This week, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com compiled the top 100 prospects in the league. The Mariners’ farm system ranked near the top of both the American and National League, with three prospects in the top 25 and five players in all.
Here’s a brief look at each of Seattle’s top five prospects:
2013 Top 100 Prospects rating: 5
2012 Top 100 Prospects rating: 4
The most lucrative name of the Mariners’ Big Four (Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, and Brandon Maurer), Taijuan spent his third MiLB season with the Double-A Jackson Generals. Over 25 starts and 126.2 IP, he finished with a 4.69 ERA, allowing 50 walks, 12 home runs, and striking out 118 of 550 batters.
CBS Sports highlighted the 20-year-old last August: “In the end, he knows the Mariners are looking out for his long-term success — something they believe will come. One scout told CBSSports.com, “I never like to anoint guys, but he’s special.”
Walker’s special because of his physique, the fact he throws an easy high-90s fastball and the curve and change up are developing. But more than that, the team loves his work ethic and his maturity.”
2013 Top 100 Prospects rating: 18
2012 Top 100 Prospects rating: 8
Although Walker’s potential is considered tops in the Mariners’ organization, the southpaw Hultzen has been drawing attention as well. He advanced to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers’ staff in 2012, posting a 5.92 ERA in 12 starts and 48.2 IP. While generating a walk rate of 17.9%, he allowed just two home runs to 240 batters.
Mayo had this to say about Hultzen: “The biggest surprise was a loss of control (he finished 2012 with a 5.4 BB/9 rate), something that was a plus for Hultzen coming out of the University of Virginia. Most see that as a blip on the radar and still feel his stuff and pitchability should have him ready for the big leagues very soon.”
2013 Top 100 Prospects rating: 23
2012 Top 100 Prospects rating: 44
With the loss of John Jaso and Miguel Olivo this offseason, fans have turned an eager eye to the development of Mike Zunino, a hot-hitting backstop who jumped from short-season single A to Double-A in his first minor league season. At 21 years old, Zunino projected numbers like those of Jesus Montero (albeit at a bit slower pace), batting .333/.386/.558 in 15 games with Jackson, picking up 7 XBH, 8 RBI, and an OPS of .974.
On his mid-season call-up to the Jackson Generals, Prospect Insider’s Jason Churchill wrote the following: “Zunino, the top college bat in a class lacking depth in that area, generally receives average or better grades across the board, including receiving, blocking and throwing, and offers above-average-to-plus power with the bat.
He understands the game of baseball and knows how to catch. He has leadership skills, big-league makeup and as one scout put it early on draft day, “he has that vinegar, that extra gear of effort and feel that makes you want him on your team.”
2013 Top 100 Prospects rating: 47
2012 Top 100 Prospects rating: 29
Shortstop Nick Franklin is on the rise to the majors, completing his fourth minor-league year with half a season in Triple-A. In 2012, he hit .243/.310/.416 in 64 games and 296 PA for the Rainiers, collecting 7 home runs, 29 RBI, and 24 walks along the way. Although his starts were split evenly between second base and shortstop, Franklin has notched almost three times as many games at short in his minor league career.
Mayo’s analysis, per MLB.com: “A switch-hitter who has been much better from the left side thus far in his career, Franklin has a good idea at the plate with a good approach. The ball can jump off his bat thanks to his bat speed and he has more power than one would expect. His solid speed plays up because he has very good instincts on the basepaths.”
2013 Top 100 Prospects rating: 61
2012 Top 100 Prospects rating: 74
The Mariners’ last prospect on the list is LHP James Paxton, another member of the Big Four and the oldest of this group at 24 years old. He has two seasons of Double-A ball under his belt: from 2011 to 2012, his ERA jumped from 1.85 in 39.0 IP to 3.05 over his first full season of 106.1 IP. In 21 starts, he struck out 110 batters of 453 and allowed just 5 home runs to 54 walks.
