Minor League Wrap (5/21-27/12)

Jay Yencich · May 28, 2012 at 6:30 am · Filed Under Minor Leagues 

To address something I haven’t really mentioned yet, this time next week, we will be readying ourselves the draft. The first round of the draft will occur on Monday at 4 pm our time. I’m not preparing for it in quite the same way as last year, when I was burned by the unexpected pick. There are really too many variables to try to guess at, particularly in this draft. Does Buxton slide because the Astros want a near-term contributor and the Twins need pitching far more than they need toolsy outfielders? Do the M’s still consider Zunino even with Jaso and Montero and all the other catchers they drafted last year? [The answer to that is probably “yes.”] What happens if both Zunino and Buxton are gone within the first two picks? What weird effects are we going to get from the new CBA? Factors like these make the whole thing a pain. I’m hoping for the best and not preparing at all.

After the first round is done, the whole thing will break up and we’ll get round 2-15 starting at 9 am on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it’s round 16-40 at the same hour. Yes, the draft is only forty rounds now. Since I don’t have a regular “blog” anymore, I’ll probably just be covering it here as much as I can or feel like doing. I’ll probably have to take off at some point during the Wednesday picks as I have other matters to attend to, but Tuesday I should be around throughout, commenting or at least making stupid remarks on the picks as they’re made.

To the jump!

Tacoma Rainiers (5-2 this week, 22-28 overall, 4 GB in PCL Pacific Northern)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 21st 2012
Tacoma 8, Iowa 2 (CHC – 7)
W: Snow (1-4, 7.46) L: Jackson (2-4, 7.05)

Tuesday, May 22nd 2012
Tacoma 8, Iowa 18 (CHC – 6)
W: Volstad (1-0, 6.00) L: Ramirez (1-1, 4.96)

Wednesday, May 23rd 2012
Tacoma 8, Iowa 3 (CHC – 7)
W: Carraway (2-0, 2.21) L: Raley (0-1, 5.40)

Thursday, May 24th 2012
Tacoma 7, Iowa 2 (CHC – 8 )
W: Sweeney (1-0, 4.15) L: Rusin (4-4, 3.28)

Friday, May 25th 2012
Tucson 6 (SD – 14), Tacoma 13
W: Patterson (1-1, 2.89) L: Layne (0-5, 9.00)

Saturday, May 26th 2012
Tucson 4 (SD – 15), Tacoma 6
W: Marquez (4-4, 6.52) L: Hynes (1-5, 5.16) S: Pryor (2)

Sunday, May 27th 2012
Tucson 8 (SD – 14), Tacoma 7
W: Boxberger (1-2, 3.32) L: Patterson (1-2, 3.27)

Hitter of the Week:
2B Luis Rodriguez, S/R, 6/27/1980
6 G, 24 AB, 6 R, 12 H, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 2/5 K/BB, .500/.567/.708

Luis Rodriguez’ 21-game hitting streak ended on Sunday. That’s not such a bad thing, considering that he made up for it by walking three times, or that the streak itself had him batting .409, and his overall May line is .400/.472/.511. Not bad, for a guy who hit .236/.286/.319 in April and was sort of forgotten after his various heroics with the big club last season. One note of disappointment is that, for those hoping that he might eventually replicate the power production he showed in 2010 when 34.6% of his hits went for extra bases, he’s still a bit weak this year, with only 20.8% of his hits going for extras so far, most of them doubles. As the weather hears up, there’s a chance for more. In the meantime, he does have a shiny 17/17 K/BB.

April 2010 All Over Again Mention:
LF Carlos Peguero, L/L, 2/22/1987
7 G, 28 AB, 8 R, 9 H, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 10/3 K/BB, 2 HBP, .321/.400/.857

Walking Sphere Mention:
DH/1B Luis Antonio Jimenez, L/L, 5/7/1982
7 G, 26 AB, 6 R, 11 H, 2B, 3 RBI, 3/7 K/BB, .423/.545/.462

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Brian Sweeney, 6/13/1974
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2/0 K/BB, 10/5 G/F

When Sweeney took the mound this week, he hadn’t pitched in nineteen days, and in his scattered appearances before that, had never managed to go more than four innings (in large part because he was a reliever). The Rainiers were hoping to get, I don’t know, something out of him, and with sixty-seven pitches, forty-three of them for strikes, this is what he managed. If you’re willing to include the double play erasing a runner (a double play hit by Anthony Rizzo, at that), he retired the first eight in a row and sixteen of seventeen before another hit came in the bottom of the sixth. No one got beyond first. In a week where starting pitching was otherwise lacking, good for him for getting the job done.

