Minor League Wrap (7/25-31/11)

Jay Yencich · August 1, 2011 at 8:30 am · Filed Under Minor Leagues 

The trade deadline has passed with the M’s making an effort to bolster their farm system again. Next up on the schedule, we have the August 15th signing deadline for this year’s draft picks. Jack was on the radio today saying he expected to have Hultzen signed within the next couple of weeks, so here’s hoping they get him and the other top ten guys who are just hanging out right now. After that, we’ll find out who will be our PTBNL from the Fister trade on the 20th. Along the way, some additional international signings may trickle in as well. These are exciting, though exhausting times.

To the jump!

Tacoma Rainiers (3-4 this week, 54-55 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 25th 2011
Tacoma 2, Salt Lake 9 (ANA – 13)
W: Palmer (5-9, 7.51) L: Grube (1-3, 9.00)

Tuesday, July 26th 2011
Sacramento 6 (OAK + 19), Tacoma 4
W: Outman (7-1, 3.49) L: French (7-7, 5.57) S: Eyre (8)

Wednesday, July 27th 2011
Sacramento 1 (OAK + 18), Tacoma 3
W: Vasquez (3-2, 3.24) L: Banwart (5-7, 4.99) S: Patterson (3)

Thursday, July 28th 2011
Sacramento 5 (OAK + 19), Tacoma 4
W: Hernandez (6-3, 4.52) L: Robertson (3-4, 7.50) S: Eyre (9)

Friday, July 29th 2011
Sacramento 6 (OAK + 20), Tacoma 5
W: Wagner (1-1, 3.31) L: Robles (1-2, 9.58) S: Cabrera (3)

Saturday, July 30th 2011
Las Vegas 1 (TOR 0), Tacoma 5
W: Seddon (7-5, 5.80) L: Richmond (6-9, 7.23) S: Grube (1)

Sunday, July 31st 2011
Las Vegas 3 (TOR – 1), Tacoma 4
W: French (8-7, 5.49) L: Ray (0-3, 8.55) S: Patterson (4)

Hitter of the Week:
CF Michael Saunders, L/R, 11/19/1986
7 G, 21 AB, 6 R, 8 H, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 6/8 K/BB, .381/.552/.714

Here’s my shot at context here: Michael Saunders at the minor league level had a career high of sixty-seven walks in one season, which he set in 2007 over the course of 567 plate appearances spanning 123 games. This was a follow up to walking forty-eight times in 416 plate appearances and 104 games in 2006. Somewhere along the line, things fell off for him. After that, the highest you see him get is thirty-nine walks in ninety-one games (394 PAs) in 2008. Michael Saunders has 179 plate appearances with Tacoma this year and has walked thirty-six times. Since the minor league season lasts 140 games, let’s assume that in a hypothetical season he’d play 125 games. If he maintained his current pace through that hypothetical season, he’d walk 115 times, hit about thirteen home runs and twenty-five doubles. What is UP with Michael Saunders?

Getting Time at Short Mention:
IF Kyle Seager, L/R, 11/3/1987
7 G, 30 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 2/3 K/BB, .333/.394/.500

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Anthony Vasquez, 9/19/1986
1-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H (HR), R, 6/1 K/BB, 8/2 G/F

Another solid week for my favorite junkballer, though if I’m going to pick at it a bit, this was his shortest outing since arriving in triple-A. Then again, he did it against a team that’s OPSing .832 while playing in a pitcher’s park, so some of this is worth getting excited over. Marc and I have talked it over a little and he’s right in that the numbers and what you see out of him exceeds the raw stuff: Vasquez sits in the mid-80s with his heater, and his offspeed stuff is that much slower. Still, he’s a guy that I more or less can trust to figure things out if you hand the ball to him. It would be ambitious for the M’s to slot him as the new #5, and a move to bring in someone else who is already on the 40-man seems more likely. Or they could throw us for a loop by saying, “Why not Forrest Snow?”

When He’s On, He’s On Mention:
LHP Chris Seddon, 10/13/1983
1-0, GS, 1.80 ERA in 5.0 IP, 7 H, R, 7/3 K/BB, 5/1 G/F

Emergency Pitcher Keeps Impressing Mention:
RHP Forrest Snow, 12/30/1988
0-0, G, 3.18 ERA in 5.2 IP, 7 H (HR), 2 R, 7/1 K/BB, 5/3 G/F

From The Training Room:
RHP Shawn Kelley was assigned to the Rainiers on Wednesday for the start of some rehab thing. So far, two perfect innings pitched and four Ks. Also his old MiLB.com photo is from his Timber Rattler days. Lovely…. Thursday afternoon, RHP Josh Fields went temporarily inactive and RHP Forrest Snow went back to High Desert… on paper at least, because he was back a day later as DH Johan Limonta went temporarily inactive… The LHP Aaron Laffey/RHP Dan Cortes exchange went down on Saturday and then IF Luis Rodriguez came off the DL on Sunday, which sent DH Luis Antonio Jimenez to Jackson because the team already had OF Wily Mo Pena around, and he went active on Saturday. OF Trayvon Robinson is around and the move there is probably just as simple as Fields leaving.

