Minor League Wrap (7/4-10/11)

Jay Yencich · July 11, 2011 at 8:30 am · Filed Under Minor Leagues 

Greetings! I suppose you might be expecting that this week was the week in which some of the international free agent stuff started going official for us. It wasn’t. Even though one of the guys spreading rumors from Venezuela said that things would start to get announced on the 10th, they weren’t, and we continue to wait. Maybe they get announced today, with the all-star break going on. Maybe we’re really tough negotiators. Maybe we have recognized that the international market is increasingly insane. Maybe we don’t care that the market is insane considering that we continue to have a pretty good return rate on our signings there. I don’t know! Let’s talk about things that have actually happened!

To the jump!

Tacoma Rainiers (4-2 this week, 41-43 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 4th 2011
Tacoma 4, Colorado Springs 9 (COL – 19)
W: Gonzalez (1-3, 6.00) L: Grube (0-1, 7.71)

Tuesday, July 5th 2011
Tacoma 13, Colorado Springs 9 (COL – 20)
W: Vasquez (1-0, 7.11) L: Buckner (1-4, 6.09) S: Lueke (9)

Wednesday, July 6th 2011
Tacoma 18, Colorado Springs 13 (COL – 21)
W: Robertson (3-2, 6.21) L: Mortensen (0-3, 16.97)

Thursday, July 7th 2011
Reno 4 (ARI + 16), Tacoma 3
W: Norberto (6-1, 4.76) L: Lueke (2-4, 3.05) S: Shaw (6)

Friday, July 8th 2011
Reno 2 (ARI + 15), Tacoma 3
W: Patterson (2-1, 3.76) L: Vasquez (0-1, 4.50)

Saturday, July 9th 2011
Reno 14 (ARI + 16), Tacoma 5
W: Galarraga (1-2, 10.38) L: Grube (0-2, 11.81)

Sunday, July 10th 2011
Reno 6 (ARI + 17), Tacoma 2
W: Miley (2-0, 2.57) L: Vasquez (1-1, 4.97)

Hitter of the Week:
1B/3B Matt Tuiasosopo, R/R, 5/10/1986
6 G, 19 AB, 5 R, 7 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6/7 K/BB, .368/.518/.789

I’ve joked before that this hasn’t been the typical triple-A season because by this time we would have called up and sent down Tui about three times already. Still, his struggles are about as weird as those of the pitching staff to start the year. He has as many double and home runs in July as he had in all of June, which is interesting, but not necessarily a problem. After all, last year, 30.6% of his hits were for extras and in 2009, it was 44%. This year he’s at 47.4%. The walks aren’t too far off: 18.2% of his plate appearances resulted in walks last year, and he’s down to 15.5% this year, which isn’t terrible. Strikeouts don’t seem to be the issue either, as he’s at 28% this year and was 24.5% last year. I guess what it really comes down to is that last year is not so great a measuring stick, and given that he’s spent nearly three hundred games in triple-A, we’d expect him to adjust or get better. He hasn’t really.

Still One of the Most Productive Players on the Team Mention:
CF Ryan Langerhans, L/L, 2/20/1980
6 G, 25 AB, 6 R, 11 H, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, CS, 4/3 K/BB, .440/.500/.720

Third Futures Game Mention:
SS Alex Liddi, R/R, 8/14/1988
5 G, 20 AB, 6 R, 6 H, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4/3 K/BB, .300/.375/.650

Almost the Same Week as Liddi Mention:
OF Mike Wilson, R/R, 6/29/1983
5 G, 20 AB, 5 R, 6 H, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, CS, 5/2 K/BB, .300/.363/.650

Power Sphere Incredible Mention:
DH Luis Antonio Jimenez, L/L, 5/7/1982
7 G, 27 AB, 8 R, 7 H, 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4/4 K/BB, HBP, .259/.355/.519

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Luke French, 9/13/1985
0-0, GS, 3.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 6 H (HR), 2 R, 4/2 K/BB, 3/6 G/F

From the looks of it, French’s command finally hit bottom and is now starting to bounce back toward more reasonable domains. Month to month, we have a 16/7 K/BB in April, 18/12 in May, and 11/15 in June. His hits were dropping throughout, but if you don’t need to hit to get on, why bother? Unless the guy is allowing a home run every three innings, as French was in May. French’s year has been both bad and perplexing. He was an all-star last year, and probably could’ve been one in 2009 had the opportunity been available to him, and this season he’s just been horrific. I don’t know what he’s working on or what advice he was given or if he’s just injured and not telling anyone, but something seems to have gone awry, and there’s a risk he ends up drawing the short straw should a 40-man spot be needed sooner or later.

