The full-season Minor Leagues all began play today.
Understandably, save for the top prospects like Aumont and Triunfel, many readers here are unfamiliar with a lot of the talent in the Mariners minor league organization.
This overview is to help try and close some of the gap on this year's talent. I don't claim to be any expert or anything more than an interested observer (and the writer of the Minor League Wrap-Ups for this fine blog), so I admit that when it comes to deeper and accurate analysis of the skills of our org's players, you're better served reading up on more informed writers like Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider, USSM's Dave Cameron whenever he posts his monthly Future Forty, and J at Mariner Minors. They will pipe in here from time to time, usually to correct a grievous inaccuracy on my part ;P but moreso to offer welcome insight and information when applicable.
In the meantime, here is a primer on the players for this year's full season A, A+, AA and AAA teams, which began (or should have began) play today.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (T-Rats) (A)
Manager: Terry Pollreisz
Home park: Fox Cities Stadium, an offensively depressing park for more reasons than one
Nathan Adcock - (21 GS, 106 IP, 7 HR, 60/77 BB/K between Wisconsin and High Desert). The future is looking dim for Adcock if he doesn't pick it up.
Phillipe Aumont - (Prized Quebecois top draft pick with electric stuff and shady personal history) Let's see what our prize can do. The T-Rats will be very careful with how he is deployed: the plan out of the gate is to work in tandem with Juan Ramirez.
Rob Harmon - (32 G, 18 GS, 106 IP, 8 HR, 75/83 BB/K between Everett and Wisconsin with a spot start in Tacoma) Struggled in Appleton and struggled again in Everett. He needs to cut that out this season... though to his credit starting last year in full season A ball may have been a heavy jump after only 15 games out of the pen the previous year in Rookie ball.
Bryan Harris - (18 G, 23.1 IP, 1 HR, 3/22 BB/K in Everett) Did an excellent job in an upper-tier entry level out of the draft, and the 24 year old should stand a decent chance to do well in Appleton.
Donald Hume - Not the deceased rower, but the 8th round draft pick from last year who had a bone spur removed from his arm last spring, then held out for a spell. He'll hold out no more. You better bring your work boots and earn that bonus money, bitch.
Shawn Kelley - (12 G, 15 IP, 2 HR, 4/18 BB/K between Everett and Wisconsin). Shawn Kelley shares one thing with George Sherrill: an alma mater. Last year's 13th round pick went to school at Austin Peay. GS52 is the Governor... maybe if Kelley pitches well, we can call him the Lieutenant Governor.
Keith Meyer - (18 G, 34.1 IP, 4 HR, 23/34 BB/K with Everett) A low BABIP and a 2.62 ERA makes Meyer look a lot better than he should. Meyer needs to work out his control isues, but lots of pitchers do.
Ryan Moorer - (20 G, 32.2 IP, 13/32 BB/K with Everett) And conversely, a high BABIP made Moorer look pretty bad. Let's see this year how much of that is bad fortune and how much of that is working up in the zone.
Travis Mortimore - (28 G, 39 IP, 0 HR, 18/43 BB/K in Peoria) This will be a big jump for last year's Peoria closer.
Edward Paredes - (15 GS, 85.2 IP, 2 HR, 48/61 BB/K in Everett) Paredes has quality stuff but has to work on his control.
Michael Pineda - (15 G, 12 GS, 59 IP, 2 HR, 11/48 BB/K in the DSL) Pineda is one of the few Dominican Summer Leaguers to make it off the island, and go figure part of the reason is that he didn't walk a lot of guys, in a league where we saw a lot of patience and walks drawn. And go figure most of those guys, like they were warned, didn't get off the island with a walk.
Juan Ramirez - (15 GS, 75.1 IP, 3 HR, 43/73 BB/K in Everett) One of the top pitching prospects in the org. Looked solid in Everett last year, and like the others needs to work on his control. He'll get plenty of work as one of Appleton's top SPs.
