Minor League Wrap (7/18-24/11)

Jay Yencich · July 25, 2011 at 8:30 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

Some of the draft and IFA stuff broke loose this week, like C/IF Jack Marder signing for $200k and getting himself assigned to the High Desert Mavericks. Marder had some leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore and could have very easily returned to school, so it’s good that we were able to add him as he sounds like the exact type of player the organization would love. I don’t know what this means for Marlette or the others of the top ten, but if a recent article that one of my readers found on third-round pick Kevin Cron is any indication, we’re probably going up to the deadline with this again. As for the July 2nd guys, we’ll get to that in a moment…

To the jump!

Victor Sanchez Signs, Jose Leal May Have Signed (Why Else Would He Be in a Uniform?):

Earlier in the week, Baseball America announced that the Mariners had signed the guy who was believed to be their top target in the region this year, RHP Victor Sanchez of Venezuela. As the BA release had the full scouting report on him, I wasn’t in some huge rush to post about it because if that’s free to all, there’s not so much of a push to get me to do the “what can I learn from a few minutes of video scouting” thing (made all the more difficult by his fairly common name). Sanchez was ranked third overall in this group behind a couple of Dominican outfielders, but is something of an oddity among July 2nd prospects in that his projection is limited. When the Athletics signed Michael Ynoa, it was a big deal in part because in addition to the present stuff, he had a good amount of projectability at 6’7 and 210 lbs. Sanchez doesn’t have that: he cracks six feet (maybe, as we all know how measurements can be) and is regarded as a guy who has more or less filled out already, meaning that he’s unlikely to throw much harder than the low-90s he hits at present. The secondary stuff is good, with a solid slider (they’ll probably have him try a curve for a while) and a change, and he doesn’t have too many flaws that are mentioned, it’s just that he’s a high-floor guy rather than a high-ceiling guy.

The news of OF Jose Leal, I’ve been sitting on for some time now because I expected it to be announced in some English language source, but have only been able to get it from the El Designado Blog so far, which earlier reported a preliminary agreement between Sanchez and the M’s. Leal is going to attend fall instructs, then go down and participate in the parallel league in the LVBP, then come back up to the states to play for Peoria next year. He’s a guy that the M’s seemed to regard far more highly than anyone else, as the BA preview only wrote him up as being athletic, which they mentioned twice, but raw overall. That’s not usually the kind of profile that on its own commands nearly two million, but it did in this case, even as the M’s were reported to be backing off the bigger signings as the market got out of control. Leal is more known than some others as he managed to work his way into a Perfect Game showing a while back, which shows a quick, level swing, and a quick release and good arm in the outfield. He seems interesting enough, but the dollar amount is something I probably don’t have a proper context for.

So far as I know, there’s no new news on Dominican OF Helsin Martinez, whose reported signing was refuted by Engle.

Tacoma Rainiers (4-3 this week, 51-51 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 18th 2011
Tacoma 6, Tucson 5 (SD – 3)
W: Robles (1-0, 0.00) L: Van Benschoten (0-1, 1.80) S: Lueke (11)

Tuesday, July 19th 2011
Tacoma 14, Tucson 15 (SD – 2) (eleven innings)
W: Scribner (2-3, 4.39) L: Patterson (3-2, 4.13)

Wednesday, July 20th 2011
Tacoma 9, Tucson 2 (SD – 3)
W: Grube (1-2, 9.00) L: Deduno (3-2, 3.64) S: Roe (2)

Thursday, July 21st 2011
Tacoma 8, Tucson 1 (SD – 4) (seven innings)
W: French (7-6, 5.37) L: Inman (3-9, 5.87)

Friday, July 22nd 2011
Tacoma 7, Salt Lake 2 (ANA – 16)
W: Vasquez (2-2, 3.62) L: Bay (7-6, 4.51) S: Jimenez (1)

Saturday, July 23rd 2011
Tacoma 9, Salt Lake 18 (ANA – 15)
W: Ketchner (5-6, 5.88) L: Robertson (3-3, 7.68)

Sunday, July 24th 2011
Tacoma 2, Salt Lake 10 (ANA – 14)
W: Williams (5-1, 4.67) L: Robles (1-1, 9.00)

Hitter of the Week:
OF Carlos Peguero, L/L, 2/22/1987
7 G, 31 AB, 8 R, 15 H, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, SB, 9/3 K/BB, HBP, .484/.543/.839

I remember at some point in junior high being exposed to the idea of learning styles, how some people were better at absorbing information from physically interacting with it, or writing, or hearing it, or various other methods. Around the same time, I also became aware of one my own quirks, which was that I only really “got” something if I worked on it for a while and then stepped away from it. If I just kept grinding for an indefinite stretch of time, no improvement. This may be one thing that Peguero and I have in common in addition to February birthdays and left-handedness. That’s the best I can come up with for why he’s just destroying everything right now. He has a hit in every game since coming back and has managed three hits in four of those. The eye numbers are even slightly improved, though within the margin of error, as he had a 34/9 K/BB in 114 plate appearances prior to the call-up. It’s not just him being good almost immediately, it’s him hitting on a different level from nearly everyone else on the team.