Competent Relief #1 Mention:
LHP Cesar Jimenez, 11/12/1984
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3/0 K/BB, 5/2 G/F

Competent Relief #2 Mention:
RHP Josh Kinney, 3/31/1979
0-0, 3 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.2 IP, 3 H, 3/1 K/BB, 5/4 G/F, WP

From The Training Room:
Lots of moves all around. Prior to Wednesday’s game, RHP Jarrett Grube went on the DL with some leg thing and then RHP Brian Sweeney came off it to make the spot start on Thursday. RF/DH Mike Wilson also came off the DL after having a groin issue… The next day, C Brandon Bantz hit the DL , after getting hit pretty hard by a foul tip or something, Olivo completed his rehab assignment, and OF/1B/DH Johan Limonta went on the DL while he went to Miami to get word on his naturalization hearing. That meant C Ralph Henriquez was promoted from Jackson to take that catching spot on the roster, but before Henriquez came in, Leury Bonilla was supposed to be the emergency catcher… When OF Casper Wells was optioned, OF Chih-Hsien Chiang went back to Jackson. He had been hitting .245/.265/.321 with Tacoma, showing a few flashes of brilliance here and there.

Strange Happenings:
Tuesday’s day game in Iowa featured seven errors by the Rainiers. Seven. Three of which were by the pitcher, Erasmo Ramirez. Four of which came in one inning. Then there’s this:

Mike Curto @CurtoWorld
Yesterday, Erasmo became the 3rd pitcher in over 110 years of PCL baseball to be charged with three errors in one game.

Right on… Former Rainier David Winfree retired 🙁 … The starting pitcher for the Padres on Sunday was Bear Bay. Bear Bay. AAAHHHHHHH! We have many interesting names in the system, but animal names are an undervalued commodity… Forrest Snow is ten walks away from tying his total for all of last season, which should tell you a thing or two about a thing or two… Pryor falls out of mention for running a 3/4 K/BB through 4.0 innings this week… Daren Brown is presently tied with Dan Rohn for #1 on the Rainiers managerial wins leaderboard. They both have 375.

Jackson Generals (3-4 this week, 29-21 overall, 1st in SL North)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 21st 2012
Mobile 2 (ARI + 7), Jackson 1 (seven innings)
W: Skaggs (2-3, 3.12) L: Maurer (2-1, 4.27) S: Marshall (8)

Mobile 2 (ARI + 6), Jackson 4 (seven innings)
W: Sena (1-0, 2.33) L: Ortega (1-1, 4.00)

Tuesday, May 22nd 2012
Off day

Wednesday, May 23rd 2012
Jackson 1, Montgomery 2 (TB + 2) (twelve innings)
W: Quate (1-0, 0.00) L: Medina (1-4, 7.83)

Thursday, May 24th 2012
Jackson 5, Montgomery 4 (TB + 1)
W: Capps (2-2, 1.90) L: Liberatore (3-3, 3.33)

Friday, May 25th 2012
Jackson 1, Montgomery 6 (TB + 2)
W: Thompson (2-4, 5.40) L: Paxton (3-3, 3.88) S: De Los Santos (2)

Saturday, May 26th 2012
Jackson 3, Montgomery 16 (TB + 3)
W: Kelly (2-0, 3.34) L: Sena (1-1, 4.66)

Sunday, May 27th 2012
Jackson 4, Montgomery 2 (TB + 2)
W: Walker (4-1, 2.23) L: Fleming (3-1, 5.68) S: Capps (5)

Hitter of the Week:
OF Chris Pettit, R/R, 8/15/1984
6 G, 20 AB, 3 R, 7 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 7/6 K/BB, .350/.500/.550

For a roster laden with prospects, I sure seem to be mentioning the guy with major league experience an awful lot. But then again, the pitching has always been the main draw, and injuries have really done a number on the ranks of the hitters. Veteran grit it is, and Pettit can claim a large portion of Walker’s win on Sunday, since he hit the home run that broke up the 2-2 tie, with Walker about to get the hook in the bottom half of that inning. Here’s an interesting detail, though insignificant as sample sizes go: Pettit has batted .252/.358/.427 for the season, not wholly impressive, but get runners into scoring position and he’s batting a monstrous .370/.485/.667. Now, if only the Jackson hitters could manage to get on base a little more often.