Justin Souza - (49 G, 91.1 IP, 12 HR, 8/58 BB/K in Wisconsin) Hot and cold 2007 means we'll try it again with him in Appleton. His K's took a dive between 2006 in Everett and last year, indicating he didn't fool A ballers very much.
Jacob Wild - (17 G, 48 IP, 2 HR, 14/62 BB/K in Peoria) Unhittable out of the pen in Rookie ball, but we'll see how much work the 23 year old needs in his first full pro season, as he faces full season competition.
C - Korey Feiner - I won't list his 2007 stats because I don't want your eyes to bleed. The Twins gave up on Feiner after an attempt to bum rush him through the ranks last year led to a .539 OPS after 195 ugly ABs. At 26 and his career toast, he's here because the M's needed a catcher for their A ball team. Don't get excited: Feiner's career .567 OPS includes a .564 OPS in A ball.
C - Blake Ochoa - (232/298/360 in 164 ABs between the A/AA ranks of the Marlins org and the A ball ranks of the Mariners org). The Marlins must have really hated Ochoa to give up on him midway through last year at age 21. Like Feiner, he's here to give the T-Rats a catcher, and given he's actually shown some power in his career, he'll probably get the nod over Feiner to start. Don't expect much.
1B - Gerardo Avila - Will need a second look in Appleton after injuries derailed much of 2007 (only 79 ABs). He's got work to do at the plate: he K's a ton and was starting to look overmatched in Appleton before his injury.
2B - Ronald Garth - (234/311/369 in 290 ABs mostly spent between Wisconsin and High Desert) Garth hit the wall hard in the Cal League, but rebounded in the MWL, posting an .804 OPS on a team that struggled to hit in general. At 23 and only two seasons removed from his monster Rookie ball campaign, he'll try and make the needed adjustments to break through to the next level.
IF - Alex Meneses - (195/366/237 in 190 ABs from just about anywhere in the org) Looking like org fodder at this point. He can draw a walk and play some infield, but that's about it. In 336 career ABs, he has 12 XBHs, all but one of them doubles.
SS - Juan Diaz - (222/284/283 in 279 ABs mostly in Wisconsin... as an 18 year old) Truinfel isn't the only teenager playing pro ball in the M's ranks. Diaz, in his first full season, did all he could in full season A ball, struggling as mightily as you'd expect an 18 year old to. The M's will let the kid grow into the game and see what he can do.
3B - Edilio Colina - (261/319/333 in 249 ABs between Everett and High Desert... also as an 18 year old) The M's love challenging kids, having Colina play 2B, 3B and SS and letting him get his feet wet in High Desert before stashing him in Everett, where he started hot but quickly came back to Earth against players 2-4 years his senior. Like Diaz, he'll continue working to mature in Appleton.
3B - Alex Liddi - (240/308/385 in 400 ABs in Wisconsin) Repeating in Appleton after showing flashes but struggling last year. He was also 18 years old last year, but the Italian actually had a full season under his belt, with 220 ABs and a .779 OPS between Peoria and Wisconsin in 2006. He looked lost to start 2007 but eventually got hot and finished strong. They're hoping for another big step forward from Liddi this year.
OF - Calvin Beamon (247/331/325 in 243 ABs in Wisconsin) The UNLV grad got a bigger challenge than the other rookies, starting his career in full season A ball, but he held his own, and now hopes to elevate his game in his first full season.
OF - Daniel Carroll - (312/398/408 in 218 ABs with 29 SBs, mostly in Peoria) Showed a lot in rookie ball and Two R's and Two L's' namesake will get his first chance at full season ball.
OF - Gavin Dickey - (230/286/383 in 243 ABs in Wisconsin) Will repeat the MWL. He's got some power and speed, but struggles to get on base.
OF - Joe Dunigan - (231/297/320 in 225 ABs in Everett) Struggled in Everett but he had no choice other than to step up to full season ball. He does have speed, with 12 SBs in 62 games.
