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State of the Farm: 10/26/17 - AFL Update

Our first look at how the crops are faring south of the PNW this Fall

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Peoria Javelinas at Glendale Desert Dogs Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday! It’s almost time for the greatest holiday of the year...HALLOWEEN! It’s also October, which means it’s time for the annual tradition of Mariners turning their attention to the offseason and the future of the club.

The Mariners have two active players in the Dominican Professional Baseball League (LIDOM) and Mexican Pacific League (LMP), and eight representatives in each of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP), and Arizona Fall League (AFL). Of those 20 players, just two—Evan Marshall and Max Povse—pitched for the Mariners in a big league game in 2017.

Arizona Fall League

1B/OF Eric Filia, Peoria Javelinas

Filia has dominated Arizona Fall League headlines (and pitchers) through the first couple weeks of the season. 30 at-bats in, he’s leading a league dominated by top organizational prospects in AVG and OBP, and is fourth in SLG while splitting time between first base and the outfield.

OF Braden Bishop, Peoria Javelinas

After a breakout 2017 season split between the High-A and Double-A levels, Bishop has struggled to get things going this Fall with the bat. Bishop had a coming-out party on Tuesday however, cracking a double among his three hits in addition to swiping a bag. His line now sits at .227/.320/.273 through 22 AB’s.

OF Kyle Lewis, Peoria Javelinas

Top prospect Kyle Lewis, who had been rehabbing his knee down in Arizona, made his long anticipated debut for the Javelinas, batting leadoff and playing centerfield. Lewis didn’t disappoint in his return, as he went 3-4, with a BB, 2 2B, R, RBI but followed that up with an 0-4 outing on Tuesday. After playing all nine innings back-to-back days, he was given the day off on Wednesday.

C Joe DeCarlo, Peoria Javelinas

A 2012 64th overall draft pick and converted third baseman, DeCarlo has been playing second (third?) fiddle to Alex Jackson or Max Pentecost behind the dish for the Javelinas, recording just seven at-bats to date, collecting a single. If he can continue to improve his defense throughout his time in Arizona, his bat will play nicely at the catcher position, particularly in a system devoid of a standout catching prospect.

RHP Matt Festa, Peoria Javelinas

Festa saw his stuff take off upon transitioning to the bullpen in 2017, increasing his K/9 from 8.7 to 12.8 while shaving a bit off his xFIP as well. That strikeout stuff has been on display through his first three AFL appearances, fanning two batters in each of his three one-inning stints. That said, he also surrendered two hits, and at least one run and one walk in each of those outings, leading to ten baserunners through three innings. He seemed to settle down a bit in a perfect nine-pitch inning on Wednesday.

RHP Art Warren, Peoria Javelinas

Warren, who just finished up his first season being used exclusively as a reliever, has been good for four clean innings so far for Peoria. He’s allowed just three baserunners, notching one strikeout along the way, and seems to be earning a spot at the back end of Peoria’s bullpen.

RHP Max Povse, Peoria Javelinas

Posve’s most recent--and most productive--outing came on Tuesday, when he logged four innings of one-run ball. After cruising through the first three innings, the 6’8” righty ran into trouble in his final inning of work before escaping a one out, runners on the corners jam by inducing a double play to end the inning. After spending part of 2017 as a reliever, it’s a good omen to see Povse turn in an effective multi-inning start.

RHP Darin Gillies, Peoria Javelinas

After a shaky 2017 campaign, Gillies headed for the Arizona Fall League in hopes of reclaiming some of the command and strikeout stuff he showed off during the 2016 season, his first as a full time reliever. He’s been a bit shaky through his first three appearances, coughing up three hits and two walks over three innings, although he’s limited the damage to just one earned run.

Dominican Professional Baseball League

RHP Bryan Evans, Toros del Este

Evans is yet another 2017 Indy ball signing, and probably had the best results of the bunch last season. After latching on with the organization in mid-July, Evans pitched in seven games--all starts--including one start at the Triple-A level, and more than held his own, posting 10.2 K/9 over 41.1 innings. After a shaky debut for the Toros that featured four shutout innings, Evans spun five brilliant shutout innings in his second outing, racking up eight strikeouts, and scattering just four hits.