First Home Run of the Season! Mention:
3B Francisco Martinez, R/R, 9/1/1990
7 G, 25 AB, 6 R, 7 H, 2 2B, HR, 4 SB, CS, 3/3 K/BB, .280/.357/.480

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Danny Hultzen, 11/28/1989
0-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, 12/1 K/BB, 2/1 G/F, 2 PO

Those anticipating my usual dose of skepticism: not this week. Entering the game, Montgomery had the second-highest team OPS (behind Jackson) and the lowest strikeout totals in the league. They also beat up on Generals pitching later in the series. And then there was this. From the first through the fourth, Hultzen retired eight in a row, and seven of those were strikeouts. Everyone in the lineup struck out against him at least once. It was probably because he wasn’t getting those quick outs that he got the hook after six innings, having thrown 95 pitches. As the MiLB.com article noted, he’s only walked two in his last two starts, after walking more than three on average through the previous seven. Hultzen appears to be sorting things out and that means that he could be on the plane to Tacoma within a couple of weeks.

Pitching In, Missing In Mention:
RHP Taijuan Walker, 8/13/1992
1-0, 2 GS, 3.60 ERA in 10.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 9/3 K/BB, 8/7 G/F, WP, 3 HB

Late Inning Dominance Mention:
LHP Bobby LaFromboise, 6/25/1986
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.1 IP, 4/0 K/BB, 6/2 G/F

Extra Pitching Notes:
Hultzen topped the Prospect Hot Sheet this week and was a prospect of the day over at John Sickels’ Minor League Ball… Walker didn’t really have his good stuff on Sunday. Chris Harris reported that he threw 49 of 85 pitches for strikes and ran a 3/2 K/BB through five. … Paxton had some issues I’ll speak to below, so I’ll just leave it at the line: 2.2 IP, 4 R, 4 H (HR), 1/5 K/BB, 4/1 G/F… Maurer was decent this week, results-wise, though there were a lot of hits. 10.1 IP, 16 H (HR) 5 R, 12/4 K/BB, 10/7 G/F, 3 WP, 2 HB. I think that he’s coming around… Capps struck out seven in 3.2 innings this week. He also loaded the bases in the last inning he pitched on Sunday, but strikeouts. Strikeouts! He also hit 101 once, and 100 four times. Hat tip to Chris Harris’ twitter account, again… I don’t consider him a part of the big group of elite pitching prospects at the level, but Bobby LaFromboise has a .170 average against and nearly six times as many strikeouts as walks. Dang.

From the Training Room:
Initially, there was no corresponding move to compensate for Henriquez going elsewhere. I don’t know who the emergency catcher would be in that situation. Carter Capps? Eric Campbell? He’s done everything else. The move that did happen was that OF Daniel Carroll landed on the DL with a busted hamate not too long after OF Johermyn Chavez went on the DL with the same issue. The breaking of hamates is highly contagious. OF/DH Joe Dunigan came off the DL when the spot opened up, but he’d better be careful or his hamate might blow up too… Soon after that, SS Anthony Phillips was sent back to Clinton when Chiang came in and C/1B Andrew Giobbi joined the team to take over as the back-up backstop…. Regarding Paxton, there was this tweet from broadcaster Chris Harris to report:

Chris Harris @CHarris731
Generals starter James Paxton left tonight’s game in the third inning with a sore right knee. He will be evaluated tomorrow.

Harris added later that the knee had been bugging him for the past few starts, which explains the recent results somewhat. It also revives the earlier general concerns about Paxton’s health, not directly related to his arm, but the various nagging things that seem to affect him. He had tendinitis in his left knee during his final year at Kentucky as well. This time, it was the right knee and he’ll probably be sitting out the next start.

Strange Happenings:
Disaster innings happen. I’ve become accustomed to seeing them happen in High Desert, because it seems like one a year there’s a game in which thirty total runs are scored. That didn’t happen for Jackson, but for an inning, they felt it, as Montgomery sent fourteen men to the plate in the sixth inning on Saturday and scored ten… Gabriel Noriega has played in forty-three games. He has yet to get an extra- base hit… Franklin, meanwhile, hit .308/.419/.346 this week. Walkssssss… The Generals turned four double plays on Friday. This seems significant.

