Steve Delabar was sent down to AAA today. That’s not at all surprising considering that his 5.43 FIP is fourth highest among relievers who have thrown more than 20 innings. What is more intriguing is who could be replacing Delabar. The current … [visit site to read more]
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
Tags: carlos triunfel, Chih-Hsien Chiang, Darren Ford, Erasmo Ramirez, Forrest Snow, Francisco Martinez, Franklin Guiterrez, johermyn chavez, Luis Jimenez, Mariners General, mauricio robles, nick franklin, prospects, Ralph Henriquez, Roster Moves, Scott Patterson, spring training, Vinnie Catricala, Yoervis Medina
No baseball asset is quite as volatile as the minor league prospect. They come and go, some turning into Albert Pujols and others becoming the Brandon Woods and Corey Pattersons of the world. Yet fans continue to love their young stallions. We … [visit site to read more]
Last year, I did a write up on some of the under appreciated prospects in the Mariners system. I called it the Ryan Anderson Relief Squad. Despite being the one that picked the name, it bothered me. Most of the prospects I chose were guys that were under appreciated and though not all didn’t have very successful seasons, others did just fine and even one had a gigantic breakout season.
This year, I’m changing the name but am going to continue the tradition. The idea behind it is of course a dash of being an under appreciated prospect (in my mind) but even more than that these guys have a cult following for one reason or another. Most of them have a specific trait that is easily recognizable and could even get them to the big leagues. George Mieses throws hard, Jonathan Arias misses bats, Johan Limonta gets on base, Jamal Austin is electric on the base paths. The majority that make this list will probably go on to be AAAA fodder or even won’t even make it above AA. But then again they could be potentially be pretty successful ball players.
Ryan Anderson was a top prospect from the day he was drafted. He showed amazing physical abilities and proved them statistically. These guys… well this is the other side of the coin. This is the cult of Scott Savastano.
Tags: Andrew Carraway, Bobby LaFromboise, Cameron Hobson, Cult Of Scott Savastano, Efrain Nunez, gabriel noriega, George Mieses, Jabari Blash, Jamal Austin, Johan Limonta, Jonathan Arias, julio morban, Kyle Hunter, Luke Guarnaccia, Matthew Bischoff, mauricio robles, Reynaldo Sabala, Ryan Anderson Relief Squad, Scott Savastano, Stefan Romero, Willy Kesler
So wow, things have been hectic on my side and it’s caused things to go in a bit of a different direction. We had player cards created from 1-20 and Alex did a marvelous job on them. But with real life being… well… insane. We decided to can the cards for now and just go with the names and a mini scouting report.
If you enjoyed the player cards as much as I did make sure you let Alex know. We’ll be doing more with them for the spring watch list.
now as you know this watch list comes with a disclaimer.
Disclaimer: I have 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 and anywhere. 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 while incorporating their on field production. 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 recognition they are due in this organization that we love.
Tags: Andrew Carraway, Anthony Vasquez, Brandon Maurer, Carlos Peguero, Carson Smith, Carter Capps, Chance Ruffin, dan cortes, Erasmo Ramirez, Jack Marder, James Gillheeney, james jones, johermyn chavez, John Hicks, jordan shipers, Martin Peguero, mauricio robles, rich poythress, Top 100, Tyler Burgoon, Tyler Marlette
After looking at some of the different 2011 draftees I thought it high time to do a little update on the minor leaguers. Right now Keith, Griffin, Brett and I are comparing notes and we’ll have a new mid-season Top-100 out in a few weeks.
But until then I think that it’d be fun to look at some of my notes on guys this year. Because I’m about as unoriginal as they come I thought I’d copy off of Baseball America’s format.
I did leave off some of the obvious picks Taijuan Walker and James Paxton. We’ve talked an awful lot about them and while it’s been well deserved this is an opportunity to shine the light on some of the other deserved players.