Strange Happenings:
In one of those “this only really interests me” notes, Ronald Uviedo pitched against us on Sunday. Uviedo was signed to our VSL team and put up some good looking numbers, but was released after one season and ended up signing on with the Pirates where he eventually worked his way onto the 40-man and was later traded to the Blue Jays. You never quite know what’s going to happen with those VSL arms. At the time, he was teammates with guys like Jose Escalona, Jose Jimenez, Edlando Seco, and Alfredo Venegas, and may end up having more of a major league career than any of them.

Jackson Generals (3-3 this week, 15-21 in second half, 53-53 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 25th 2011
Off day

Tuesday, July 26th 2011
Jackson 2, Chattanooga 4 (LA + 7)
W: Antonini (9-8, 3.77) L: Stanton (1-4, 3.72) S: Lindblom (16)

Wednesday, July 27th 2011
Jackson 7, Chattanooga 5 (LA + 6)
W: Hernandez (3-0, 6.75) L: Ames (0-2, 2.55) S: Delabar (11)

Thursday, July 28th 2011
Jackson 0, Chattanooga 10 (LA + 7)
W: Webster (3-1, 3.31) L: Wilhelmsen (4-5, 5.49)

Friday, July 29th 2011
Jackson 4, Chattanooga 3 (LA + 6)
W: Pryor (1-1, 2.16) L: Wall (4-5, 3.29)

Saturday, July 30th 2011
Jackson 2, Chattanooga 3 (LA + 7)
W: Savage (11-3, 3.51) L: Carraway (7-3, 3.35) S: Tolleson (5)

Sunday, July 31st 2011
Mississippi 1 (ATL – 4), Jackson 2
W: Pryor (2-1, 1.80) L: Pruneda (1-6, 4.15)

Hitter of the Week:
1B Rich Poythress, R/R, 8/11/1987
6 G, 22 AB, R, 10 H, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SB, 2/3 K/BB, .455/.520/.545

About four guys had their hitting shoes on this week and were all around or above .400. Poythress just happened to hit for a better average and draw more walks. Now that July is over we have him at a .315/.404/.469 line for the month with a 13/15 K/BB. That’s sort of like his April, but with worse XBH rates (55.5% then, 32.3% now) and slightly different eye numbers (15/16 K/BB). One difference is that back then he had roughly a .283 BABIP and now it’s roughly .349. And then in the intervening months he had a 39/8 K/BB… The Poythress with the eye is way more interesting than without, but it is strange to notice that, though he’s a minor league first baseman and had a reputation as something of a slugger, he’s yet to crack ten home runs this season. He really needs to work on that third outcome. Then we can be justifiably interested.

Good Hitting, Would Like to See Defensive Reports Mention:
2B Scott Savastano, R/R, 6/12/1986
6 G, 23 AB, 2 R, 9 H, 4 2B, 2 RBI, SB, 5/2 K/BB, .391/.440/.565

Expect More Games in Left Now Mention:
LF/3B Vinnie Catricala, R/R, 10/31/1988
6 G, 25 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 4 2B, 3 RBI, SB, 6/1 K/BB, .400/.423/.560

One of Two HRs for Team This Week Mention:
SS Carlos Triunfel, R/R, 2/27/1990
6 G, 24 AB, 3 R, 9 H, HR, 2 RBI, 4/1 K/BB, .375/.400/.500

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP James Paxton, 11/6/1988
0-0, 2 GS, 2.31 ERA in 11.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 16/2 K/BB, 8/3 G/F

The double dip of Paxton starts this week proved to be a good one, though some interesting issues did present themselves along the way. He didn’t walk anyone when facing Mississippi, but they have the lowest walk totals in the league, so instead I’ll focus on Chattanooga, which is the third-highest. Paxton’s line against them was 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 8/2 K/BB, 6/0 G/F. This seems good, quite good, but the strange thing about it is that the box score reports that he only threw forty-eight of ninety pitches for strikes. That’s suddenly not so cool. By contrast, in his manhandling of the Braves lineup, it was sixty-four of ninety-six pitches for strikes. That’s a pretty big difference, one that we might be able to attribute to the different styles of the offenses. It’s possible that Paxton is great at making guys swing out of the zone, but has some difficulty executing when they don’t bite and he has to work within it. It’s a simple command issue, but food for thought nonetheless.