High Desert Mavericks (5-1 this week, 28-22 overall, 1st in CAL South)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 21st 2012
High Desert 8, Lancaster 2 (HOU + 1)
W: Gillheeney (4-1, 4.11) L: Doran (4-3, 3.62) S: Hudson (2)

Tuesday, May 22nd 2012
High Desert 12, Lancaster 8 (HOU 0)
W: Hobson (1-1, 6.75) L: Perez (3-1, 3.20)

Wednesday, May 23rd 2012
Off day

Thursday, May 24th 2012
Modesto 5 (COL – 1), High Desert 18
W: Elias (4-2, 3.19) L: Gomez (1-2, 5.79)

Friday, May 25th 2012
Modesto 4 (COL 0), High Desert 0
W: Matzek (3-3, 2.88) L: Fernandez (2-2, 3.73)

Saturday, May 26th 2012
Modesto 2 (COL – 1), High Desert 3 (twelve innings)
W: Burgoon (3-1, 6.14) L: Froneberger (3-1, 2.60)

Sunday, May 27th 2012
Stockton 5 (OAK – 17), High Desert 6
W: Raga (1-2, 5.28) L: Souza (0-1, 3.38)

Hitter of the Week:
C/LF Jack Marder, R/R, 2/21/1990
5 G, 24 AB, 7 R, 12 H, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, SB, 4/1 K/BB, .500/.500/.708

Marder’s April was clipped slightly by a DL stint. Strangely, it hasn’t slowed his bat any, since he was hitting .360/.422/.533 then and is batting .386/.421/.568 in May. The only sore spot is the fact that he seems to be walking less now, or, if you prefer, that there’s about a 350 point difference between his home and road OPS. I keep getting this weird thought in my head that he’s been seeing less time behind the plate now that he’s returned, but I see looking at the actual numbers that they’re still pretty committed to him as a catcher 50% of the time, it’s just that his DH starts have been scaled back by some additional appearances in left field. Behind the plate, he’s still running a 45% CS rate, though he has passed two balls, which isn’t exactly good for fourteen games. Here’s hoping that comes around with some additional reps.

A Cycle Mention:
2B Stefen Romero, R/R, 10/17/1988
6 G, 29 AB, 7 R, 13 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 7 RBI, SB, 4/2 K/BB, .448/.484/.689

Power Hitting (But Still Mostly Doubles, Except for the Grand Slam) Mention:
1B Mickey Wiswall, L/R, 11/25/1988
5 G, 22 AB, 4 R, 9 H, 4 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 5/1 K/BB, .409/.435/.727

Also Doubles Mention:
OF Mike McGee, R/R, 3/7/1989
5 G, 22 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 4 2B, 3B, RBI, 2/2 K/BB, .409/.458/.682

Walks in Nine Consecutive Games Mention:
SS Brad Miller, L/R, 10/18/1989
6 G, 26 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, SB, 5/7 K/BB, .385/.515/.538

Six RBI in One Game Mention:
C John Hicks, 8/31/1989
5 G, 23 AB, 4 R, 6 H, 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3/2 K/BB, .261/.320/.565

Walk Sometime, Ever Mention:
3B Mario Martinez, R/R, 11/13/1989
6 G, 27 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 2/0 K/BB, .259/.259/.592

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Austin Hudson, 1/6/1988
0-0, 2 G, SV, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H, 8/1 K/BB, 7/0 G/F

I fully expected that I’d be highlighting a starter this week, but then I looked at Huddy’s numbers and realized, yeah, maybe some other time. Once again, if you’re looking only at ERA, you’ll miss something with him, but tRA likes him better, or slightly better this year. More interesting to me are his rate states. Last year, he walked 7.5% of the batters he faced and struck out 15.2%. This year, much better, walking just 2.5% and striking out 22.5%. The discrepancy, and why things have looked worse, is because he’s allowing hits to 30.8% now whereas before it was 28.4%. In the overall scheme of things, however, this is a minor concern when you bring in park factors into the equation. When the Generals find themselves in need of a reliever (say, when Capps is promoted), I hope that he’s the first in line.