I Am No More Capable of Explaining What’s Gotten into Him Mention:
CF Michael Saunders, L/R, 11/19/1986
7 G, 26 AB, 9 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI, SB, CS, 9/11 K/BB, .462/.627/.731

Seven Ks in first Eleven July Games, Twelve Ks in last Seven Mention:
SS/3B Alex Liddi, R/R, 8/14/1988
7 G, 30 AB, 8 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, HR, 8 RBI, 12/5 K/BB, .300/.400/.600

Peripherals Mention:
CF Ryan Langerhans, L/L, 2/20/1980
5 G, 24 AB, 3 R, 5 H, 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 5/4 K/BB, .208/.321/.500

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Anthony Vasquez, 9/19/1986
1-0, GS, 1.17 ERA in 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (ER), 7/2 K/BB, 11/2 G/F

Ackley and Seager get talked up for their quick rise through the system, debuting just two years after they were drafted. A case could be made at present for Vasquez being next in the line of 2009 draftees to contribute, but where Ackley and Seager were drafted in the first and third rounds respectively, Vasquez slipped down to the eighteenth round. The first couple of starts in triple-A were a little rough, as he walked seven in 12.2 innings, but he’s yet to go fewer than 6.1 in a start since arriving in Tacoma and his strikeout rate has been at 6.9 per nine innings, where it had been hovering around 5.3 in Jackson. Vasquez probably isn’t going to wow anyone with his stuff, but he’s competent as a pitcher and if a hole opened in the rotation that wasn’t already being filled by Beavan, Vasquez would probably top my list of guys I’d consider adding, all other factors being equal.

On the Cusp via the 40-man Mention:
LHP Luke French, 9/13/1985
1-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 7 H, R, 5/2 K/BB, 5/4 G/F, WP

Emergency Pitcher Impresses Mention:
RHP Forrest Snow, 12/30/1988
0-0, G, 4.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 7 H (HR), 3 R, 9/1 K/BB, 7/0 G/F

From The Training Room:
The LF Carlos Peguero/LF Mike Carp thing went down officially on Monday. Since the team was off, I suppose that there was no rush… Before Thursday’s game, the Mariners decided that what with the bullpen getting beaten up, they’d recall RHP Josh Lueke from Tacoma and send 3B Kyle Seager back for some ABs while we presumably try to showcase Chone Figgins. Lueke has had some issues with his stuff and command this year, but over the past two months, he’s run a 21/4 K/BB in 22.0 IP with only sixteen hits allowed, so that’s a clear improvement. Meanwhile, Seager had hit .136/.240/.136 in twenty-two big league at-bats, showing little of the gap power we had hoped for. I guess it proves that not every rookie can be Dustin Ackley. In fact, in the history of the game, I think only one rookie has been Dustin Ackley… On Sunday, RHP Josh Fields went temporarily inactive, which brought in RHP Forrest Snow from High Desert for a little while.

Strange Happenings:
The Rainiers did indeed manage the all-southpaw turn through the rotation… Seager is 5-for-13 since going back down, with a 2/2 K/BB and a home run. So he counts too… Remember back when I was explaining that I found some reason for concern in Liddi’s ahead in count and behind in count approaches? Peguero is so much worse. He’s .406/.578/.844 ahead and .175/.175/.246 behind… In perhaps the best example of the Jekyll and Hyde Starts phenomenon, on Monday, Robles allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out four in six innings and on Sunday he was pulled with seven runs scoring against him in an inning+ after a home run and seven walks with one K… That’s our old friend Ryan Ketchner who got the win on Saturday… Mike Curto had a great tweet regarding the rainout this week.

Jackson Generals (2-4 this week, 12-18 in second half, 50-50 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 18th 2011
Jackson 3, Carolina 12 (CIN 0)
W: McCulloch (4-4, 4.67) L: Hensley (1-5, 5.71)

Tuesday, July 19th 2011
Off day

Wednesday, July 20th 2011
Montgomery 1 (TB 0), Jackson 5
W: Stanton (1-3, 3.50) L: Archer (4-6, 4.84)

Thursday, July 21st 2011
Montgomery 11 (TB + 1), Jackson 9 (ten innings)
W: Quate (4-3, 3.57) L: Pryor (0-1, 3.38)

Friday, July 22nd 2011
Montgomery 6 (TB 0), Jackson 10
W: Wilhelmsen (4-4, 5.06) L: Dyer (4-6, 4.79)

Saturday, July 23rd 2011
Montgomery 4 (TB + 1), Jackson 2 (seven innings)
W: Barnese (6-4, 3.23) L: Carraway (7-2, 3.38) S: Quate (16)

Montgomery 3 (+ 2), Jackson 1 (seven innings)
W: Colome (1-0, 1.69) L: Hensley (1-6, 5.63) S: Fleming (3)

Sunday, July 24th 2011
Off day

Hitter of the Week:
OF Joe Dunigan, L/L, 3/29/1986
5 G, 16 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, SB, 6/4 K/BB, .438/.550/1.000