Closer of the Future Mention:
RHP Stephen Pryor, 7/23/1989
2-0, 3 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.2 IP, H, 7/2 K/BB, 3/1 G/F

From the Training Room:
Saturday afternoon, the Generals added both Jimenez and 3B Francisco Martinez from that trade with the Tigers. At the time, Leury Bonilla had been playing far more games at third than Catricala, so I’m guessing that Martinez is going to be their new third baseman… I heard listening on the radio that after Franklin had his concussion, he got mono or something and is just now getting down Arizona for some workouts. That’s some bad news, but I’d give him about a 80% chance of turning up in the Arizona Fall League… Since something had to go with those two players came in, UT Leury Bonilla and OF Joe Dunigan both went to High Desert… OF Chih-Hsien Chiang was also added but no corresponding move just yet.

Strange Happenings:
Friday night, Generals manager Jim Pankovits got ejected. Usually when we think of managerial ejections, it’s a matter of a hitter getting called out when he shouldn’t or a play at the plate being missed. Not so here. Pankovits got ejected after one of the Lookouts batters allegedly got hit by a pitch. This came as Hensley was in the midst of walking four in four innings of work, though he also struck out five. The Generals did come back to win the game and all, with Chavez scoring on a wild pitch in the ninth, but it is something that I paused over… Erasmo Ramirez went six innings this week with a 7/1 K/BB and a 6/3 G/F. The bad news was the five runs (four earned) on eight hits and a hit batter. He’s still struggling.

High Desert Mavericks (0-5 this week, 12-23 in second half, 44-61 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 25th 2011
Modesto 9 (COL – 3), High Desert 6
W: Bettis (8-5, 3.74) L: Gillheeney (6-5, 5.35)

Tuesday, July 26th 2011
Off day

Wednesday, July 27th 2011
High Desert 6, Inland Empire 8 (ANA 0)
W: Flores (10-7, 5.58) L: Sorce (6-8, 4.71) S: Kenney (2)

Thursday, July 28th 2011
High Desert 2, Inland Empire 5 (ANA + 1)
W: Oye (5-3, 5.40) L: Sena (1-2, 5.96) S: Johnson (2)

Friday, July 29th 2011
High Desert 3, Inland Empire 4 (ANA + 2)
W: Hellweg (3-4, 4.48) L: Medina (1-11, 6.86) S: Kenney (3)

Saturday, July 30th 2011

Sunday, July 31st 2011
High Desert 2, Lake Elsinore 3 (SD + 8 )
W: Ray (5-3, 1.31) L: Kahn (0-2, 7.94)

Hitter of the Week:
CF/RF Matt Cerione, L/L, 1/4/1988
5 G, 18 AB, R, 6 H, 2 2B, RBI, 4/3 K/BB, .333/.429/.444

Cerione is probably not a name that a lot of people know, let alone expect to show up here. Last year with Clinton, he hit .287/.391/.502, which is great except that he was a college guy, he struck out 101 times, and did so while only playing in eighty-seven games. Cerione K’ed in 31% of his plate appearances. PLATE APPEARANCES. I expected him to start the year in good ol’ High Desert and continue his weird boom or bust tendencies, but he didn’t show up there until May and was in Clinton before that posting a .496 OPS. Also weird. With High Desert he’s struck out in 21.8% of his PAs which is a massive improvement, but he’s also lagged behind on the depth chart and rarely played in enough games to garner a mention here. He also is the rare hitter that didn’t take to the park and to date only has two dingers, one home, one road, where he hits better overall anyway. Cerione is an enigma, but not a talented, MLB-ready enigma like Saunders.

Quickly Endearing Himself to the Team Mention:
C/IF Jack Marder, R/R, 2/21/1990
5 G, 19 AB, 3 R, 6 H, HR, 3 RBI, SB, 2 HBP, .315/.381/.474

Where’d that Power Go? Mention
CF Daniel Carroll, R/R, 1/6/1989
5 G, 19 AB, 4 R, 7 H, RBI, 2 SB, CS, 4/1 K/BB, 2 HBP, .368/.454/.368

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Kenn Kasparek, 9/23/1985
0-0, GS, 2.57 ERA in 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 7/1 K/BB, 5/7 G/F, HB

