FanPost

On The Farm: Season Finale Edition

Ian Terry

The last game is in the books, and the minor league season has officially ended. There's a real sense of finality when I first start thinking about this, for the first time in over four months, there are no games tomorrow. Honestly, I'm not sure what to think, but before I get a chance to contemplate too much on the matter, I realize that one of the five Mariner affiliates (not counting AZL/DSL leagues) actually did qualify for the playoffs, and you can can read some words I wrote about those guys in a previous entry here. While the AquaSox prepare to march into the postseason lead by NWL MVP Drew Jackson, I want to briefly explain exactly how this edition of the rankings is going to work. Since the season is over I think it's a good idea to give a quick update on how well each of the clubs (A- A A+ AA AAA) performed this season, and highlight one player from each team who improved their stock the most.

However, before we get into that, I think it's only right to say a couple of things, and I'll try to keep it short. First, I want to thank Nathan H. Bishop for giving me the encouragement to write these posts, to write, in some small way about my favorite baseball team. I also obviously have to thank him for giving me the platform to share that writing with literally thousands of people, for his kind tweets, Facebook shares, and other support, he's been awesome.

Secondly I want to give a special thanks to Nathaniel Dawson, he has commented on every single post I've written, usually starting a discussion which invites more people participate and talk about our minor league players. I don't know him personally, and have never spoken to him outside of comments on this website, but he seems like a very passionate fan (evidenced by his own work, please read it here), and I sincerely appreciate every kind word he's lofted at my painfully amateurish attempts at writing. Most importantly, I want to thank anyone who's taken the time to read anything I've written, knowing that people are enjoying these makes it a lot easier to stay up late after working two jobs and put the kind of effort into them that the LL community absolutely deserves, so thank you. Alright, enough of this filler, let's get started.

AAA | Tacoma Rainiers | 68-76 (16.5 GB) PCL-N

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Ketel Marte 65 261 41 82 12 3 29 32/20 .314/.359/.410

The Rainiers have had a roller coaster of a 2015, while posting two fewer wins than they did last year. The pitching has been a major hurdle they have spent all season trying to overcome, but guys like Jesus Montero, Stefan Romero, and Ketel Marte have all enjoyed a lot of success at Cheney Stadium with the bat, while other guys like Jabari Blash and Ramon Flores came out of nowhere and experienced unexpected, massive success. My pick is going to be Marte, no one has done more this season to increase their prospect stock than the super fun SS. Most tuned in Mariner fans were aware of who he was before the season, but in the course of 4 months he went from a guy who was probably going to be transitioned into a CF, to Seattle's starting SS and leadoff hitter. Who knows if he'll stay there, but the kid can hit, and as long as he continues to show he's an adequate fielder (1.8 UZR per fangraphs in 2015) he has a chance to remain there for the foreseeable future.

AA | Jackson Generals | 52-84 (18.5 GB) SOU-N

Player Record ERA Innings Hits Runs K/BB
Paul Fry 0-2 1.80 25.0 22 5 43/10

The Generals were not good this season, they won 10 fewer games than they did a year ago, and did not get expected contributions from big names on their roster. Edwin Diaz didn't necessarily tarnish his stock by virtue of his underwhelming year, but he also did not dominate the level like some had hoped. Other pitchers like Trey-Cochran Gill and Stephen Landazuri failed to impress, while the offense sputtered behind disappointing seasons from previous stalwarts Jordy Lara and Jabari Henry. My selection for most improved prospect stock went to the guy who performed most consistently, and probably will at least get a look to be a part of the pile next year in spring training, Paul Fry.

A+ | Bakersfield Blaze | 61-79 (23 GB) CAL-N

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Tyler O'Neill 106 407 68 106 21 32 87 137/29 .260/.316/.558

The Blaze, while not a good team this season (17 less wins than in 2014) starred probably my favorite player in the entire system. Before we get to him, I should mention that some other guys had solid seasons for the club, including Aaron Barbosa (36 SB and a .349 OBP) Tyler Pike (114 K's in 122 IP) and Nelson Ward (.278 BA 41 XBH 59 BB). The cream of the crop was the Canadian RH power smash factory known as Tyler O'Neill, tied for 2nd in MiLB in 2015 with 32 HR's. Easy choice.

A | Clinton Lumberkings | 46-93 (42.5 GB) MWL-W

Player Record ERA Innings Hits Runs K/BB
Kody Kerski 4-3 1.80 60.0 59 12 62/15

By record, Clinton was the worst team in the in the minors this year for Seattle, that is part of the reason why their closer saved only 8 games all year. A couple of guys did some things, Arby Fields stole a few bases and wasn't the worst player of all time, and Gianfranco Wawoe was pretty ok. This was a REALLY bad team, so finding someone was not easy, Kerski's the guy though, he continued to build on a solid rookie pro ball campaign in his second year, and we'll see what he can do moving forward, could become an interesting piece.

A- | Everett AquaSox | 42-34 (1st Place) NWL-N

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Drew Jackson 59 226 64 81 12 2 26 35/30 .358/.432/.447

Everett finished first (tied) in their division, therefore they were the best team in their division. Drew Jackson won the NWL MVP, therefore he is the best player on the planet, that makes sense right? The AquaSox had a great season, they got good pitching from guys like Enyel De Los Santos and Nick Wells and Andrew Moore. The offense was paced by Jackson, Braden Bishop, Alex Jackson, Jordan Cowan, Ryan Uhl and Logan Taylor. There is a lot to like about a good portion of this roster, I for one will be very interested to see where they all end up next year.