An early report from Project Prospect projects Paxton as one of the Mariners’ regulars in the near future: “Paxton is raw for his age but he is also a rare talent. If he is able to harness his raw stuff, he could wind up being a No. 1-2 caliber starter and be a important part of a great future Mariners rotation. He could force his way up in 2012, but 2013 is a reasonable time to expect him to solidify himself as a big leaguer.”
Who do you want to see called up to Seattle in 2013?
The Peoria Javelinas have quickly ascended to the top of the Arizona Fall League with just over three weeks left in offseason play. While the collective progress of the club means little, the contributions by budding minor league Mariners continue to increase.
Current record: 9-4
Play of the week: Last Tuesday, Nick Franklin recorded his third consecutive multi-hit performance, going 3-for-4 against the Mesa Solar Sox with a base hit and pair of RBI doubles in the Javelinas’ 4-2 win.
Top player: Over 6.1 IP and four appearances, right-handed reliever Carson Smith has allowed three hits and a single run. He earned his first win in his AFL debut, shouldering a hit, a run, and a walk in the Javelinas’ 5-2 win over the Surprise Saguaros.
Honorable mention: Despite a faulty start against the Phoenix Desert Dogs on Saturday, with four hits, four runs, and two walks released in 1.2 IP, James Paxton racked up 13 strikeouts in his first two weeks—good for third-most in the AFL. Currently, he holds a 5.87 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in three starts and 7.2 IP.
Ryan Anderson, Ryan Christianson, Chris Snelling, Antonio Perez, Clint Nageotte, Jose Lopez, Travis Blackley, Jeremy Reed, Jeff Clement, Phillippe Aumont, Greg Halman, and Adam Moore. I’m guessing that you have heard some of those names, and I’m guessing you have never heard quite a few of those names. Is this just a random list of players? NO. It’s a list of past Seattle Mariner prospects that made Baseball America’s top 100 Prospect list.
That’s right, these names were once thought to be the future stars of the Mariner organization, yet as we know, none of them really worked out. Sure, Lopez had a few good years before dropping off the face of the earth, and a few other guys have bounced around from team to team and from AAA to the majors for years, but none of them have actually had good major league careers.
As fans, we often look at promising young players and simply expect them to fulfill their potential. I know that I am quite guilty of this. In some of my past articles, I have discussed prospects as if they were sure things, while in reality they are a long ways from being major league caliber players.
In this article, I am going to look at the prospects that we have in our system that have made the 2012 Baseball America top 100 prospects list, and then give a list of past prospects of the same position that have been at similar ranks on past Baseball America lists. This will hopefully put in perspective just how unreliable prospects truly are.
I admit, this is not a perfect analysis of how likely our current prospects are to make the majors, but it will still give a broad comparison to past players that you can use.
The Mariners to make the 2012 list were Jesus Montero (6th), Taijuan Walker (20th), Danny Hultzen (21st), James Paxton (52nd), and Nick Franklin (77th).
Jesus Montero (6th)
We know that Jesus has already made the majors, but that doesn’t mean that he will have long-term success there. Here is a list of catchers who cracked the top 20 from 2010 to 2000.
- Buster Posey (2010, 2009)
- Carlos Santana (2010)
- Matt Wieters (2009, 2008)
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2006)
- Joe Mauer (2005, 2004, 2003, 2002)
- Victor Martinez (2003)
As you can see from this list, not many catchers have been ranked in the top 20, but the ones that have made it that high have experienced success. That’s pretty encouraging for the future of Jesus.
Taijuan Walker (20th)
I will include all right-handed prospects that ranked from 15th to 30th.
- Jeremy Hellickson (2010)
- Casey Kelly (2010)
- Kyle Drabek (2010)
- Jacob Turner (2010)
- Rick Porcello (2009, 2008)
- Chris Tillman (2009) Note: The Mariners sent Tillman along with Adam Jones to the Orioles in the Erik Bedard Trade.
- Jerrod Parker (2009)
- Wade Davis (2008)
- Nick Adenhart (2008) Note: Adenhart was tragically killed in a car crash after just four major league appearances.
