Minor League Wrap (4/5-15/12)

Jay Yencich · April 16, 2012 at 6:30 am · Filed Under Minor Leagues 

Here we are again! There was also a big pack of releases to start the season, as usual, and various players that were of interest at some point like Matt Bischoff, Jessie Nava, and Brandon Haveman found themselves on the outs. You can also find a list of players on the DL on the same page. Use this to not ask me redundant questions!

To address assorted ways in which I have been wrong to start the season, neither Smith nor Sena have been in the Mavericks rotation and instead it’s Sorce and Gillheeney, and over in Clinton, it looks like they might be using off-days to keep mileage down on certain arms (Shipers and Landazuri did a piggyback outing at one point), but Trevor Miller and Brett Shankin are in the rotation, trading off starts, and Kohlscheen isn’t.

Did you notice that two Mariners (and one former Mariner, UGH) landed on Baseball America’s inaugural Prospect Hot Sheet? Did you see where Gameday seems to have expanded to advanced-A leagues, or at least the Cal League? Did you know that the Mavericks and the Generals don’t get a day off until the 30th? Did you realize that this minor league season began with two of our affiliates playing against the Bees and AHH BEEESSSS RUNNNNNNNNNNN. . . .

To the jump!

Tacoma Rainiers (5-6 this “week,” 2 GB in PCL Pacific Northern)

The Week in Review:
Thursday, April 5th 2012
Salt Lake 3 (ANA), Tacoma 2
W: Richards (1-0, 2.57) L: Fox (0-1, 3.00) S: Brasier (1)

Friday, April 6th 2012
Salt Lake 7 (ANA 0), Tacoma 8
W: Furbush (1-0, 0.00) L: Rodriguez (0-1, 4.50) S: Kelley (1)

Saturday, April 7th, 2012
Salt Lake 2 (ANA – 1), Tacoma 8
W: Perez (1-0, 3.00) L: Hurley (0-1, 20.25)

Sunday, April 8th 2012
Salt Lake 8 (ANA 0), Tacoma 2
W: Mills (1-0, 1.50) L: Snow (0-1, 7.20)

Monday, April 9th 2012
Colorado Springs 2 (COL + 1), Tacoma 4
W: Vasquez (1-0, 1.29) L: White (0-1, 5.40) S: Ruffin (1)

Tuesday, April 10th 2012
Colorado Springs 2 (COL + 2), Tacoma 0
W: Friedrich (1-1, 2.92) L: Fox (0-2, 2.25) S: Escalona (2)

Wednesday, April 11th 2012
Colorado Springs 5 (COL + 1), Tacoma 15
W: Marquez (1-0, 9.00) L: Moscoso (0-2, 11.05)

Thursday, April 12th 2012
Colorado Springs 9 (COL + 2), Tacoma 3
W: Putnam (1-0, 0.00) L: Ruffin (0-1, 12.46)

Friday, April 13th 2012
Tacoma 1, Fresno 6 (SF + 5)
W: Kown (2-0, 1.59) L: Snow (0-2, 10.12)

Saturday, April 14th 2012
Tacoma 11, Fresno 1 (SF + 4)
W: Vasquez (2-0, 1.38) L: Petit (1-1, 8.38)

Sunday, April 15th 2012
Tacoma 1, Fresno 7 (SF + 5)
W: Blackley (1-0, 0.96) L: Fox (0-3, 5.11)

Hitter of the Week:
DH Luis Antonio Jimenez, L/L, 5/7/1982
11 G, 40 AB, 6 R, 11 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6/6 K/BB, .275/.370/.575

Since Jimenez has the defensive value of a prize-winning pumpkin, he kind of has to hit, and hitting is what he’s been doing. Somehow, with only eleven games played, he’s already a quarter of the way to his double totals through seventy-four games with the Rainiers last year. Should we expect him to continue to slug at about a hundred points higher than his career average? Probably not, though it provides amusement in the short-term. My hope for the long term is that the actual prospecty-type guys on the roster begin picking up the slack soon. It always feels just a little depressing when the guy who is hitting the best is some minor league FA brought in from elsewhere, even if I really like our quad-A heavyweight sluggers.