When Joe Dunigan hit thirty home runs in his High Desert season in 2009, many people started to ask questions about him and if he had a shot. I had mostly complaints, pointing to the fact that while he was able to show interesting skills like walking, limiting strikeouts, and hitting for power, he was rarely capable of doing those things in the same month and would sometimes shoot from one extreme to the other. I predicted a hard double-A transition, and he then hit .214/.289/.371 through eighty-one games last season. This year, he’s been more the power bat, particularly recently, and the last ten games has seen him hit .306/.405/.611, a marked improvement over a first half where he batted .229/.341/.357. Still, some areas he’s not doing so well in. July has been his best month by a wide margin with an OPS of nearly 1.000, but he’s also struck out twenty-eight times in seventy-one at-bats while walking thirteen times. The free passes are nice, but the strikeouts are quite nearly crippling. The good news is that the Ks have been going down as the season has progressed. We’ll have a better estimation of what exactly this hot streak means after he works his way into August.

Good Bat, Position Questions #1 Mention:
2B Scott Savastano, R/R, 6/13/1986
5 G, 20 AB, R, 7 H, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 4/4 K/BB, .350/.458/.650

Good Bat, Position Questions #2 Mention:
3B/LF Vinnie Catricala, R/R, 10/31/1988
5 G, 20 AB, 4 R, 9 H, 3 2B, RBI, 1/2 K/BB, .450/.500/.600

Maybe Rebounding Mention:
OF Jake Shaffer, L/L, 8/16/1987
6 G, 21 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, CS, 3/4 K/BB, .333/.440/.619

Utility Mention:
UT Leury Bonilla, R/R, 2/8/1985
5 G, 14 AB, 4 R, 4 H, 3B, 5 RBI, SB, CS, 1/3 K/BB, .286/.389/.429

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Andrew Carraway, 9/4/1986
0-1, 6.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2/1 K/BB, 9/3 G/F

None of the pitchers really stood out on the merits of what they did, so I guess I’m defending this selection. The easy thing to say is that he pitched the most innings of any starter this week and had gone six or more innings in seven of his last ten appearances. The other is that he just had fewer baserunners on than anyone else. The trouble he got into in the fourth inning of the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader came because he had a single, then a double, then a triple to open the inning. Bad luck, bad pitches, or just bad positioning could affect any of those things, and there were three other instances of someone reaching on a single or a walk and then being eliminated almost immediately on a double play. It’s not pretty or anything, but probably not as bad as the earned run total ended up being. One bad inning, let’s call it.

Too Many Walks Mention:
LHP James Paxton, 11/6/1988
0-0, GS, 2.25 ERA in 4.0 IP, 4 H, R, 3/5 K/BB, 4/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
At some point recently, the Mariners organization concluded that Bantz couldn’t catch every game and perhaps it would be too much to ask Bonilla to take over more often, so the organization signed C Jesus Sucre, who previously had been playing for the Mississippi Braves, and he’s the new backup. RHP Stephen Penney went on the temporarily inactive list to make room… Franklin is still out because I told you about concussions.

Strange Happenings:
I didn’t want to highlight Paxton as top dog because he only threw forty-four of ninety pitches for strikes and that’s bad news. The Biscuits are also batting .260/.335/.409 as a team, so while the walk outburst wasn’t unexpected, it was probably more severe than anticipated. Hensley was second-worst at three walks in 5.1 innings, but that’s a pretty sizeable drop and the rest were down around one. Chattanooga is next up on the docket and they have the second-most walks in the league so this should be interesting… Hat tip to Matthew of Lookout Landing who found out that Andrew Carraway has a blog.

High Desert Mavericks (2-4 this week, 12-18 in second half, 44-56 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 18th 2011
Bakersfield 12 (CIN – 5), High Desert 6
W: Ravin (2-7, 4.45) L: Snow (2-3, 8.10) S: Bowman (1)

Tuesday, July 19th 2011
Off day

Wednesday, July 20th 2011
High Desert 10, Lancaster 5 (HOU – 8 )
W: Gillheeney (6-4, 5.44) L: Robinson (4-8, 6.33) S: Hudson (4)

Thursday, July 21st 2011
High Desert 2, Lancaster 14 (HOU – 7)
W: Cisnero (6-8, 6.48) L: Sorce (6-7, 4.64) S: Alvino (1)

Friday, July 22nd 2011
High Desert 15, Lancaster 10 (HOU – 8 )
W: Sena (1-1, 6.48) L: Grimmett (4-7, 6.04)

Saturday, July 23rd 2011
Modesto 8 (COL – 1), High Desert 7
W: Perkins (2-5, 5.77) L: Medina (1-10, 6.87) S: Marbry (6)

Sunday, July 24th 2011
Modesto 13 (COL – 2), High Desert 9
W: Cabrera (2-0, 3.99) L: Kasparek (0-1, 7.71)

Hitter of the Week:
CF Denny Almonte, S/R, 9/24/1988
6 G, 26 AB, 6 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, SB, 11/2 K/BB, .346/.393/.654

If you were to ask me for an adjective or two or maybe half a dozen in describing Almonte as a player, “consistent” probably wouldn’t be one of the words that would come to mind except as an antonym. His OBP, after all, is some thirty points higher than his average and players that don’t excel at walking, rely on smacking the ball around, and strike out a lot are not known for turning long stretches of good at-bats. In the last ten games, he has a 17/3 K/BB, which is more walks than you’d expect out of any ten-game sampling from him, and yet, he’s running a twelve-game hit streak going back to the 12th of the month. I don’t know what his personal record is, but he’s probably getting pretty close to it.