- Adam Miller (2008, 2007, 2005)
- Yovani Gallardo (2007)
- Mike Pelfrey (2007)
- Matt Garza (2007)
- Bobby Jenks (2006)
- Chad Billingsley (2005)
- Jeff Niemann (2005)
- Jose Capellan (2005)
- Edwin Jackson (2005)
- Dustin McGowan (2004)
- Gavin Floyd (2004)
- Chin-Hui Tsao (2004, 2001)
- Angel Guzman (2004)
- Ervin Santana (2004)
Felix Hernandez (2004)
- Jeremy Bonderman (2003)
- Adam Wainwright (2003)
- John VanBenschoten (2003)
- Rafael Soriano (2003, 2002)
- Rich Harden (2003)
- Dennis Tankersley (2002)
- Nick Neugebauer (2002)
- Jerome Williams (2002, 2001)
- Jon Rauch (2002)
- Jake Peavy (2002)
- Boof Bonser (2002)
- Juan Cruz (2001)
- Bobby Bradley (2001)
- Donny Bridges (2001)
- Matt Belisle (2001)
- Kurt Ainsworth (2001)
- Josh Becket (2000)
- A.J. Burnett (2000)
- Brad Penny (2000)
- Tony Armas (2000)
- Ramon Ortiz (2000)
- Francisco Cordero (2000)
This is a very large and diverse list of pitchers. Some of these guys, such as Gallardo, King Felix, and Wainwright are some of the best pitchers in baseball. On the other hand, some of these guys never did anything in a major league uniform. Most of them, however, have had decent major league stints which is encouraging.
Danny Hultzen (21st)
Here are all of the lefty pitchers from 2010 to 2000 that ranged from 15th to 30th on the Baseball America list.
- Martin Perez (2010)
- Aroldis Chapman (2010)
- Tyler Matzek (2010)
Brian Matusz (2009)
- Jake McGee (2008)
- Gio Gonzalez (2008)
- Clayton Kershaw (2007)
- Franklin Morales (2007)
- Jon Lester (2006)
- Jeff Francis (2005)
- Mike Hinckley (2005)
- Cole Hamels (2004)
- Sean Burnett (2003)
- Cliff Lee (2003)
- Carlos Hernandez (2002)
- Ty Howington (2002)
- Chris George (2001)
- Matt Riley (2000)
- Wilfredo Rodriguez (2000) Note: Wilfredo may be the coolest name ever.
Wow, that is a very strange list. Nearly all of these guys fall into one of two categories: 1) stud 2) total bust. Honestly though, can anyone say that they have heard a baseball player with a cooler name than Wilfredo? If you have, please put it in the comment section below.
James Paxton (52nd)
All lefty pitchers that have placed between 45th and 60th on the Baseball America lists will be included in this list.
- Casey Crosby (2010)
Ross Detwiler (2008)
- Donald Veal (2007)
- Chuck Lofgren (2007)
- John Danks (2007, 2006, 2005)
- Troy Patton (2007)
- Jonathan Sanchez (2007)
- Adam Loewen (2006)
- Jeremy Sowers (2006)
- Scott Elbert (2006)
- Justin Jones (2004)
- Mike Hinckley (2004)
- Andy Sisco (2003)
- Mike Gosling (2003)
- Mario Ramos (2002)
- Jimmy Gobble (2002)
- Mark Phillips (2002)
- Joe Torres (2001)
- Wilfredo Rodriguez (2001)
- Mike Bynum (2001)
- Ed Yarnall (2001)
- C.C. Sabathia (2001)
Well that list of players is downright disturbing, if not devastating. If you can honestly say that you have heard of over half of the names on this list, then I am impressed. Besides Sabathia who has had a great career, John Danks and Jonathan Sanchez who have had their ups and downs, and Wilfredo Rodriguez who has the best name in baseball history, there aren’t many bright spots on that list. This is not to say that James Paxton won’t be a good pitcher, but history certainly doesn’t seem to be in his favor.
Nick Franklin (77th)
I will include both shortstops and second baseman in this list, since it is unclear where Franklin will end up. All prospects that were place from 70th to 85th on past prospect rankings will be included in this list.