Not Too Prospecty Mention:
DH Johan Limonta, L/L, 8/4/1983
9 G, 31 AB, 6 R, 10 H, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 6/3 K/BB, .323/.371/.452

Once-Prospecty, But Now Blocked Mention:
C Adam Moore, R/R, 5/8/1984
9 G, 32 AB, 5 R, 10 H, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 11/2 K/BB, .313/.343/.469

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Anthony Vasquez, 9/19/1986
2-0, 2 GS, 1.38 ERA in 13.0 IP, 5 H (HR), 2 R, 6/2 K/B, 12/16 G/F, 2 HB, WP

Oh, sure. I was all prepared to pick Matt Fox or something but then he had to go and dog it in the most recent start, which leaves me fumbling. Vasquez’ main virtue at the moment is that he hasn’t let anyone reach against him. To his credit, he’s thrown about 65% strikes so far and his walk rate, which was 3.0 in Tacoma last year, almost double his career rate, is back down to a more typical 1.4 per nine. Basically, the main thing for him right now is that nothing is dropping in against him. That will change. Things will start breaking in other directions. I hope that the rotation rebounds somewhat because I don’t know how soon anyone from Jackson is getting the call.

Team Strikeout Leader, Probably Unfair ERA and Record Mention:
RHP Matt Fox, 12/4/1982
0-3, 3 GS, 5.11 ERA in 12.1 IP, 14 H (HR), 8 R (7 ER), 12/4 K/BB, 11/8 G/F, WP

From The Training Room:
CF Darren Ford, who hadn’t debuted yet anyway, went on the DL on Sunday. According to Curto’s blog, he broke a finger in a hotel room door. I wonder, was he holding a raw egg at the time? If he were in the majors, we’d talk about this like we talk about Smoltz trying to iron a shirt while wearing it. OF Mario Yepez was called in from Clinton to replace him on the roster…. A day later, LF Mike Wilson strained his groin, so the Mariners brought in OF Chih-Hsien Chiang from Jackson because two OFs out means you have to bring in someone that can start… Then, on Tuesday, the Rainiers picked up UT Leury Bonilla from Jackson, sending them back Yepez in the exchange, because RF Carlos Peguero landed on the DL with knee issues, which will keep him out for several weeks. To make the obvious reference, Tacoma outfielders are equivalent to Spinal Tap drummers right now…. The reason why they had to rid themselves of one of the outfielders was because C Adam Moore was getting activated from the DL. At times this year, I have longed for the versatility of Chris Gimenez and I don’t know what that means… Thursday afternoon, RHP Jarrett Grube came off the DL because a spot opened or something?… The next day, LF Mike Carp joined the team and went 0-for-4… After Furbush was recalled, RHP Brian Sweeney was taken off the DL to join the pitching staff.

Strange Happenings:
The Rainiers will be wearing a #26 patch in honor of Greg Halman for the duration of the 2012 season… If, at some point during the Rainiers’ weekend series, you were in Tacoma and saw a long shadow cast over the landscape from the direction of Cheney, that was Loek van Mil, a 7’1″ right-hander who pitches for the Bees… My mind was momentarily blown on Saturday when I saw the portraits of the two probable pitchers for the night’s game: Yusmeiro Petit versus Anthony Vasquez, both wearing Rainiers caps… Speaking of opposing starters, Travis Blackley was on the mound for Fresno on Sunday… Command has been an issue in the rotation. Robles has a 8/6 K/BB in 8.2 IP. Snow is worse at 6/9 K/BB… And those prospect hitters? Here are what the OPS totals look like so far: Triunfel, .740, Robinson, .661, Chiang, .604, Catricala, .440. It’s been a sad start to the season.

Jackson Generals (7-4 this “week,” 1st in SL North)

The Week in Review:
Thursday, April 5th 2012
Birmingham 2 (CHW), Jackson 3
W: Carraway (1-0, 0.00) L: Molina (0-1, 4.50) S: Pryor (1)

Friday, April 6th 2012
Birmingham 1 (CHW – 2), Jackson 2
W: Paxton (1-0, 0.00) L: Quintana (0-1, 3.18) S: Capps (1)

Saturday, April 7th, 2012
Birmingham 5 (CHW – 3), Jackson 7
W: Garrison (1-0, 0.00) L: Wickswat (0-1, 9.00) S: Pryor (2)

Sunday, April 8th 2012
Birmingham 9 (CHW – 2), Jackson 2
W: Mabee (1-0, 0.00) L: Hultzen (0-1, 11.25)

Monday, April 9th 2012
Birmingham 9 (CHW – 2), Jackson 2
W: Walker (1-0, 3.60) L: Hernandez (0-1, 5.79) S: Pryor (3)

Tuesday, April 10th 2012
Jackson 5, Tennessee 1 (CHC + 2)
W: Carraway (2-0, 0.69) L: Struck (1-1, 2.25)

Wednesday, April 11th 2012
Jackson 2, Tennessee 1 (CHC + 1)
W: LaFromboise (1-0, 4.15) L: Rhoderick (0-1, 1.93)

Thursday, April 12th 2012
Jackson 4, Tennessee 1 (CHC 0)
W: Pryor (1-0, 3.18) L: Cabrera (1-1, 3.18)