RHP Jonathan Aro, Tigres del Licey

Since being acquired almost two full years ago, Aro has recorded just two outs for the big league club. After a marginally successful 2017 campaign, the right-handed hurler returned to the Tigres del Licey for a third season, where it’s been more of the same. In his most recent outing, he was tagged for three runs in one third of an inning.

Mexican Pacific League

C Juan Camacho, Caneros de los Mochis

After starting 34 games behind the dish for Everett last season, the 21-year old Camacho reports to the Caneros as one of four backstops being carried. As such, he’s appeared in just three games, going 1-9 with one walk and one strikeout.

RHP Evan Marshall, Venados de Mazatlan

After missing a large chunk of the 2017 season with a severe hamstring strain, Marshall looks ready to make his case for a spot in the 2018 Mariners bullpen. He’s been serving as the closer for Venados de Mazatlan and has three saves to go along with his 0.00 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over six appearances.

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

RHP Dylan Unsworth, Leones Del Caracas

A year after pitching in the Arizona Fall League, Unsworth is pitching in an offseason league again. Following a 2016 season in which he made just nine starts, it’s a breath of fresh air to see Unsworth still going strong after making 22 starts throughout the 2017 season. He’s walked just two batters through 14.1 innings, but has surrendered 22 hits, leaving his WHIP at 1.67. The South African native has coughed up more hits and runs each time out, and may be showing some signs of fatigue. We’ll see how he bounces back from his shakiest start yet.

RHP Seth Frankoff, Leones Del Caracas

Even the most diehard Mariners fans may have missed the Mariners claiming Frankoff off waivers from the Chicago Cubs back in early September. After working mostly as a reliever from 2012 - 2016, Frankoff was used as a starter in 21 of his 24 appearances in Triple-A in 2017, although he remained in a relief role after coming over from the Cubs organization. His 4.28 xFIP and 9.2 K/9 over 116.2 IP last season make the 29 year-old an early candidate to fill the Christian Bergman-sized hole in the starting pitching depth for 2018. His lone appearance for the Leones to date came last Friday, when he posted a line of 3.0 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 5 K in a game that he started.

RHP Ryan Kelly, Cardenales De Lara

Kelly, who was plucked out of the Indy ball ranks back in mid-May, was lights out serving as the Travs closer after struggling with his initial assignment in Tacoma. He’s been good for a line of 5 G, 7.2 IP, 2.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 7 K, 2 BB. If you omit his rough outing on 10/14, he’s allowed nothing but one walk over six innings. A strong finish to the offseason, and he might just find himself as a NRI come the spring.

RHP Scott Kuzminsky, Cardenales De Lara

Local kid Kuzminsky split last season between Everett and Tacoma, tossing 11 innings after being signed out of Indy ball. He’s appeared in five games out of the pen for the Cardenales, ranging anywhere from 0.1 IP to 1.2 IP, and has surrendered three earned runs on no walks and six hits, twice being bit by the long ball.

RHP Tyler Knigge, Cardenales De Lara

Knigge missed all of the 2016 season and most of 2017 after being acquired in July of 2015 from the Phillies for cash considerations. He’s shown a fastball at 94-96 but been roughed up a bit in 1.1 IP, surrendering three earned runs on three hits and a walk.

C Yojhan Quevedo, Cardenales De Lara

Quevedo had a fairly productive season with the bat in Clinton, posting a 93 wRC+ in 101 games. So far, he’s appeared in just two games for a Cardenales team that is carrying four catchers, and is just 1-5 with a walk and a single.

OF Chuck Taylor, Cardenales De Lara

After being selected as a Double-A All Star in his first season with the M’s, Taylor struggled mightily in the second half. After collecting nine hits through his first four games, he’s gone just 5-28 (.179) over his last seven games, and has struck out nine times to just one walk on the season.

UTIL Adam Law, Cardenales De Lara

In his first full season with in the M’s organization after being acquired from the Dodgers, Law saw action in just 17 games due to injury and struggled to the tune of a 36 wRC+. He’s fared much better serving as the everyday third baseman for the Cardenales, where he’s slashed .371/.450/.514 through 11 games, and took home Player of the Week honors for the first week of the season.