- Jiovanni Mier (2010)
- Adrian Cardenas (2009, 2008)
- Reid Brignac (2009)
- Jed Lowrie (2008)
Note: Carlos Triunfel was ranked 89th on the 2009 list and 62nd on the 2008 list.
- Alberto Callaspo (2007, 2004)
Note: Current Pirates second baseman, Neil Walker was placed at 74th on the 2007 rankings, but he was listed as a third baseman. He was also listed as 81st in 2005, but his position was catcher that year.
Dustin Pedroia (2006)
- Cliff Pennington (2006)
- Joaquin Arias (2005)
- Brandon Wood (2005)
- Jose Lopez (2004)
- Chase Utley (2003)
- Jake Gautreau (2002)
- Orlando Hudson (2002)
- Luis Montanez (2001)
- Marcus Giles (2000)
- Adam Everett (2000)
Note: Carlos Guillen was ranked 73rd on the 2000 list, but was posted as a 3rd baseman. However, Guillen played every infield position throughout his career.
This list has a couple studs scattered across a sea of busts. A lot of these middle infielders that didn’t work out never really made the majors, but since Franklin is already knocking on the door, that’s seems to bode well for him avoiding the same fate.
Mike Zunino was not a Mariner when the 2012 top prospect list was released by Baseball America, but MLB.com released an updated top prospect list in which Zunino ranked 44th. Therefore, I will list past catching prospects that ranked from 35th to 50th on Baseball America lists.
- Derek Norris (2010)
Jason Castro (2010)
- Jesus Montero (2009)
- J.P. Arencibia (2009)
- Jeff Clement (2008)
- Geovany Soto (2008)
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2007)
- Russell Martin (2006)
- Neil Walker (2006)
- Brian McCann (2005)
- Dioner Navarro (2004)
- Guillermo Quiroz (2004) Note: Quiroz was in the Mariner organization, but not on the 40-man roster, until being traded for cash in September.
- Jeff Mathis (2003)
- Josh Phelps (2002)
- J.R. House (2002)
- Joe Buck (2002)
- Ben Patrick (2000)
- Matt LeCroy (2000)
- Jayson Werth (2000) Note: This IS the same Jayson Werth that is now a star outfielder for the Nationals.
- Steve Lomasney (2000)
The recent prospect to made this list have experienced quite a bit of success while the members of older lists struggled more. Hopefully this trend will benefit Zunino.
My purpose for this article was not to discourage your hope in our future, but to simply give some perspective of just how unpredictable these young prospects can be. As fans, we need to make sure we aren’t counting our eggs before they hatch and basing our future on kids that may or may not work out.
The all star break is always a good time to stop and evaluate a season. It’s easy to just see at the 36-51 record and call it a bad season, but let’s look at the specific goods and bads from the season thus far. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many goods, so I will start with them.
Felix (most of the time)
Other than June, when he posted a 4.45 ERA, Felix has been phenomenal. Our only all star has an ERA of 2.67. Sure, his fastball hasn’t lit up radar guns like he used to, but Felix is still a great pitcher with electric stuff. I wouldn’t worry about our king.
Wells and Saunders
Going into the season, most people didn’t want to give Michael Saunders a chance, but a Franklin Gutierrez injury opened up a spot for Saunders, and he has done well. His 20.9 line drive rate has far exceeded previous seasons, and his .320 BABIP has been stellar as well. Saunders has also tacked on eight homeruns and thirteen stolen bases.
Wells started off slow, but since heating up in July, he has hit .340 with three homeruns in 20 games. He has also been one of the few guys who have hit better at home than on the road. Both Saunders and Wells have performed beyond expectations, and will hopefully continue to do so in the second half of the year.
Justin Smoak’s month of May
Smoak’s year has been very discouraging, but the month of May was bright. In that month, he hit .255 with six homeruns and eighteen rbis. A year at this pace would amount to 36 long balls and 108 runs batted in. May was the only month that I felt we were seeing what Smoak is actually capable of. I know the other two months of the season for Smoak was abysmal, but at least we have seen a glimpse of Smoak’s capability.
