Programming note: Due to small samples and the desire of the community (thank you all so much for the input last week), I'm only going to provide pitching numbers for the top two levels of the system. Moving forward, on a bi-weekly basis, I will include two weeks of pitching stats for the entire system. Is this too wonky? Should the entire thing be bi-weekly? Should I just do everything each week, small samples be damned? Please leave a comment on what you'd like to see.
Aside from the quick start to the season for Everett, the system had a down week in the won-loss category. The Venezuelan Summer League squad was undefeated, but I'm not typically going to dive into those numbers in these reports. Being undefeated is awesome, though, right?
System at a Glance
|Seattle Mariners (MLB)||@LAA L 11-3||@LAA W 3-2||@LAA L 1-0||@LAA L 10-9||OAK L 6-3||OAK W 7-5||OAK W 6-3||3-4|
|Tacoma Rainiers (AAA)||@SAC W 7-5||@COL L 4-1||@COL W 16-4||@COL L 12-11||@COL L 8-3||FRE L 2-1||FRE W 5-4||3-4|
|Jackson Generals (AA)||@BIR L 1-0||-||MOB L 8-6||MOB W 5-2||MOB L 5-1||MOB W 10-5||MOB W 9-3||3-3|
|High Desert Mavericks (A+)||-||-||-||@BAK L 3-2||@BAK W 6-3||@BAK W 13-8||@BAK W 9-8||3-1|
|Clinton LumberKings (A)||-||-||-||@BUR W 11-6||@BUR L 7-3||@BUR W 5-4||@BUR W 9-5||3-1|
|Everett AquaSox (A-)||TRI W 5-4||TRI L 8-4||TRI W 4-3||-||HIL W 6-5||HIL L 7-1 / HIL W 3-1||HIL W 6-5||5-2|
|Pulaski Mariners (ROK)||-||-||-||@BUR L 2-1||@BUR L 4-0||@BUR L 2-1||BLU W 10-5||1-3|
|AZL Mariners (ROK)||-||-||-||@PAD L 3-2||PAD W 8-7||ROY W 6-3||@ROY L 4-3||2-2|
|DSL Mariners (ROK)||@DSL TB L 2-1||@DSL AST L 10-3||DSL AST L 6-2||DSL ATH L 9-4||@DSL ATH L 7-4||DSL IND W 7-1||-||1-5|
|VSL Mariners (ROK)||@VSL DET W 5-2||VSL TB W 8-1||-||@VSL PHI W 6-5||VSL CHN W 8-2||VSL DET W 6-3||@VSL TB W 6-2||6-0|
Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers
We've got a couple small samples this week as I refuse to include Robert Andino, regardless of how well he hit. Not that Jason Jaramillo is a prospect by any means, but at least we're not sick of seeing that guy, am I right?
Brad Miller missed a few games after having a fingernail torn off, but he came right back swinging and has extended his hit streak to 19 games. It'll be interesting to see how much longer he stays down in Tacoma. Much of it has to do with his defense still needing refinement. The M's are probably looking for a trade partner for Brendan Ryan because he has no future here. If and when they find it, Miller should be up. Maybe sooner, even. I don't see the need to force the issue when he clearly has an area that needs refining, though.
Paxton is on a nice little run. He's got some things he needs to work on if he's to be a starter long term, but we're not talking about a guy with a ceiling as a number five or a long reliever. I'd still peg his upside around a number two or three with his floor being a good set-up guy. So, if you love James Paxton as a starter, don't give up on him yet. He will spend time in a major league rotation and he might even end up pretty decent at it.
This might be the most we've seen Romero scuffle all season. I'm interested to see how quickly he can bounce back as I tend to think higher of him that some others. If he goes into an extended slump, there could be some concerns about scouting reports and regression catching up. Still, I think he has handled the conversion to the outfield well. He's not getting tremendous jumps on balls out there, but he doesn't look like a disaster either. He's athletic, but not a center field candidate. So the biggest question may have to do with him hitting enough to profile as a corner outfielder.
Double-A Jackson Generals
Unlike last week, there were plenty of guys to pick from for a top three. I could have easily included Ramon Morla, too, with his sparkly 1.038 OPS, but that was all slugging and small sample mirage. Wait, I'm talking to the wrong crowd by minimizing slugging, aren't I?
