1 K/BB, 18/3 G/F

Keeping the Ball around the Plate Mention:
RHP John Housey, 6/4/1988
1-1, 2 G (GS), 1.13 ERA in 8.0 IP, 11 H, R, 5/0 K/BB, 10/7 G/F

Groundball Starter Mention:
LHP Anthony Fernandez, 6/8/1990
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 4/1 K/BB, 9/4 G/F

“Consider the…” Mention:
RHP Chris Sorce, 10/28/1987
1-0, 2 GS, 0.00 ERA in 8.0 IP, 5 H, 4/0 K/BB, 10/10 G/F, HB

From the Training Room:
RHP Jandy Sena, CF Jarrett Burgess, and LHP Kody Kurowski were all added to the roster early in the week. Since this was a bit beyond the usual capacity, Diaz was sent to High Desert on Thursday… Mailloux’s replacement has not yet been named. Since Pulaski is no longer in it, I nominate Ramon Morla.

Strange Happenings:
The ‘Sox ended the season with forty-nine wins. Record! … Unfortunately, it was an uneven finish, as there was a scoring drought lasting eighteen innings prior to the outburst on Saturday… The Aquasox turned a triple play on Sunday, their last game of the regular season.

Playoff Picture:
The Aquasox faced Vancouver for the Western Division title and took game one by a 9-5 score and game two by 3-1. They will begin the championship series with Spokane on Thursday night, in Spokane and playing at 6:35 pm in the first game. Friday will be an off day, and then the teams will return to Everett for game two on Saturday at 7:05 pm, and game three on Sunday at 6:05 pm, if necessary.

Pulaski Mariners (1-1 this week, 37-28 overall):

Monday, August 30th 2010
Greeneville 6 (HOU – 5), Pulaski 8
W: Olivero (3-5, 5.01) L: Cole (3-3, 2.83)

Tuesday, August 31st 2010
Greeneville 5 (HOU – 4), Pulaski 2
W: Gerrish (2-2, 4.56) L: Vargas (1-2, 4.54)

Wednesday, September 1st 2010
Pulaski 4, Elizabethton 7 (MIN)
W: Tonkin (1-0, 0.00) L: Griffin (0-1, 13.50)

Thursday, September 2nd 2010
Pulaski 6, Elizabethton 3 (MIN) (ten innings)
W: Gutierrez (1-0, 0.00) L: Bischoff (0-1, 16.88)

Friday, September 3rd 2010
And now the season is over.

Hitter of the Week:
RF Jabari Blash, R/R, 7/4/1989
4 G, 13 AB, 3 R, 5 H, 2 2B, HR, RBI, 3/1 K/BB, 2 HBP, .385/.500/.769

With the playoff games accounted for as well as the last two of the regular season, Blash takes the top spot for the first time. His season line of .266/.362/.477 demonstrates that, while he’s not a polished hitter by any stretch, he has both power and a little bit of an eye at the plate. While it would be easy to get excited about him walking every tenth plate appearance, he does have a rather large strikeout problem at the moment, with more than a third of his at-bats resulting in a K. He could end up being a three-outcome guy, or he could be a leaner, more skilled Kalian Sams. Who knows?

Leadoff Man Mention:
CF Mario Yepez, S/R, 6/15/1988
3 G, 11 AB, 4 R, 4 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3/1 K/BB, .363/.417/.727

One Last HR Mention:
1B Matt Browning, R/R, 1/7/1988
3 G, 12 AB, 2 R, 4 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2/0 K/BB, .333/.333/.667

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Seon Gi Kim, 9/1/1991
0-0, G, 0.00 ERA in 3.0 IP, H, 7/1 K/BB, 2/1 G/F, WP

The promotions following the end of the AZL season allow me to talk about our other Korean prospect. Choi and Kim were signed for roughly the same dollar amount, which was strange because one was billed as the top prep hitter in the country and the other was a pitcher with an average fastball and developing curve who had a little bit of projection. What they didn’t mention was how good Kim’s command is, as he’s ending the season with a 78/13 K/BB in 64.1 IP. That’s six Ks for every walk. I’m excited to see what he does next year, possibly in Clinton if we’re lucky. He seems to get more strikeouts and far more groundballs against left-handers, but I’m not going to make anything of that just yet.