Alas, Run Support Mention:
LHP Anthony Fernandez, 6/8/1990
0-1, GS, 2.57 ERA in 7.0 IP, 7 H, 7/2 K/BB, 6/6 G/F, WP

Adjustments! Mention:
LHP Cameron Hobson, 4/10/1989
1-0, GS, 3.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 5/0 K/BB, 10/3 G/F

Technicalities! Mention:
LHP Roenis Elias, 8/1/1988
1-0, GS, 3.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R (2 ER), 7/3 K/BB, 9/1 G/F, BK

Clipped Start Mention:
RHP Taylor Stanton, 1/15/1988
0-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3/0 K/BB,7/1 G/F, WP

Recovery? #1 Mention:
RHP Carson Smith, 10/19/1989
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3/1 K/BB, 6/3 G/F

Recovery? #2 Mention:
RHP Angel Raga, 7/25/1989
1-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 IP, 2 H, 4/2 K/BB, 1/0 K/BB, 3/1 G/F, HB

From the Training Room:
The mystery of all the catchers on the roster was resolved somewhat when C Trevor Coleman was released on Monday. Bummer for him. Or an opportunity to go somewhere else and get more playing time. Or to pursue his dream of doing whatever his dream is that isn’t baseball-related.

Strange Happenings:
Mavericks starters, playing at home and in Lancaster, managed a 3.38 ERA for the week and if you take out the “shelling” of Gillheeney the second time around (four runs, three innings), it’s 2.57. Que? Here’s another consideration: at game time, on Monday, the wind was blowing out 19 mph to right field. On Thursday, it was 25 mph, 30 mph on Friday, and 25 mph again on Saturday. Be perplexed with me… Mario Martinez is about a month younger than Brad Miller. Mind: blown… The same day as Romero hit his cycle, Jonathan Arias gave up back-to-back-to-back home runs, which I don’t think I’ve seen since, I don’t know, Kevin Jarvis?… Mar Mar has walked once in May, spanning some ninety-odd plate appearances. I am right to complain.

Clinton Lumberkings (1-5 this week, 17-32 overall, 14 GB in MWL Western)

The Week in Review:
Monday, May 21st 2012
Quad Cities 10 (STL – 1), Clinton 6
W: Stock (3-0, 4.32) L: Cornwell (0-1, 7.11)

Tuesday, May 22nd 2012
Off day

Wednesday, May 23rd 2012
Clinton 11, Peoria 0 (CHC – 6),
W: Miller (2-3, 3.56) L: Rosario (3-5, 5.65)

Thursday, May 24th 2012
Clinton 3, Peoria 4 (CHC – 5)
W: Burke (1-2, 2.31) L: Hidalgo (2-6, 5.29) S: Wang (3)

Friday, May 25th 2012
Clinton 1, Peoria 3 (CHC – 4)
W: Suarez (1-1, 5.40) L: Dobbs (0-1, 1.69) S: Liria (1)

Saturday, May 26th 2012
Clinton 6, Burlington 8 (OAK – 6)
W: Urlaub (3-2, 3.60) L: Griffin (2-1, 2.30)

Sunday, May 27th 2012
Clinton 7, Burlington 8 (OAK – 5)
W: Macias (2-4, 6.28) L: Hunter (0-3, 2.22) S: Tyson (4)

Hitter of the Week:
DH/1B Dan Paolini, R/R, 10/11/1989
6 G, 21 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3/4 K/BB, HBP, .286/.423/.667

When he was drafted, the word on Paolini was that he would have to hit, and hopefully defend competently at second base or elsewhere (left field, perhaps) in order to be valuable. The early part of the season didn’t work well on either front: he hit .231/.250/.308 through ten games in April, then hit the DL, and since returning the needs of the roster have left him as a first baseman or DH most of the time. What he has done, at least this week, is hit, driving in four of the Lumberkings’ eleven runs on Wednesday with the aid of two dingers. For now, there seems to be a lefty/righty spit issue he’s having (.883 OPS vs. .624 OPS coming into Sunday) and he’ll obviously have to hit more if he’s not playing up the middle, but one can hope that this might be the start of something.

His Replacement at Second Mention:
2B Dillon Hazlett, R/R, 1/22/1989
5 G, 19 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 4 SB, 4/2 K/BB, HBP, .421/.500/.526

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Trevor Miller, 6/13/1991
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, 7/0 K/BB, 3/4 G/F

There’s something to be said for being able to work with adequate run support. Miller had two on the board waiting for him before he even took the mound, and responded by retiring the first six in a row. No one managed more than a single off of him and the relievers that followed him no-hit the Chiefs the rest of the way. I don’t actually know all that much about him beyond that he was a 40th-round pick and was the staff ace at San Joaquin Delta last season (California JuCo, for reference). What I’ve seen from him both in his college and pro career suggests to me more pitching ability than strikeout stuff, but he’s free to prove me wrong by doing this repeatedly and consistently.