Juxtaposition, for Amusement’s Sake Mention:
SS Gabriel Noriega, R/R, 9/13/1990
6 G, 27 AB, 6 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, SB, CS, 5/1 K/BB, .333/.357/.629

Second in League for Walks, Ks Mention:
LF Daniel Carroll, R/R, 1/6/1989
5 G, 17 AB, 2 R, 6 H, 2 2B, 3 RBI, SB, CS, 4/2 K/BB, HBP, .353/.450/.471

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Jimmy Gillheeney, 11/8/1987
1-0, GS, 4.05 ERA in 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 5/3 K/BB, 8/.5 G/F, HB

In a week where no games were played that weren’t in High Desert or Lancaster, I’m surprised I even have something this good to work with, but I’ll be skipping out on mentioning anyone else, like I did last week. Gillheeney had a rough two starts prior to this, spanning ten innings with nine runs scoring along the way with a 14/4 K/BB and thirteen hits allowed. There were also four home runs in that span, and he has the league lead in that category, two ahead of his teammate Yoervis Medina. There’s only so much that can be done about that, but one thing that could be improved is his command, which has suddenly disappeared in the second half. I’m willing to attribute some of that to the weather. He had nineteen walks in 72.0 innings in the first half and is now at nine in just twenty-nine innings for the second half. Everything else is holding steady, but those walks are eventually going to turn into runs given time.

From the Training Room:
RHP Jason Buursma moved to the Cal League after RHP Brandon Maurer was placed on the DL. Maurer had been struggling quite a bit lately, pretty much ever since his previous stint on the DL. I hope that nothing’s wrong with him, but we should remind ourselves how often he’s been injured in the recent past and how many innings he’s had with the Australian ball and then this season… Around the middle of the week, the Mavericks brought back IF Roberto Velasquez from Peoria and sent OF Alfredo Morales to what will presumably be his new home in Pulaski. This is fine because Morales is quite simply a better prospect than Velasquez and should have regular playing time. Velasquez, meanwhile, got one game in before leaving in exchange for IF/C Jack Marder, who will be getting the ambitious assignment coming off his Cape Cod stint… 1B Tim Morris was added on Sunday as OF James Jones got DLed. Jones was hit by pitches a couple of times this past week and I would hazard a guess that this produced an adverse effect on him. When Snow went to Tacoma, RHP Kenn Kasparek came in from the AZL.

Strange Happenings:
Mavericks pitchers allowed seven home runs on Sunday. I mention this because I think it’s probably been a little while since I’ve made reference to how much I hate that park from a player development standpoint… Looking up Gillheeney’s home run numbers, I got interested. How many of those pitchers in the top thirteen (four guys tied for tenth) have bad home parks? We have three from High Desert (151/160 L/R HR factor), two from Stockton (166/137), two from Lancaster (114/139), two from Visalia (112/130), and one each from Modesto (49/40), courtesy of the awful Nick Schnaitmann, Lake Elsinore (66/52), Inland Empire (56/63), and Bakersfield (123/124). You have to be pretty bad to pitch at home in Lake Elsinore, Modesto, or Inland Empire and still end up in that top thirteen… Mario Martinez has been playing left field lately. That’s a first.

Clinton Lumberkings (2-4 this week, 14-15 in second half, 38-61 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 18th 2011
Lansing 5 (TOR + 6), Clinton 11
W: Bischoff (1-2, 5.02) L: Marze (3-5, 5.31)

Tuesday, July 19th 2011
Off day

Wednesday, July 20th 2011
Clinton 2, South Bend 6 (ARI – 5)
W: Bolsinger (3-4, 2.84) L: Butler (1-1, 2.61)

Thursday, July 21st 2011
Clinton 6, South Bend 8 (ARI – 4)
W: Shields (6-9, 5.08) L: Reed (2-3, 3.86) S: De La Rosa (2)

Friday, July 22nd 2011
Clinton 6, South Bend 1 (ARI – 5)
W: Mieses (4-10, 5.00) L: Hagens (5-4, 4.18)

Saturday, July 23rd 2011
Clinton 1, West Michigan 2 (DET + 2)
W: Todd (1-1, 5.73) L: Kiel (0-1, 3.52)

Sunday, July 24th 2011
Clinton 4, West Michigan 6 (DET + 3)
W: Larez (1-1, 7.20) L: Walker (4-5, 3.31) S: Newman (2)

