The Mariners lost on Friday. They lost yesterday. This is a website that mostly covers the Seattle Mariners, but sometimes things happen that are so insane outside of the major league level that the need to be written about.
The Mariners A+ affiliate is in High Desert, California. This team plays in the California League, where the fields are crap, the air is thin, and offense is high. This is especially true in High Desert, where batters have notoriously gone completely bonkers when they pass through. For a marginal hitting prospect, playing for the Mavericks is probably where they will put up the best line of their careers. The Mavericks have eight hitters with a wOBA of at least .367. That's with a minimum of 180 PA. Open it up even further, and even more hitters join the group. Using something raw, Jabari Blash comes in last in that group of eight with an OPS of .863.
The Mavericks put up 10 runs in the first inning. Then they put up 10 more in the second. After two innings, the score was 20-1. Blair Walters of the Lancaster JetHawks had a 135.00 ERA for the night, giving up 10 ER with his two outs. Mike Hauschild would have had the same fate, but five of his ten runs allowed were unearned. The Mavericks only managed to squirm out 10 more runs over the course of the game, and ended up with a 30-8 victory. Somehow, this affair only took 3 hours and 22 minutes.
- Every Maverick got at least one hit.
- Anthony Phillips was the only player with one hit, but it was a three-run homer.
- Seven of nine had three hits or more.
- Nathan Melendres had six hits, but only two RBI.
- The Mavericks went 14 for 28 with RISP.
High Desert has a park factor (runs) of 120. Some people have lamented that the Mariners should move their affiliate away from High Desert, saying that it gives a skewed perception of how talented these players are. It makes them hard to evaluate their true talent levels, and while road splits can offer some help, you're cutting the viable sample size in half. This is a gripe among fans, because most can't see these players with their own eyes, and while top prospects often skip over High Desert completely, some of the more questionable guys (Julio Morbon, for example), make stops there and put themselves on the radar. Occasionally they can hit after High Desert and occasionally they can't. It's not that different than any other level of minor league promotions, but there's a perception that it is.
So today I ask of you, loyal Lookout Landing-ers, what are your thoughts on having a minor league affiliate in a hitter's paradise? Does it make it hard to evaluate offensive breakouts, and does it unfairly harm perceptions of pitchers? Would it be more fair if their A+ affiliate was in another city? The contract with High Desert runs through 2014 after a two year extension last season. To the poll!