Don’t Blame the Playoff Exit on Him Mention:
RHP Timothy Boyce, 2/6/1987
0-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 6 H, R, 8/0 K/BB, 5/3 G/F

Bloodlines Mention:
RHP Lance Abbott, 9/22/1986
0-0, GS, 3.60 ERA in 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 5/0 K/BB, 5/5 G/F

From the Training Room:
At the end of the Peoria season, the M’s picked up RHP Seon Gi Kim. Perhaps you noticed.

Playoff Picture:

Dispatches from the Land of Rehabbers and Teens:
RHP Danny Cruz Ayala: 8 G, 3 S, 4.05 ERA in 13.1 IP, 13 H (HR), 6 R, 23/3 K/BB
2B Michael Acevedo: 40 G, 155 AB, 19 R, 51 H, 8 2B, 2 3B, 14 RBI, 7 SB, 4 CS, 31/6 K/BB, .329/.358/.406
C/1B Ji-Man Choi: 39 G, 135 AB, 23 R, 51 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, HR, 23 RBI, 10 SB, CS, 30/21 K/BB, .378/.459/.541
RHP Jeroen de Haas: 15 G (GS), 4.18 ERA in 28.0 IP, 33 H (2 HR), 21 R (13 ER), 23/6 K/BB, 2 HB
1B Jose Flores: 38 G, 127 AB, 17 R, 29 H, 10 2B, 3 HR, 21 RBI, SB, 2 CS, 45/14 K/BB, .228/.322/.378
RHP Seon Gi Kim: 13 G (7 GS), 5.14 ERA in 61.1 IP, 76 H (3 HR), 37 R (35 ER), 71/12 K/BB
RHP Brandon Maurer: 4 G (4 GS), 1.64 ERA in 11.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R (2 ER), 14/2 K/BB
CF Alfredo Morales: 48 G, 174 AB, 25 R, 39 H, 17 2B, 2 3B, HR, 14 RBI, 6 SB, 3 CS, 59/14 /BB, .224/.283/.362
OF Guillermo Pimentel: 51 G, 184 AB, 20 R, 46 H, 7 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 5 SB, CS, 58/5 K/BB, .250/.276/.451
LHP Derrick Saito: 3 G (3 GS), 5.14 ERA in 7.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 9/4 K/BB
RHP Jandy Sena: 13 G (4 GS), 4.01 ERA in 42.2 IP, 43 H, 22 R (19 ER), 35/14 K/BB, 2 HB
RHP Luke Taylor: 10 G (GS), 5.24 ERA in 22.1 IP, 25 H (HR), 22 R (13 ER), 14/17 K/BB, HB
RHP Dylan Unsworth: 11 G (10 GS), 3.93 ERA in 50.1 IP, 71 H, 27 R (22 ER), 44/1 K/BB, HB
RHP Taijuan Walker: 4 G, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, H, 2 3 R (ER), 9/3 K/BB, HB


16 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (8/30-9/6/10)”

  1. ajrosberg on September 9th, 2010 7:23 am

    gotta love bonilla!

  2. joser on September 9th, 2010 10:03 am

    Holy crap, Jay, this is going to take me until next week to read through. Good job, but…. wow!

  3. Jay Yencich on September 9th, 2010 10:05 am

    Holy crap, Jay, this is going to take me until next week to read through. Good job, but…. wow!

    Some people like to go out with a bang. I opted to fire a mortar.

  4. Westside guy on September 9th, 2010 10:34 am

    Jay, I’m hoping next season you can go into the minor league affiliates in a bit more depth.


    Thanks for all the very interesting and informative information today – and all year!

  5. Sports on a Schtick on September 9th, 2010 10:51 am

    Kudos to Jay for dropping a “Press Your Luck” reference a few days ago on Mariner Minors.

  6. oldcubbie on September 9th, 2010 12:08 pm

    What is the thought on Winfree? He seems to have had a pretty good second half, but I never see him mentioned.

  7. jwolf0 on September 9th, 2010 12:57 pm

    For purely selfish reasons I’d love to have advanced-A move to Potomac, just to be able to drive 10 minutes to watch ’em. Likely? Eh, probably not. But man I can’t wait until we move out of High Desert. I’m tired of reading about that place.

    And, um, wow. Mortar indeed. Thanks Jay!