Tags: Alfredo Morales, carlos triunfel, dan cortes, Forrest Snow, johermyn chavez, Luke French, Mario Martinez, mauricio robles, Minor Leagues, Phillip Castillo, rich poythress, Roman Morla, Stefen Romero, Vicente Campos, Vinny Catricala, Yoervis Medina
Just helping out fellow fansided site Seedlings to Stars. Writer Stephen Crociata takes a look at one of our own prospects, and one of my personal favorite, Mauricio Robles.
Mauricio Robles is a 22 year old left … [visit site to read more]
Over the weekend I wrote an article about Investing vs. Selling in relation to the Mariners 2011 season. Last night the Mariners won again and there is a lot of enthusiasm being spread about as to where this season could go. Now, I’m cautiously optimistic and think that with the division issues the Mariners could be headed for a third or even with luck a second place finish.
But the reality is they don’t have the present pieces to win the division. REPEAT AFTER ME: “The Mariners don’t have a real shot to win the division this year”. But as I wrote yesterday there is an opportunity.
If the Mariners want to take advantage of the situation presented they need to act quickly. While the Mariners are returning some key pieces to the 25-man roster in Franklin Gutierrez (this past week), Shawn Kelly (sometime soon) and will eventually see the arrival of prized prospect Dustin Ackley this team is still in need of upgrades in order to have a legit chance to win the division this year.
Jason Churchill wrote about this late last night/early this morning. I agree with his premise in that there is a pretense that the Mariners aren’t 80+ win team right now. But, there lies the potential to grab a few pieces and in enough time those pieces could make the difference between the Mariners winning 77 – 80 games to 85+ games.
I like a few of the names on Churchill’s list (Kubel/Ludwick/Nix) for a variety of different reasons.
The problem that I see with going after the possible upgrades in left are that Carlos Peguero has been making good progression at the major league level. This season was suppose to be about giving the young guys a chance and he has been hitting things extremely hard, taking walks and not striking out too much. While it’s a small sample size and he has been swinging way (WAY) too much at pitches out side the zone there is still potential there. I’m more for giving it time than going for any .
As for upgrading third base and Chone Figgins there isn’t much out in the league that works here. Sure you could go for an Aramis Ramirez but he costs prospects and the Cubs aren’t going to give up one of their “perceived” big bats for nothing. That said I’d feel uncomfortable about acquiring him at this point. While he’s a fit for someone like the Indians, Athletics or Blue Jays (should they stay in the mix) his skill set isn’t very conducive to Safeco. It’d be a repeat of Adrian Beltre, only in my mind worse.
Instead of acquiring someone I would either attempt to trade Figgins or just bench him in lieu of Luis Rodriguez. I think Rodriguez could potentially offer some upside that is cheap being internal and he is also a switch hitter. There has been a growing “#FreeLuisRodriguez” hash on twitter and I suspect it will only continue at this point. It also allows the Mariners to use Adam Kennedy as a pinch hitter for Brendan Ryan/Jack Wilson.
As Jason Churchill explained in his article there are a few reasons to hold onto Jack Cust. While he isn’t hitting home runs he’s not a black hole either and is still producing. I personally hold onto him. Maybe he comes around and you don’t have to make a move.
After I said that the Mariners have to act quickly it doesn’t seem like I think there are a lot of moves to make, right? Well, if the Mariners wanted to make a move these are two that I support.
Prior to the jump understand that I preface this with that fact I’m in favor of holding pat seeing what happens. I’d prefer to get something for Bedard and try not to push guys like Pineda and Ackley too far or hard.
But if Jack’s job depends on it and they feel they have to go for the division this year this is how I’d do it.
Tags: Adam Moore, Adrian Beltre, Alex Gordon, alex liddi, Aramis Ramirez, Blake Beavan, Brandon Maurer, brian moran, Carlos Peguero, dustin ackley, Franklin Gutierez, gabriel noriega, Geovany Soto, greg halman, James Gillheeney, james jones, Jonathan Hesketh, josh fields, luis rodriguez, Luke Scott, Mariners General, Matt Kemp, mauricio robles, Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, miguel olivo, nick franklin, prince fielder, rich poythress, Yoervis Medina
Cesar Jimenez is optioned to Tacoma.