Friday, April 13th 2012
Jackson 1, Tennessee 4 (CHC + 1)
W: Rhee (1-0, 3.00) L: Hultzen (0-2, 4.66) S: Batista (4)

Saturday, April 14th 2012
Jackson 2, Tennessee 5 (CHC + 2)
W: Raley (1-0, 2.70) L: Medina (0-1, 6.23) S: Rhoderick (2)

Sunday, April 15th 2012
Mississippi 4 (ATL – 3), Jackson 3 (sixteen innings)
W: Kleinknecht (1-0, 0.00) L: Campbell (0-1, 3.00)

Hitter of the Week:
SS Nick Franklin, S/R, 3/2/1991
10 G, 40 AB, 3 R, 11 H, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, CS, 5/4 K/BB, .275/.341/.425

My usual trick here is to figure out the highest OPS on the team and then tab that guy, but to heck with it, it’s Franklin time, for a variety of reasons. He has as many home runs as anyone on the team (technicalities!) and he’s doing things that are of interest to us on the plate discipline side. In 2010, he walked in 8.8% of his plate appearances and struck out in 21.5%. Last year, in more limited time, it was 9.2% walks and 20% Ks. This year, in very limited time, the trend is continuing and coming into Sunday’s game (which was a long and boring affair for the offense), 10.5% walks and 10.5% Ks. If you dilute it with the eight extra PAs from that game, you still have 8.7% walks, which is all right, and only 10.9% strikeouts. Meaningless samples, but hints of positive things.

The Actual OPS Leader:
DH Joe Dunigan, L/L, 3/29/1986
8 G, 33 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, SB, CS, 10/1 K/BB, .273/.294/.485

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP James Paxton, 11/6/1988
1-0, 2 GS, 0.87 ERA in 10.1 IP, 6 H, R, 17/1 K/BB, 5/7 G/F, WP

Something of a foregone conclusion, though prospect lists projected otherwise. The pitch counts I’ve been getting back in the early part of the season have been sketchy, but broadly speaking, Hultzen and Paxton have both been on pitch counts of under 90 (I don’t know if the same applies to Walker) and thus far Paxton has had a few issues getting deep due to some minor inefficiencies. Note that Hultzen is only two-thirds of an inning behind him despite walking five more. This was something that came up last year too, and is the sort of thing that shows hints of command issues without cropping up in box scores. We could see some regression towards actual walk totals, we could not. It bears monitoring. In the meantime, 54.8% of his outs on Ks! Many of those swinging strikeouts! Exuberance!

Twenty Straight Retired Mention:
RHP Andrew Carraway, 9/4/1986
2-0, 3 GS, 2.00 ERA in 18.0 IP, 14 H (HR), 4 R, 13/3 K/BB, 16/10 G/F

Extra Pitching Notes:
So the Jackson staff is super interesting. Here’s other stuff that’s going on. For the other two heads of Cerberus, we got a 4.66 ERA in through 9.2 innings for Hultzen thus far, with five hits allowed and a 16/6 K/BB. That ERA is rather unlucky and tRA actually likes him at 1.40 right now and while Walker has had less time on the field (see below), he’s had a 8/1 K/BB in 5.0 innings with four hits allowed and two runs scored. tRA also thinks he’s just neat. Go listen to the interview with Hultzen! Maurer, sadly, has had some control issues and left a few too many pitches elevated to start the year. From the bullpen, we have Carter Capps with an 11/1 K/BB in 6.2 innings and Pryor with a 10/1 K/BB in 7.2 innings. Pitching is awesome. We’re leading the league in Ks by eleven and are tired for the third-fewest walks and the fewest hits, despite being one of two teams above 100 IP already.

From the Training Room:
Chiang went away, but with five guys remaining on the roster who were capable of playing the outfield, it didn’t immediately affect anything. Bonilla leaving affected things slightly more, so they had to pick up Yepez from the Rainiers… A few days later, they decided they were more interested in pitching than outfielders and activated RHP Moises Hernandez, whom you may remember as Felix’s brother, whom you may never hear about again (He’s not as good as Felix)… Saturday’s start was going to be scheduled for Taijuan Walker, but he woke up with a stiff neck recently and his spot was filled by Yoervis Medina. This may be a creative way of keeping inning totals down. At any rate, the rotation is now going to be Carraway, Paxton, WALKER, Maurer, Hultzen. Which is to say that you’re still going to get some good pitching whatever night you’re tuned in on.