Knuckleballs! Mention:
RHP Charlie Haeger, 9/19/1983
0-0, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (ER), 6/6 G/F, 6/3 G/F, WP, 2 HB

From The Training Room:
RHP Chaz Roe was successfully outrighted on Tuesday. I hope that you’re still able to read that, what with how sleepless you’d been worrying all the time… Even though it was announced on Wednesday evening, 3B Kyle Seager was officially selected on Thursday… The end of the week had 3B ALex Liddi on the inactive list so that he could appear in the Futures Game, so UT Jorge Agudelo was called in from Everett to take his spot… Saunders is back from his time off. I think I mentioned that last week, but here it is again.

Strange Happenings:
The Mariners-oriented Futures Game recap has video of Alex Liddi making a sweet defensive play… Colorado Springs. On Wednesday, the Rainiers hit six home runs, two each going to Liddi and Mike Wilson. Nate Robertson pitched five innings, let nine earned runs cross, didn’t strike out one, and was the winner. No Rainiers pitcher allowed a home run that day… Gaby Hernandez was the opposing starter on Friday. Triple-A!.. Carp was ejected on Monday and spent the next few days sitting, so he was out of the running for Hitter. I wonder what was involved in that. Frustration, perhaps.

Jackson Generals (2-5 this week, 6-12 in second half, 44-44 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 4th 2011
Jackson 1, Mississippi 10 (ATL 0)
W: Kawakami (2-3, 5.81) L: Hensley (0-4, 4.73) S: Avilan (1)

Tuesday, July 5th 2011
Jackson 7, Mississippi 14 (ATL + 1)
W: Sullivan (2-4, 5.80) L: Wilhelmsen (2-4, 5.77)

Wednesday, July 6th 2011
Jackson 4, Mississippi 2 (ATL 0)
W: Penney (4-2, 5.58) L: Vizcaino (2-3, 4.12) S: Delabar (8)

Thursday, July 7th 2011
Jackson 4, Mississippi 5 (ATL – 1)
W: Oberholtzer (5-9, 4.03) L: Ramirez (6-6, 4.78) S: Hoover (1)

Friday, July 8th 2011
Birmingham 9 (CHW 0), Jackson 5
W: Bayne (2-0, 3.50) L: Robles (0-1, 9.82)

Saturday, July 9th 2011
Birmingham 1 (CHW – 1), Jackson 10
W: Hensley (1-4, 4.23) L: Griffith (5-5, 6.10)

Sunday, July 10th 2011
Birmingham 9 (CHW 0), Jackson 7
W: Kloess (1-0, 2.25) L: Delabar (1-3, 2.91) S: Jones (5)

Hitter of the Week:
OF Joe Dunigan, L/L, 3/29/1986
7 G, 24 AB, 7 R, 8 H, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, CS, 7/6 K/BB, .333/.467/.792

I was sitting here, all prepared to write about Catricala and how great he’s been since he was promoted to double-A, but then I figured, what the hell, calculate out the rest of the stats and see what happens. Somehow I really overlooked Dunigan, who is running a seven-game hit steak and has gone from non-contributor in June (.545 OPS in 76 AB) to the best hitter in the lineup very, very quickly. Heck if I know what it is, but he’s physically talented enough to pull it off, so it makes some amount of sense. One other thing I’d like to point out is that, while seven Ks in twenty-four ABs is not good by any stretch, it’s way better than what he’s been at, as he had thirty-nine strikeouts last month and for the season is at fifty-nine in one hundred twenty-five ABs. Improvement is welcome and necessary on that front.

Still Really Good (But Stop Getting Hit So Much) Mention:
3B/LF Vinnie Catricala, R/R, 10/31/1988
7 G, 29 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 4 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, CS, 9/1 K/BB, 3 HBP, .345/.424/.586

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Moises Hernandez, 3/18/1984
0-0, 4 G, 4.05 ERA in 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 4/3 K/BB, 11/3 G/F, HB

Sometimes I’m left with no better options than to highlight relievers, and this was one such week. Felix’s brother pitched enough innings to seem like a starter anyway. The first three months of the season weren’t especially good for him, but this far into July, he seems to have managed to avoid giving up a bunch of hits like he was doing before. The walks remain an issue, however, and he’s running a 25/18 K/BB in 43.2 IP. Given his track record, I don’t have a whole lot of reason to think that this could get better either, though he could be expected to get more groundballs than he has so far this season, and the recent efforts could be the start of that effort.

On the Mend with First Win Mention:
RHP Steve Hensley, 12/27/1986
1-1, 2 GS, 4.35 ERA in 10.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4/6 K/BB, 13/5 G/F, WP, HB

From the Training Room:
LHP Mauricio Robles finally managed to get himself assigned to a real league. The first start was about as pretty as it had been before, which is to say, three and two-thirds innings, four runs, five hits including a dinger, four walks, and three strikeouts. Many flyballs as well… Nick Franklin isn’t back yet. Churchill, I think, said that he caught a stomach bug or something. Given that he had a head injury before, praying to the porcelain gods on top of that was probably about the worst thing that could have happened.