Tom Wilhelmsen, Josh Lueke, Aaron Laffey make the team.
It’s offical Franklin Gutierrez is on the DL but is eldigable to come off as soon as April 6th (the day I see the Mariners play the Rangers *fingers crossed*).
In order to free up a roster spot Mauricio Robles will go on the 60-day DL.
The Mariners also announced yesterday that the starting rotation is going to be Felix, Vargas, Fister, Bedard and Pineda.
While not entirely assumed we all kind of had an idea that this was how it was going to shape up. The only problem I really have with it is of course the fact you have Bedard and Pineda back-to-back. This has the potential to tax the bullpen over the course of the season.
Rather than pitching the lefties (Vargas then Bedard) back-to-back they have chosen to put Fister in the middle. It’s obvious that the Mariners are going to limit both Bedard and Pineda’s innings this year and that’s smart. It just seems that it would also be smart to play into a situation where you elveate stress on a bullpen that despite the additions of Chris Ray, Lueke and Wilhelmsen looks to be rather thin.
Tags: Aaron Laffey, Cesar Jimenez, chris ray, Doug Fister, erik bedard, Felix Hernandez, franklin gutierrez, Jason Vargas, Josh Lueke, Mariners General, mauricio robles, Michael Pineda, Tom Wilhelmsen
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.
With pitchers and catchers practicing already, we can officially say that spring training has begun. I always love spring training. It’s not quite like NFL training camps where every team is superbowl bound, but it’s still a fun time full of optimism. I thought I’d get us started with this year with a list of 5 myths about spring training that I see fans continue to believe every year.
Myth 1: Everyone invited to camp has a shot of making the team. It seems unfair to say, but it simply isn’t true. Highly touted prospects often get invited so they get a taste of big-league camp and get to rub shoulders with the major leaguers. That way, they won’t be so awestruck when they do finally get their chance.
There are also players invited to camp simply to relieve the strain of playing and practicing every day from those that are are on the roster already. This is especially true for non-roster catchers. They are only here because there’s simply way too many bullpen sessions and spring training innings for the 2 roster catchers to deal with alone. We all know that Olivo and Moore are going to stay on the roster. Even if Moore starts the year in Tacoma only one one of the 3 non-roster guys will make the team, and it’s like that the management already knows who that’ll be. The others will have to take a minor league assignment and wait for someone to fail or get hurt.
It’s important to note that every team does this. It’s why the M’s wont worry about losing Josh Bard when they send him to Tacoma at the end of the spring. There are 27 other Josh Bards out there who are also getting assigned to AAA affiliates.
Myth 2: Pitching stats matter, at all. I hate to break it to you, but they just don’t. Pitchers are mostly trying to get their arm in shape and stretched out, finding their release point and control, and occasionally trying to develop a new pitch. They aren’t always trying to get people out. Also, watch the mph on most players fastball during the spring. it usually starts out about 5 mph below what it’ll be on opening day and slowly increases as they pitch their arm into shape.
Evidence of this myth is everywhere. I especially love it when fans get all worried because a pitcher get “rocked” in spring training for 7 ER in 2 innings of work, though when if you watched the game you’d see that they threw only fastballs on the inside corner the entire time because they were trying to lock in their release point for that pitch. If that’s what they’re doing its not like they’re fooling any hitters.
Myth 3: Hitting stats can be used to determine if a player is ready for a big league call-up. There’s at least one of these stat lines every year in every camp. Last year the M’s had one, and the year before that there was 2. Let’s face it, I don’t care if Tui hits .400 again this spring for the third year in a row. He’s got a career wOBA of .241, and was worth -1 wins above replacement in 2010. He’s just not going to be a big league hitter.
Spring training in 2009 also had OF Mike Wilson hitting 8 HR. I can still remember reading all the blog comments by those were were completely angry that Wilson didn’t make the big league club out of spring training. The M’s obviously disagreed with those fans, and thought so highly of his performance that he was sent all the way down to AA. There, he played well enough to get a AAA call up, and then fell flat on his face to the tune of am OPS of .555 and .258 wOBA. It took another year before he finally figured out AAA pitching. It’s been 2 full years, and he now finally ready to compete for a roster spot.