Our impressive Mavericks pitcher of the week is Kasparek, which is good for him, and for me as I would have had nothing otherwise. Except that I don’t think he should even be at this level. Injuries have limited him to 52.0 IP this year, but he began the season with Jackson and stayed there for all of six starts, where he wasn’t awful, but not exactly good either (18/12 K/BB, 26 H, 31.1 IP). Similarly, he spent all of last year in High Desert where he survived, more than most can say, with a 87/37 K/BB and 138 hits in 146.1 IP. If something made you pause in that line, you’re not alone. In his debut season, split between Pulaski and Everett, Kasparek struck out 29.1% of the batters he faced. Next season for Clinton, it was 22.9%, an abrupt drop, but not down into dangerous territory. Last year, it was a measly 14.1%. Why? I haven’t yet encountered an explanation, but it moved him from “intriguing pitching depth” to “org player” in short order. I’d really like to see him recover the Ks, but the long time he’s spent out this year makes me wonder if there’s some injury that’s been affecting all of this.

From the Training Room:
Snow was around and then he wasn’t… A few moves followed that didn’t really make a ton of sense. C Billy Marcoe left for the AZL, perhaps because Marder was expected to get his games behind the plate and IF Jake Schlander got sent back to Clinton again. The corresponding Sunday moves were the additions of Bonilla and Dunigan. I guess Bonilla is an emergency catcher again, and since I’ve highlighted Dunigan’s hitting here a time or two, I’m not into demoting him right now.

Strange Happenings:
Daniel Carroll got his fiftieth stolen base this week, and has sixty-five walks now… Marder already has his first passed ball behind the plate, but his first error came while playing second base… The team is mired in a seven-game losing streak.

Clinton Lumberkings (5-1 this week, 19-16 in second half, 43-62 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, July 25th 2011
Clinton 4, West Michigan 3 (DET + 2)
W: Arias (4-2, 3.40) L: Mendoza (1-2, 5.79) S: Burgoon (11)

Tuesday, July 26th 2011
Off day

Wednesday, July 27th 2011
Wisconsin 3 (MIL – 5), Clinton 5
W: Reed (3-3, 3.64) L: Lasker (1-4, 6.16) S: Hesketh (1)

Thursday, July 28th 2011
Wisconsin 4 (MIL – 6), Clinton 8
W: Bischoff (2-2, 4.34) L: Holle (0-4, 6.21)

Friday, July 29th 2011
Wisconsin 3 (MIL – 7), Clinton 5
W: Fernandez (4-3, 3.27) L: Williams (0-1, 7.36) S: Arias (4)

Saturday, July 30th 2011
Peoria 3 (CHC – 12), Clinton 1
W: Francescon (1-3, 6.88) L: Burgoon (5-5, 2.42) S: Berlind (1)

Sunday, July 31st 2011
Peoria 1 (CHC – 13), Clinton 2 (eleven innings)
W: Blandford (1-1, 9.70) L: Berlind (0-3, 5.89)

Hitter of the Week:
2B/DH Stefen Romero, R/R, 10/17/1988
5 G, 19 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .316/.381/.737

Romero was sort an unknown to me to start the season, to all of us, I suppose. He was a good hitter in a good conference (Pac-10, represent), but dropped to the twelfth-round after fracturing his arm, and few thought he could stick at third, let alone up the middle, as he has been playing. I felt like in the first half, I was writing about him an awful lot considering he was only OPSing .716 at the break, but in the second half he’s posted a line of .297/.339/.585, which feels more right. The issue is that where he had a 31/20 K/BB over fifty-four first-half games, he’s 18/4 in the second half through thirty. I like the hitting, but I don’t like the lapses in plate discipline one bit as it often suggests that the hitter is a guy who can either be patient or hit for average and power, but not both. Still, it’s a bit too early to make any sweeping declarations about his abilities as such. We’ll just have to see what he does as he gets challenged some more. Please, let’s challenge him some more.

2010 Flashbacks Mention:
3B Matt Browning, R/R, 1/7/1988
5 G, 17 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 2 2B, SB, CS, 1/2 K/BB, .412/.474/.529

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Taijuan Walker, 8/13/1992
0-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, H, 7/3 K/BB, 4/1 G/F, WP

Is it saying something about Walker’s season that when I read this line originally, I wasn’t sure if I was especially impressed? After all, on July 7th, he also had a one-hitter, but through six innings and with four more Ks and one fewer walk. Or go back to the 17th of June when he had a two-hitter through seven, struck out eleven, and walked two. This outing was one of four in the past ten which ended up at five or fewer innings. That aspect I wasn’t so fond of. But the seven Ks is tied for fifth-best in that span, so that’s something, and he’s kept opposing hitters to sub-Mendoza levels over the last ten games. I guess the most important thing to remember, as always, is that he won’t turn nineteen for another two weeks and we’re talking about him in these terms. I’m doing what I can to keep from getting too excited, I guess.

