Between the second half of the year getting underway and Tacoma finally putting a little distance between themselves and the Reno Aces, we have plenty to discuss. Let's get to it.
Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers
(44-33, 1st place in Pacific Northern Division)
The Rainiers sit 3.5 games up in first place after taking three of four from the Sacramento River Cats and two of three from the Fresno Grizzlies over the past week. The Reno Aces, who have been neck-and-neck with Tacoma in recent weeks, have lost six of their last eight.
- UTIL Patrick Kivlehan keeps on going. Be it with his bat or his glove, Kivlehan has been a vital player for the Rainiers since coming back. (2016 w/ Tacoma: 73 AB, .315/.342/.548, 130 wRC+, .203 ISO)
- OF Stefen Romero has pieced together five multi-hit games in the last week. After a very brief skid, he is back to making Triple-A pitchers look like oddly-shaped batting tees. (2016 w/ Tacoma: 210 AB, .330/.387/.568, 151 wRC+, .238 ISO)
- CF Guillermo Heredia was bumped up to Tacoma after Boog Powell's suspension, but he's out to a bit of a slow start. He's a decent all-around player, though, and I expect him to hold up just fine against Triple-A competition. (2016 w/ Tacoma: 19 AB, .211/.211/.263)
- SS Luis Sardinas put together a three-hit performance on Monday, but for the most part he's struggled to hit in Tacoma. He's had plenty of utility action so far, seeing action at SS, 3B, 2B, LF, and CF. (2016 w/ Tacoma: .233/.271/.256, 39 wRC+, .023 ISO)
- C Jesus Sucre made his Tacoma debut on Monday, going hitless in three at-bats. Sucre played in four games with the AZL Mariners before making the jump. I will not post his stats. We can all handle "hitless in three at-bats".
- OF Nori Aoki went 2 for 4 with a walk on Monday. To lead off the game, he did this:
- Regarding C Mike Zunino, I have good news and bad news. The good news: Zunino hit .316/.417/.474 the past week. The bad news: he has a 32.3% k-rate in June. Since June 18th, it's at 43.2%. (2016 w/ Tacoma: .269/.355/.513, 129 wRC+, .244 ISO)
- RHP Steve Johnson since rejoining the Rainiers: 4.0 IP, 0 R, 4 K, 2 H, 2 BB
- RHP Zach Lee was hit hard in his debut with the Mariners' organization. He surrendered five runs on seven hits in six innings against the River Cats on June 23rd.
- RHP Emiiio Pagan's command has abandoned him a little bit in Tacoma; he's walked six hitters in just five innings. That being said, the fastball/slider combo is still impressive and he's managed to limit the damage to just one run during that time.
- RHP Tom Wilhelmsen surrendered a run on two hits in his first inning of work with the Rainiers on Sunday.
Double-A Jackson Generals
(2-3, 5th place in Northern Division)
The Generals started out the second half of the season by dropping a five-game series to the Chattanooga Lookouts. Remember, they have already clinched a spot in the playoffs after finishing atop the division in the first half.
- 1B D.J. Peterson is currently riding a seven-game hit streak and has been Jackson's best hitter over the last month. Monday night might've been his most impressive game yet: he doubled and walked three times. (2016 stats w/ Jackson: .267/.332/.451, 124 wRC+, .183 ISO)
- After enjoying a hit streak of his own, OF Tyler O'Neill has endured his first mini slump of the season, going 1 for 13 the last three games. No really he's been so good that a poor three-game stretch feels like a slump. Tyler O'Neill is very good at baseball, everyone. (2016 w/ Jackson: .315/.377/.543, 162 wRC+, .228 ISO)
- CF Ian Miller has been on another level in the field recently, making spectacular catches and tossing lasers on a nightly basis. The bat has been better, too. ('16: .257/.335/.309, 88 wRC+, .052 ISO)
- 1B Kyle Petty was called up to Jackson after being incredibly rude to California League pitchers the entire first half of the season. He went 3 for 17 with 3 BB in his first Double-A series ever.
- C Marcus Littlewood's sudden surge at the plate hasn't slowed down at all. In his last ten games, he's posted three multi-hit games and walked six times. ('16: .299/.367/.393, 121 wRC+, .093 ISO)
- RHP Andrew Moore surrendered two runs on six hits in five innings in his first outing of the second half. After initial struggles with command, his walk-rate in Jackson is all the way down to 1.59. ('16: 34.0 IP, 3.76 FIP, 7.41 K/9, .324 BABIP)
- Perhaps the biggest mystery in the system is where in the world LHP Ryan Horstman's command has gone. After posting a 1.98 BB/9 in Bakersfield this year, he's gone on to post an 8.82 BB/9 in Jackson. Strangely enough, the 30.0 IP this year are the most he's thrown in a season since being drafted by the Mariners. ('16 w/ Jackson: 16.1 IP, 4.98 FIP, 9.92 K/9, .341 BABIP)
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
(3-2, 1st in North Division)
The Blaze might be one of the favorites to win the second half after blasting through the final few weeks of the first half. They are without star first baseman Kyle Petty now, but there's still plenty of talent out in Bakersfield.