Strange Happenings:
Carraway wasn’t Pitcher of the Week this time around, probably because he hit a batter in the second inning of his last start and was immediately ejected due to perceived bad intentions. In the next series, LaFromboise was ejected for hitting a guy as well. The Generals are developing a reputation, it seems… Scott Savastano pitch an inning on Tuesday because the bullpen was taxed… Paxton didn’t pitch this week because, hey, Futures Game, or something… Leury Bonilla caught the 10-1 victory. Love it… Chavez walked seven times this week. He also struck out nine times, but I still don’t get it… On Tuesday, one of the Braves’ hitters cycled against us, which was the second weird and rare baseball thing to happen to us in the span of two days. The other, you’ll find when we get to Clinton.

High Desert Mavericks (2-5 this week, 8-10 in second half, 40-48 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 4th 2011
Stockton 7 (OAK + 10), High Desert 5 (ten innings)
W: Deal (5-1, 2.83) L: Jimenez (2-1, 5.77) S: Lansford (3)

Tuesday, July 5th 2011
Stockton 17 (OAK + 11), High Desert 4
W: Huttenlocker (2-0, 1.79) L: Maurer (2-2, 5.95)

Wednesday, July 6th 2011
Stockton 13 (OAK + 12), High Desert 6
W: Gilliam (10-4, 4.85) L: Medina (1-8, 6.42)

Thursday, July 7th 2011
High Desert 6, Inland Empire 2 (ANA – 7)
W: Snow (2-2, 7.89) L: Hellweg (2-4, 5.44) S: Hudson (3)

Friday, July 8th 2011
High Desert 0, Inland Empire 4 (ANA – 6)
W: Pena (7-3, 3.97) L: Gillheeney (5-4, 5.28)

Saturday, July 9th 2011
High Desert 6, Inland Empire 2 (ANA – 7)
W: Sorce (6-5, 3.89) L: Flores (8-6, 4.87)

Sunday, July 10th 2011
High Desert 2, Inland Empire 4 (ANA – 6)
W: Oye (3-2, 6.05) L: Maurer (2-3, 6.25)

Hitter of the Week:
RF/1B James Jones, L/L, 9/24/1988
7 G, 27 AB, 7 R, 9 H, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 10/3 K/BB, .333/.400/.518

I’m not a huge fan of coincidences. They’re unruly and noisy. But it seems like ever since Raben went on the DL and Jones has had to take over most of the games at first, he’s been hitting kind of like a first baseman, or at least well for an outfielder. Of course, this more likely has nothing to do with positioning. Consider that last year, he was .205/.319/.364 in the first half and .321/.387/.487 the rest of the way. This year wasn’t far off from those totals, as he was .206/.313/.304 in the first half for the Mavs and is now at .290/.357/.516, all be it in some seventeen games. What is the switch? How does he keep it flipped? Is it simply a matter of slightly increased aggressiveness, as seems to be the case from the walk totals? The Mariners will need to help him try to figure it all out when he hits double-A, or else he could be in for some trouble.

Junior Lariat Mention:
IF Shaver Hansen, S/R, 12/19/1987
5 G, 18 AB, 6 H, 2B, 3B, 7 RBI, 1/3 K/BB, .333/.429/.500

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Chris Sorce, 10/28/1987
1-0, 2 GS, 2.20 ERA in 16.1 IP, 12 H (HR), 5 R (4 ER), 8/1 K/BB, 23/9 G/F

Complete games aren’t exactly common for the High Desert team. There were only three all of last season, two of which were notched by Anthony Vasquez, who ended up leading the system in IP. Sorce got the first CG of the year for the Mavs on Saturday evening, with five hits allowed and two runs (one earned) and five strikeouts. When he’s been on, he’s been a strike thrower, as he was in this game and in April when he ran a 14/1 K/BB in 23.1 IP. When he’s off, it’s usually because he’s falling behind hitters and giving out walks, as it was in June when he was 0-4 with a 15/9 K/BB in 26.0 IP, averaging just over five innings per start. Sorce isn’t really a strikeout pitcher, at least not at this level, and he’s fairly neutral as grounders and flies go on the whole, so one of the easier ways for him to advance is just to avoid the free pass as much as possible.