Julio Morban is probably ready for Tacoma. The kid is just raking this season. He's now leading the Southern League in batting and was just named its player of the week for the line you see above. With the M's issues in the outfield, he'd be a nice late-season call-up if he can move along and keep hitting for an extended period in the PCL. His .450 BABIP screams that regression is coming, but I see no problem with finding out how he can handle better breaking balls and such in Triple-A. No, I'm not advocating he be rushed up. Just a cup of coffee with a few at-bats if he earns them come September.
There just aren't many more words needed for Taijuan Walker at this level. If all goes right, this will be the last time we talk about his stats with Jackson. Help me in doing the no-rain dance so I can see him tomorrow at Cheney Stadium. Video, stills and GIFs will be your reward.
The duo of Landry and Almonte are examples of guys who ripped up High Desert only to come back down to earth in the more neutral Southern League. Both are in their age 23 seasons, so some improvement would be nice to see before too long.
Almonte was probably promoted to Tacoma prematurely this season after not really setting Jackson on fire in 2012. At nearly 25, though, and with the issue the big club has faced with outfielders, I can't say it was an awful idea to see what they had in him. He's at an even 100 trips to the dish since returning to Jackson and still running a batting average below .200.
Oh, right. This is why small samples of pitching on a weekly basis may be a bad idea for these pieces. While we're here, though, come on Chance. I said such nice things about you last week. You're our last hope of salvaging anything from that trade, bro. Let's pick it up, yeah?
High-A High Desert Mavericks
I'm going to give a consolation mention to Steven Baron for hitting .308 on the week and putting up an .846 OPS despite nary a walk to go with his six whiffs during the stretch. despite being a non-prospect at this point.
None of these three are having particularly good seasons down in the High Desert bandbox, so I suppose there shouldn't be much of a surprise here.
Low-A Clinton Lumberkings
Jabari Blash only had nine at-bats last week, so I didn't include him in the High Desert section despite a nice line. Jabari Henry put up an even better line down in Clinton. I only bring this up because there's something extremely awesome about the Mariners having two players named Jabari so close to each other in their developmental stages. Who knows if one or both will ever make the big leagues, but I keep hoping Henry will force his way up to High Desert. If I'm in their marketing department, I create "All Your Jabari Are Belong to Us Poster Night." Pixilate their faces, hand out a few posters for the kids. Maybe no one would get it. I would, though. So, yeah.
The good news is that these were the only two hitters on the entire team to have a bad week. The bad news is, holy crap, what is going on Taylor Ard? After a decent pro debut last year with Everett, Ard is struggling a bit. He's running a .231/.324/.356 triple slash line through 238 plate appearances this season with Clinton. Of his 30 punch outs, 25 have come swinging. Last season it was 38 swinging strikeouts to 16 looking. We don't have reliable contact rates for these lower minor leagues, but I think that tidbit tells us plenty about Ard's area of needed improvement.
That's a pretty funny line for Peterson with the super low batting average. Justin Seager is going to be awesome because he's a Seager and already has doubters. Remember when people thought Kyle's upside was as a utility guy? Don't count a guy with that bloodline out is all I'm saying. They'll make you look foolish.
Jamodrick McGruder has the most awesome name ever, and even though he is repeating this level and may never be anything, I'm going to root like heck for him just because of his name. How's that for some low minors, small sample analysis?
I really didn't know much about Lawson, so I googled him. I found his twitter page. I now owe you all an apology for linking it should you decide to read.
Notes Amongst the Rest
Danny Hultzen made what was probably his last rehab start in the extended spring AZL. He tossed five frames -- facing 18 batters -- allowing only three hits and no walks while striking out eight. Neither Aaron Harang or Jeremy Bonderman had a disastrous start this week, so maybe they both stick around? So, if the M's are going to play Russian Roulette with those two, Tacoma's rotation could soon have all five of Hultzen, Walker, Paxton, Raimirez and Brandon Maurer. The pitching depth starts to showing questions marks as you head further down the minors, but that's not a bad crop of guys to see on the cusp of the bigs all together in one spot.