It’s been an exciting couple weeks since we last checked in with the guys in the M’s organization that are taking part in offseason leagues. To get you up to speed:
- The Peoria Javelinas won the Arizona Fall League Championship and OF Eric Filia won both the league batting title, and the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award;
- Mariners C Mike Marjama has signed with the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Professional Baseball League for the offseason;
- RHP Lindsey Caughel has signed with the Leones Del Caracas of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League for the offseason;
- IF Adam Law was released by the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League and signed with the Yaquis de Obregón of the Mexican Pacific League;
- The Mariners had 36 players opt for minor league free agency, including RHP Jonathan Aro, RHP Bryan Evans, RHP Evan Marshall, RHP Dylan Unsworth, RHP Ryan Kelly, and C Yojhan Quevedo.
NOTE: Players who opted for minor league free agency that were previously on this list but have been removed as they are not currently part of the Mariners organization.
Arizona Fall League
1B/OF Eric Filia, Peoria Javelinas
Stats update: 31-76, .408/.483/.605, 4 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 0 SB, 12 BB, 7 SO
Perhaps no player saw their stock rise more this fall than Filia, who managed to reach base in Every. Single. Game. he appeared in for the Javelinas. As the Arizona Fall League season wound down, Filia found himself in right field more and more frequently, seemingly indicating that’s where he’ll continue to be deployed in 2018 and beyond.
Filia’s bat was quiet in the championship game, but he still found a way to make an impact:
OF Braden Bishop, Peoria Javelinas
Stats update: 13-56, .232/.306/.304, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, 4 BB, 13 SO
The midseason Fall Star really saw his playing time take a hit down the stretch. After setting a career high in games played in 2017, it’s possible fatigue set in a bit, and the inconsistent playing time certainly could have hindered his ability to rediscover his stroke. It’ll be interesting to see how much time Bishop gets to spend in big league camp this spring.
C Joe DeCarlo, Peoria Javelinas
Stats update: 3-23, .130/.160/.130, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 6 SO
DeCarlo, who was a taxi-squad player this fall, unsurprisingly played sparingly through the season. The fact that DeCarlo wound up in the AFL, surrounded by the game’s top prospects in his first offseason following a position change to catcher, may well be considered a success in and of itself. The results left something to be desired, but considering he often faced some of the top pitching in all of minor league baseball, there’s reason to be optimistic regarding his status in 2018. With seven of the M’s minor league catchers opting for minor league free agency, DeCarlo is likely the de facto top catching prospect in the organization as things stand today.
RHP Matt Festa, Peoria Javelinas
Stats update: 8 G, 8.0 IP, 7.88 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, .303 BAA, 7 ER, 10 H, 5 BB, 11 SO
After a breakout 2017 in which Festa’s K/9 jumped by over 4.0, the 6’2” right-hander kept the trend rolling right into the fall, posting 12.4 K/9 on the season. His 5.6 BB/9 was over double his career mark, and hopefully was simply a product of fatigue and not a nagging injury. Overall, it’s safe to say his 2017 performance and subsequent assignment to the AFL helped put Festa on the map and establish a little trade value.
RHP Art Warren, Peoria Javelinas
Stats update: 9 G, 11.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, .132 BAA, 0 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 12 SO
If anybody rivaled Eric Filia’s stock inflation this fall, it was Warren, who posted an impressive season-long streak of his own, making it through all nine of his appearances without allowing a run. Warren, who lead the Javelinas with three saves, found his way into the conversation with the strikeout monsters Seth Elledge and Wyatt Mills in a recent quote from Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto. Already 24, he seems a good candidate to spend some time in big league camp this spring.