Turning a Corner? Mention:
RHP Forrest Snow, 12/30/1988
1-0, 2.57 ERA in 7.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 7/2 K/BB, 4/7 G/F, 2 WP

Newcomer Mention:
RHP Jandy Sena, 8/10/1989
0-0, GS, 2.57 ERA in 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2/1 K/BB, 10/7 G/F

From the Training Room:
Early in the week, one of the better relievers on staff went on the DL, as RHP Willy Kesler hit the 7-day and they activated RHP Tim Boyce, who has better stuff than Tim Griffin though I tend to confuse the two… Robles left, C Angel Salome hit the DL again which meant that the whole catching situation was again thrown into disarray, and IF Yidid Batista was brought in from Peoria because they surely needed someone to do something. To fill the pitching void, RHP Jandy Sena was later brought in from Clinton. SS Jake Schlander was also activated from the DL.

Strange Happenings:
Brandon Maurer has been pushed to relief. It’s not anything to do with his abilities at this point, it’s the fact that he has some history of injury and pitched quite a bit over the winter in Australia. They’re just trying to keep the innings under control… Daniel Carroll now has ten+ home runs and forty+ stolen bases.

Clinton Lumberkings (4-3 this week, 10-7 in second half, 34-53 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 4th 2011
Clinton 0, Peoria 2 (CHC – 3)
W: Kirk (5-5, 2.60) L: Sena (4-5, 4.56)

Tuesday, July 5th 2011
Clinton 5, Peoria 3 (CHC – 4)
W: Mieses (3-9, 5.38) L: Peralta (0-1, 1.80) S: Burgoon (9)

Wednesday, July 6th 2011
Cedar Rapids 4 (ANA – 1), Clinton 3
W: Robinson (5-1, 3.89) L: Zablan (0-1, 4.12) S: Tillman (6)

Thursday, July 7th 2011
Cedar Rapids 0 (ANA – 2), Clinton 3
W: Walker (3-4, 2.76) L: Russell (4-9, 3.59) S: Arias (3)

Friday, July 8th 2011
Cedar Rapids 3 (ANA – 3), Clinton 11
W: Butler (1-0, 2.53) L: Diemer (7-6, 3.25) S: Burgoon (10)

Saturday, July 9th 2011
Clinton 8, Beloit 5 (MIN + 2)
W: Reed (2-1, 3.27) L: Lobanov (0-7, 6.79)

Sunday, July 10th 2011
Clinton 0, Beloit 5 (MIN + 3)
W: Soliman (4-5, 3.95) L: Mieses (3-10, 5.42)

Hitter of the Week:
2B/DH Stefen Romero, R/R, 10/17/1988
7 G, 26 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, SB, 5/0 K/BB, 2 HBP, .385/.429/.692

It seems worth mentioning at this point. Stefen Romero has played fourteen games at second this season, sixteen in left, one in right, and twenty-three at the hot corner, with the remaining fourteen coming at DH. The pre-draft report on him said that he didn’t even have the athleticism to stay at third, and yet we’ve been seeing him up the middle quite a bit lately. Does it mean much? Too early, and too low a level to say with any certainty. I’d still have him as a “future utility guy” at this point, but he’s continuing to show that he can hit at the very least. However, he’s yet to walk in July, and that adds to the whole “not walking” issue I brought up last week. In his first forty-six games, he walked eighteen times. In the last twenty-three, it’s three.

Quickly Contributing Mention:
CF Mike McGee, R/R, 3/7/1989
6 G, 20 AB, 5 R, 7 H, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 3/3 K/BB, .350/.417/.450

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Taijuan Walker, 8/13/1992
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, H, 11/2 K/BB, 2/4 G/F

Sure, it was a rough couple of starts for Walker last week. On Monday, he had five score against him on four hits and five walks in five innings, and then on Saturday, three runs (two earned) plated on four hits, two of which left the yard, and four walks. Of course, in both cases he struck out eight. He hasn’t struck out fewer than six in a start since June 7th. With the outing this week, he also pulls ahead of Paxton for the team lead in Ks and presently ranks tenth in the league, and the guys ahead of him are all two to five years older than him and have all made more starts, etc etc. Baseball America came up with their midseason top 50 and Walker ranked #38. Odds are, he’s going to be one or two for us behind Hultzen when the organization rankings come out in the winter.

Keeping it Up Mention:
LHP Anthony Fernandez, 6/8/1990
0-0, GS, 2.45 ERA in 7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 7/1 K/BB, 9/3 G/F

From the Training Room:
The moves were all late in the week. When Sena went to High Desert, LHP Ryan Kiel was brought in from the AZL, which pushed Nate Reed to the rotation. C John Hicks was also added, which means that one of our teams now has a sufficient number of catchers.

Strange Happenings:
Monday evening, the Clinton Lumberkings were no-hit by Peoria, drawing only two walks. It’s a little more surprising considering that the offense has been better in the second half… More on that: Friday evening, the Lumberkings offense recorded eleven runs, which was the first time they’d reached double digits in scoring since May 15th. What’s weird about this is that they scored eleven runs with seven hits and three walks. There were three errors and a couple of hit batters, of course, but that’s pretty darned efficient, especially considering that there was only one extra-base hit, a double by Kevin Rivers. The more I think about this, the more weird it becomes… The runner-up start Fernandez made was caught by Jetsy Extrano, which is to say, the Lumberkings nearly won a game in which Jetsy Extrano was catching.