Relief Heroics #1 Mention:
RHP Stephen Kohlscheen, 9/20/1988
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, 4 H, 8/2 K/BB, 3/1 G/F

Relief Heroics #2 Mention:
RHP Joshua Corrales, 5/25/1990
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, H, 1/1 K/BB, 5/3 G/F, HB

From the Training Room:
This was an interesting week, I guess. Busy, certainly. The first move was that RHP Benjamin Cornwell retired. Cornwell was signed as a NDFA out of Georgia last year and did all right for himself in Pulaski. After having a disastrous outing on Monday where he gave up four runs on two hits and two walks and took the loss, he retired. Usually guys who are trapped at the same level forever are the ones who end up retiring. Anyway, his departure meant that RHP Richard Vargas came in from extended. Around the same time, SS Bryan Brito, SS Ketel Marte, and OF Janelfry Zorilla were all sent back to Arizona, Phillips came back, and 3B Ramon Morla and LF Guillermo Pimentel were taken off the DL, which is only good news for us. Funny thing, as far as the league registers went, Morla was never on the DL. He just didn’t play for nineteen days without anyone noticing… Shipers left his start after 2.1 innings this week after taking a line drive off the leg.

Strange Happenings:
Shankin seemed like he might be in the running for POTW after he struck out nine in six innings on Monday. Of course, he also let three runs score on five hits, but that didn’t seem atrocious. Sunday, Sunday was atrocious. Four innings, seven runs (six earned), ten hits, a walk, two Ks. Yeah… Jamal Austin’s 37-game safely-reached streak finally ended on Sunday.


27 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (5/21-27/12)”

  1. stevemotivateir on May 28th, 2012 9:16 am

    I can’t help but wonder what the M’s would do if both Zunino and Buxton are available at #3. Highly unlikely, and I’d guess that Buxton would be their guy, but great catching prospects seem so much tougher to find. I would be excited if we could get either one of them!

  2. brian m on May 28th, 2012 10:03 am

    Is Correa on the radar for a draft pick? He looks like a five-tool guy who can stick at shortstop.

  3. stevemotivateir on May 28th, 2012 10:08 am

    ^I’d guess that any of those top 10 prospects will be getting a real hard look.

  4. sergey on May 28th, 2012 10:17 am

    Jay, what is your best guess if both Zunino and Buxton are unavailable? Who do you think M’s select then?

  5. Westside guy on May 28th, 2012 10:39 am

    Thank you, Jay. I am looking forward to your thoughts on the Mariners’ draft picks next week.

    It’ll also be nice when we get to see Hultzen at AAA. I imagine a number of AA teams agree…

  6. Jay Yencich on May 28th, 2012 11:09 am

    Correa is probably on the radar. He’s talented, sure, but I’m not hearing a whole lot about his plate discipline, which concerns me. If both of the top position players are gone, I don’t know that Correa is the best player on the board. If that’s the case, the best available is probably going to be a pitcher.

  7. maqman on May 28th, 2012 11:34 am

    If Buxton should be available to the M ‘s they would have to take him. If he’s gone my choice would be Giolito but doubt if he is theirs.

  8. Westside guy on May 28th, 2012 11:54 am

    Correa is probably on the radar. He’s talented, sure, but I’m not hearing a whole lot about his plate discipline, which concerns me.

    This may be a dumb question; in any case it’s meant as a legitimate question, not a snarky one.

    Do we have evidence that the people who make these decisions for the Mariners put a lot of weight on overall plate discipline? I know our big hackers came from the pre-Z era; but, when I see Z say something like “Peguero has the highest ceiling of anyone in the organization”, it makes me wonder about things like this.

  9. Farmer Cam on May 28th, 2012 12:17 pm

    Jay, I’m wondering if your assessment of Hultzen has changed since he was drafted. It seems like his command/control isn’t as good as advertised. On the flip side he’s missing bats and hitters are having a hard time making good contact off of him. Thoughts?

  10. just a fan on May 28th, 2012 12:23 pm

    Thank you, Jay. Have you heard if anything about Peguero’s approach has changed? Obviously we’ve all seen him look hopeless, but then, 9 HRs in 90 PAs.

    Same old Peguero, just mashing through the minors? Or NEW AND IMPROVED Peguero, who now might occasionally lay off a breaking ball at his ankles?

  11. Jay Yencich on May 28th, 2012 12:53 pm

    Do we have evidence that the people who make these decisions for the Mariners put a lot of weight on overall plate discipline? I know our big hackers came from the pre-Z era; but, when I see Z say something like “Peguero has the highest ceiling of anyone in the organization”, it makes me wonder about things like this.