  8. furlong on September 9th, 2010 1:40 pm

    Since Portland kicked the Beavers out of Civic Stadium does anyone know where they will end up?

  9. TheBird on September 9th, 2010 1:41 pm

    Thanks Jay for a year of great wraps! Always good, but moreso this year because we needed a consistent ray of hope in a dismal year of Mariners suck.

  10. JH on September 9th, 2010 2:26 pm

    Since Portland kicked the Beavers out of Civic Stadium does anyone know where they will end up?

    Lake Elsinore I think.

  11. Jay Yencich on September 9th, 2010 3:18 pm

    Since Portland kicked the Beavers out of Civic Stadium does anyone know where they will end up?

    Lake Elsinore I think.

    Temporarily, while they build a stadium in Escondido. That was the plan last I heard.

    What is the thought on Winfree? He seems to have had a pretty good second half, but I never see him mentioned.

    Winfree’s numbers were better in the second half, in no small part because he added a few extra-base hits, bumped up his average, and walked a few times. He doesn’t draw a whole lot of free passes though and is defensively limited. I guess he could get a shot somewhere, I just don’t see it happening with us.

  12. Farmer Cam on September 9th, 2010 4:00 pm

    Jay, I found your information about the minor league affiliations quite interesting. I am curious though in your sense of why the Mariners would be so quick to jet out of High Desert. What is your sense? Is it a function of being able to reliably gauge prospects? Is it something else?

    Love your input to this blog btw. I look forward to reading it every week.

  13. arsenal on September 9th, 2010 4:20 pm

    Great job Jay – thanks!

    Kevin Goldstein over at BP says this about Ackley: “Final Triple-A line was .274/.338/.439, which about sums up his season; solid to be sure, but little evidence of future stardom.” Do you think that is the concensus among scouts?

  14. Jay Yencich on September 9th, 2010 4:52 pm

    I am curious though in your sense of why the Mariners would be so quick to jet out of High Desert. What is your sense? Is it a function of being able to reliably gauge prospects? Is it something else?

    The park is generally recognized as the most hitter-friendly in affiliated baseball, which makes it ill-suited for a MLB club that plays their games in Safeco Field. I don’t know how familiar you are with park factors, but Stater Bros. Stadium is ~150/100 for both left and right-handed hitters on home runs. Not only does this allow hitters to develop certain bad habits, it also could lead to the staff pitching scared and so forth. Additionally, I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that the town doesn’t take good care of the park and that it’s in a fairly bad neighborhood.

    Do I know for certain what the organization is thinking? No, I don’t. They recognize the shortcomings of the arrangement though, and they aren’t minor. I would hope that they’re examining their options in the Cal League and elsewhere before settling for the status quo.

    Kevin Goldstein over at BP says this about Ackley: “Final Triple-A line was .274/.338/.439, which about sums up his season; solid to be sure, but little evidence of future stardom.” Do you think that is the [consensus] among scouts?

    At least he’s not quoting the overall batting line. A couple of things I would say that trouble Goldstein’s conclusion are 1) he’s learning a new position, which is something believed to cause offensive struggles for a lot of players and 2) Ackley has never seen an at-bat in the low minors. People talk of Smoak probably being rushed, but even he got a token appearance in the Midwest League the year he was drafted. Otherwise it’s pretty much the same story: half season in double-A, then triple-A for the rest, all in his first full year.

    Beyond the left-right split, there isn’t a whole lot to complain about for Ackley’s first season given the circumstances he was facing. I’d also remind people that it wasn’t until his third year at UNC that he really started hitting for power. I expect something similar to hold true for him as a pro: he’ll slap hits around while he’s getting comfortable, and then once he gets settled in, we’ll see more power.

  15. GoldenGutz on September 9th, 2010 4:54 pm

    Talk about a Utility man…

  16. gwangung on September 9th, 2010 5:16 pm

    Ackley has never seen an at-bat in the low minors. People talk of Smoak probably being rushed, but even he got a token appearance in the Midwest League the year he was drafted. Otherwise it’s pretty much the same story: half season in double-A, then triple-A for the rest, all in his first full year.

    Yeah, given that, I’m not sure how you can say there’s little evidence of future stardom. It’s not PROOF of stardom, but surely there’s potential there–putting up a solid line when jumping up notches in quality, not once, but twice, has to be intriguing and can’t be taken as lacking stardom.

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