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8/17 Minor League Wrap-Up

- The big news, obviously, is that Carlos Triunfel got promoted to AA West Tenn on Sunday, and will be their starting SS the rest of the way, and into the playoffs (West Tenn is the 1st half North division champs).

As I said before, Triunfel might have been better served to finish the year in High Desert and hit the ground running in AA in 2009. That said, I'm not opposed to this decision. If Triunfel has nothing else to learn in High Desert, then bring him up. Triunfel has finally discovered how to drive flyballs into the outfield instead of beating them into the ground, and it's showing in his results (387/425/613 in July, 346/426/500 in August). The Cal League inflates offensive numbers, and this gives the org an opportunity to test drive his newly developed abilities at a higher level and a more neutral environment to see how far he truly has come.

There are concerns: though Triunfel's groundball rate dropped, his line drive rate didn't noticeably appreciate during July, with most of the statistical change coming in added flyballs. Flyballs soared for extra bases in the Cal League, but in the Southern League and other environments, many such balls are probably harmless flyouts. To wit, though, his LD rate in August has been a more robust 15.2%, a high infield fly rate steeply declined over the breakthrough period, and even discounting that, he still runs a healthy groundball rate (45% this month) and grounders give him opportunities to get on base, especially with his footspeed.

Worst case scenario, he struggles, he gets an idea of what he's facing at the next level, and he hits the ground running in 2009 and tries to emerge from adversity once again. Concerns about him finishing strong instead of finishing with struggles belie the fact that the kid's struggled his entire pro career against players 3-4 years his senior, with barely enough skill to smack a groundball and run it out until the last couple months... and it hasn't deterred him at all from doing the best he can.

His defense remains an issue, but I must note that A ball fields are usually in terrible shape, and AA fields are usually better. It could help a little. Plus, more players drive the ball in the higher levels, so he'll see fewer grounders than he previously has. These changes may not help a lot, but it will help some.

And believe it or not, even at his worst, Triunfel might actually be an upgrade for West Tenn at SS, given the incumbents were the punchless Erick Monzon and Mark Kiger. If he can turn on AA pitching at all, in fact, he's a huge upgrade. Watch out, Southern League.

- While the Mariners didn't bother to sign their 9th round pick (RHP William Morrison out of Western Michigan) or 10th round pick (RHP Nate Newman out of Pepperdine)... they did sign 3rd round pick Ben Pribanic, who made his first appearance yesterday out of the pen for the AZLMs. Pribanic... got destroyed in the 4th, allowing 5 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks while recording only one out in a 13-1 loss. Could have gone better, and I'm not going to hold a terrible debut against him. A few more outings like this, and yeah, we can worry, but I'll give a mulligan.

Pribanic was the 98th pick in the draft. Other notable 98th picks in MLB history: Scott Hairston and Jack Morris.

- Robert Rohrbaugh, not seen for ages, made a solid rehab outing in Everett yesterday, working the first three innings and not allowing a run, striking out three and walking one. He's a flyball pitcher so the larger flyball ratio isn't a big surprise.

1st: Flyball, strikeout (called), walk, strikeout (swing)
2nd: Popup, flyball, groundball, strikeout (swing)
3rd: Flyball, groundball, popup

Philip Hann gave up the go ahead run in the top 9th to make it 5-4, but pinch hitter Travis Howell tied the game in the bottom 9th with a two out single that scored Beef Roids, and Tyson Gillies followed that with a 2 run walkoff bomb, only his 2nd home run of the season.

- Edward Paredes and Jose Jimenez had poor outings for the T-Rats, leaving the T-Rats in a 4-0 hole (that became a 5-0 hole) from which they would not escape. The story, however, is the shutdown relief that Joe Kantakevich threw once he allowed that 5th run to score. JK finished the ballgame with only one hit and 2 walks allowed, while striking out 4 in 4 innings. JK has had a tough season, so to come out and throw an outing like this from the pen, even in what was essentially mop-up relief (the T-Rats had 4 hits), has to feel good.

- So I'm a dork who doesn't pay close enough attention to the news: the reason DSL games weren't reported the last couple days is because they weren't played... because Tropical Storm Fay was drilling the Dominican Republic. Despite reports of some deaths, as you'd expect from such a storm, the DSLers should be fine: this happens every other year or so, and if the complexes couldn't take a tropical storm, there wouldn't be a Dominican Summer League.

... in fact, they played yesterday. Stats below the jump....