Myth 4: Kicking the tires on an old vet that’s not likely to make the team is taking at-bats away from young players. I’ll admit, this one makes a little sense on the surface. There’s only so many innings and at-bats to be had, right? Well, not really. The problem is that at the beginning of spring training, pitchers never go more than 2 innings. This means that it takes 5 pitchers to get through a game, and often 6 or 7. It’s actually difficult for team’s to find enough players to handle all the innings in those early games. Also, by the time the starters are going 4-5 innings and relievers are pitching on consecutive days, plenty of cuts will have been made to make up for the lessened need for pitchers. Besides, if there is a point where there’s not enough innings to go around, there’s always minor league spring training games that can be used.
The same, although to a lesser extent, is true for position players. I read somewhere a few years ago that coaches only like to have players have 2-3 at bats in spring game to take what they’ve been working on in the cages and try it out versus live pitching. Any more and the lessons from batting practice get lost amongst attempted in-game adjustments. (for the record, I spent quite a while today looking for the original article an couldn’t find it. If someone wants to show off their google skills and find it for me, I would be most appreciative.) By the end of camp, when most of the cuts have been made, there’s actually too many inning to go around. Just watch. I can almost guarantee you that at some point in the last week of camp, there will be some random non-roster minor leaguer playing the 7th through 9th innings of a game just so the M’s can field a complete team.
Myth 5: Team’s shouldn’t bother with older players who are “done,” no matter how much money they are still owed. I read this one a lot. This year player in question is Milton Bradley. I have to say, this is a line of thinking that really doesn’t make any sense. Players rebound after bad years. It happens. If you’re going to pay them anyways you might as well see if they can turn it around. Otherwise, they’ll turn it around for another team, and you’ll be stuck paying for another team’s success. It’s not like you’re out anything for giving them a chance. (see Myth 4)
Jarrod Washburn in 2009 is a great example. After a couple of mediocre season a lot of fans wanted him to be cut. Jack Zduriencik disagreed and Washburn had a decent first half before being traded for Luke French (a 5th starter candidate) and prospect Maurico Robles.
I introduced this prospect list over at Far From Port prior to my arrival here at Sodo Mojo. It’s based off my own thoughts and is my own creation. So basically if you disagree with it blame me not any of the other guys.
I live am stationed in Montgomery, Al. So I get the opportunity of seeing these guys come through the minor league system. I’ve seen guys such as Adam Moore, Alex Liddi, Nate Tenbrink, Carlos Triunfel, Matt Mangini, Nick Hill and Matthew Lawson all over my time here in Montgomery and I hope to see more this year.
I really created this in the effort that we (as a Mariner community) can follow prospects over the course of the year. The goal will be to update it over the course of the year. Giving us a map that we can all follow the success and failure of these young guys with a dream.
I’ll be releasing the next tier this Monday (2/14) and I hope to have the second half released sometime early March.
