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State of the Farm: 5/16/16

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ALMOST EVERYONE IS STILL IN FIRST PLACE

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The farm system has cooled off in a major way this past week, with all four teams failing to compile a winning record over their last 10 games. Let's take a look:

AAA Tacoma Rainiers (21-16, 1st in Pacific Northern)

Record over last 10 games: 5-5

Overview: The Rainiers still hold a comfortable 4.5 game lead for first place in their division, but with several players starting to fall back to Earth on offense and the rotation still having a couple shaky pieces in it, their grip is slipping a little.

Trending Up:

  • Adrian Sampson - RHP: Sampson tossed a gem against the Fresno Grizzlies on Thursday, allowing just two hits and an earned run over eight innings in the Rainiers' 9-5 victory. Sampson is still primarily a depth guy, but his performance so far in Tacoma has him in good standings to potentially make a spot start or two or fill in as a long relief arm if necessary this year.
  • Dario Pizzano - OF: Over the last ten games, Pizzano has slashed .314/.324/.400. He's been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing Rainiers offense the last couple weeks. Anything I could say about Pizzano has already been said by LL writer Anders Jorstad, who wrote a great piece on Pizzano last week.
  • Casey Coleman - RHP: Coleman has quietly been one of the best arms in Tacoma this season, compiling a 1.47 ERA through 18.1 IP. His peripherals suggest regression will come eventually, but Coleman has been a key part of the Rainiers' early success.
  • David Rollins - LHP: Rollins has surrendered just one run in his last seven appearances and caught the attention of Keith Law in the process:


Trending Down:

  • Mike Zunino - C: After a torrid start that had the entire Pacific Northwest yelling such things as "I AM SO HAPPY FOR MIKE", "YEAH BUT IS HE STILL STRIKING OUT", and "TRIPLE-A PITCHERS ARE BARELY EVEN HUMAN BEINGS", Zunino has cooled off considerably. Over the last ten games, Zunino has slashed .189/.268/.324 while striking out nine times. Now we have a whole new story to yell about (but seriously he's fine).
  • Daniel Robertson - OF: Over his last ten games, Robertson has slashed .200/.200/.486. Robertson is still a nifty piece of depth to have in Tacoma, but he has underwhelmed with the Rainiers.
  • Ed Lucas - INF: Lucas is currently slashing .223/.259/.400 for a year, a large drop off from his past Triple-A production. Like Robertson, Lucas is a nice piece of veteran depth to have down in Tacoma, but there's a third baseman down in Double-A who looks ready to start taking at-bats away from the 33-year-old Lucas in the near future.

***

AA Jackson Generals (22-14, 1st in Southern League North)

Record over last 10 games: 5-5

Overview: Despite Jackson's so-so week, they only gave up a single game in the standings to second-place Montgomery. Offense has been hard to come by for the Generals, who only scored five or more runs in a game just once this week. The pitching remains an immense strength, however.

Trending Up:

  • Dylan Unsworth - RHP: Unsworth's command has been unreal as of late and it's the main reason he has only surrendered three earned runs over his last 32 innings, including his first ever shutout in his last outing (note: it was a seven inning game). The 23-year-old was named Southern League Pitcher of the Week on May 9th.
  • Tyler O'Neill - OF: Get used to seeing O'Neill on here. Since May 4th, the Canadian is slashing .318/.348/.455 with a 130 wRC+. He keeps on hitting, and a promotion to Tacoma within the next couple months is starting to look far more likely.
  • Zach Shank - 3B: Since May 4th, Shank is hitting an absurd .450/.488/.550 with a 203 wRC+. Ed Lucas is currently manning third base in Tacoma, and I can't imagine that getting in the way of a Shank promotion when the front office deems him ready for a promotion.
  • Ryne Harper - RHP: Harper, an offseason acquisition, has been brilliant in the Generals' bullpen. Over his last 9 appearances: 12.2 IP, 0 runs allowed, 2.21 FIP, 18 strikeouts. The bullpen arms in this organization are doing exciting things right now.
  • Ryan Yarbrough - LHP: Yarbrough tossed six shutout innings in his last outing. He's posted a 3.42 FIP on the year.
  • Emilio Pagan - RHP: Pagan has surrendered one run while striking out 24 in his last 17.1 IP. It's time to call him up.
Trending Down:

  • Forrest Snow - RHP: Snow has surrendered two earned runs, three hits, and a walk in both of his last two outings.
  • Ryan Horstman - LHP: His inclusion here is a bit cruel since he only had one bad outing, but it was a really bad outing. In his fourth appearance with Jackson, the lefty surrendered six runs on three hits and three walks without recording a single out. It's going to take awhile for the ol' stats to recover from that one.
  • D.J. Peterson - 1B: In the month of May, Peterson has hit .234/.357/.319. The OBP is neat, but the low-.300s slugging percentage is worrisome.

***

A+ Bakersfield Blaze (14-22, 5th in California League North)

Record over last 10 games: 3-7

Overview: Bakersfield has been the most underwhelming affiliate by a few miles. The pitching has been okay, but offensive struggles from several key players has made stringing together wins nearly impossible.

Trending Up:

  • Andrew Moore - RHP: Moore has surrendered one earned run over his last twelve innings. The former Oregon State Beaver is ripping the Cal League to absolute shreds.
  • Drew Jackson - SS: Since May 3rd, Jackson is hitting .293/.396/.317 while playing a stellar shortstop. His ISO over that time period is a miserable .024, but power is the one part of his game that is still in the early developmental stage. He'll never be a power hitter, but he should develop some gap power in the future.
  • Isaac Sanchez - RHP: Sanchez has struck out 26 in 18.2 IP while posting a 2.41 ERA. The Rule-5 draftee hasn't surrendered a run in his last 7.2 IP.
  • Daniel Torres - C: Torres has been a consistent bat in the Bakersfield lineup all year, slashing .309/.415/.364 for the Blaze over 55 at-bats.
Trending Down:

  • Kody Kerski - RHP: After two stellar seasons to start his Mariners career, Kerski has struggled to start 2016. Through 15.1 IP, the 8th-round pick in 2014 has surrendered 17 earned runs and 24 hits.
  • Austin Wilson - OF: Wilson's batting average over the last ten games starts with .0__ and his line for the year sits at .170/.290/.274, a far fall from the red-hot second half he had in 2015.
***

A Clinton LumberKings (21-15, 1st in Midwest League Western)

Record over last 10 games: 5-5

Overview: Clinton was looking great before hitting a bit of a wall and getting swept by Peoria this weekend. They'll look to get things back on track on Tuesday when they travel to Quad Cities

Trending Up:

  • Darin Gillies - RHP: The Arizona State alum has turned a corner in his first full season, posting a 2.40 FIP through 21.1 IP. Gillies has surrendered just 13 baserunners during that time.
  • Braden Bishop - CF: Bishop has posted a .389 OBP in the month of May and has been one of the most consistent offensive weapons for the LumberKings. He's still not hitting for much power, but the bat has been better.
  • Conner Hale - INF: Hale's professional struggles were odd given how impressive he always looked at LSU. Over the last few days with Clinton, Hale has gone back to looking like that guy he was in Baton Rouge, going 6 for his last 14 with 2 home runs. It's a very tiny sample size, but Hale looked like such a talented, natural hitter when the Mariners selected him in the 9th round last year. Any sign of potential success is welcome.
  • Dalton Kelly - 1B: I can't imagine Kelly is in Clinton much longer. He is currently slashing .357/.436/.465 and has shown zero signs of letting up.
  • Nick Wells - LHP: Wells has surrendered just two earned runs over his last 18.0 IP, lowering his ERA to 4.14. Things are going very well(s).
Trending Down:

  • Arturo Nieto - C: Nieto is 1 for his last 27 and is slugging .211 this season. Nieto looked great in Everett last year and should be given plenty of time to turn things around.
  • Austin Cousino - OF: Cousino's last ten games: 4 for 40, 12 strikeouts, 2 walks.