Everett Aquasox (3-4 this week, 9-15 overall)

Monday, July 4th 2011
Salem-Keizer 1 (SF – 14), Everett 7
W: Campos (1-2, 3.05) L: Roibal (0-1, 2.84)

Tuesday, July 5th 2011
Salem-Keizer 7 (SF – 13), Everett 2
W: Flores (1-2, 6.60) L: Shipers (0-3, 4.74) S: King (1)

Wednesday, July 6th 2011
Salem-Keizer 10 (SF – 12), Everett 6
W: Mendoza (2-1, 3.86) L: Whitmore (1-2, 6.89)

Thursday, July 7th 2011
Everett 5, Boise 9 (CHC + 5)
W: Wells (2-1, 4.84) L: Landazuri (3-1, 3.96) S: Rosario (1)

Friday, July 8th 2011
Everett 4, Boise 3 (CHC + 4)
W: Bischoff (2-0, 0.00) L: Greathouse (0-2, 6.35)

Saturday, July 9th 2011
Everett 8, Boise 6 (CHC + 3)
W: Diaz (1-1, 5.84) L: Thomas (1-1, 3.52)

Sunday, July 10th 2011
Everett 1, Boise 3 (CHC + 4)
W: Cruz (1-1, 2.18) L: Shipers (0-4, 4.50) S: Shafer (5)

Hitter of the Week:
1B/3B Jharmidy de Jesus, R/R, 8/30/1989
7 G, 25 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 7/1 K/BB, 2 HBP, .320/.393/.600

Talent can be squandered, or misapplied, or buried under other issues, but it rarely completely goes away. de Jesus is an example of that for me because I’ve spent the last three years or so talking smack about him. In 2008, he destroyed the AZL to the tune of a .339/.417/.591 line in thirty-four games and then managed a respectable .267/.315/.444 line in twenty-eight games in Everett, all as a guy who didn’t turn nineteen until the end of the season. Then, instead of turning up in the Midwest League for 2009, he hit .249/.340/.385 in parts of a season for Pulaski and disappeared for the duration of 2010. It was the classic story of a prospect of some ability getting himself into trouble and falling off the charts. Injuries and work ethic issues were rumored throughout. And now he’s back, in Everett, hitting up a storm. He’s not that young anymore, but he’s still the fifth-youngest hitter on the roster. If he keeps this up, I’d bump him up a level or two just to see what happens. I would hope that he walks a little more before that kind of decision approaches.

Walking Utility Man Mention:
UT Patrick Brady, R/R, 2/5/1988
7 G, 26 AB, 7 R, 8 H, 3B, 2 RBI, CS, 1/6 K/BB, .308/.438/.385

CAN Hit a Home Run Mention:
OF James Wood, L/L, 12/19/1987
7 G, 28 AB, 3 R, 8 H, 4 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .286/.333/.607

Side Work Paying off Mention:
SS Marcus Littlewood, S/R, 3/18/1992
5 G, 23 AB, 2 R, 7 H, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 6/1 K/BB, .304/.333/.478

Pitcher of the Week
LHP Jordan Shipers, 6/27/1991
0-2, 2 GS, 3.46 ERA in 13.0 IP, 9 H (HR), 6 R (5 ER), 14/3 K/BB, 19/4 G/F, WP

Tough, tough competition for Pitcher this week, and I eventually opted for Shipers in part because he threw more and in part because I think that those who pay attention to wins and losses and the like would hazard underselling him. The first few starts were uneven, with the 15/7 K/BB spanning 13.0 innings, but it seems like talent and pitching smarts are starting to take over. Reports are that he’s sitting in the low-90s, right about where we’d hoped he’d be, and he’s been getting a lot better groundball rates than you’d really expect. That he’s allowed a few home runs here and there is acceptable, and not really anything to concern ourselves with. He really should have recorded his first win by now, and while I hope he gets it this coming week, with a tough offense coming to town in Spokane, it might not end up happening until a little later.

Expect to Hear More of Him Soon Mention:
RHP Vicente Campos, 7/27/1992
1-0, 2 GS, 3.38 ERA in 10.2 IP, 12 H, 7 R (4 ER), 12/2 K/BB, 15/3 G/F, 2 WP, 2 HB

New High in Ks Mention:
RHP Steve Landazuri, 1/6/1992
0-1, GS, 3.60 ERA in 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 8/2 K/BB, 3/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
RHP Ben Versnik was technically added to the roster though I think he’s still rehabbing in Peoria. Also, Agudelo went out. Versnik may have been activated and just hasn’t pitched yet.