Still Improving, Still Room for Improvement Mention:
LHP Tony Butler, 11/18/1987
0-0, 2 GS, 2.08 ERA in 13.0 IP, 13 H, 3 R, 8/2 K/BB, 14/10 G/F, WP, 3 PO

Command Lapse Mention:
LHP Anthony Fernandez, 6/8/1990
1-0, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (ER), 4/3 K/BB, 8/3 G/F, WP, PO

Relief Hero Mention:
RHP Jonathan Arias, 2/8/1988
1-0, 3 G, SV, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, H, 8/3 K/BB, 3/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
IF Jake Schlander coming in meant that UT Jetsy Extrano was headed out to Everett.

Strange Happenings:
MiLB.com did a Tony Butler feature earlier in the week. There’s nothing in there that I hadn’t heard previously, but if you’re interested in his comeback this year, it’s all in there… Here’s a note pulled from the game notes put up by Dave Lezotte at the Lumberlog: over the last eight starts coming into Sundays game, the Clinton rotation allowed fifteen runs in 48.1 IP with four quality starts. Butler added to those totals with the seven inning, four hit, one walk, four K performance on Sunday. However, the command of a lot of the starters this week was lacking, and they just managed to survive in a few cases… Names of interest from the Wisconsin series: on Wednesday, we faced Maverick Lasker, who was followed in relief by Stosh Wawrzasek.

Everett Aquasox (4-2 this week, 3-2 in second half, 19-24 overall)

Monday, July 25th 2011
Everett 4, Eugene 2 (SD + 10)
W: Leigh (1-2, 2.92) L: Herrera (2-1, 2.70) S: Versnik (1)

Tuesday, July 26th 2011
Everett 2, Eugene 6 (SD + 11)
W: Pope (1-0, 2.00) L: Campos (2-3, 2.98) S: Brule (1)

Wednesday, July 27th 2011
Boise 8 (CHC + 2), Everett 6
W: Zeller (1-0, 2.00) L: Whitmore (2-4, 5.23) S: Shafer (7)

Thursday, July 28th 2011
Boise 4 (CHC + 1), Everett 5 (ten innings)
W: Pries (1-1, 3.12) L: Fitzgerald (1-1, 4.02)

Friday, July 29th 2011
Boise 0 (CHC 0), Everett 2
W: Kohlscheen (2-0, 3.12) L: Wang (3-2, 2.27) S: Griffin (3)

Saturday, July 30th 2011
Boise 7 (CHC – 1), Everett 8
W: Shipers (1-4, 4.42) L: Greathouse (0-4, 5.68) S: Versnik (2)

Sunday, July 31st 2011
Boise 4 (CHC – 2), Everett 9
W: Campos (3-3, 2.79) L: Reed (0-3, 6.46)

Hitter of the Week:
UT Patrick Brady, R/R, 2/5/1988
7 G, 25 AB, 6 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 SB, CS, 2/2 K/BB, .360/.407/.520

In the past week, Brady has played left twice, right three times, and second base three times. That’s kind of been his thing this season. To date, he’s seen every position for the Aquasox except the infield corners, which he handled for Pulaski last season, and catcher, which he hasn’t managed as a pro though I wouldn’t put it past him. All the while, he’s been running a 14/8 K/BB and his walk rate, 12.7% of his PAs, is just behind Littlewood’s 13.5% and Burgess’ 13.0%. Both those guys have better power numbers than Brady though, and are each a few years younger, so most of what he seems to have going for him is the multiple positions and the startling lack of strikeouts (this week comprised a quarter of his season total, after all).

.905 July OPS Mention:
CF/RF Mario Yepez, S/R, 6/15/1988
6 G, 23 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 2B, 3 RBI, SB, 3/4 K/BB, .391/.481/.435

Worrisome Ks Mention:
DH James Wood, L/L, 12/19/1987
6 G, 22 AB, 5 R, 6 H, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB, 12/4 K/BB, .273/.385/.500

Pitcher of the Week
RHP Steve Kohlscheen, 9/20/1988
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP, 2 H, 6/0 K/BB, 5/6 G/F

Koshlcheen seems to have settled in as an Aquasox starter. This two-hitter, where he retired seventeen in a row at one stretch, was the second start of his in a row where the Aquasox shut out their opponent. He also had a big zero in the walks column, which is refreshing as he had ten walks through 17.2 IP for his first four starts. Recent Kohlscheen is something more like what we expected after last year’s performance where he had a 28/5 K/BB and thirty hits allowed in 28.2 IP for Pulaski. That’s not much of a sample size, but it alluded to a lot better command than he’s displayed at any point this season. I can’t figure out why his Clinton stint, which had him walking a man every other inning and running an average against close to .300 (albeit while striking out nearly a quarter of his batters faced), ended up looking so poor. He’s a 45th-round pick, so the expectations aren’t especially high, so it’s mostly the seeming erratic nature of what’s been going on that throws me.