Strange Happenings:
Here’s my favorite thing this week: Eric Campbell, former top prospect, now sort of back-up utility guy, hit .389/.450/.611 in six games this week, not quite enough playing time to qualify, BUT, in extra innings on Sunday night, he threw three innings and ended up giving up the decisive run on a solo shot. The results are bad, but the overall effect is awesome… I’m looking at the promotional poll on the Generals site and it looks like they regard their most anticipated events as 90’s Night 8/19 (meh), Elvis Tribute Night 8/4 (why not?), Half Pint Brawlers Midget Wrestling 7/27 (uhhhh…) and World’s Largest BBQ Sandwich, Rib-Fest 5/19 (YES)… If ever you were wondering what Carter Capps’ delivery looks like, here are some stills to exercise your imagination on… The Generals 7-1 start was the best start in team history through that span. No kidding.

High Desert Mavericks (7-3 this “week”, 1st in CAL South)

The Week in Review:
Thursday, April 5th 2012
Lancaster 7 (HOU), High Desert 9
W: Hudson (1-0, 0.00) L: Sogard (0-1, 9.00) S: Arias (1)

Friday, April 6th 2012
Lancaster 5 (HOU – 2), High Desert 9
W: Kesler (1-0, 0.00) L: De Leon (0-1, 27.00)

Saturday, April 7th, 2012
Lancaster 2 (HOU – 3), High Desert 16
W: Gillheeney (1-0, 0.00) L: Grimmett (0-1, 11.25)

Sunday, April 8th 2012
Lancaster 6 (HOU – 4), High Desert 8
W: Jimenez (1-0, 0.00) L: Sogard (0-2, 9.64) S: Hudson (1)

Monday, April 9th 2012
San Jose 5 (SF + 1), High Desert 6
W: Sena (1-0, 3.00) L: Snodgrass (0-1, 6.23) S: Arias (2)

Tuesday, April 10th 2012
San Jose 15 (SF + 2), High Desert 6
W: Sanford (2-0, 4.91) L: Kesler (1-1, 27.00)

Wednesday, April 11th 2012
San Jose 10 (SF + 3), High Desert 6
W: Bowlin (1-0, 2.25) L: Hudson (1-1, 5.40)

Thursday, April 12th 2012
High Desert 6, Inland Empire 2 (LAA + 2)
W: Gillheeney (2-0, 0.87) L: Maronde (0-1, 6.75)

Friday, April 13th 2012
Rain out

Saturday, April 14th 2012
High Desert 5, Inland Empire 6 (LAA + 3)
W: Kehrer (1-0, 0.00) L: Mieses (0-1, 4.35) S: Chaffee (1)

Sunday, April 15th 2012
High Desert 8, Inland Empire 3 (LAA + 2)
W: Elias (1-0, 3.27) L: Batista (0-1, 11.25)

Hitter of the Week:
SS Brad Miller, L/R, 10/18/1989
10 G, 43 AB, 15 R, 16 H, 4 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 2 SB, 12/8 K/BB, .372/.471/.837

Because Dingers, that’s why. Enough people are going to be freaking right the heck out over these numbers since they lead the league in just about everything (some jerk Lancaster first baseman has six home runs already), so I’m going to temper enthusiasm and be a huge buzzkill now. Twelve Ks are in the league’s top ten. Bad news. Nearly all the games were played at home and thus far on the road, he’s hitting .250/.400/.333. Worse news. Miller has as many or more errors (nine) as a few Cal League teams right now, roughly split between throwing and fielding. We can talk all we like about him having the tools to remain at short, but right now the skills have been found wanting. That’s not to say that he can’t improve, but holy crap, he needs to improve soon.

An Early Surprise Mention:
LF Mike McGee, R/R, 3/7/1989
7 G, 26 AB, 7 R, 11 H, 6 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 4/4 K/BB, .423/.500/.654

Confirming My Show of Good Faith in Him Mention:
2B Stefen Romero, R/R, 10/17/1988
9 G, 40 AB, 9 R, 17 H, 6 2B, HR, 10 RBI, 3 SB, CS, 4/2 K/BB, .425/.465/.650

Half-time Catcher Mention:
C/DH Jack Marder, R/R, 2/21/1990
10 G, 46 AB, 13 R, 19 H, 6 2B, HR, 11 RBI, 5 SB, 3 CS, 6/4 K/BB, .413/.471/.609

Starting CF Mention:
CF Julio Morban, L/L, 2/13/1992
10 G, 34 AB, 9 R, 12 H, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6/3 K/BB, .353/.421/.618

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP James Gillheeney, 11/8/1987
1-0, 0.87 ERA in 10.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, (ER), 11/3 K/BB, 9/6 G/F, 2 WP

I don’t usually have options down here, so it’s nice to have an obvious one. Gillheeney spent most of last year with the Mavs and probably could have pitched in the Southern League to open the season, but I guess that they wanted to keep him as a starter and opportunities for that in Jackson were few. The Mavs had a 5.06 team ERA coming into Sunday’s game, so I guess they’re appreciative of being able to send someone up there who knows how to handle things. I guess what impresses me about this, or just makes me think a little, is that Gillheeney’s worse start was the one on the road, against Inland Empire in a known pitcher’s park. At home, he went five frames and allowed just a hit and three walks while striking out eight. If few batters reach, fewer batters will score! It’s so novel!