Hitter of the Week:
OF Kevin Rivers, L/R, 8/24/1988
6 G, 23 AB, 6 R, 12 H, 2 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, SB, 4/3 K/BB, .522/.577/1.130

It didn’t take long to determine who the Hitter of the Week was going to be. Rivers more than doubled his home run total for the season in the span of six games, which illustrates both the good and bad in this. He’s been on the DL off and on and has lost some playing time, which has led to him only playing in a few more games than the oft-injured Morban for the year. The claim that some might make after his .332/.466/.556 run last season is that he’s finally healthy now and that’s the reason he’s running a 1.000+ OPS for July. It’s something that’s hard for me to really buy into, not knowing the full details of his DL stints. He does have some left/right split issues at this level though (home/road, though a bigger gap, should be little more than noise given the park factors). Rivers’ supporters hoped that he would be able to establish himself by continuing to hit and earning a quick promotion or two. That hasn’t happened yet, though it could still.

Still Slugging, Now Walking a Little Mention:
RF Kalian Sams, R/R, 8/25/1986
5 G, 16 AB, 2 R, 4 H, 2 HR, SB, 7/3 K/BB, .250/.368/.625

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Anthony Fernandez, 6/8/1990
0-0, GS, 1.17 ERA in 7.2 IP, 3 H, R, 6/3 K/BB, 13/2 G/F, WP

It could have gone either way with either Fernandez or Mieses this week. Both seemed to use the same path to success, which was limiting hits and an extreme number of groundball outs (though Reed, who pitched on Thursday, had a 12/1 G/F and it did him little good). The three walks, I’m not pleased with especially, but bear in mind that since he came back to Clinton, he’s walked thirteen in 48.2 IP, which is a lot better than his pre-High Desert sixteen in 29.2 IP, though still off of last season’s marks. The strikeouts are pretty much holding steady, so improvements to the walks and a return to his earlier home run avoidance would be something that would help his prospect status. I fear what might happen should he have to go to High Desert again, but he’ll likely be better equipped to handle it next time.

Runner-Up, Still Only Twenty Mention:
RHP George Mieses, 5/3/1991
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP, 5 H, R (0 ER) 5/1 K/BB, 10/3 G/F, WP

From the Training Room:
The one move this week as that, as Morris headed out, OF Julio Morban was activated from the DL. I don’t care to look up how many games he’s been officially active, but the Lumberkings were going into their ninety-ninth game played on Sunday and Morban had played in fifty of them.

Strange Happenings:
Pre-emptive strike: Walker’s week had him at 10.2 IP, but fourteen hits allowed, ten runs (nine earned), seven Ks and four walks. No chance at the top spot.

Everett Aquasox (2-5 this week, 15-22 overall)

Monday, July 18th 2011
Everett 4, Salem-Keizer 9 (SF – 9)
W: Lamb (2-3, 3.93) L: Landazuri (3-2, 5.35)

Tuesday, July 19th 2011
Everett 3, Salem-Keizer 4 (SF – 8 )
W: Allen (1-5, 6.03) L: Leigh (0-2, 3.72) S: McCormick (2)

Wednesday, July 20th 2011
Everett 1, Salem-Keizer 2 (SF – 7)
W: Hall (2-1, 5.23) L: Hobson (0-1, 4.82)

Thursday, July 21st 2011
Salem-Keizer 7 (SF – 6), Everett 4
W: Flores (4-2, 4.60) L: Diaz (1-3, 8.27) S: McCormick (3)

Friday, July 22nd 2011
Salem-Keizer 5 (SF – 5), Everett 3
W: Mendoza (3-2, 5.66) L: Whitmore (2-3, 4.95) S: Hall (1)

Saturday, July 23rd 2011
Salem-Keizer 3 (SF – 6), Everett 14
W: Landazuri (4-2, 4.89) L: Lamb (2-4, 4.58)

Sunday, July 24th 2011
Everett 3, Eugene 0 (SD + 11)
W: Kohlscheen (1-0, 3.90) L: Hebner (1-2, 4.66) S: Griffin (2)

Hitter of the Week:
RF Jabari Blash, R/R, 7/4/1989
5 G, 17 AB, 2 R, 5 H, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5/4 K/BB, .294/.429/.706

Too few people out there seem to fully appreciate how weird Blash’s season has been. While in Clinton, 23.5% of his plate appearances resulted in a walk. For the Aquasox, it’s 11.9%, almost half that. In his Everett tenure, he’s struck out 30.9% of the time and for the Lumberkings it was 26.5% of the time. So the eye seems to have gotten worse, except that other tools have compensated for that loss. He’s hit twice as many home runs for Everett in about half the time, boasting a .329 isolated slugging. A third of his hits went for extras in Clinton, and now it’s half. He’s also managed an equal number of steals and attempts in the move from Midwest to Northwest. Which of these two Jabari Blashs should we expect in the future, the walking one with some power, or the home run hitting base stealer? I haven’t the faintest idea. Jabari Blash is the latest in a long string of guys with exciting tools that are ultimately completely incomprehensible as players.

