I'll admit it - I think Patrick Kivlehan is the most interesting Mariner farmhand, by far. This is a guy who played college football for years, decided to switch to baseball, played one year, and was instantly the best player in his conference. He got a late start, or he might be a superstar right now - who knows. But the ability to adapt and learn quickly, first evidenced in his rise to Big East dominance in such a short time, has been on display at every level of the Ms system so far. Take a look:
June 2012 - Arrives in Everett. Not the toughest level. He's about a year older than average for the league, but of course the other guys didn't take years off the game.
First 49 PAs - .239/.286/.326
Next 267 PAs - .314/.389/.547
Easy level, not too long to adjust. Was a monster for 5/6ths of the season.
April 2013 - Arrives in Clinton. Almost 2 years older than the average player.
First 57 PAs - .220/.298/.360
Next 190 PAs - .301/.358/.393
Slow start, better finish. Didn't find his power stroke but earned a promotion, and in June 2013 he arrives in High Desert. Now just average aged for the level.
First 39 PAs - .257/.333/.286
Next 263 PAs - .329/.392/.567
Slow start, big finish. It's a theme!
April 2014 - Back to HD, where he already know how to hit. About a year older than the average player at the level, he hits .282/.331/.563 in 157 PAs (after starting .316/.350/.316 in 20 PAs), and they move him up to Jackson, where he should have started the year. Now about a half-year younger than league average.
First 43 PAs - .114/.256/.114 (19 wRC+)
Next 112 PAs (and counting) - .385/.450/.625 (199 wRC+) (.386/.448/.644 in 117 PAs including the day of this posting)
Kivlehan is murdering AA pitching, in what is generally regarded as a pitcher's league. Every single stop he's been at, he needed ~50 PAs to get adjusted, after which he hit like a guy who could be a big time run producer.
It's well past time that he was moved to AAA, and my guess is after about 50 plate appearances, he's going to start murdering the ball...after which we may be able to stop thinking about Justin Smoak for a while. Give the kid a little time to learn at any level, and he morphs into a monster. Lets start working on getting him to the level where it matters. These are the kind of guys who become out-of-nowhere success stories - players whose natural ability to adjust, adapt, and thrive set them apart from the talented non-adapters (think Reed, Ackley, Smoak, etc).
Patrick Kivlehan - your 2015 Mariner 1st baseman! (?)