|2||Dustin Ackley||22||2B||(1) Draft 2009||(AAA)Tacoma|
|3||Nick Franklin||19||SS||(1) Draft 2009||(AA) Jackson|
|4||Taijuan Walker||18||RHSP||(1) Draft 2010||(low A) Clinton|
|5||Guillermo Pimentel||18||OF||IFA||(Short Season) Pulaski|
|6||Mauricio Robles||21||LHSP||Trade (tigers)||(AAA)Tacoma|
|7||Johermyn Chavez||22||OF||Trade (blue jays)||(AA) Jackson|
|8||Kyle Seager||23||INF||(3) Draft 2009||(AA) Jackson|
|10||Dan Cortes||23||RHRP||Trade (royals)||Seattle Mariners|
|11||Blake Beavan||22||RHSP||Trade (rangers)||(AAA)Tacoma|
|12||Marcus Littlewood||18||SS||(2) Draft 2010||(Short Season) Everett|
|13||James Jones||22||OF||(4) Draft 2009||(A) High Desert|
|14||Ramon Morla||21||3B||IFA||(low A) Clinton|
|15||Josh Lueke||26||RHRP||Trade (rangers)||(AAA)Tacoma|
|16||Ji-Man Choi||19||C/1B||IFA||(low A) Clinton|
|17||Nate Tenbrink||24||LF/3B||(7) Draft 2010||(AAA)Tacoma|
|18||Stephen Pryor||21||RHRP||(5) Draft 2010||(A) High Desert|
|20||Carlos Triunfel||20||SS/3B||IFA||(AA) Jackson|
|21||Rich Poythress||23||1B||(2) Draft 2009||(AA) Jackson|
|22||Esteilon Peguero||17||SS||IFA||AZL Instructs|
|23||Vince Catricala||22||3B/1B||(10) Draft 2009||(A) High Desert|
|24||Carlos Peguero||23||RF||IFA||(AA) Jackson|
|25||Jordan Shipers||18||LHSP||(16) Draft 2010||AZL Instructs|
Here is the minor league progression chart
|(A) High Desert|
|(low A) Clinton|
|(Short Season) Everett|
|(Short Season) Pulaski|
Tags: alex liddi, Blake Beavan, Carlos Peguero, carlos triunfel, dan cortes, dustin ackley, esteilon peguero, greg halman, guillermo pimentel, james jones, Ji-Man Choi, johermyn chavez, jordan shipers, Josh Lueke, kyle seager, marcus littlewood, mauricio robles, Michael Pineda, Minor Leagues, Nate Tenbrink, nick franklin, Prospect Listings, Ramon Morla, rich poythress, Stephen Pryor, taijuan walker, Top 100, Vince Catricala
The starting rotation was considered a strength of the 2010 Mariners, and with good reason. With Felix, Cliff Lee, Fister and Vargas all pitching very well in the first half of the season, the M’s should have been unbeatable. Clearly that wasn’t the case. Now with Lee gone, and Fister and Vargas looking more normal in the second half and less like their first half selves, is there any hope for 2011?
Felix Hernandez: No reason to say much about Felix here. He’s the staff ace an the likely 2010 Cy Young award winner. He’s a guarantee when it comes to the 2011 rotation.
Jason Vargas: Vargas surprised most of us with a strong 2010. Vargas had tremendous success early in the year and then faded as the season wore on. The reason for this fade is up for debate and depending on which side you believe will decide what you think his 2011 prospects are. Was it just too many inning and a tired arm, or simply regression to the mean after a hot stretch? We’ll see. Unless he’s included in a trade for a bat, I can’t imagine a scenario where Vargas isn’t in the 2011 rotation coming out of spring training.
Doug Fister: Fister’s 2010 mirrored Jason Vargas’s season, but was more extreme. He lead the league in ERA for 2 months before a tired shoulder landed him on the DL. After returning from the injury, he never recaptured the magic he’d had. Fister doesn’t overpower anyone, and instead relies on pinpoint control. It seemed like he simply never found his release point after returning from the DL, and thus his results suffered. I expect Fister to be given a chance to show that the start of his 2010 season wasn’t a fluke.
Ryan Rowland-Smith: 2010 had to be torture for RRS. In 2008 he showed great promise in the bullpen and then got a chance to start and did quite well. In 2009, he was slated to start the year in the rotation, but was injured in spring training, started the year on the DL, and then waited in Tacoma until June before getting his chance. After that, he was perhaps the most consistent starter on the team in 2009 that wasn’t named Felix. 2010 was supposed to be RRS’s time to finally spend an entire year in the rotation and get him a chance at the big bucks. It didn’t happen the way he’d planned. Instead he got shelled over and over until eventually losing his rotation spot and getting sent to the bullpen. His WAR of -1.6 and FIP of 6.65 aren’t going to win him any more chances. Rowland-Smith’s prospects for 2011 are probably the most difficult to figure out.
David Pauley: Taylor discussed Pauley in great deal in this post. I won’t go into detail here. He’s a replacement level player and should not be in the M’s long terms plans.