Aiming for Legitimacy Again Mention:
3B/1B Jharmidy de Jesus, R/R, 8/30/1989
7 G, 21 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3/2 K/BB, HBP, .381/.458/.476

Either Hitting or Walks Mention:
SS Marcus Littlewood, S/R, 3/18/1992
6 G, 22 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 4 2B, HR, 4 RBI, CS, 10/2 K/BB, .364/.417/.682

Peripherals and Strikeouts Mention:
CF Jarrett Burgess, R/R, 8/10/1990
7 G, 29 AB, 5 R, 6 H, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, SB, CS, 12/4 K/BB, .207/.303/.517

Still Hitting Mention:
OF Mario Yepez, S/R, 6/15/1988
7 G, 27 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 3 2B, 3 RBI, SB, 3/3 K/BB, .333/.400/.444

Pitcher of the Week
RHP Vicente Campos, 7/27/1992
0-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, R (0 ER), 7/1 K/BB, 6/2 G/F, WP

Campos keeps rolling, and may have a shot at repeating as the League’s pitcher of the week. The hits weren’t totally absent as they were last time out, but the walks were still low and he did retire fourteen of sixteen to open the game. I think the most shocking thing to me about Campos’ season is that same lack of walks. In his two years in the VSL, he walked thirty-five in 90.0 innings, which is not an especially good rate. He’s at eight walks in 37.1 innings this year. And he doesn’t turn nineteen until Wednesday! The real test however will be tonight’s game against Eugene, which leads the league in walks by twenty-five over Boise. Tune in, if you have the opportunity.

Adjusting to the Rotation Mention:
RHP Steve Kohlscheen, 9/20/1988
1-0, 2 GS, 2.45 ERA in 11.0 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 9/3 K/BB, 13/7 G/F

From the Training Room:
RHP Kax Krakowiak officially hit the DL on Monday, which isn’t so surprising as it’s been quite some time since he pitched. Buursma left soon after… Later, Krakowiak came off the DL, probably because it was a retroactive stint since he hadn’t pitched since July 8th anyway.

Strange Happenings:
Shipers was skipped in the rotation because he had a crack in the nail of the index finger of his left hand. As pitcher injuries go, this is about the least threatening… Before Saturday’s win, the Aquasox had lost seven straight to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Pulaski Mariners (4-3 this week, 16-17 overall)

Monday, July 18th 2011
Danville 8 (ATL – 1), Pulaski 6
W: Miller (2-0, 3.38) L: Cornwell (0-1, 3.38)

Tuesday, July 19th 2011
Danville 10 (ATL 0), Pulaski 2
W: Graham (1-1, 1.50) L: Kim (0-1, 11.05)

Wednesday, July 20th 2011
Danville 3 (ATL – 1), Pulaski 5
W: Unsworth (4-1, 4.45) L: Silva (2-4, 6.59) S: Raga (7)

Thursday, July 21st 2011
Bluefield 4 (TOR + 4), Pulaski 5
W: Taylor (1-0, 0.00) L: Kadish (2-2, 2.45)

Friday, July 22nd 2011
Bluefield 10 (TOR + 5), Pulaski 3
W: Syndergaard (3-0, 1.33) L: Guaipe (3-3, 4.94)

Saturday, July 23rd 2011
Bluefield 2 (TOR + 4), Pulaski 3 (ten innings)
W: Taylor (2-0, 0.00) L: Kadish (2-3, 2.87)

Sunday, July 24th 2011
Pulaski 9, Danville 2 (ATL – 1)
W: Elias (1-0, 0.00) L: Graham (1-2, 2.45)

Hitter of the Week:
CF Jamal Austin, R/R, 8/26/1990
5 G, 20 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 2 2B, RBI, 3 SB, CS, 1/4 K/BB, .350/.458/.450

Here’s a weird note about Austin’s season: this week’s performance lowers both his batting average and on-base percentage for the season. That’s how consistent he’s been all throughout. At some point earlier in the week, he was over a .400 average for season and approaching a .500 OBP. His seventeen walks are tied for sixth in the league (five guys have eighteen) and his forty-one hits are tied for third (two guys have forty-two) while he’s tied for first in stolen bases with sixteen. This is all good and fine, but I don’t really see much point in keeping him around all season with Pulaski. He’s slightly older than the average for the level and we may as well see how far he can go with this particular skillset.

Slugging with Worrisome Plate Discipline Mention:
2B Dan Paolini, R/R, 10/11/1989
6 G, 24 AB, 3 R, 7 H, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, SB, CS, 7/1 K/BB, .292/.320/.542

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Angel Raga, 7/25/1989
0-0, 2 G (GS), SV, 1.35 ERA in 6.2 IP, 4 H, R, 7/2 K/BB, 5/2 G/F

Sure, he gave up his first earned run of the season on Sunday, but Raga also managed to do one of my favorite things I see out of a pitcher in these wrap ups, which is save a game and then start one later in the week, in this case owing to the mess that was the Pulaski rotation for a while. Raga started sixteen of twenty-seven games his last two years in the VSL, which suggests that might be able to handle being in the rotation. They might also opt to keep him in a piggyback setup with another guy and see where things go from there. He’s been walking a few more recently, but that’s just up from walking no one at all, so no warning flags just yet.