Strange Happenings:
This isn’t really something that you probably didn’t notice yourself, but note that there were three teenagers in the rotation to start the year (Shipers has since turned twenty) and that they’re the ones leading the pitching staff. Talent is awesome… Bischoff allowed a hit and a walk this week, which increases the rate in both departments, despite his pitching three innings… The Aquasox have trouble winning at home. Only two of their nine wins have come at Everett Memorial.

Pulaski Mariners (3-4 this week, 11-9 overall)

Monday, July 4th 2011
Bristol 3 (CHW 0), Pulaski 6
W: Unsworth (3-0, 2.76) L: Matos (0-2, 6.55) S: Raga (6)

Tuesday, July 5th 2011
Bristol 3 (CHW – 1), Pulaski 11
W: Valdivia (2-0, 2.25) L: Icard (0-2, 10.80)

Wednesday, July 6th 2011
Bristol 3 (CHW – 2), Pulaski 4
W: Hunter (1-0, 0.90) L: Lane (0-1, 10.80)

Thursday, July 7th 2011
Bristol 8 (CHW – 1), Pulaski 7
W: Leyer (2-1, 3.86) L: Guaipe (3-1, 3.20) S: Blough (1)

Friday, July 8th 2011
Johnson City 8 (STL + 8), Pulaski 0 (five innings)
W: Freeman (1-1, 3.95) L: Colvin (0-1, 0.00)

Saturday, July 9th 2011
Johnson City 9 (STL + 9), Pulaski 2
W: Jenkins (1-0, 3.10) L: Unsworth (3-1, 5.03)

Sunday, July 10th 2011
Johnson City 5 (STL + 10), Pulaski 1
W: Lucas (3-0, 5.03) L: Valdivia (2-1, 3.54)

Hitter of the Week:
OF Guillermo Pimentel, L/L, 10/5/1992
7 G, 23 AB, 6 R, 8 H, 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 6/0 K/BB, HBP, .348/.360/1.043

Last season, amidst the silliness known as the Arizona League, Pimentel hit six home runs in fifty-one games. He came one shy of that that total in this week alone. Pimentel has gone yard eight times this season, and while that’s one fewer than the league leader, but the league leader if five years older than him, so who cares? His K-rate has even come down a little (read as: a measurable, though not entirely significant amount), from 31.5% of his at-bats to 29.4%. But the issue with him is, unfortunately, the same old drum that we’ve been banging. He doesn’t walk enough. He’s been hit by pitches as many times as he’s walked, and the rate is no different from what it was last season. He can get by on talent at this level because, let’s face it, there’s a lot of talent there, but once he gets to a place where pitchers can execute better pitches, I worry for him.

Another Productive Summer League Vet Mention:
3B/1B Jordy Lara, R/R, 5/21/1991
7 G, 25 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 8/3 K/BB, .360/.429/.640

Leadoff Hitter Mention:
CF Jamal Austin, R/R, 8/26/1990
7 G, 25 AB, 5 R, 11 H, RBI, 5 SB, 2 CS, 4/3 K/BB, .440/.500/.440

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Reynaldo Sabala, 8/16/1990
0-0, 3 G, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 2 H, 12/1 K/BB, 3/3 G/F

It’s not such a bad thing when the rotation runs into the rough patch now and then because most of the guys from the ‘pen can stop the bleeding, or even perform surgery of their own. I wish I knew more about Sabala, considering this week he just turned in was pretty crazy. This isn’t like in the summer leagues where you can just chalk up crazy strikeout numbers to an advanced change-up, or some such thing. The Appalachian League is at least identifiably baseball. To make matters additionally complicated, Sabala never showed anywhere near this level of command, or an abnormal ability to avoid hits, and he spent four years in Venezuela, which is usually a bad sign. And yet, he isn’t significantly more experienced than the guys he’s faced (he’s right around the average age for the league), and has been a bringer of swift death to opposing lineups. Keep watching?

The Other Impressive Reliever Mention:
LHP Kyle Hunter, 6/18/1989
1-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, R (0 ER), 8/0 K/BB, 3/4 G/F

The One Good Starter Mention:
RHP Ambioris Hidalgo, 2/4/1991
0-0, GS, 3.18 ERA in 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 7/0 K/BB, 5/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
RHP Seon Gi Kim and RHP Benjamin Cornwell were both added from the AZL team.

Strange Happenings:
In spite of going 3-4 this week with some losses to the West Division leading Johnson City Cardinals, the M’s are still tied for the East Division with the Bluefield Jays and Princeton Rays… Unsworth and Valdivia were both losers on the POTW battle because they started twice. Unsworth’s first outing: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 7/2 K/BB, 5/2 G/F. Unsworth’s second outing: 3.1 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 1/1 K/BB. Valdivia’s first outing: 6.0 IP, 5 H (HR), R, 7/0 K/BB, 5/4 G/F. Valdivia’s second outing: 4/1 IP, 4 H (HR), 4 R, 3/3 K/BB, 5/4 G/F… Luke Taylor may have been moved out of the rotation in favor of David Colvin, or they may be going to a piggyback thing. Some sidework seems like it would help Taylor.