*Each Thursday throughout the Minor League Season, I take a look at notable performances (both good and bad) and share them with you here. Stats are cumulative across any level, except for MLB played over the last 7 days, players called up to the Major Leagues within the last 7 days are not eligible for inclusion.

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FIVE UP

Jesus Montero - 1B, Tacoma Rainiers

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Jesus Montero 5 18 6 10 1 2 10 2/2 .556/.600/.944

The only thing Jesus Montero knows how to do anymore is crush AAA pitching. It's been a feel good story seeing him lose the weight, come back and dominate the second highest level there is, but he's getting close to earning the dreaded "Quad-A" label, some guys shake it, others don't. I think he's got one more shot, and next season is going to be huge for him.

James Jones - CF, Tacoma Rainiers

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
James Jones 6 20 6 7 0 0 4 3/8 .350/.517/.450

Jones appears on the list for the second time in a row, he's finishing the year strong, and will more than likely end up back in Seattle for the final month. He walked 8 times this past week, while only striking out three times, and he stole two bases without being caught. The plate approach is seemingly improving with him, I don't know about you guys but I'm giving credit to Edgar.

Tyler O'Neill - LF, Bakersfield Blaze

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Tyler O'Neill 6 21 4 4 0 2 6 9/2 .190/.280/.571

I'll admit I really love this guy, but ignoring the low BA, he clubbed two home runs to tie JABARI SMASH for the organizational lead, and slugged .571. That is a power hitter right there, 3 of his 4 hits on the week were ripped for extra bases, and still managed to work a couple of walks, while also hitting a triple in the final game of the year.

Ryan Yarbrough - SP, Bakersfield Blaze

Player Record ERA Innings Hits Runs K/BB G/F
Ryan Yarbrough 1-0 1.29 7.0 4 1 8/1 8/5

Yarbrough has finished the year out on a high note, allowing just 8 ER over his last five starts. In his last outing of the year, he recorded 8 GB outs and K'd 8, while only walking one. The LHP was a consensus top 20 M's prospect coming into the season, and he's finally been pitching well enough to justify some of the hype, and doing it in a very hitter friendly environment.

Tyler Pike - SP, Bakersfield Blaze

Player Record ERA Innings Hits Runs K/BB G/F
Tyler Pike 1-0 0.00 7.0 3 0 7/1 5/8

Tyler Pike has had an uneven year in the Cal league, getting promoted to Jackson, then being sent back down after a couple starts, his campaign has been marked by inconsistency in commanding his fastball. In his last start of 2015, he did just that and flashed the stuff that had people talking about him before the season started, cutting down 7 and walking only one. It marked the third straight start he's kept his walks down, only allowing 4 free passes in his last 18 innings pitched.

Walks and hits and walks and hits mention...

Aaron Barbosa - CF, Bakersfield Blaze

6 G/22 AB/3 R/7 H/5-0 SB/5-5 K-BB/.318/.444/.318

HITS HITS HITS HITS HITS mention...

Ian Miller - CF, Jackson Generals

5 G/23 AB/3 R/11 H/4-1 SB/2-0 K-BB/.478/.458/.652

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FIVE DOWN

Luiz Gohara - SP, Everett AquaSox

Player Record ERA Innings Hits Runs K/BB G/F
Luiz Gohara 0-1 7.36 3.2 5 3 5/6 2/2

Gohara retains the top bottom ranking for the third straight week now, and makes his fourth appearance on the list in our abbreviated season. I can't imagine a player who's happier the season is over than this dude. Lasted less than 4 innings in his final start of the year, walked 6, struck out 5, and did nothing good. We'll see if he can rebound next season, he's still very young.

Alex Jackson - RF, Everett AquaSox

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Alex Jackson 4 15 1 1 0 0 1 6/3 .067/.300/.067

Alex suffered this week from what we call the "Austin Wilson Effect", wherein your OBP appears much higher than it should be, lifted by being beaned with multiple baseballs. I can only imagine that this is caused by pitchers thinking you're an asshole, so that's on you, man. Jackson had been hitting much better, and aside from the ability to take a walk, didn't display any of his offensive talents this week. Maybe the pressure of being in a playoff chase got to him.

Jay Baum - 3B, Bakersfield Blaze

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Jay Baum 5 17 1 3 0 0 1 5/1 .176/.222/.176

Jay Baum is a 21st rounder (2014) out of Clemson University, who's making his first appearance on our list this season. So far in his pro career he hasn't displayed much propensity for anything hitting-wise except taking the occasional walk. He couldn't do that this week either, in addition to failing at everything else. Bakersfield has been bad this year, and Baum has been bad this week. Bakersfield's Baum was Bad, is the point. Yeah.

Jabari Henry - LF, Jackson Generals

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Jabari Henry 3 11 2 1 0 1 1 6/2 .091/.231/.364

It's amazing what one HR can do for you slugging when you don't get piss all besides. Jabariqui's drummer and keyboard player mashed the dinger, but did absolutely nothing else this past week. The poor final few games caps a very disappointing season for Henry, who saw his home run total drop from 30 in 2014, to only 10 this year. He'll be older for the level if he started in AA again next year at 25, some of the shine has definitely worn off.

Ryan Uhl - 1B, Everett AquaSox

Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Home Runs RBI K/BB BA/OBP/SLG
Ryan Uhl 4 17 0 3 0 0 2 3/2 .0176/.263/.176

Ryan Uhl has actually had a decent season, and has been a solid hitter for the NWL champs, but didn't do much as the entire team struggled while Braden Bishop has been out with injury. He walked a couple of times, but wasn't hitting the ball with any authority, none of his hits went for extra bases this week.