Nice, but for the Unearned Runs #1 Mention:
LHP Roenis Elias, 8/1/1988
1-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R (0 ER), 4/1 K/BB, 8/4 G/F

Nice, but for the Unearned Runs #2 Mention:
RHP Jose Valdivia, 3/19/1992
0-0, GS, 3.38 ERA in 5.1 IP, 5 H (HR), 4 R (2 ER), 6/1 K/BB, 7/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
The Pulaski team got some reinforcements on Monday when they added LHP Roenis Elias and C Hassiel Jimenez. Elias is a Cuban defector whom we signed back in May. He had a few appearances in the AZL before getting promoted, as did Jimenez, who hit two home runs in fourteen at-bats down there. Jimenez has been kicking around stateside since 2009, but has averaged thirty games in the two years he’s been here and it really seems like he should be further along. On the other hand, he’s still only twenty, so him repeating Pulaski wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world… Wednesday, Morales was added, as I noted earlier for High Desert. This is a good move overall if they can find the at-bats for him. I’m not sure who might have gone on the DL to make room. I think Hidalgo is on the DL or something… RHP John Taylor also debuted and has been pretty good in the early goings.

Strange Happenings:
Acevedo played shortstop this week, which is kind of odd, honestly, considering that was the one position he had never played in his four-year career.

Dispatches from the Land of Rehabbers and Teens:
IF Yidid Batista: 19 G, 66 AB, 15 R, 23 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 15 RBI, 7 SB, 3 CS, 8/9 K/BB, .348/.436/.439
2B Felipe Burin: 12 G, 46 AB, R, 11 H, 4 2B, 7 RBI, CS, 12/4 K/BB, .239/.294/.326
OF Phillips Castillo: 24 G, 89 AB, 21 R, 29 H, 12 2B, 3B, 10 RBI, 6 SB, 4 CS, 34/6 K/BB, .326/.388/.483
RHP Min-sih Chen: 3-2, 6 GS, 6.75 ERA in 25.1 IP, 31 H, 22 R (19 ER), 16/17 K/BB, 2 HB
RHP David Holman: 2-1, 7 G, 6.57 ERA in 12.1 IP, 19 H (3 HR), 16 R (9 ER), 10/3 K/BB
OF Reggie Lawson: 22 G, 89 AB, 7 R, 23 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 13 RBI, 2 SB, 2 CS, 25/1 K/BB, .258/.280/.337
CF Alfredo Morales: 19 G, 74 AB, 13 R, 30 H, 7 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 SB, 2 CS, 19/8 K/BB, .405/.452/.608
RHP Jochi Ogando: 1-2, 6 G (3 GS), 5.32 ERA in 22.0 IP, 21 H (HR), 16 R (13 ER), 13/20 K/BB
SS Esteilon Peguero: 25 G, 108 AB, 15 R, 29 H, 7 2B, 3B, HR, 16 RBI, 14 SB, 5 CS, 16/3 K/BB, .269/.298/.380
LHP Scott Ronnenbergh: 1-0, 6 G (GS), 6.39 ERA in 12.2 IP, 21 H, 13 R (9 ER), 7/7 K/BB
RHP Alex Sunderland: 0-0, 8 G, 2 SV, 3.27 ERA in 11.0 IP, 10 H (HR), 4 R, 16/2 K/BB
LHP Nick Valenza: 0-0, 4 G, 4.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4/5 K/BB
CF James Zamarripa: 10 G, 42 AB, 8 R, 14 H, 4 2B, 4 RBI, SB, 2 CS, 11/2 K/BB, .333/.356/.429


10 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (7/18-24/11)”

  1. Westside guy on July 25th, 2011 10:13 am

    I was about to ask “what is up with Saunders?” – but I realized no one is capable of answering that particular question.

  2. SonOfZavaras on July 25th, 2011 10:28 am

    Stellar work yet again. But no surprise.

    That’s nice news about Marder. He seemed to be one of those guys that McNamara was really happy about having gotten drafted.

    Does he start out at catcher, you think? Or do they they move him around, and see what they think? If he can work as a catcher- and with the addition of John Hicks- it’d take a little pressure off both having to sign prep catcher Tyler Marlette (at probably an exorbitant cost) as well as coming up with a near-ready stud catching prospect for this year’s deadline.

    Teams are just holding onto those better-than-average catching ‘spects for dear life, in my own observation.

  3. dnc on July 25th, 2011 10:34 am

    Not sure of the long term plan with Marder (or if they know yet) but he was behind the dish for HD debut last night. Also went 2-3 with a 2B and a HBP.

  4. maqman on July 25th, 2011 10:35 am

    I know everyone realizes we need a 3B and LF, among other things. I’m starting to feel like we may have them in the organization and don’t need to trade or sign a free agent for those slots. One of Seagar, Liddi, Mancini or maybe Catricala might make a serviceable 3B, while one of Saunders, Peguero, Halman, Carp, Davis and again maybe Catricala might be able to be a functional LF. Halman or Langerhans might handle CF if Guti can’t start to hit again. We’ll start to get some answers between now and the end of the next spring training.