OF - Eddy Hernandez - (190/247/293 in 184 ABs in High Desert) Demoted after an atrocious 2007, but his 2006 campaign in Wisconsin didn't look much better (.651 OPS and 135 Ks in 403 ABs that year). I'm guessing he's org fodder at this point and will spell regulars off the bench.
High Desert Mavs (A+)
Manager: Jim Horner
Home Park: a launchpad in Adelanto. I think I could OPS .850 there. Needless to say, bad for pitching, good for offense.
Ricky Orta - (19 GS, 93 IP, 12 HR, 43/102 BB/K in Wisconsin) Despite injuries and control issues, Orta showed flashes of brilliance last year, and the Miami grad will move up to A+ ball. Expect the homer-prone Orta to have outright atrocious numbers despite his abilities. Don't worry... unless he gets hurt again.
Kyle Parker - (19 GS, 112 IP, 4 HR, 42/99 BB/K in Wisconsin) One third of the Demolition Derby Trio. The UW grad was one of the more solid arms in Appleton and earns a promotion into the Pitcher's Gates Of Hell. Only 4 career HRs allowed, however, implies he may have a chance in hell of pitching well in the Cal League.
Juan Zapata - (36 G, 81 IP, 19 HR, 34/75 BB/K in High Desert) Per mythology, when you enter Hell, you are greeted by Cerberus, the three headed hellhound. When Mariner pitchers descend into the hell of the Cal League, they are greeted by Juan Zapata, who only has one head but has three pitches, all of which get hit over the wall frequently.
Steven Richard - (24 G, 18 GS, 95.1 IP, 8 HR, 41/82 BB/K in Wisconsin) One third of the Demolition Derby Trio. Richard actually gave the T-Rats rotation a strong arm when it really needed it during a period of injuries and strife (which I suppose was actually the entire 2007 season). He joins car-bashing mate Parker in High Desert and like Parker, he has some solid stuff and a chance in hell.
Keith Renaud - (19 G, 37.2 IP, 2 HR, 20/33 BB/K mostly in Wisconsin) Another hot arm into the frying pan.
Anthony Varvaro - (21 GS, 103.2 IP, 7 HR, 51/112 BB/K in Wisconsin) THE DEMOLITION DERBY TRIO IS UNITED, proving that indeed if you sin in life, you will get sent to (pitching) Hell. Varvaro, go figure, is probably the most talented of the trio.
Aaron Cotter - (40 G, 10 GS, 102.1 IP, 10 HR, 43/62 BB/K in High Desert) Because one season of getting hammered wasn't enough. Cotter is a brave soul for spending his inaugural pro season in High Desert, and he'll get to do it again.
Family Warrior Harold Williams - (13 G, 20.2 IP, 0 HR, 23/16 BB/K mostly in Wisconsin) Even if he gets destroyed by Cal League hitting, Harold William is a role model for family men everywhere.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx - (31 G, 38.2 IP, 2 HR, 20/26 BB/K in High Desert) Sorry, Paul, looks like ABD won't get freed, at least for the start of this season. That said, at least there is an alibi, as an injury impeded his development towards the end of last season. They'll probably make sure he's okay before sending him on to AA.
Nick Hill - (18 G, 35 IP, 0 HR, 9/45 BB/K with Everett) The Military Man was among one of the more impressive Everett relievers last season, and he'll take one of the org's bigger level jumps as they throw him into the Cal League fire.
Michael Wagner - (41 G, 50.1 IP, 4 HR, 16/44 BB/K mostly in Wisconsin) Wagner actually got to jump around and get his feet wet here in High Desert, as well as in West Tenn and Tacoma, as a fill-in where needed. Hopefully, the experience will help him catch up as he moves up to A+, as he missed 2006 after getting dropkicked out of the Yankees org, and is already 23, entering his 4th pro season.