Don’t Worry, He’s Still Good Mention:
RHP Vicente Campos, 7/27/1992
1-1, 2 GS, 3.27 ERA in 11.0 IP, 11 H (HR), 6 R (4 ER), 12/1 K/BB, 17/4 G/F, 2 PO

No-Hit Relief Mention:
RHP Jordan Pries, 1/27/1990
1-0, G, 0.00 ERA in 4.1 IP, 6/3 K/BB, 4/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
IF Luis Rodriguez appeared in Everett on a rehab assignment, so that’s something. He hit .333/.455/.444 while there. After he was done, Extrano came to town again.

Strange Happenings:
The weird news to come out of this week is that, in the midst of drafting additional catchers, signing additional catchers, and maybe trading for one depending on the Detroit PTBNL, we are also maybe converting SS Marcus Littlewood into one. As Grifol mentions in the article, from a scouting standpoint this makes sense. The reason some question Littlewood’s ability to remain at short is because he lacks raw footspeed and loses a little range as a result, but since he has a good arm, reads a ball well, and is the kind of bat where you don’t know for certain if he could survive at a corner, this kind of makes sense. The tools are all there, and catching might be the best use of them. On the other hand, our most successful experiment recently in getting some random athlete to catch was Rob Johnson and we’re talking about a guy who recently had significant struggles with the bat now trying to learn a new position where he would be set against all the catchers we’ve brought in during the past couple of months, so this also makes no kind of sense… Campos’ one walk this week came against the tough Eugene Emeralds. By contrast, Shipers walked eight in his start against them, though he is coming off that finger thing… Morla ran a 5/5 K/BB this week with no extra-base hits. It’s a blip on the oddity radar… The Boise series was only the second home series the Aquasox have won this season.

Pulaski Mariners (3-4 this week, 19-21 overall)

Monday, July 25th 2011
Pulaski 3, Danville 7 (ATL 0)
W: Silva (3-4, 6.12) L: Unsworth (4-2, 5.25)

Tuesday, July 26th 2011
Pulaski 1, Danville 4 (ATL + 1)
W: La Point (2-3, 2.02) L: Hidalgo (1-2, 3.74) S: Lopez (1)

Wednesday, July 27th 2011
Pulaski 6, Princeton 5 (TB + 5) (ten innings)
W: Taylor (3-0, 0.00) L: Henderson (2-2, 4.15)

Thursday, July 28th 2011
Pulaski 5, Princeton 7 (TB + 6)
W: Crawford (1-0, 0.00) L: Sabala (0-2, 3.32)

Friday, July 29th 2011
Pulaski 4, Princeton 3 (TB + 5)
W: Raga (2-0, 1.17) L: Jensen (1-3, 4.44) S: Taylor (1)

Saturday, July 30th 2011
Burlington 2 (KC – 11), Pulaski 4
W: Colvin (1-1, 1.00) L: Brown (0-1, 3.09) S: Taylor (2)

Sunday, July 31st 2011
Burlington 4 (KC – 10), Pulaski 3 (seven innings)
W: Graham (3-1, 3.25) L: Reeder (0-1, 5.54)

Hitter of the Week:
2B Dan Paolini, R/R, 10/11/1989
7 G, 22 AB, 4 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, 5 RBI, 3 SB, CS, 4/7 K/BB, .409/.552/.681

The Appy League M’s had some issues this week, in part because of erratic pitching and in part because this guy and the guy below (and sometimes the catcher) were really the only ones producing. Paolini has recently rebounded for some hitting doldrums he found himself in earlier in the month. June had him hit .296/.429/.464 with a 6/5 K/BB. That was great. The slugging overall was improved this month, with his first three home runs, but the K/BB ratio is now 2:1 at 24/12. That’s a quarter of his at-bats he struck out in. If this week is more of a return to form though, I’d be happy. Considering that a lot of the draft picks around him have gotten more ambitious assignments so far, I’d like it if he managed to hit his way on to Everett’s roster or Clinton’s roster to close out the year. If either club makes it to the playoffs, I’d expect to see him pushed there.