Dispatches from the Land of Rehabbers and Teens:
IF Yidid Batista: 12 G, 45 AB, 12 R, 17 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 15 RBI, 5 SB, 2 CS, 5/5 K/BB, .378/.442/.511
2B Felipe Burin: 4 G, 17 AB, 4 H, 2B, 3 RBI, 4/0 K/BB, .235/.235/.293
OF Phillips Castillo: 15 G, 57 AB, 15 R, 18 H, 8 2B, 3B, 8 RBI, 3 SB, CS, 24/4 K/BB, .316/.371/.491
RHP Min-sih Chen: 2-1, 4 GS, 7.27 ERA in 17.1 IP, 20 H, 15 R (14 ER), 11/14 K/BB, HB
RHP David Holman: 2-0, 4 G, 3.12 ERA in 8.2 IP, 10 H (2 HR), 9 R (3 ER), 3/0 K/BB
RHP Kenn Kasparek: 0-0, GS, 9.00 ERA in 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1/1 K/BB
OF Reggie Lawson: 16 G, 67 AB, 3 R, 18 H, 2 2B, 3B, 12 RBI, 2 SB, CS, 20/0 K/BB, .269/.275/.328
CF Alfredo Morales: 16 G, 62 AB, 11 R, 27 H, 6 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 6 SB, 2 CS, 17/7 K/BB, .435/.479/.661
3B Ramon Morla: 2 G, 8 AB, R, 2 H, SB, 2/0 K/BB, .250/.250/.250
RHP Jochi Ogando: 1-1, 3 G (GS), 6.00 ERA in 9.0 IP, 9 H, 7 R (6 ER), 6/10 K/BB
SS Esteilon Peguero: 16 G, 68 AB, 13 R, 18 H, 6 2B, 3B, HR, 13 RBI, 9 SB, 2 CS, 9/3 K/BB, .265/.311/.426
LHP Scott Ronnenbergh: 1-0, 5 G (GS), 1.54 ERA in 11.2 IP, 13 H, 6 R (2 ER), 7/6 K/BB
RHP Alex Sunderland: 0-0, 4 G, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, 4 H, 9/0 K/BB
LHP Nick Valenza: 0-0, G, 18.00 ERA in 1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R


25 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (7/4-10/11)”

  1. TumwaterMike on July 11th, 2011 9:39 am

    Good post. Any updates on any more draft signings?

  2. Typical Idiot Fan on July 11th, 2011 10:11 am

    Zamarippa (6th round) and Hicks (4th round) both signed this week. Zamarippa is in the AZL, Hicks is in Clinton.

  3. TumwaterMike on July 11th, 2011 10:29 am

    I knew about those two. I was hoping there was news on more recent progress on signings.

  4. maqman on July 11th, 2011 11:13 am

    Hey Burin showed up! Looks like he was tired from the trip.
    Pimentel says “Walks! I don’t need no steenking walks, I slug my way on base like men are supposed to.”
    I’m wondering about the lack of international signings. Maybe Texas has priced us out of the market. With Hultzen probably going to cost us about $10MM maybe they are going to have to dumpster dive down south.

  5. Iowa Ms Fan on July 11th, 2011 11:20 am

    I think Proscia signed over the weekend.

  6. Jay Yencich on July 11th, 2011 11:33 am

    Hey, what do you know, Proscia did sign. He’s reporting to High Desert.

    No other news. Here’s a story on Marder.

  7. groundzero55 on July 11th, 2011 11:33 am

    Hicks hit safely in his first two games with Clinton and also had an RBI. I’m REALLY pulling for him to have some success…been a while since we had good catchers coming up in the organization.

    Hopefully Proscia signing helps move along the process with Hultzen.

  8. TumwaterMike on July 11th, 2011 11:50 am

    Good to hear about Proscia. I’m still interested in Cavan Cohoes. Any news on him or is he going to Ohio State? Also why are the M’s so slow in releasing info. It seems the other teams get it out right away.

  9. Jay Yencich on July 11th, 2011 11:51 am

    No recent news on Cohoes.

  10. low on July 11th, 2011 12:12 pm

    Great wrap, Jay. Lot of information here clearly presented. My hat is off!

  11. groundzero55 on July 11th, 2011 4:22 pm

    Looks like our 22nd rounder, RHP John Taylor also just signed.