    I feel like every time I see that quote I want to take it apart and make it say explicitly the things that I believe it to be saying implicitly, which is a roundabout way of saying that a thousand years ago I would be burned alive for heresy.

    Peguero does have the highest ceiling in the organization, if you’re talking about physical ability. “Ceiling,” on a purely conceptual basis, is something that we can talk of independently of skills. It is within Peguero’s physical capacities to hit thirty to forty home runs a year. There isn’t really any other player in the organization that can claim to have the kind of power he does, and if they’re close, they’re usually more flawed in other ways. It is accurate to regard Peguero as a “high ceiling” player, but that in and of itself says nothing about skills or risk.

    As for the organization’s emphasis on plate discipline, yeah, I do think that it’s emphasized. The draft has brought in more patient bats (someone could say that the international front is still lacking, but I’d add that it’s rare to find patient bats out there). Players that were already in the organization are walking more than they used to. Figuring out how to mitigate strikeout levels is another matter, because it can be really hard to teach a guy not to hack, but I think things are generally moving in the right direction.

    Jay, I’m wondering if your assessment of Hultzen has changed since he was drafted. It seems like his command/control isn’t as good as advertised. On the flip side he’s missing bats and hitters are having a hard time making good contact off of him. Thoughts?

    I expected better from him out of the gate, but it’s not too surprising that a pitcher that’s new to pro ball is having a transition period. I’ve heard rumblings that he wasn’t getting the calls he expected early on, but his command of the fastball and slider haven’t been the best either. My opinion of him hasn’t really changed all that much since the beginning of this season.

    Have you heard if anything about Peguero’s approach has changed? Obviously we’ve all seen him look hopeless, but then, 9 HRs in 90 PAs.

    Same old Peguero, just mashing through the minors? Or NEW AND IMPROVED Peguero, who now might occasionally lay off a breaking ball at his ankles?

    I’m going to defer to marc’s quote on this one, since I was just looking over his twitter account:

    “Marc W. ?@USSM_Marc
    People ask if [Peguero] looks different this year and my answer is he looks the same, only more so.”

  12. Chipanese on May 28th, 2012 12:56 pm

    Jay, any thoughts on Buxton’s plate discipline? Just like Correa, I haven’t really heard much.

  13. Jay Yencich on May 28th, 2012 1:03 pm

    Jay, any thoughts on Buxton’s plate discipline? Just like Correa, I haven’t really heard much.

    People probably don’t talk about it as much in his case because the quality of the competition is low and no one quite knows how to evaluate it. Obviously, he’s going to see better pitches when he turns pro, but I’ve heard that he has the ability to adjust the pitch, i.e., not try to do too much with it, so I’m hopeful for that particular skill to translate to plate discipline of some sort.

  14. Westside guy on May 28th, 2012 1:23 pm

    Cool – thank you Jay.

    Love Marc’s tweet BTW.

  15. Jay Yencich on May 28th, 2012 1:46 pm

    I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but Steve Baron has home runs in consecutive games. RH HR factor of 120 in Burlington though.

  16. just a fan on May 28th, 2012 2:59 pm

    Thank you, Jay. The weekly reports are the highlight of the M’s blogs!

    I guess Peguero needs to stop hitting dingers then. It’s so annoying that he’s still somewhat young and hits so many dingers, while being so terrible at everything else. What a teasing bastard.

  17. AndrewMcQ on May 28th, 2012 6:50 pm

    Apologies if you’ve already addressed this and I missed it, but Francisco Martinez, despite being underwhelming on the whole, has stolen 19 bases so far this season (including one today). I never thought of him as a guy with much speed, and of course minor league steal numbers can be deceiving. But he did not seem to run this much before. Any insight? Could he be a good basestealer at the major league level?

  18. Jay Yencich on May 28th, 2012 8:44 pm

    Francisco Martinez has good speed, and has always had good speed. It’s just that speed is probably not the trait most people are looking for in their third baseman, particularly when he struggles to hit otherwise. The main difference is that now he seems to be running more aggressively when he does get on, and running pretty smart as well, since previously his CS rates were high. My guess is that he’s improved his jumps or reads or something.

  19. bookbook on May 29th, 2012 5:35 am

    I can see a bunch of support pieces developing (anywhere from replacement to average) from this system, which is great. On the nonpitching front, it’s still a bit hard to pretend we have any stars a-brewing. Am I wrong–I hope I’m wrong.