Jaso came over from Tampa in return for a AAA reliever in Josh Lueke, but he has turned out to be much better than a seventh reliever. He has provided a solid bat off the bench and also a good option behind the dish. He is hitting .267 in 135 at bats, has drove in 21 runs, and has nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Considering what the M’s gave up for Jaso, he has been a quite pleasant surprise.
The struggles of Brandon League forced Tom Wilhelmson into the closer role where he has excelled. In 39 appearences, the former bartender has earned a 2.44 ERA, seven saves, and seven holds. His curveball has also provided some comical reactions from batters.
Furbush and Leutge
Furbush didn’t start on the major league roster, but when the lefty got his chance, he turned into a reliable option in the bullpen. In 36.2 innings of work, the southpaw has posted a 2.21 ERA, .148 opponent average and, more impressively, a .818 WHIP. Unlike most Mariner pitchers who excel at home and struggle on the road, batters are hitting just .114 off of Furbush in visiting ballparks.
Luetge’s role in the bullpen this year has been very specific, and he has become an excellent lefty specialist. Left-handed batters are hitting just .140 off of Luetge this season. 52 lefty batters have stepped into the box against Luetge, and only six batters have gotten hits off of him, none of which were extra-base hits, while sixteen have struck out.
The Big 3
The trio of young prospects have had a great first half of the year, and Hultzen and Walker were both invited to the MLB Futures game where they each made appearances. In AA, the three have posted a 16-10 record and ERAs of 1.19, 4.50, and 3.46. They each have also struck out an average of more than one batter per inning. Hultzen has been the only arm to be promoted to AAA Tacoma, but the other two aren’t far behind.
Time to take a look at the countless bads of this season.
It didn’t matter if Ichiro was batting third or first, he hardly hit at all. His .288 OBP was miserable and he didn’t show any of the power that Wedge had hoped to see in the middle of the order. There is nothing more to say than that Ichiro’s 2012 campaign has been a major disappointment.
As discussed earlier, Justin Smoak had a phenomenal month of May in which he showed the ability that Jack Z thought he was getting in the Cliff Lee deal. However, the other two months of the year have been discouraging. In March, April, and May, Smoak has batted a mere .171 with 5 long balls and 14 rbis. That’s production deserving of a demotion to AAA. If the Smoakamotive doesn’t figure out his swing in the second half of the season, he will quickly find himself out of a spot in the future of the organization.
Beavan and Noesi
2012 is the first full season for each of these two young pitchers. They each earned spots in the starting rotation out of spring training, but they have each had horrible first halves and have been sent back to AAA. Beavan’s ERA was 5.92 until he was demoted to Tacoma. He also had an average of 1.73 homeruns per game which is a shocking number considering how many games he pitched in Safeco Field.
Noesi’s record this year is 2-11. He has lost eleven games in seventeen starts. While this can be blamed on Seattle’s inadequate offense, Noesi has still had a miserable season. His ERA is fifth to worst in baseball, his FIP is worst, xFIP third to worst, and HR/9 the worst as well. Just consider that; a pitcher who has the luxury of throwing in Safeco Field has given up homeruns more consistently than any other pitcher in baseball. THAT’S EMBARRASSING. That’s Hector Noesi.
Ackley set high expectations for himself hitting .273 in his rookie season, but his sophomore campaign has been drastically worse. His average has dropped 40 points, his OBP 37 points, and his slugging percentage has dropped 92 points. Even Ackley’s line drive rate has also fallen a bit. Unlike Smoak, Ackley has plenty of time to become a good hitter, but this year has certainly been a major setback in the course of his career.
The injury bug has been everywhere in the Mariner’s locker room. It started in the spring training with Franklin Gutierez and continued in the opening series when Mike Carp went down. Even the young players like Stephen Pryor and Erasmo Ramirez have been struck by injuries. Kevin Millwood was pulled from a game in which he was throwing a no-hitter due to a muscle strain.
