A lot happened this week and it just couldn't wait for next week's State of the Farm. Let's get down to it:
Bakersfield Blaze clinch playoff spot, bring renewed life to Sam Lynn Ballpark
The Bakersfield Blaze clinched the North Division second-half title with a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Giants on Thursday. The Mariners' High-A affiliate pushed their second-half record to 38-28 with the win.
While it's always nice to see an affiliate book a playoff spot, the title was more significant than usual for the Blaze, as they are set to move operations to the Carolina League when the year ends. The win not only signifies a few more days of Blaze baseball, it also means the city of Bakersfield gets at least a couple more professional games in historic Sam Lynn Ballpark. Leaving the city with a winner would be a wonderful ending to Bakersfield's long history of professional baseball.
Top prospects with the Blaze include SS Drew Jackson, RHP Zack Littell, and OF Braden Bishop.
Jackson Generals win all the awards
The Southern League Most Valuable Player award was given to OF Tyler O'Neill. O'Neill has put himself on the map in a big way in 2016, slashing .294/.375/.515 in 560 plate appearances. The 21-year-old hit 24 dingers and led the Southern League in ISO.
Winning the Most Outstanding Pitcher award was LHP Ryan Yarbrough. Yarbrough made a name for himself as the Generals' most reliable starter all year, frequently pitching six or more innings and riding an impressive fastball-slider combination to a 3.31 FIP over 126.1 innings.
Daren Brown (yes, that Daren Brown) was named Manager of the Year. The long-time manager in the organization and one-time Mariners manager helped lead the Generals to an 83-52 overall record and first-half title.
The Tacoma Rainiers finally join the playoff party
The Tacoma Rainiers clinched the Pacific Northern Division title last night, meaning every single Mariners' affiliate earned a playoff bid in 2016.
Every. Single. One.
The Rainiers' roster turnover has been absurd this year, with half the starting lineup being borderline unrecognizable at times, but Tacoma held on for dear life and have officially claimed the title. It feels like forever ago that Ed Lucas, Efren Navarro, and Justin De Fratus roamed the field of Cheney.
Two more years of Clinton!
The Mariners and the LumberKings' friendship will continue for at least two more years, as the two agreed to a two-year extension in their Player Development Contract earlier this week.
Eight Mariners will play in the Arizona Fall League
Eight M's have been placed in the Arizona Fall League. The list:
- OF Tyler O'Neill (AA)
- LHP Luiz Gohara (A)
- C Tyler Marlette (AA)
- SS Drew Jackson (A+)
- RHP Emilio Pagan (AAA)
- RHP Dylan Unsworth (AA)
- RHP Dan Altavilla (MLB)
- OF Guillermo Heredia (MLB)