  12. SonOfZavaras on July 11th, 2011 5:37 pm

    I figured Taylor would be a signee. Senior at South Carolina, IIRC. That puts us at 34 out of 51, if I’m counting right. And a whole lot of the first ten rounds to go. The M’s usually sign the vast majority of their first 15 rounds.

    Where’d you find that news, groundzero55?

  13. SonOfZavaras on July 11th, 2011 5:45 pm

    It’s amazing how many 2009 draftees are already out of the organization, and with Ackley and Seager up, there’s still a lot of hope for more from the 2010 class.

    My jury’s still out on exactly how well we did in the ’11 draft, of course….but the ’10 draft- particularly with Franklin and I suppose Catricala- looks like it could feed the big club for YEARS longer.

  14. dnc on July 11th, 2011 7:32 pm

    I believe Franklin and Cat were from the 09 draft

  15. SonOfZavaras on July 11th, 2011 8:15 pm

    I believe Franklin and Cat were from the 09 draft.

    Yup, you’re right. Got ’em mixed up. One can make the argument that the ’09 AND ’10 classes could provide big leaguers a’plenty for awhile.

  16. groundzero55 on July 11th, 2011 11:03 pm

    Where’d you find that news, groundzero55?

    Multiple sources via twitter at first. Now on MLB trade rumors: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/seattle_mariners/

  17. just a fan on July 12th, 2011 1:14 am

    Catricala. He has raked for three straight pro seasons and I’ve never really heard of him. Is he a real prospect now at 3rd? If so, would he rank ahead of Liddi on a prospect list? Or are his numbers lying to me?

  18. SonOfZavaras on July 12th, 2011 2:01 am

    Catricala. He has raked for three straight pro seasons and I’ve never really heard of him. Is he a real prospect now at 3rd? If so, would he rank ahead of Liddi on a prospect list? Or are his numbers lying to me?

    That’s a question with an answer that isn’t exactly a consensus answer, Just A Fan. Some think it’s overrated Cal League numbers mostly that Catricala fans go on. But others think he’s the best right-handed hitting prospect we have.

    A good friend to this site and the Mariners blogosphere recently opined that Catricala- and several baseball people that he spoke to about him- has legit 25-HR pop. And that he’s ahead of where Liddi was developmentally at the same AA level.

    I also read a scouting report on him earlier in the season that was far less than glowing about his abilities and his overall potential.

    But that was before this year in the minor leagues started.

    Bottom line, I think he gets watched closely for the rest of the year. If he keeps on hitting like he has, then I think it pretty much answers a couple doubts- and he becomes a legit “Top 10 In The Org” prospect in a lot more lists and scouting reports.

  19. TumwaterMike on July 12th, 2011 8:48 am

    If he keeps hitting we’ll have to call him Cat-apult.

  20. msfanmike on July 12th, 2011 10:45 am

    “Cat the Bat” … would be much better IMO. I wish I could take credit for the nickname, but someone else mentioned it a while back.

    Apparently, the “Cat” has excellent use of his hands/wrists at the plate. The scouting director was enamored with him … thus the recent push/promotion. Anybody who can hit will be given a shot, although the “Bat” appears to be one of those position players without a true position. Then again, reports on Ackley’s “D” were not consistenly good … and those reports were way-way off base.

    The organization seems hell-bent on providing cups of coffee for players in the AA and/or AAA ranks prior to promoting them for a major league preview, because things are so mad at the ML level, so if “Cat the Bat” performs well the rest of this season in AA, it’s not completely out of the question that they consider taking a peek at him in September.

    Seager barely had a cup of coffee in AAA and was given the starting job at the major league level because of the stank that is Figgins. Peguero had about the same sized cup of coffee as Seager at the AAA level and has been given a pseudo starting role that continues to defy and mystify anybody who prefers “polish” over “clumsy.”

    At this point, the organization would probably consider pissing on a spark plug if they thought it might help.

  21. casey on July 12th, 2011 12:16 pm

    good to see Robles at AA. Still getting beat up by opposing batters…guessing he is still getting his arm in shape after his surgery and that progress will be slow. Looking like a write-off season for him – this winter thought he might have the next starter in line that Beavan seems to now own. Could be all academic if Hultzen signs and Paxton continues to make progress.

  22. dnc on July 12th, 2011 1:26 pm

    Jay, any thoughts on this craziness?

  23. Jay Yencich on July 12th, 2011 2:07 pm

    Not really, aside from “hey there are some more names linked to us than I’m comfortable with” and “I still don’t know why Peguero’s bonus was reduced” and “this isn’t really my department” and “I’m probably not as surprised as I should be”.

  24. J-Dog on July 12th, 2011 7:11 pm

    My response to the BA article — holy shit

  25. Chipanese on July 13th, 2011 2:56 am

    It’s funny how we have both Esteilon Peguero and George Soto in our farm system. I wonder if they get along.

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