Over the last 24 hours or so, a ton of important news regarding the Mariners' minor league system has popped up, so much so that I didn't want to wait for the weekly State of the Farm post to bring it all up. A top prospect is trying out a new position! Another top prospect came back from the DL! An affiliate is moving (womp womp womp)! Read all about it below:
D.J. Peterson might be seeing some time in the outfield in the near future
Just talked to Rainiers manager Pat Listach after game.!Sounds like DJ Peterson will start playing some outfield - and soon.— Todd Milles (@ManyHatsMilles) August 21, 2016
The idea of trying a first baseman out in the outfield is scary. We all saw Mark Trumbo and his ways of making the outfield look like an unfair carnival game: bent basketball rims, fully-inflated basketballs, and cups that refuse to allow the ping pong balls to settle.
I have good news, though! Peterson has pretty decent athleticism for a first baseman and should be able to hold his own out there if the instincts and routes are fine. Putting Peterson in the outfield is not the same thing as putting Adam Lind, Dae-Ho Lee, or Dan Vogelbach in the outfield. The glove has been spectacular at first base and tolerable at third base, for what it's worth. It's difficult to project how well he'll perform in the outfield until we actually see it, though.
Honestly, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over this. If Peterson is bad out there, you switch him back to a full-time infielder. There's a big difference between "switching to outfield" and "playing some outfield", and I'd guess this move is a heavy lean towards the latter. This seems to just be a move to see how much flexibility they'd have with him in either a potential September call-up or in 2017.
Luiz Gohara throws three hitless innings in return from DL
Gohara's first outing in two weeks was a major success as the lefty tossed three hitless innings, surrendering only a single walk along the way. Gohara is currently sporting a 2.15 FIP and 10.48 K/9 and is starting to look very much like a top pitching prospect. We're going to learn an awful lot about Gohara next year.
Jackson Generals set a franchise record for most wins since becoming a Mariners affiliate
The Generals have consistently been the most dominant team in the system all season long, with a short slump out of the gates in the second half being their only blemish. On August 20th, they achieved their 80th win of the season, the most they've had since becoming a Mariners affiliate back in 2007. This is made all the crazier when you consider they still have 16 games left on the schedule. Also, in case you haven't heard, we are officially on Tyler O'Neill triple-crown watch.
Blaze to move out of Bakersfield after the 2016 season
The Bakersfield Blaze, the Mariners' High-A affiliate, will cease operations at the end of this season. The team will move to an undisclosed location and begin play in the Carolina League in 2017. You can read more about the move here. From a historical standpoint, the move is somewhat of a bummer. Sam Lynn Ballpark has stood since 1941 and has been home to countless teams over the years. The Blaze have been present since 1995. I'm sure the ballpark will still be used in some capacity, but I can't imagine a professional team ever calling it home again. To have all of that ripped away from a community is rough and I legitimately feel for the baseball-loving residents of Bakersfield.
From the Mariners' perspective, however, this is a good move. While we don't know where exactly they're going, they should experience an upgrade in facilities. Sam Lynn Ballpark, with all of its history, was outdated with no plans of improvement anywhere on the horizon. It's also hard to imagine that anywhere they go would outrank Bakersfield on a "Least desirable places to send your prospects" list.
That being said, it'd be great to see the Blaze go out winners. They currently lead the North Division of the California League by three games and are playing some terrific baseball. Let's all hope for one final playoff run.