- SS Gianfranco Wawoe's hitting streak came to an end on Monday. From June 6th to June 26th (16 games), Wawoe hit .403/.464/.532 with a 180 wRC+. What an impressive month from the 21-year-old. ('16: .304/.360/.387, 110 wRC+, .083 ISO)
- OF Austin WIlson has returned from injury and is back in the everyday lineup. The short break appears to have affected the groove he was establishing at the plate. ('16: .225/.342/.330, 94 wRC+, .105 ISO)
- RHP Osmer Morales, RHP Isaac Sanchez, and LHP Jake Zokan threw a combined no-hitter on Friday against the Modesto Nuts. Morales was making his first start of the year after several relief appearances between the LumberKings and Blaze. Sanchez and Zokan have been two of Bakersfield's best relievers this year.
- RHP Darin Gillies received a bump up to Bakersfield and tossed a perfect inning in his debut on Sunday. ('16: 38.2 IP, 21 H, 9 BB, 39 K, .200 BABIP
Class-A Clinton LumberKings
(5-0, 1st in Western Division)
All hail the LumberKings, the mighty rulers of the Western Division (second half).
- SS Rayder Ascanio's bat remains a pleasant surprise. He's collected hits in four of Clinton's five games to start the half and has walked four times in his last two games. Ascanio is largely considered a glove-first prospect and the development of a hit tool would be dreamy. ('16: .268/.348/.313, 101 wRC+, .045 ISO)
- CF Braden Bishop returned from an eight-day layoff on Monday, going 1 for 4 with a RBI. Bishop hadn't played since June 19th. ('16: .293/.363/.335, 113 wRC+, .041 ISO)
- INF Conner Hale has posted three consecutive multi-hit games. Last year's ninth-round selection has been one of the LumberKings' best bats for over a month now. ('16: .264/.301/.370, 100 wRC+, .106 ISO)
- OF Alex Jackson enjoyed two multi-hit games in Clinton's first series of the half. He's been crushing the ball all June and has shown flashes of being the hitter the Mariners envision him becoming. ('16: .206/.284/.397, 103 wRC+, .190 ISO)
- RHP Nick Neidert struck out twelve in just six innings in his last outing. It was by far the most impressive outing Neidert has had since the Mariners drafted him in 2015. His k-rates haven't been amazing during his time in the organization, but he showcased his serious potential in the outing. ('16: 33.2 IP, 3.06 FIP, 8.02 K/9, .250 BABIP)
- RHP Zack Littell has surrendered two earned runs in his last 26.2 IP. He has struck out 29 and walked just four in that same timespan. He's probably ready for Bakersfield at this point, and given how aggressive the organization seems to be when it comes to promoting arms this year, the move could come soon. ('16: 92.2 IP, 3.02 FIP, 8.55 K/9, .332 BABIP)
Low-A Everett AquaSox
(7-4, 1st in North Division)
The AquaSox currently sit in a tie atop the division with the Vancouver Canadians. No, I still can't decide if that's the worst or best baseball nickname I've ever heard.
- OF Kyle Lewis started out slow, but has posted three multi-hit games in the last week. The walk and k-rates are in great shape, too. You can watch him clear the bases with a double here. ('16: 9 for 44, 4 2B, 6 BB, 6 K, SB)
- INF Jordan Cowan has been a valuable leadoff man for the AquaSox early on. The Kentlake HS product has been in the system since 2013, but he's just 21-years-old (right on the dot for league average age) and seemed to take a big step forward in the ABL this offseason. ('16: 11 for 31, 3 2B, 4 BB, 6 K, SB)
- LHP Luiz Gohara so far (2 starts): 10.1 IP, 12 K, 6 H, 3 BB, 0 R. The M's top pitching prospect is just 19 years old and has looked unbelievably good in limited action.
- LHP Wade Miley threw four perfect innings in an appearance on Friday. The kid looked real good. Showed fast-moving potential. I'm talking REAL FAST. $50 says he's in Seattle before the month is up. Great prospect
- 3rd-round pick Bryson Brigman picked up where he left off at the University of San Diego. After starting the year 1 for 16, Brigman has gone 11 for 21 with three walks. Brigman carved out a name for himself as a slick-fielding shortstop capable of barreling up the ball on a frequent basis at the plate.
Rookie League AZL Mariners
(4-2, 2nd in West Division)
- Second-round pick Joe Rizzo has been showing why scouts were so in love with his bat. To start out his professional career, Rizzo has hit .320/.393/.440 with a home run.
- 18-year-old SS Chris Torres has hits in four of his first five games and sits at .318/.400/.409 with two stolen bases.
- LHP Danny Hultzen surrendered a run on two hits in his second appearance of the year. His time with the AZL Mariners is still considered a rehab assignment, as he is currently listed on the Generals' roster.
- LHP Joe Pistorese has thrown three innings for the AZL Mariners this year. Pistorese returned from suspension recently, but only managed to get in one appearance with the LumberKings before being shipped to the Arizona League.
Rookie League DSL Mariners
(13-7, 2nd in South Division)
- After a red hot start, OF Brayan Hernandez's numbers have drooped down to .282/.307/.529. Regardless, it's been a promising beginning to Hernandez's 2016 season.
- LF Jose Sandoval, a 19-year-old out of Venezuela, has hit .340/.415/.511 for the season.