King of the Balks Mention:
LHP Roenis Elias, 8/1/1988
1-0, 2 GS, 3.27 ERA in 11.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 7/4 K/BB, 12/9 G/F, 2 HB, 3 BK

From the Training Room:
Nothing happened. Which is cool and all since everything happened elsewhere. EVERYTHING.

Strange Happenings:
This is one of those things that probably seems more strange to me than it actually is, but on Saturday afternoon, there was a Felix Hernandez 2010 Cy Young Bobblehead Giveaway. Fair enough. Note that it was also an away game. You see, back when Felix Hernandez was coming up through the minor leagues, the Inland Empire 66ers were our California League affiliate. They jilted us for one of the actual California-based teams, and then another one of the California-based teams (the hated Angels), but are still celebrating that special time we had together even though they turned us out. Your ex just called: she’s celebrating your old anniversary without you, and during the party at her apartment which she shares with her new boyfriend, there will be blown up pictures of the two of you during better times. You’re still never getting her back… The archived box score I have of the game on the 7th has Gillheeney picking off Mier at 12th base. Blern! BLERN!… High Desert leads the league in OPS by about .150 points. That’s with Mickey Wiswall (.377), Mario Martinez (.451), and James Jones (.590) on the roster…. Romero is listed as an outfielder. Romero has yet to play a game in the outfield.

Clinton Lumberkings (3-7 this “week,” 3 GB in MWL Western)

The Week in Review:
Thursday, April 5th 2012
Burlington 8 (OAK), Clinton 2
W: Kilcrease (1-0, 2.25) L: Hobson (0-1, 18.00)

Friday, April 6th 2012
Burlington 6 (OAK + 2), Clinton 4
W: Powers (1-0, 0.00) L: Taylor (0-1, 3.86) S: Tyson (1)

Saturday, April 7th, 2012
Burlington 1 (OAK + 1), Clinton 7
W: Shipers (1-0, 0.00) L: Macias (0-1, 3.60) S: Landazuri (1)

Sunday, April 8th 2012
Off day

Monday, April 9th 2012
Clinton 6, Cedar Rapids 7 (ANA + 2)
W: Giardina (1-0, 0.00) L: Shankin (0-1, 6.00) S: Kelley (1)

Tuesday, April 10th 2012
Clinton 3, Cedar Rapids 4 (ANA + 3)
W: Batista (1-0, 1.12) L: Alsup (0-1, 6.75)

Wednesday, April 11th 2012
Clinton 1, Cedar Rapids 3 (ANA + 4)
W: Wood (2-0, 0.90) L: Hidalgo (0-1, 2.45) S: Kelley (2)

Thursday, April 12th 2012
Beloit 2 (MIN – 1), Clinton 5
W: Landazuri (1-0, 1.86) L: Gruver (0-1, 5.00) S: Taylor (1)

Friday, April 13th 2012
Beloit 5 (MIN 0), Clinton 2
W: Tomshaw (1-0, 4.76) L: Alsup (0-2, 12.00) S: Williams (2)

Saturday, April 14th 2012
Beloit 3 (MIN – 1), Clinton 4 (eleven innings)
W: Taylor (1-1, 2.25) L: Dempster (0-1, 2.08)

Sunday, April 15th 2012
Beloit 5 (MIN 0), Clinton 2
W: Tonkin (2-0, 0.00) L: Hobson (0-2, 6.92) S: Williams (3)

Hitter of the Week:
C Steve Baron, R/R, 12/7/1990
9 G, 32 AB, 6 R, 10 H, 6 2B, 3 RBI, 4 SB, 5/2 K/BB, .313/.353/.500

Bet you didn’t expect to see this name here. I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to being a hater with this guy, but credit where it’s due. Coming into Sunday’s game, Baron was tied for the league lead in doubles with six, along with some guy who had recorded ten more at-bats than him. Baron is also showing a slightly different process this year: where last season, he struck out in just under a quarter of his plate appearances, this year he’s knocked about 10% off of that total. And there are stolen bases! I don’t even know what to say about that! With so many other catchers in system to consider after the trades and last year’s draft, Baron probably dropped off a lot of radars and I’ve been ribbing him somewhat for it. But now, I don’t know. Maybe he keeps hitting.