Mike Carp (when healthy)
Carp has only been able to play in 32 games because of injuries, but when he has played, he has been horrible. His average is just .157, he has struck out in over a quarter of his at bats, and his LD% is 15.5%. The only good thing about Carp’s season at the plate has been his 14.3% walk rate which has escalated his OBP to just two points below Ichiro’s.
In 2011, League was an all-star closer. In 2012, he has been a save blowing machine. He has blown six saves and has five losses in 39 appearances. Not only has League lost several games for the Mariners, but he has erased a once great trade value.
Here are just a few of the highs and lows of the first half of the season. I may have forced a few of the goods and ignored many of the bads, but sometimes you have to do that as a Mariner fan. Let’s hope we have more good things to talk about when the season ends.
Tags: Blake Beavan, Brandon League, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Danny Hultzen, dustin ackley, featured, Felix Hernandez, Franklin Gutierez, Hector Noesi, Ichiro, james paxton, John Jaso, justin smoak, kevin millwood, Lucas Luetge, Mariners General, Michael Saunders, Mike Carp, Popular, taijuan walker, Tom Wilhelmson
Well as Bryant just reported, Hong-Chih Kuo has been released by the Mariners. His struggles this spring are too bad, I and too wish the best for the guy.
Now … [visit site to read more]
Tags: carlos triunfel, Cesar Jimenez, Charlie Furbush, Danny Hultzen, Erasmo Ramirez, George Sherrill, hong chih kuo, james paxton, kevin millwood, Mariners General, mauricio robles, Munenori Kawasaki, nick franklin, Popular, spring training, Vinnie Catricala
There has been a lot of talk about Prince Fielder and supposedly there is talk that “this” maybe the week that we may start to see some real action on a supposed deal. I suppose it’s possible, really anything is possible. But, we really don’t know when and where he’ll sign and while I don’t like to compare anyone to Manny Ramirez, simply because he’s what we like to refer to as “special”, Prince Fielder could wait out a deal until spring training. Again, anything is possible.
But I started reviewing the rumors that are out there and sizing things up.
It’s commonly believed, those whom write the said rumors, that the Mariners are very much in the mix with the bidding and will attempt to go the distance to sign him. While money isn’t so much the issue, again, “supposedly”, there seems to be common belief that outside the dollar bill, the Mariners don’t have much to offer Fielder and have more “against” them than for them.
I like arguing. My mom thought, when I was 8 years old, I was destined to become a lawyer. Yeah, that didn’t really work out and come to think of it, I’m not sure why… that’s a thought for a different time. What I would like to present is some reasons outside of the ‘ol might buck, why Prince Fielder may actually consider the Mariners.
Okay, I’ve been fighting the to make a splash all season, all off-season. I’ve been about developing the talent and cultivating the internal youth rather than adhering to the masses as they preach about making a said big splash. But you all convinced me.
There are few talents out there that equal out to what he can produce, and it’s not like there are many if any that often available so I say you dive on the grenade and just pull the trigger. I’m not saying whatever the costs because let’s face it people, if you are willing to pay X immedately then Y just became the new price tag.
Sure, he doesn’t have the prototypical ”baseball players” body and that scares away teams –I also believe it’s why he hasn’t seen much in the way of teams getting into a bidding war for his talents– but it doesn’t mean that he can’t play or that he’s guarenteed to age badly. He’s an incredible athlete for a man of his size. Not to mention quietly being one of the better hitters in the National League.
So here is my plan to nab the Mariners the much needed piece they need for the 2012 season and beyond.
Well here we go. It’s been 2 months of hard work and there is still work to be done on the back half of the 50 but everyone here at this site has spent a lot of time watching video, writing up reports, giving opinions, arguing doing graphics and it’s finally here.
Our Mid-Season 2011 Top 100 Prospect Watch list.
I can’t say enough about the work that Keith, Alex and Adam have done to help me put this together. It’s been so very helpful and over the top. I couldn’t have put this together without them.
Disclaimer: I said it previously with the initial list and I’ll repeat it now. This is an arbitrary list and there is room for argument just about everywhere. But, we’ve done it enough internally and this is what we came up with.