Back Over .400, Riding Ten-Game Hit Streak Mention:
CF Jamal Austin, R/R, 8/26/1990
6 G, 24 AB, 3 R, 11 H, 2B, RBI, 3 SB, 3 CS, 2/1 K/BB, HBP, .458/.500/.500

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Roenis Elias, 8/1/1988
0-0, GS, 1.80 ERA in 5.0 IP, 4 H, R, 4/2 K/BB, 7/1 G/F, HB

I talked a little about Elias last week as he was added to the roster, but to recap, he’s a Cuban defector native to Guantanamo who signed with us in May after defecting last October. Good velocity, makings of a plus curve ball, limited command possibly due to mechanical issues. He got into one game for Peoria before coming here and this is his longest career outing, unsurprisingly. He’s being treated with some caution at the moment, probably because they’re doing side work with him on those mechanics, but one would hope that there’s reason to take the gloves off soon as he turns twenty-three today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY) and the average hitter in the league is two-and-a-half years younger than him. Ideally, I’d say that the offseason plan should be to get him into winter ball somewhere and see if he can handle a Clinton assignment to open next year.

Still Working on Command Mention:
RHP Jose Valdivia, 3/19/1992
0-0 2 G, 2.16 ERA in 8.1 IP, 6 H (HR), 3 R (2 ER), 7/4 K/BB, 11/4 G/F, WP

Solid Reliever #1 Mention:
RHP John Taylor, 3/27/1989
1-0, 3 G, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP 3 H, 6/1 K/BB, 5/0 G/F, HB

Solid Reliever #2 Mention:
RHP David Colvin, 1/7/1989
1-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP, 4 H, R (0 ER), 5/0 K/BB, 2/0 G/F

From the Training Room:
Nothing reported, which, as I’ve said before, only means so much.

Strange Happenings:
From the 21st to the 27th, John Taylor won games in three straight appearances… There appear to be two piggyback starter setups in Pulaski at the moment, one being Elias and Angel Raga and the other being Ambioris Hidalgo for one or two innings followed by Valdivia. How long this will last, I don’t know… The July of Guillermo Pimentel: .234/.291/.402, 34/7 K/BB in 107 AB. Oops. Alfredo Morales has similarly crashed. He was .405/.452/.608 in nineteen games for Peoria, and is .231/.362/.333 in eleven games for Pulaski.

Dispatches from the Land of Rehabbers and Teens:
IF Yidid Batista: 21 G, 71 AB, 16 R, 23 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 15 RBI, 7 SB, 3 CS, 10/11 K/BB, .324/.430/.408
2B Felipe Burin: 18 G, 72 AB, 6 R, 22 H, 7 2B, 12 RBI, 2 CS, 19/6 K/BB, .306/.363/.403
OF Phillips Castillo: 30 G, 112 AB, 25 R, 37 H, 13 2B, 5 3B, HR, 20 RBI, 6 SB, 4 CS, 40/10 K/BB, .330/.397/.563
RHP Min-sih Chen: 3-3, 7 GS, 6.98 ERA in 29.2 IP, 37 H, 30 R (23 ER), 18/21 K/BB, 3 HB
RHP David Holman: 2-1, 10 G, 7.85 ERA in 18.1 IP, 31 H (4 HR), 27 R (16 ER), 13/4 K/BB, 4 HB
OF Reggie Lawson: 28 G, 116 AB, 12 R, 29 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, HR, 18 RBI, 4 SB, 3 CS, 35/1 K/BB, .250/.267/.336
RHP Jochi Ogando: 1-3, 7 G (4 GS), 5.63 ERA in 24.0 IP, 23 H (HR), 18 R (15 ER), 15/21 K/BB
SS Esteilon Peguero: 29G, 119 AB, 18 R, 33 H, 10 2B, 3B, HR, 19 RBI, 15 SB, 5 CS, 17/4 K/BB, .277/.310/.403
LHP Scott Ronnenbergh: 1-0, 10 G (GS), 5.48 ERA in 21.1 IP, 29 H, 17 R (13 ER), 14/11 K/BB
RHP Alex Sunderland: 0-0, 10 G, 2 SV, 5.68 ERA in 12.2 IP, 14 H (2 HR), 9 R (8 ER), 19/3 K/BB
LHP Nick Valenza: 0-0, 5 G (GS), 3.00 ERA in 9.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 6/8 K/BB
CF James Zamarripa: 15 G, 64 AB, 12 R, 20 H, 4 2B, 5 RBI, 3 SB, 2 CS, 19/5 K/BB, .313/.357/.375


9 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (7/25-31/11)”

  1. Thom Jimsen on August 1st, 2011 10:53 am

    Jay, as things stand now, who are your September callups?