Tied For Team-Lead in Hits, Second in Walks Mention:
1B Jharmidy de Jesus, R/R, 8/30/1989
9 G, 33 AB, 4 R, 11 H, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 7/4 K/BB, .333/.405/.394

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Stephen Landazuri, 1/6/1992
1-0, 2 G (GS), 1.86 ERA in 9.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 11/3 K/BB, 9/5 G/F

The first selection of the year for Clinton marks the first time I had two candidates that I felt were about equally qualified. Do I credit Shipers more for getting a ridiculous number of groundballs and starting both times, or do I give it up for Lando because he retired fifteen of the first sixteen batters he faced to start the season, that one runner taking his base on an error? Even when a batter finally reached safely against him, it was Twins’ top prospect Miguel Sano drawing a walk, and he was erased on a double play not long after. The Clinton rotation has experienced few hiccups to start the season, Hobson being the only weak link at the moment, and he has the stuff to rebound later. There’s a good chance that pitching could hold on as one of the team’s strengths for the rest of the season.

Almost Equally Worthy Mention:
LHP Jordan Shipers, 6/27/1991
1-0, 0.82 ERA in 11.0 IP, 10 H, 2 R, (ER), 10/2 K/BB, 18/4 G/F, WP

Could Easily Be Starting Somewhere Mention:
RHP Stephen Kohlscheen, 9/20/1988
0-0, 3 G, 0.90 ERA in 10.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R (ER), 12/2 K/BB, 6/5 G/F, HB

From the Training Room:
Yepez went elsewhere for a while. The Clinton roster doesn’t have quite the same depth as the Jackson roster, but Acevedo and Hazlett are both capable of playing the outfield, so again, not a huge deal, and they waited a couple of days before bringing in OF Alfredo Morales from extended. Morales was in Pulaski last season, and while he’s somewhat less exciting than say, Phillips Castillo would have been, he’s still worth watching. Considering that he was pretty solid hitter for parts of the season last year, it’s a curious thing that he’s only played in three games thus far, though the outfield is pretty set from left to right between Pimentel, Austin, and Blash.

Strange Happenings:
I couldn’t tell you exactly where this impulse came from, but I found myself curious as to where the walks were coming from in the lineup. Right now, the major sources are Anthony Phillips with five and de Jesus, Morla, and Blash all with four. None of the rest have more than two… If you were curious about our favourite name in the system, Blash entered Sunday’s game tied for second in the league with thirteen strikeouts, which is indicative of how the season has started for him. He doesn’t seem to be seeing the ball or hitting the ball particularly well at the moment and has some low line drive rates and an unimpressive BABIP… Kohlscheen pitched four innings on Sunday. Two-thirds of his outs were Ks… Baron has as many stolen bases as Jamal Austin and is leading the team. I need all of my brain working to be able to process that information.


28 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (4/5-15/12)”

  1. matthew on April 16th, 2012 6:50 am

    Thank you for this post. Definitely an exciting time to be a fan of the Mariners. Happy for Campos, and it seems the Mariners did okay in their end of the deal as well (small sample sizes, of course).

  2. Nate on April 16th, 2012 7:25 am

    (and one former Mariner, UGH)

    Jay, are you thinking we’re going to regret that trade? Noesi was shiny on Sat. (of course, Oakland)

  3. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2012 7:40 am

    Wow, for Campos… Nice work kid. Sorry it’s not for us.

    But how ’bout the “big 3” for the M’s, all staking a 14K/9 or higher rate. In the same rotation. That’s nuts.

    What does the opposing manager say before games? “Just make sure your bat gets out over the plate, and maybe something’ll hit it… Wiggle it around a little bit, too. Might help.”

    And the Carter Capps delivery is nuts… I hadn’t seen that yet. We should just bring him up now, ’cause who knows how long that arm is gonna last, and by the description of the hitters who face him, nobody can pick up the ball anyways. Great setup man, or “get that one big out” late innings pitcher, potential.

  4. IwearMsHats on April 16th, 2012 8:10 am

    Was hoping you would elaborate on the 2-1 Fielder’s choice that happened in the Rainier’s game. I want to know how that happened!

  5. Westside guy on April 16th, 2012 8:13 am

    Thank you for the write-up, Jay! I need coffee, though – for a few seconds, my eyes saw this:

    Hitter of the week:
    Dr. Luis Antonio Jimenez

  6. paracorto on April 16th, 2012 8:21 am

    Not a single word about the “third basemen of the future” Vinnie Catricala and Francisco Martinez ?

  7. nwade on April 16th, 2012 8:33 am

    Hultzen sure sounds professional in that interview, thanks for the linky goodness!

    Regarding Capps: How the hell does he (a) Get 97mph on pitches with that delivery, and (b) How long before the arm (or the oblique or the back) totally blows up? [yes, I know pitchers are always a huge inujury risk. always] Is the weird delivery why he didn’t draft higher? And if so, is it just because its different, or because of injury concerns?