This list is not done professionally. We all freely admit that we are amateurs and that this has been done entirely in recreation and the majority of it was compiled by using information that has been posted elsewhere and is freely available for others to find themselves. I nor anyone else is claiming this is a better product than what anyone else has done and it’s most importantly in an effort to give some of these players the credit and due that the players in this organization deserve.
Okay with that all said and out of the way here is the Top-10 prospects of our Top-100 watch list. Every Tuesday and Friday we’ll be releasing the next 10 in an effort to drag this out as long as long as possible while you continue to care less.
Are you read?
I made a comment the other night on twitter that there wasn’t much room for an upgrade on this team. That’s kind of a stupid thing to say. I mean of course there are room for upgrades to make on the team. I’d dare say you could most likely upgrade every position but two on this roster.
But, I made the comment more out of the respect for where we are as an organization and with the encompassing youth that are not only near to contributing but many of them with the team now.
I’ve seen many comments far and wide across different blogs that talk about upgrades and they talk about prospects and I get the feeling that sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that someone youthful, without an ESPN or Baseball America prospect stamp can’t make an impact on a team.
Well, after about five days and 1500+ miles on the road across 4 states in 3 different stadiums I’m back. It would seem that there would be a few things I kind of missed out on the last few days, huh? It’s amazing how little and yet how much can happen over a short amount of time.
While you’ve heard everyone else touch on everything that’s gone down I’ve not really gotten to talk about anything so this is where I’d like to rehash the last five days doing so the only way I know how: bullet point thoughts!
Tags: Adam Moore, Albert Pujols, Carlos Peguero, chaz roe, dan cortes, Derek Lowe, dustin ackley, edward paredes, erik bedard, Felix Hernandez, George Sherrill, greg halman, james paxton, Jason Varitek, Jose Cruz Jr, Jose Reyes, Josh Bard, justin smoak, kyle seager, Lance Lynn, Mariners General, Matt Carpenter, Michael Pineda, nick franklin, prince fielder, taijuan walker
This year the Minor Leagues kind of got off to a slow start with a few guys not hitting very well and our pitchers just haven’t pitched very well. But I thought it was time to high light some of the things that have gone well so far this season.
All numbers are taken at the end of the day on Friday…after the jump.
Tags: alex liddi, Brandon Maurer, carlos triunfel, Daniel Carroll, dustin ackley, Erasmo Ramirez, Forrest Snow, Jabari Blash, James Gillheeney, james paxton, kyle seager, Mario Martinez, Mike Carp, Minor Leagues, taijuan walker, Vincent Catricala
So like you read everywhere else the Mariners made the first move of the spring. Yada, yada, yada. It’s not very interesting. Liddi, Robles, Peguero, Chavez, Petit and Paxton. We can all pretty much agree we aren’t surprised by any of the moves, at least in the sense that none of them were going to make the major league squad.
A couple of things that I take away:
A) No Paxton vs. Big Leaguers
Jeff Sullivan kind of already touched on this. Not only will there be no pitch/fx, but really what I was much more intrigued with was to see where he was against big league hitters. I don’t expect him to fair very well. But just seeing how hit stuff plays will tell us a lot of where we can expect him to start off.
Personally I expect him to see him in High Desert. But, that’s just me. I’ll have more on Paxton sometime next week.
B) It’s good to see both Liddi and Chavez assigned to the “next step” in the organization. Most of the time it’s assumed that the next tier is just where they’ll end up. But after talking with Chris Harris it surprises me at how uncertain that these things really are.
I’m happy about Liddi making the team. I kind of wondered if he might be pushed to AA just because of the clogging at third base in AAA between Matt Mangini and Matt Tuiasosopo. But, I guess it’s less surprising after the coaching staff told Tui that they wanted him to only focus on LF/1b.
The most overlooked and under appreciated statistic posted by Johermyn Chavez this past year was his BB. Regardless of if you believe in some or none of the stats posted by Chavez in High Desert, he took steps forward. It’s undeniable that Tommy Cruz really helped him out a lot this past year and it should be interesting to see how he fares against AA pitchers. One thing that has caught my eye is how he has struggled against breaking pitches this spring. Obviously the power is real, but whether or not he makes contact is the issue. His contact rates have improved and while they are still not great there is hope. It’s even more promising that he is growing more patient and seeing more pitches.