Joe Kantakevich - (48 G, 77.2 IP, 3 HR, 18/69 BB/K with Wisconsin) Setup guy that made the Midwest League All Star game last year. Let's see how he likes these apples.
C - Travis Scott - (276/372/505 in 214 ABs in High Desert) Flashed in brief looks last season but took a backseat to Adam Moore. Will get a better look this season.
UT - Leury Bonilla - (258/283/375 in 325 ABs in Wisconsin) Played all 9 positions over the course of last season. The official roster lists him as a catcher but it's anybody's guess where he'll actually play. FWIW, as you'd expect, he didn't play any of the positions notably well.
C - Jose Yepez - (192/249/300 in 213 ABs in A+ Dunedin) The line alone should tell you why the Blue Jays gave up on Yepez. He's here to spell the others.
C - Wei Wang - Owner of the most incidentally unfortunate name in the Mariners org, the 10 year vet of the Chinese leagues becomes the first player from China ever to play pro ball for a team in the US. One catch: part of his contract states that he is free to leave to play for the Chinese national team whenever requested to do so.
1B - Johan Limonta - (300/366/454 in 474 ABs in High Desert) During the LL/USSM meetup last year, we met Bob Fontaine, and he talked about how playing in High Desert requires scouts to temper their judgment two ways: they must be careful about overrating the struggles of pitchers in Adelanto... and they also must be careful about overrating hitters who perform well in Adelanto. Though there are guys ahead of Limonta in the org, the org made sure not to overrate his quality numbers from 2007, taking into account his playing environment. Park-adjust that .820 OPS, and he really didn't have much of a year. Try again.
IF - Chris Minaker - (227/284/286 in 353 ABs in West Tenn) Last year's jump from A to AA was ultimately too big a jump for Minaker, and so he'll try to get back on track in the launchpad.
IF - Ogui Diaz - (212/231/287 in 373 ABs between Everett and Wisconsin) He's only here to come off the bench and pinch run.
SS - Carlos Triunfel - (296/333/367 in 371 ABs between Wisconsin and High Desert... as a 17 year old) Man-beast in waiting. He'll probably need to show power and consistency in the Cal League before they'll send him upward, but at the rate he's going, he'll probably be in West Tenn by midseason.
3B - Matt Mangini - (252/353/395 in 147 ABs between Everett and High Desert) If Mangini doesn't put up monster numbers in the Cal League, I'll be surprised.
OF - Kuo Hui Lo - (288/368/419 in 358 ABs with 32 SBs in Wisconsin) Man, is he gonna have fun playing in Adelanto.
OF - Greg Halman - (252/312/454 in 425 ABs between Wisconsin and Everett) Hit like trash in A ball but mashed in Everett. He needs to show progress in High Desert, and by progress I mean mash like he did in Everett, against A+ pitching. This probably entails developing pitch recognition skills. To his credit, he was only 19 years old last season, but in his 3rd season of pro ball.
OF - Carlos Peguero - (263/315/465 in 297 ABs in Wisconsin) Peguero has a lot of power. Add in the Cal League, and holy moly.
OF - Jamie McOwen - (270/297/327 in 211 ABs mostly in Wisconsin) It'll be curious to see McOwen's numbers if those batted balls aren't falling for hits. I suspect it'll be ugly. Might want to bring him off the bench.
West Tenn DIAMOND JAXX (AA)
Manager: Scott Steinmann
Home Park: Pringles Park in Jackson, TN... one of the most neutral parks in the minors.
Doug FISTER - (24 GS, 131 IP, 14 HR, 32/85 BB/K in West Tenn) THE FIST will hopefully leave last year's injury demons behind and anchor the West Tenn rotation in his 2nd go-around. He handed a huge jump from the bullpen in Everett to starting in AA very well.
Marwin Vega - (24 GS, 128.2 IP, 14 HR, 43/82 BB/K in High Desert) Gratuitous promotion. Will hopefully leave High Desert nightmare in dust and anchor West Tenn rotation.