  8. SusheelRamasahayam on April 16th, 2012 8:54 am

    Jay, I was wondering why Walker was skipped this past week?

  9. Johnny Slick on April 16th, 2012 9:26 am

    Yeah, I was intrigued by Capps’ delivery as well. I don’t know enough about physiology to say anything about whether or not his arm is about to fall off but I will say that that delivery *screams* big platoon split, which I guess depending on how he’s used could be intriguing. If he throws 97mph gas and can get the ball over the plate then I agree with the article you linked to that he could be the first of those Jackson guys to make the big leagues. And also maybe the first to get a torn rotator cuff but hey, you play with what you’ve got.

  10. MacMariner on April 16th, 2012 10:18 am

    Apparently the M’s have signed Dominican OF Helsin Martinez for $1.1M. There were rumours of him signing last year for $2M but it seems to be finally going ahead now.

  11. bookbook on April 16th, 2012 10:30 am

    Third basemen of the future, Catricala and Martinez, have been struggling mightily. There ya go.

  12. tewminator on April 16th, 2012 11:01 am

    Great write-up JY. It sure is fantastic to have good news in the minors, as opposed to previous regimes…

  13. Jay Yencich on April 16th, 2012 11:25 am

    Jay, are you thinking we’re going to regret that trade? Noesi was shiny on Sat. (of course, Oakland)

    There are too many moving pieces involved to know for a while, but any pulling or pushing in a particular direction is going to make me feel nervous about it. Campos is a pretty high-ceiling guy and I feel as though his ceiling and Pineda’s ceiling combined are greater than Montero’s ceiling and Noesi’s ceiling. They are, however, pitchers.

    Was hoping you would elaborate on the 2-1 Fielder’s choice that happened in the Rainier’s game. I want to know how that happened!

    Try asking Curto about that. I don’t know what game you’re even talking about.

    Not a single word about the “third basemen of the future” Vinnie Catricala and Francisco Martinez ?

    I had two words on Catricala: .440 OPS. I don’t spend all that much time thinking about Francisco Martinez unless I’m also thinking about Doug Fister or (less frequently) he gives me reason to think about him.

    Regarding Capps: How the hell does he (a) Get 97mph on pitches with that delivery, and (b) How long before the arm (or the oblique or the back) totally blows up? [yes, I know pitchers are always a huge inujury risk. always] Is the weird delivery why he didn’t draft higher? And if so, is it just because its different, or because of injury concerns?

    Science is a mystery to man. I don’t know, honestly, every so often one of these guys comes out of the woodwork and does something like this. The arm mileage is low and he’s pitching in limited stints, so it’s not a foregone conclusion that he’s going to get injured, but yeah, wonky deliveries tend to scare people off.

    Jay, I was wondering why Walker was skipped this past week?

    Ctrl + F. I wrote about it further on up, I’m not going to repeat myself down here.

    Apparently the M’s have signed Dominican OF Helsin Martinez for $1.1M. There were rumours of him signing last year for $2M but it seems to be finally going ahead now.

    Indeed, Baseball America elaborated a little on that with a free scouting report. The gist of it is that Martinez is a RH pull hitter with a lot of power and some struggles making contact and going to the opposite field. It’s not a bad signing, but it is one with considerable risk, so I’m glad the asking price came down by nearly a million. We’re developing a few of these guys down at the lower levels between Pimentel, Castillo, and now Martinez, but we’re no closer to finding a viable center field candidate down there and that’s one area that concerns me.

    Hey look, Miller and Paxton are players of the week for their respective leagues.

  14. maqman on April 16th, 2012 11:26 am

    Good stuff as always Jay, thanks muchly.

  15. just a fan on April 16th, 2012 1:08 pm

    Well, Adam Moore might be blocked, but he’s being blocked by Olivo. Which means he should get by him any minute.

  16. Westside guy on April 16th, 2012 1:17 pm

    Except Adam Moore doesn’t display that patented Veteran Grittiness(TM). I’m sure Wedge believes if Olivo tore his ACL he’d play through it.

  17. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2012 1:46 pm

    Wait, I thought Adam Moore had LOTS of grittiness, in his hips… Preventing him from playing very well? His mid-section makes a grinding noise when he walks…

    Also, if Olivo tore his ACL I’m not sure we’d see a noticeable difference in his performance. He may be on his 3rd or 4th tear for all we know.

    Go M’s!

  18. Mariners35 on April 16th, 2012 1:46 pm

    Really appreciate these reports, man!

  19. msfanmike on April 16th, 2012 1:53 pm

    “Well, Adam Moore might be blocked, but he’s being blocked by Olivo. Which means he should get by him any minute.”