  20. msfanmike on May 29th, 2012 1:15 pm

    No, I don’t think you are wrong at all, book-book. I wish you were.

    Franklin is probably the best position prospect the M’s have right now and there are questions about his ability to play SS at the MLB level. He also has some serious RHB issues as a switch hitter. He appears to get hurt a lot, too. Dunigan: No. Almonte: He just swung and missed again, so no! Catricala is probably going to have to repeat AAA and is struggling mightily there, now. The ACC conglomerate in High A ball and one in AA may or may not develop, but certainly none of them are of star quality. It appears there are a couple Catchers in High A ball that can hit a little, but in High Desert, who the hell knows for sure. Peguero has more unflattering nicknames than ability to stick on a MLB roster. He could easily hit 30 bombs but also strike out 220 times and commit a dozen errors in LF along the way. Triunfel is probably legite to make this team someday, but definitely not a star in the making.

    No, there are no stars a-brewing on the non-pitching front from what I can see. Ackley was the star prospect who was most recently brewing in the minors and Seager is a better player (now) than he is. Montero (who was brewed somewhere else) is the other. Smoak … please – someone get the Excedrin. If there was a AAAA league, he would be lucky to be average within it someday – if he improves a bunch from where he is now.

    Support pieces down on the farm in the future: yes. Stars – no, nary a one. Good call/observation on your part book-book

  21. Adam B. on May 29th, 2012 1:15 pm


    I would agree with your assessment but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. Our lower-levels may be devoid of any real “star” impact players, but that’s mainly because most of our young impact bats are already in the majors making adjustments.

    Most “star” players don’t spend much time in the lower minors anyway (Trout, Harper, Heyward, etc.) and it’s really just a matter of making the right draft picks when you have the opportunity to select someone with potential and hoping that one of your “long-shots” pan out every now and again.

  22. Adam B. on May 29th, 2012 1:18 pm


    I disagree with your assertion that Seager is a better player than Ackley at present. Results are variable and only a small faucet of judging a players ability.

    Ackley is a FAR superior hitter in terms of ability, regardless of the numbers so far.

  23. msfanmike on May 29th, 2012 2:04 pm

    Well, I hope you turn out to be right Adam.

    Seager can play more than one position – very well, has a better arm and a better glove. He is not as fast and although he is not projected to hit as well as Ackley (for average) – it is only a projection.

    Currenlty, they are neck and neck in that regard for their careers. I wasn’t referring to just “hitting.”

  24. darren_asu on May 29th, 2012 2:49 pm

    Hey Jay, thanks for the write-up as always. I’m a bit confused by your comment regarding Hultzen:

    “I expected better from him out of the gate, but it’s not too surprising that a pitcher that’s new to pro ball is having a transition period.”

    Now I’m sure there are some advanced metrics that you’re looking at when you make that statement…but to my untrained eye he’s outperformed expectations.

    He has a 1.59 ERA, 61 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched, and a 1.01 whip.

    Can you help shed some light please on what he’s doing that didn’t meet your expectations? I just want to understand as he’s one of the few bright spots I’m really counting on so I want to know if I should temper my expectations.


  25. eponymous coward on May 29th, 2012 3:22 pm

    Our lower-levels may be devoid of any real “star” impact players, but that’s mainly because most of our young impact bats are already in the majors making adjustments.

    And that’s Ackley, Montero and Seager. That still leaves you with zero OFers and 1B that are “young impact bats”.

  26. Jay Yencich on May 29th, 2012 3:54 pm

    To address the concerns of hitting prospects at lower levels, I’ll remind everyone that Julio Morban is 1) reasonably healthy 2) hitting better on the road than at home (still) 3) hitting left-handers 4) has close to a 1.000 OPS (still) and 5) has had roughly 40% of his hits go for extras. We still seriously need some outfield prospects that can hit, but he’s not doing bad for himself.

    Now I’m sure there are some advanced metrics that you’re looking at when you make that statement…but to my untrained eye he’s outperformed expectations.

    Hultzen was advertised as having pretty polished command of his offerings, but that’s something that we hadn’t seen really until the last two outings. There were times during the first month or two where his walks per nine were right there with Paxton, whom we knew to have command issues. That was the main area where he was lagging behind.

  27. bookbook on May 29th, 2012 9:42 pm

    Re: Morban – Even Nick Johnson had a healthy month or two in his career 🙂

    The system is great, and great fun to follow. I’m just hoping for a Harper or Pujols hidden amongst the potential Rich Dauers and Al Bumbrys.

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