C) Prepare yourself: Mauricio Robles is most likely is a bullpen arm. I think that’s the first time I’ve typed that sentence out or even said it out loud. It’s part of the reason that I’m a little surprised that he didn’t stick around longer for the Mariners to take a look at possibly using him in the bullpen. But, I guess we have enough NRI’s that should potential be able to fill the bullpen to at least start the year.
Robles becoming a bullpen arm isn’t an absolute certain and going to Tacoma gives him at least an opportunity to show that he build some consistency. But I also expect for him to improve upon his first going around with the Rainiers. At the time of his promotion he had already thrown more innings/pitches than he had in any other year. He may have just been running a little low in the tank and while he had been inconsistent in West Tennessee it was to a greater extent after he was promoted. His K/BB dropped tremendously (2.30 to 1.70).
I expect to see some marked improvement in Robles consistency. That said as one of the few remaining believers that Robles is a starter I’m seriously beginning to crumble. Right now all I can say is that I’m really not sure what the future holds for him and if he ends 2011 in the Mariners bullpen I won’t be surprised.
D) Carlos Peguero being assigned to Tacoma isn’t a complete shock but I had actually been thinking that it’s more likely that he would be assigned back to Jackson. He really struggled in July/August and even with some bad luck in July he still struck out a lot.
But, looking at a few things and talking with some people I understand that he was struggling with an assortment of nagging injuries and he improved his pitches per at bat as well as his total walks per plate appearance.
Like Chavez he has a great amount of power but again he struggles with breaking pitches. Jason Churchill referenced scouts that said he looked lost in certain at bats over last summer and that’s disappointing but may not completely tell the whole story.
There are still reasons to like him Peguero and while he isn’t the best prospect in the world he still has a pretty favorable ceiling that includes the possibility of being an every day outfielder with tremendous amount of power regardless of how incredibly unlikely that is.
I may change my tune after month or two in Tacoma once we have more data but right now I remain hopeful that Peguero could still turn out to be something.
But remember that’s just how I view things. The glass is half full.
E) Yusmeiro Petit is a AAAA pitcher. But just so you realize that over last year he managed a K/9 8.3 BB/9 2.4. He has some good command and can miss bats with a few of his pitches. He seems to have some issues with home runs and fly balls. As a right-handed pitcher Safeco doesn’t suppress fly balls as much as lefty but it’s still possible that with a move Petit could be a useful middle reliever.
The Mariners must have thought that as he has over 31 2/3s IP as a reliever and ironically it’s when he struggled the most during the 2010 season.
I don’t believe the 27 IP as a starter and the 2.51 FIP as his true talent level. But I don’t believe that it’s 5.63 FIP as shown in his 31 2/3s innings. It lies somewhere in between. If you consider the fact that he’s posted a career 48% FB percentage and a career xFIP around 4.80 (I use that opposed to his FIP since being a flyball right hander and pitching three years in Arizona his HR/FB ratios are going to be skewed) I think in the bullpen you could see the suppressed to around 4.20.
I think a Scott Linebrink reference could be in order. Sergio Romo, Juan Gutierrez as well as the Cubs James Russell aren’t bad comparisons either. Flyball righties that have some swing-and-miss stuff have value, maybe not much but there is some.
Before jumping all over me understand that putting him in the pen takes away a poor change-up and allows him to put more emphasis his big curveball that has shown him success (compareable to the Brewers and Carlos Villanueva). It’s just a thought. I’m not saying this guy turns around and becomes a lights out reliever. I’m just saying he could be worth just as much as some of the NRI’s we have in camp.It should be interesting to see if he at least gets a shot this year.
Note: It’s also important to remember that Petit came into camp late so while he may of had an opportunity he may just be behind in work and with an option available so the Mariners would rather see him in Tacoma then lose an NRI.