Luke French: French is a difficult pitcher to figure out, and I don’t mean that from the perspective of opposing hitters. I’m referring to me trying to decide if he’s actually a big league caliber starter. He’s only 25, so he could still improve. In 17 starts for the Rainiers he led the team in innings per start and had a respectable 3.63 FIP, but the M’s looked to David Pauley first when a rotation spot needed filling. Once French got called up and got the chance to join the M’s rotation, he could only manage a 5.29 FIP and his -.2 WAR, meaning he wasn’t even replacement level. In those starts, he had a few impressive starts, and balanced those with some really poor starts. What 2011 holds for French is anyone’s guess.
Ryan Feierabend: Remember him? You know, that soft throwing lefty starter who made his Mariners debut at age 21? If the answer is “no”, I don’t blame you. He’s now 25 and still hasn’t recovered from his 2009 elbow surgery. While his promise as a MLB pitcher was debated, he did look like he’d develop into a MLB starter before the injury. I expect him to be given every opportunity to show he can come back. That said, He still looks bound for Tacoma for much, if not all, of 2011.
Micheal Pineda: Started 2010 in AA and dominated his way to a AAA promotion. In 12 starts for Tacoma his ERA and inning totals weren’t all that impressive, but his 76 SO to just 17 walks is a sign that he is bound for great things. The M’s have said that he will get a shot at the 2011 rotation in spring training, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he’ll be given a few starts in Tacoma before making a late may/early June debut.
Mauricio Robles: Got the call up to AAA at roughly the same time an Pineda, and while his innings per start and ERA ended up better than Pineda’s, his 34 SO to 20 walks shows that he has much further to go. If I had to guess, I’d say that Robles looks more like he’ll a eventually be a relief pitcher. (but what do i know, I thought Fister would never be a legitimate starter either) He likely won’t come up to the M’s before September as a starter, though if the team moves him to the bullpen it could be much sooner.
Blake Beavan: This isn’t a name that many M’s fan are familiar with yet, but they will be soon. Beavan came over in the Cliff Lee deal, an since his name wasn’t Lueke or Smoak, he got overlooked. The 6′7″ 21 year old shows great promise, but is still a year away. I’m a little concerned by his SO/9innings totals that he’s shown to this point, but his young age means there’s hope.
Garrett Olson: Although he did get 6 starts in Tacoma in 2010, Olson spent a good part of 2010 in Mariner’s bullpen, and given the fact that there are many more talented players to choose from when picking the 5th member of the rotation, I’d expect him to stay there.
Andrew Baldwin/Chris Seddon: I had to look to find out why these 2, who both looked strong in Tacoma this season are never talked about as prospects. It didn’t take long to figure out. They are 28 and 27 respectively. Both are old enough that you can’t expect them to develop further. They simply are what they are, replacement level players. If we see either in Seattle in 2011, it’ll be because of injuries, either that or I’ll be very very shocked.
Overall Analysis: The M’s have just 3 legitimate MLB starters right now in Felix, Fister and Vargas, and the latter two are likely back of the rotation type guys. There are also 3 very good looking prospects in Pineda, Robles, Beavan who should all make an impact on the MLB team by mid season 2012. There’s also interesting story lines in RRS, French and Feierabend, though none of those 3 are likely to make a lasting impact on the M’s rotation.
*Prediction Guaranteed to be Wrong: Reports state that the Mariners are in the market for a starting pitcher this winter, and while that might be true based on the talent on the roster, I’m going to ignore those reports and hope that the M’s spend every last penny available to upgrade their historically bad 2010 offense. With that assumption in place, and the fact that Felix, Vargas and Fister seem like locks for the rotation, that leaves 2 spots that need filled. Since there isn’t a better option, I’ll throw in Pineda even though above I said June was more likely. For the 5th spot it would appear to be Rowland-Smith or Luke French, though you never know, Pauley might be given a chance as well (and this all might be just temporary while the team waits for Robles or Feierabend).