  5. eponymous coward on July 25th, 2011 1:06 pm

    One of Seagar, Liddi, Mancini or maybe Catricala might make a serviceable 3B, while one of Saunders, Peguero, Halman, Carp, Davis and again maybe Catricala might be able to be a functional LF. Halman or Langerhans might handle CF if Guti can’t start to hit again.

    … and maybe I’ll win the Lotto! 😀

    Oh, wait…

    We will be lucky if ONE of the players you mentioned goes on to be a contributor in 2012. Which will still probably leave us without a CF or LF/3B.

  6. msfanmike on July 25th, 2011 1:27 pm

    I was about to ask “what is up with Saunders?” – but I realized no one is capable of answering that particular question

    He definitely is an enigma, isn’t he? Maybe it’s his bio-rhythms (whatever those are). It really has been crippling for the org that he has not yet worked out, but just one of many crippling items to this point for the team. These AAA numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt (especially this year) – with the likes of Langerhans hitting .320 for crap sake. He is a .210 hitter in the show. There used to be more level of reliability with AAA numbers in correlation (at least it seemed that way), but this year is a definite exception. It’s not the fastball recognition that is an issue for pretty much any of these guys. It’s the breaking pitches, recognizing when they are coming and being able to hit in favorable counts. I realize that none of this has anything to do with “toughness,” though.

  7. Westside guy on July 25th, 2011 1:51 pm

    I realize that none of this has anything to do with “toughness,” though.

    Well, with Saunders’ situation that may actually be a valid metric. He’s been dealing with (apparently unspecified) significant personal issues, and if that’s been going on for a while it may explain a lot. Some people can compartmentalize stuff, others can’t – maybe he can’t. I know I’m lousy at it myself…

    None of this is intended to denigrate Condor in any way – I love the guy, and root like heck for him to succeed. But when Wedge is your big league manager, I can see it potentially being a problem (not meaning to slam Wedge either, it just is what it is).

  8. groundzero55 on July 25th, 2011 3:17 pm

    I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think maybe one of those guys can step up and perform. Where do you think veteran players come from?

    Bavasi gutted what we can consider an entire “generation” of this team, and that is part of the problem we are facing. Normally a team is augmented by young players that come up through the system and gain experience, becoming viable major leaguers who aren’t very expensive. These players become the heart of a baseball team that the organization then builds around.

    On this team, those players would have been such names as Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Adam Jones.

    Since we don’t have (traded away) many players like that, what we have left are mostly middling vets who are past their prime or are otherwise flawed (Kennedy, Cust, et al) or unproven rookie types (Seager, Carp, Peguero). All we have is what on other teams would be the supporting cast. This team is literally playing without a core. It’s going to take more than just a couple years to rebuild what was lost.

    Look at the M’s team of 1998…then look at the 2001 team. Bad trades weakened the M’s in the 90s too, and the only way to rebuild quickly was to trade away superstar talent (or let it walk in free agency and snag a draft pick, saving millions of dollars).

  9. eponymous coward on July 25th, 2011 3:56 pm

    I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think maybe one of those guys can step up and perform.


    The thing is that I don’t think there’s a lot of talent at the close to MLB level right now. That’s OK, because, well, Ackley and Pineda. But I think we’re deluding ourselves if we’re banking on more than one of Saunders/Peguero/Halman/Carp/Davis/Catricala contributing in 2012- if that.

    It’s going to take more than just a couple years to rebuild what was lost.

    Ask the Indians and Chris Antonetti how that Glorious Five Year Rebuilding Plan To Dominate the AL Central has worked out for them.

    A good, productive farm system is certainly the base on which contention is built, but it isn’t the only need. In a division with LA and Texas, you need to be able to patch holes on the roster with actual existing MLB players, instead of hoping the kid from AA can come in. Otherwise, you’re hoping you get lucky and squeak into playoffs when the other guys catch bad breaks.

  10. groundzero55 on July 25th, 2011 4:14 pm

    Ask the Indians and Chris Antonetti how that Glorious Five Year Rebuilding Plan To Dominate the AL Central has worked out for them.

    A good, productive farm system is certainly the base on which contention is built, but it isn’t the only need. In a division with LA and Texas, you need to be able to patch holes on the roster with actual existing MLB players, instead of hoping the kid from AA can come in.

    The Indians also refuse to spend any money on good free agents…their payroll is tied up with guys they already have. Kind of like this other team I know of, except the Indians need pitching, not offense. You need to be able to patch holes on the roster with good players, and I’m not referring to the Custs and Kennedys of the world either. The problem with that though, is that no team should have more holes than proven players. Right now the M’s have at least 4, possibly as many as 6 glaring holes and no team has the kind of money to fix that in free agency.

    I’m with you on that I just don’t see a talent-rich AAA system in the organization. Even the Indians have more than we do. The talent is down in AA and high-A and it’s just not ready for the show yet, regardless of what anybody thinks of Peguero or Seager.

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