Justin Thomas - (24 GS, 119.1 IP, 11 HR, 61/100 BB/K in West Tenn) Like FISTER, injuries cut into Justin's dev time and he'll do AA again. He needs to work on his control too. Yikes.
Rich Dorman - (16 G, 2 GS, 27 IP, 1 HR, 10/30 BB/K with the Marlins org) "Didn't we get rid of you?" Somehow back in the org, after battling back with the Marlins org last year. Filling in a blank in West Tenn while hoping and praying his career still has life.
Brodie Downs - (16 G, 25.1 IP, 0 HR, 14/18 BB/K mostly in West Tenn) Once a land surveyor, the 28 year old thought he was being pranked when the M's called last year to tell him they drafted him in the 23rd round. Brodie's one of the best stories this side of Jim Morris, and here's hoping his first full year of pro ball pays big enough dividends to eventually make that $80K surveyor's salary look cheap.
Jason Mackintosh - (30 G, 3 GS, 53.2 IP, 9 HR, 16/45 BB/K mostly with Tacoma) Started as a SP in AA but rushed into bullpen duty in AAA. Back in AA and I wouldn't be surprised if they just stuck with the bullpen for this 27 year old who has clawed his way up the org ladder.
Craig James - (44 G, 58.2 IP, 5 HR, 26/46 BB/K in West Tenn) Last year's AA closer until demoted due to acute suckitis. Absolutely blew. Will try not to absolutely blow this year. Any delusions of closing in the bigs probably deader than HoRam's career.
Brandon Morrow - (60 G, 63.1 IP, 3 HR, 50/66 BB/K with the Mariners) Drafted to start, doomed to relief by fate. Allegedly rehabbing but who knows what he's really doing here. Pitches like Nolan Ryan with cataracts.
Mumba Rivera - (42 G, 56.1 IP, 13 HR, 38/71 BB/K with West Tenn) Repeating AA. At 27, I'll be surprised if we see this guy get any serious action in AAA, ever.
Travis Chick - (20 G, 15 GS, 91.1 IP, 12 HR, 41/74 BB/K between West Tenn and Tacoma) Our once injured return from the Eddie Guardado trade. Still vague hope for his career, but not if he doesn't develop some control.
Roman Martinez - (46 G, 88.1 IP, 8 HR, 26/85 BB/K in High Desert) Soft tossing breaking baller that did surprisingly well in High Desert. If he follows up with a splendid AA effort, he might be a couple years from the bigs. MIGHT.
C - Adam Moore - (307/371/543 in 433 ABs in High Desert) Started well and then just went nuclear at the plate down the stretch. Hopes his big bat in deceptive High Desert translates to the more neutral Southern League.
C - Luis Oliveros - (286/340/406 in 175 ABs in West Tenn) Org fodder at this point. His claim to fame in 2007 was outhitting Rene Rivera big time from the bench.
1B - Marshall Hubbard - (270/361/447 in 488 ABs in West Tenn) Stuck in AA with the org loaded with 1B/DH types in AAA. Steady but not spectacular bat.
1B - Shawn Garrett - (290/353/452 in 451 ABs between AA Birmingham and AA Trenton) Having washed out with the Padres, Rockies, A's, Phillies, Cards, Yankees and ChiSox organizations, here is 29 year old Shawn Garrett and his useful 1B/RF bat for some reason. If anyone knows what the hell his deal is, let me know, because my shallow research isn't yielding any details.
2B - Luis Valbuena - (239/311/378 in 444 ABs in West Tenn) Rebounded from a bleh start with a hot finish last season, but like others, no room in AAA and he probably needs another year of work in AA anyway.
SS - Jeff Dominguez - (261/311/364 in 494 ABs in High Desert) Are you excited? I'm not.
3B - Ronnie Prettyman - (261/311/392 in 291 ABs between West Tenn and Tacoma) Got a cup of coffee in AAA but Tui's development warrants another year in AA. Still quite a step away from AAA level anyway.