Dominican: DSL AthleticsDos 7, DSL Mariners 4
DSLMs: 40-22... DSLA2s: 27-30
(League: 238/339/322... 3.73 ERA)

Joan Vizcaino: 3.1 IP, 5 H, (3 R) 1 ER, 2 walks, 3 K, 2 hit batters (10 app, 1st start, 4.20 ERA, 15 IP, 7/7 BB/K)
Bruno Mercedes: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, K (21 app, 3.92 ERA, 57.1 IP, 2 HR, 21/62 BB/K)
Miguel Celestino: 2 IP, walk, 2 K (12 GS +2, 2.53 ERA, 57 IP, 15/46 BB/K)
Jose Perdomo: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, walk, 3 K (18 app, 3.59 ERA, 52.2 IP, 1 HR, 11/36 BB/K)
Axel Wel: 2-5, double, K (282/364/355)
Efrain Nuñez: 1-3, R, RBI, walk, K (268/383/451)
Ramon Morla: 1-3, double, K (256/402/353)

Rk-AZL: Cubs 13, Mariners 1
AZLMs: 8-10... AZL Cubs: 10-8
(League: 263/348/373... 4.39 ERA)

Brandon Maurer: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 walks, 5 K (3 GS +3, 2.93 ERA, 15.1 IP, 1 HR, 6/16 BB/K)
Ben Pribanic: one out, 3 H, 5 ER, 2 walks
Randy Castillo: 2.2 IP, 6 H, (4 R) 1 ER, walk, 2 K (10 app, 5.40 ERA, 18.1 IP, 9/11 BB/K)
Yao Wen Chang: 2 IP, 3 H, (3 R) 0 ER, 2 walks, K, wild pitch (13 app, 5.51 ERA, 16.1 IP, 1 HR, 19/12 BB/K)
Eddy Hernandez: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, K, 2 wild pitches (12 app, 9.00 ERA, 17 IP, 1 HR, 14/10 BB/K)
Fred Bello: 3-3, R (286/357/327)
Alfredo Mateo: 2-4, double (252/353/381)
rest of AZLMs lineup: 1-21, walk, 3 K

Rk+: The Pulaski Mariners had Sunday off.

A-: Everett 7, Eugene 5
EVE: 27-33... EUG: 30-30
(League: 256/345/374... 4.20 ERA)

Robert Rehabbing Rohrbaugh: 3 IP, 2 H, walk, 3 K
Bobby LaFromboise: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 walks, 4 K, wild pitch (9 GS +2, 3.19 ERA, 36.2 IP, 3 HR, 11/34 BB/K)
Christian Staehely: 1.1 IP, 3 H, (4 R) 2 ER, 3 K (15 app, 4.50 ERA, 28 IP, 1 HR, 19/22 BB/K)
Eddy Fernandez: no outs recorded, 1 H, walk (23 app, 4.18 ERA, 28 IP, 2 HR, 11/35 BB/K)
Philip Hann: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, walk, K, wild pitch (17 app, 4.39 ERA, 26.2 IP, 1 HR, 10/17 BB/K)
Tyson Gillies: 1-4, 2 run HR, 2 R, walk, K (297/392/434)
Brandon Fromm: 1-4, 2 run HR, K (242/304/366)
Welington Dotel: 2-4, solo HR, solo HR, 3 R (272/329/437)
Travis Howell: pinch RBI single (295/414/402)

A: Kane County 5, Wisconsin 0
WIS: 18-38... KC: 27-29
(League: 252/323/373... 3.71 ERA)

Edward Paredes: 2.2 IP, 3 H, (2 R) 1 ER, 3 walks, 4 K (24 GS +1, 4.63 ERA, 116.2 IP, 10 HR, 52/91 BB/K)
Jose Jimenez: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 walks, K
Joe Kantakevich: 4 IP, 1 H, 2 walks, 4 K (21 app, 5.50 ERA, 34.1 IP, 3 HR, 13/19 BB/K)
Daniel Carroll: 1-4, double, 2 K, SB #25 (243/322/307)
Alex Meneses: 1-4, double, K (222/319/261)
Israel Nuñez: 1-3, double, K (226/278/292)

A+: Lancaster 7, High Desert 2
Mavs: 21-35... Jethawks: 31-24
(League: 273/341/412... 4.54 ERA)

Jake Wild: 2 IP, 5 H, (5 R) 3 ER (HR), 2 walks, 2 K, hit batter
Michael Wagner: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, wild pitch (47 app, 4.76 ERA, 62.1 IP, 3 HR, 17/49 BB/K)
Julio Santiago: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 walks, 2 K (39 app, 5.85 ERA, 60 IP, 3 HR, 45/44 BB/K)
Fernando Encarnacion: 1-3, RBI
James Davenport: 1-3, RBI (311/338/443)
rest of Mavs lineup: 1-24, walk, K

AA: The DIAMOND JAXX had Sunday off.

AAA: Sacramento 4, Tacoma 3
TAC: 68-60... SAC: 76-52
(League: 277/347/442... 4.83 ERA)

Scott Shoemaker: 6 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, walk, 4 K (29 app, 8 GS, 6.04 ERA, 79 IP, 15 HR, 30/53 BB/K)
Randy Messenger: 2 IP, 2 H, walk (39 app, 4.19 ERA, 58 IP, 6 HR, 21/43 BB/K)
Jared Baek Bait Wells: two outs, 2 H, 2 ER (HR) (47 app, 6.23 ERA, 52 IP, 5 HR, 31/47 BB/K)
Victor Diaz: 1-4, solo HR, 3 K (280/380/518)
Craig Wilson: 1-4, solo HR, 2 K (274/397/513)
Rob Johnson: 2-3, double (306/367/454)
Jon Nelson: 1-3, solo HR (327/351/509)