  2. maqman on August 1st, 2011 11:08 am

    Saunders is confusing me (I’m old, it’s easy) I had mentally written him off a month or so ago now he’s starting to look good. Wouldn’t it be something after all the kerfuffle about LF he finally puts it all together. I’d like that.
    BTW Andy Carraway, who’s having a decent year with Jackson has a blog (http://theinsidefastball.com/) which offers an insightful look at life in the minors.
    Burin is looking a bit better, it must being difficult for the Latinos getting their first dose of the U.S.
    Thanks for all your work Jay.

  3. Westside guy on August 1st, 2011 11:22 am

    Saunders is starting to look good, but the team also has other options now. I figure Saunders is gone to the first team that gives us more than a bag o’ balls in return.

    Thing is, if Saunders succeeds it doesn’t really do much for Z since Condor is from the Bavasi era. And, even so, no one can complain the M’s didn’t give him an adequate chance to succeed (which I used to rant about on this site, too frequently).

    I’d love to be wrong though – I’d still like to see Condor manning left field for the Mariners IF he can hit major league pitching at least reasonably well. But I expect to see him in another uniform.

  4. gag harbor on August 1st, 2011 11:39 am

    PCL is making Saunders look like he has improved but it remains to be seen that he’s an MLBer.

    The recap is great Jay!

  5. Jay Yencich on August 1st, 2011 12:05 pm

    Jay, as things stand now, who are your September callups?

    I could talk a little 40-man stuff right now. In addition to the guys already on there, we’re looking like we’ll need to add HS/int’l picks who signed 2007 contracts and college picks who signed 2008 contracts in the offseason in preparation for the Rule 5. The big name among those is Triunfel, who is only now eligible despite being around forever, but we’ll also be thinking about Carroll, Almonte, McOwen, and Dunigan from the ’07 draft, none of whom would really warrant call-ups, and Raben, Hensley, LaFromboise, Shaffer, Kasparek, Savastano, Stanton, Penney, etc from the ’08 draft. Out of the international group, I know Morla is eligible, but I’d need to look up the rest because there are probably a few I’m not thinking of right now. Francisco Martinez could be eligible depending on whether or not he was in instructs the fall of 2007 (this is where things get dumb, and complicated).

    Now, of that group, I don’t really see anyone where they’re going to look at them and say “yeah, we really want a good look at this guy going forward.” Triunfel might be it for the early additions. Vasquez also gets some consideration, but he wouldn’t need to be added officially until the end of next season. So of the 40-man group that’s present, I’d probably bring up Liddi, Mangini, and Seager, though there’s going to be a fight for playing time on the infield, Tui and Halman because I think both are in their last option years, Saunders, Peguero, and Robinson plus maybe Mike Wilson. The only pitcher I’d really consider bringing back at this point is Laffey, but I kind of think he could be back sooner rather than later.

    I answered your question by answering a different, related question, but I hope that works.

    BTW Andy Carraway, who’s having a decent year with Jackson has a blog (http://theinsidefastball.com/) which offers an insightful look at life in the minors.

    Got it last week. Thanks though.

  6. Westside guy on August 1st, 2011 12:29 pm

    PCL is making Saunders look like he has improved but it remains to be seen that he’s an MLBer.

    It’s got more to do with what he’s doing and how (e.g. finally showing the ability to hit to the opposite field) than just the good raw numbers – he’s pretty much always had decent AAA stats.

    But yeah – it still remains to be seen whether he can do it against major league pitching.

  7. Westside guy on August 1st, 2011 12:37 pm

    “What he’s doing” – you know, like if Carlos Peguero’s o-swing percentage suddenly dropped significantly below 50%. 😀

  8. Jay Yencich on August 1st, 2011 1:19 pm

    By the way…

    Larry Stone
    Wedge said yesterday they hadn’t decided on Wednesday starter to replace Bedard. Anthony Vazquez was replaced tonight as Tacoma starter. 2+2
    25 minutes ago via TweetDeck

  9. thehemogoblin on August 1st, 2011 6:30 pm

    Holy crap was Jordan Shipers awful against the Emeralds, but somehow Eugene STILL LOST THAT GAME. With 10 walks in the game, including four in a row at one point. (The next hitter after that hit into a first-pitch double play to end the inning; he got called up to Fort Wayne after the game; be glad Seattle’s mid-level minors aren’t as barren as San Diego’s are.)

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