IF - Mark Kiger - (297/420/460 in 424 ABs between AA Binghamton and AAA New Orleans) Tried out with us this spring and here is his reward. He's a patient bat with doubles power that can help the DIAMOND JAXX. Funny to see them injecting veteran presence into this lineup.
OF - Jon Nelson - (217/259/394 in 203 ABs mostly in Tacoma) Org fodder.
OF - Prentice Redman - (255/350/430 in 412 ABs between West Tenn and Tacoma) Okay year in AA last season as one of West Tenn's better bats, but basically fodder at this point.
OF - Michael Saunders - (298/390/470 in 483 ABs between High Desert and West Tenn) Showed flashes late last year in West Tenn after a hot season in Adelanto. A ST foul bomb in AT&T Park this spring showed us he has the physical power for the bigs right now. It's just a matter of harnessing his skills to utilize it. If he holds serve and hits well at this level, he is probably another 1-2 years from seriously challenging for a starting corner OF spot in Seattle.
OF - Michael Wilson - (206/291/422 in 218 ABs mostly in West Tenn) Shoulda stuck to football, Mike.
OF - Josh Womack - (207/278/314 in 188 ABs in High Desert) Somebody get this guy's career a shovel.
Tacoma Rainiers (AAA)
Manager: Daren Brown
Home Park: Historic Cheney Stadium, a pitcher's park in a league of launchpads
Andy Baldwin aka PHAT ANDY 29 - (26 GS, 166 IP, 12 HR, 19/115 BB/K in West Tenn) He was one of the pieces of the Moyer trade. Silva-like Strike thrower who is equally likely to strike out 10 or allow 10 hits (with 5 runs) in a start. Producers of last year's DIAMOND JAXX commercials forced him to bust a not-exactly-phat rhyme in a badly-conceived rap song, and he has become a target of my shallow derision every since.
Eric Cyr - (27 GS, 145.2 IP, 15 HR, 41/105 BB/K between Jacksonville and Las Vegas) Spent last year in the Dodgers org after he flamed out of the Angels org. Clinging to a career.
Phillip Barzilla - (31 G, 18 GS, 135.1 IP, 6 HR, 47/76 BB/K in Round Rock) Another Astros table scrap (Charlton Jimerson was an Astros table scrap). Non roster invitee earned himself a spot in the rotation... the AAA rotation. Just filling in a blank with his only hope of making the big club being the entire Mariners pitching staff re-enacting Jonestown.
Robert Rohrbaugh - (28 GS, 170.1 IP, 15 HR, 47/111 BB/K between West Tenn and Tacoma) Impressed in AA and then didn't do too bad at all when he got called up to the Rainiers rotation. Still a work in progress, or more precisely, a poor man's Feierabend, who is a poor man's Moyer. That's pretty poor. Somebody get this poor guy a sandwich.
R.A. Dickey - (31 G, 22 GS, 169.1 IP, 18 HR, 60/119 BB/K in Nashville) Last year's PCL pitcher of the year. Just missed making the Mariners big club this year. Knuckleballer who has enough actual stuff to not rely exclusively on his knuckler. Missing a UCL like Jose Lopez is missing a work ethic.
Ryan Feierabend - (19 GS, 108.1 IP, 9 HR, 33/70 BB/K in Tacoma) The ACE... just like last year. The Rainiers' pitching fate rests on his gigantic schnozz. Spent some time with the big club, and suffered a disastrous experience during Griffey Weekend that we won't get into here. Not sure how much more he can develop.
Jon Huber - (24 G, 33.1 IP, 5 HR, 9/28 BB/K in Tacoma) Here thanks to the depth of the Mariners bullpen. Standard MLB-capable righty reliever, which makes him a top bullpen arm here.