RHP Max Povse, Peoria Javelinas
Stats update: 6 GS, 25.2 IP, 4.56 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .280 BAA, 13 ER, 28 H, 6 BB, 25 SO
After spending the 2017 season ping-ponging between starting pitcher and relief pitcher status, all signs seem to point towards Povse returning to starting in 2017. It was a fairly rocky season for Povse, as he often ran into trouble his third time through the order, leading to a pretty severe drop-off around the fifth inning in most of his starts. He did, however, manage to end the season on a high note, tossing six innings of one run, zero walk ball to close out his AFL campaign.
RHP Darin Gillies, Peoria Javelinas
Stats update: 7 G, 7.1 IP, 6.14 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, .323 BAA, 5 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 SO
Gillies had been tiptoeing around some shaky peripherals to successfully limit runs through his first five outings in the AFL, but things came tumbling down a bit in his last two appearances, when he was roughed up for four runs on four hits and two walks over 2.1 innings. After an extremely impressive 2016 campaign, Gillies’ rough 2017 continued into the fall. We’ll see if he can tap back into the strikeout pitcher he gave us a glimmer of in 2016.
Dominican Professional Baseball League
C Mike Marjama, Tigres del Licey
The man currently slated for the backup catching role on the 2018 Mariners looks to get plenty of playing time for the Tigres, as he is one of just two catchers on the roster that is currently on an MLB team’s 40-man. Currently, Marjama is playing for the Blue Squad in the “Liga Paralela,” which is sort of like the Triple-A equivalent of Dominican ball, but after a strong first game in which he collected two doubles and three RBI, expect him to get moved to the regular squad.
Mexican Pacific League
UTIL Adam Law, Cardenales De Lara/Yaquis de Obregon
Cardenales/Yaquis: Stats update: 27-91, .297/.379/.407, 6 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB, 12 BB, 23 SO
I reached out to Law for a little clarification regarding what lead to him switching teams midseason. Here’s what he had to say:
“I was released by the Cardenales de Lara. They no longer had space for me as an import player. I wish they would’ve kept me because I was playing well and having a blast. I put up good numbers and wanted to continue to play this winter and made myself available to other winter ball teams. On my flight home from Venezuela, Yaquis de Obregón called and offered me a place to play. So now I’m here.”
The bat hasn’t quite followed him to Obregon yet in a small sample, but he’s already swiped three bags in just seven games with the Yaquis, a welcome sign for the former 40-bag base-stealer.
C Juan Camacho, Caneros de los Mochis
Stats update: 5-20, .250/.318/.250, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 2 BB, 3 SO
Camacho hasn’t received any playing time whatsoever in a little over two weeks, and in all honesty I’m not exactly sure why. If I’m looking for something positive to say about his Mexican league stint to date, he’s nearly matched his season-long walk total of four from 2017 in Short Season-A.
Venezuelan Professional Baseball League
RHP Seth Frankoff, Leones Del Caracas
Stats update: 5 GS, 20.2 IP, 3.05 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .256 BAA, 7 ER, 20 H, 6 BB, 15 SO
Frankoff, who will likely look to throw his name in the hat for a Triple-A rotation or long relief spot, finished out his stint in Venezuela with a pair of five inning starts over which he surrendered just two runs on nine hits and four walks.
RHP Lindsey Caughel, Leones Del Caracas
Stats update: has not yet appeared in a game
Caughel will look to build upon a red hot finish to the 2017 season with the Leones. The indy ball product is coming off a career-high 157.2 innings, but hasn’t seen game action since September 4th. Considering his slow start to the 2017 season, hopefully he’ll be able to ramp things up over his winter ball so he can put his best foot forward come spring training.
OF Chuck Taylor, Cardenales De Lara
Stats update: 52-153, .340/.399/.451, 9 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 0 SB, 15 BB, 19 SO
The 2017 Double-A All Star has continued right on with his newfound plate discipline, walking six times to just three strikeouts over his last 10 games, over which he’s running a .489 OBP. After a brief dip in his slugging over that time, Taylor’s bat broke out in a big way Monday as he went 4-5 with a home run and a whopping six RBI.