    I see what you did there, and I like it!

    When Moore is eventually called up, and I believe he will be – will it be possible for him to provide veteran leadership and still be of Rookie status. He will probably be eligible under both criteria when factoring age and service time into the equation

  20. 9inningknowitall on April 16th, 2012 5:10 pm

    All of this talk of minor league baseball is making me so ready for the short season Northwest league to start so I can watch all the young up and coming talent. YAY for summer!!!

  21. nathaniel dawson on April 16th, 2012 7:16 pm

    12th base? That’s brilliant! Great way for the Mavs to keep run scoring down in that stadium.

  22. Jay Yencich on April 16th, 2012 7:35 pm

    12th base? That’s brilliant! Great way for the Mavs to keep run scoring down in that stadium.

    You’d think that, but then multiball.

  23. Jay Yencich on April 16th, 2012 7:36 pm

    James Paxton walked eight and struck out four in 4.2 innings.


  24. bookbook on April 16th, 2012 9:21 pm

    ME! Now that’s some entertaining baseball… Paxton only gave up 1 run with his 8 walks? The other team’s batters must have been crazy scared of the power lefty who couldn’t find the plate with a seeing-eye dog.

    How about that Joseph Dunigan. Nice SSS offensive numbers!

  25. marc w on April 16th, 2012 11:36 pm

    The story of the 2-1 put-out: Now It Can Be Told

    On Saturday night, the Fresno Grizzlies loaded the bases off of Jarrett Grube. The next batter, Francisco Peguero, took a huge cut, but dribbled the ball abou 3 feet in front of the plate. The Rainiers catcher, Guillermo Quiroz, picked up the ball as the runner was coming down the line from 3rd. His momentum carried him up the line, so he essentially waited to tag the runner coming down the line. But the runner stopped, and started heading back to 3rd – or at least, he stopped trying to get in a run-down. Quiroz had no interest in a run-down given the fact that it was a force play, so he turned around and lazily flipped the ball to Grube, who’d come to the plate. I’ll try and gif this, as I grabbed an .avi of the play, but frankly, it’s cooler to just read the gameday description.

    I feel like one of those people who describes how a magic trick is performed.

  26. marc w on April 16th, 2012 11:40 pm

    Adam Moore was pulled from the Rainiers game tonight in the 2nd inning, and when I first heard this, I allowed myself to think that maybe the M’s had made a move and he was coming back up.

    Occam’s razor told me that it was much more likely that he’d simply injured himself again, but I had no need for a razor, as I’m growing a playoff beard. Sadly, the razor was right, and Adam Moore tweaked his knee. We’ll know more soon, but it really does seem like Adam Moore’s body has like zero interest in playing catcher.

  27. SonOfZavaras on April 17th, 2012 12:56 am

    Sterling work as ever, Jay. I’m looking forward to a whole minor league year of these.

    Question: We’re keeping guys like Kalian Sams around- whom I give next to NO shot to make the big leagues, or achieve his ceiling as ‘organization guy’…but we’ve already given up on Frankie Christian?!

    IIRC, Christian was a little bit of a coup signing, along with Jordan Shipers in their draft year…Christian was a USC commit with a strong chance of taking the starting CF job with the Trojans.

    He’s only 20-ish. What the heck happened here? Anything specific?

  28. Jay Yencich on April 17th, 2012 1:27 am

    I feel like one of those people who describes how a magic trick is performed.

    I was figuring it was a bases loaded force out sort of thing. Thanks, Marc.

    Question: We’re keeping guys like Kalian Sams around- whom I give next to NO shot to make the big leagues, or achieve his ceiling as ‘organization guy’…but we’ve already given up on Frankie Christian?!

    IIRC, Christian was a little bit of a coup signing, along with Jordan Shipers in their draft year…Christian was a USC commit with a strong chance of taking the starting CF job with the Trojans.

    He’s only 20-ish. What the heck happened here? Anything specific?

    Christian was sort of a significant signing, and you were right about the USC commitment with the starting job. But for whatever reason, despite winning some awards within California, he was never written up by BA and it was nearly impossible for me to find any good information on him on draft day. That could have just been because his commitment was thought to be that solid. It happens every so often that prospects aren’t scouted as heavily because they’re in the mid-range and no one thinks of them as being available.

    At any rate, I don’t know why he was released and don’t have the kind of connections to figure that out. It could have been performance-related. It could be that he was injured. It could be that he was frustrated with his own progress and asked to be released. Org players stick around for a variety of reasons: health, upside, professionalism, willingness to endure the minor league lifestyle. We can’t always look at these kinds of releases and say a player was released for good or bad reasons without knowing all that was accounted for in the process.

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