Cesar Jimenez - (16 G, 25.2 IP, 2 HR, 12/23 BB/K in Tacoma following rehab from Tommy John surgery) Filler. And he definitely fills out that uniform. Maybe he should give his sandwich to Rohrbaugh.
Sean White - (Atrocious half season as Mariners mop-up guy, then bounced around between Rookie, A and AAA ball during his 'rehab' stint) Attempting to rebound from that debilitating case of acute suckitis that mysteriously wiped out much of his Rule 5 season, and will now try to show he's grown in the last year.
Joe Woerman - (25 GS, 144.1 IP, 8 HR, 68/124 BB/K with West Tenn) Solid, productive SP in AA last year (in his first full season as an SP) who could use some better control. Bet on him returning to the pen in Tacoma unless he learns how to stay in the strike zone.
Jake Woods - (25 G, 18 GS, 114.2 IP, 17 HR, 42-79 BB/K with Tacoma) Best tan on the staff. AAAA fodder.
Roy Corcoran - (53 G, 61.0 IP, 1 HR, 33-52 BB/K with AAA Albuquerque) Somehow got the call to the big club when JJ Putz hit the DL. Astonishingly low HR rate in AAA, especially given he pitched home games last year in the most HR friendly park in the PCL. Flamed out with Nats org before spending a year with Marlins org, and now he's here to fill in our ranks. Has control issues but misses bats.
C - Jeff Clement - (275/370/497 in 455 Tacoma ABs) This is the year he needs to take the big step forward to MLB-readiness. Allegedly padded his power stats against soft tossers, with mixed confirmation. Kinda pussyfooted with his development last year by splitting time at catcher with Rob Johnson.
C - Rob Johnson - (268/331/372 in 422 Tacoma ABs) The Willie Bloomquist of catchers.
1B - Bryan LaHair - (275/332/431 in 552 Tacoma ABs) Jury's out on whether this guy can become an MLB-ready hitter. Little to no shot of being anything resembling an MLB 1B.
1B - Greg Norton - (243/358/347 in 202 ABs with AAAA Tampa Bay) Lost an MLB bench spot to Mike Morse, much to your chagrin. Probably a bit better than AAAA level, but big dropoff of power in 2007 at age 34 isn't encouraging.
2B - Tug Hulett - (275/359/406 in 517 Oklahoma ABs) Taking the Brant Ust "past his prospect-age scappy white infielder" role in 2008. Meh power, good eye.
IF - Yung Chi Chen - (Arm went kablooey in early 2007) This will probably be the year he establishes his ultimate value as an infielder. People are eyeing him as a Lopez replacement. Let's not speak too soon.
SS - Oswaldo Navarro - (249/309/323 in 446 Tacoma ABs) His defense last season made Mike Morse look like Ozzie Smith. His timely game changing errors were a lollercaust of misery for Rainiers fans.
3B - Matt Tuiasosopo - (260/371/404 in 446 West Tenn ABs) Speaking of big seasons, will the patience and consistent bat of Tui combine with some self-actualized power and defense for the 22 year old?
OF - Brent Johnson - (291/380/408 in 453 West Tenn ABs) Consistent but far from impressive in AA last year. Can play LF and RF, and will probably play LF this year. Probably the outfield's LaHair.
OF - Jeremy Reed - (300/354/452 in 564 Tacoma ABs) Not much to say here. Played most of last year in LF but can still play CF, overrated defensively due to the Edmonds Postulate. Will probably move back to CF this year. Placeholding unless someone on the Mariners bench goes down hurt and they need a replacement OF.
OF - WLADimir Balentien - (291/362/509 in 477 Tacoma ABs) WLAD has the power. Now he just needs to show discipline in his plate approach and an ability to handle more difficult pitches, and if he can, he's the next RF in Seattle. But don't hold your breath.
OF - Bronson Sardinha - Thanks for the table scraps, Yankees. Flatlined last year in AAA Scranton WIlkes-Barre (222/306/387 in 388 ABs). Meh defensively in RF.