To pick between the 3 of them, I decided to let my cat choose. I put out 3 cat treats, one for each player and waited to see which she found and ate first. Apparently my cat thinks Luke French will start the year in the rotation, and who am I to argue. It should be noted that the silly feline still hasn’t bothered to eat the one dedicated to Rowland-Smith. I’m not sure what that means about his future with the Mariners, but it can’t be good, right?
* I wanted to make it clear that any predictions I make are made with a simple “tongue in cheek” level of seriousness. This is not an attempt to look into my crystal ball (which i don’t have) and use my psychic powers (which i also don’t have) and make any sort of real prediction. The fact that I routinely use a coin flip, or as was the case today when I simply let my cat decide, you should know not to take them seriously.
Tags: Blake Beavan, David Pauley, Doug Fister, Felix Hernandez, Garrett Olson, Jason Vargas, Luke French, Mariners General, mauricio robles, Michael Pineda, ryan feierabend, Ryan Rowland-Smith, seattle mariners
SoDo Mojo: Seeing as the M’s are to get the 43rd pick in the 2010 MLB draft, is there anyone in particular you’d advocate for the M’s to get their hands on at that point?
Jay Yencich: Talking about the draft at this stage is a pain, particularly because the M’s aren’t going to be selecting until the middle of the supplemental round. One year of a track record for McNamara is not enough to figure things out on, and the M’s could easily bust slot for their pick if someone good slips, and someone always does. You hardly ever know who it will be.
Some people have been asking me if there are any catchers beyond Harper, but there aren’t too many, and none are likely to slip to where it would be a good idea for us to pick them, to say nothing of the fact that drafting for need, particularly drafting a catcher for need, is an awful idea in baseball. Ideally, we should pair Moore with a better gloveman in the future and wait for him to get better, but that’s me getting sidetracked there.
If the left-handed and baseball rat trends are ones that you expect to continue, Garin Cecchini might be a name at third among the prep prospects. One concern though is that he tore his ACL in the spring and I don’t know how Mac feels about drafting recently injured prospect versus how Fontaine felt.
Alternatively, we might see some outfield bat slip to us. No, that’s probably not going to be Josh Sale, but Drew Vettleson, also known as the state’s switch-pitcher, might be another possibility for a local guy. More likely, I’d expect them to look into college guys, but I don’t know that Brandon Bentz sounds like their type of hitter because he’s a bit too streaky, and with regard to priorities, I don’t know how they’d feel about picking up another Kyle Parker, this one being a bit more football oriented than the first. The draft is stronger on CF, but I don’t know that it’s what makes sense for us.
I kind of feel like I want a pitcher in there though, so I’d also consider southpaws like James Paxton of the famous NCAA disputes, if he’s looking all right in the indy leagues, or Sammy Solis, who fits the good guy, hard worker profile, and may fit better in a program with a heightened emphasis on conditioning. The ranks are loaded with right-handed pitchers too, so you might see someone like a Peter Tago, Asher Wojciechowski (may be more of a Fontaine guy, may not drop that far), or Brett Eibner as a two-way if he slips.
As you can see, this isn’t nearly as easy to talk about as it was last year.
SoDo Mojo: Do you see Mauricio Robles sticking in the rotation for the long haul or ultimately becoming a reliever?
Jay Yencich: One thing people should never lose sight of when looking at Robles is that he had pitched all of three hundred innings, ever, coming into this season. He wasn’t even a pitcher when the Tigers signed him, just some strong-armed outfielder that they threw the dice on off the mound and came up looking pretty good.
I don’t think that making judgments on his endurance is something that we can easily do yet because he’s worked up slowly, from sixty-nine, to ninety-one, to 123.2 last year. We’ll see where he ends up after this year in that regard.
Command is going to be the big thing for him to get on track, or get back on track rather. He walked eight in April and is already up to fourteen in May. It’s enough to keep a little gunshy on him for the moment. The other thing is that he needs to get to the point where his change-up is more of a weapon against right-handers. But mostly, it’s the command that’s going to make or break him. A few weeks ago, I would have said he was going to make it, but now I’m not so sure after the last couple of outings.