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State of the Farm: 5/19/17

Go Go Gadget Gareth Morgan

One-Day Old Giraffe Debuts At Noah's Ark Farm Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

This past week in the Mariners organization has actually been a fairly calm one. Aside from a few guys putting up big weeks at the plate–which, honestly, you can find over any sample size in any organization–there isn’t a ton to report on in terms of big news. None of the affiliates were particularly good or particularly bad. Transactions were mostly shuffling. Big prospects stayed put. Slow week.

(AAA) Tacoma Rainiers

Team Record: 25-14, first in Pacific Northern Division, Pacific Coast League

Team Hitting: .250/.335/.402, sixth-worst SLG% in PCL

Team Pitching: 3.67 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, third-best ERA in PCL

The Rainiers went 4-3 over the past week, maintaining their slight, one-game lead in the division. In crazy news, the team has now had thirty pitchers record an appearance for them this season. Thirty. It is mid-May and the Rainiers have had a full roster and some change pitch.

  • OF Tyler O’Neill has shown brief signs of life, but he’s yet to get back anywhere near the level he was playing at all through 2016. He hasn’t homered since April 24th and he looks totally helpless against Triple-A breaking stuff. Regardless, I’m not sure a demotion to pitcher-friendly Arkansas will do much for him at this point. This is simply something he’s going to have to work through.
  • Tacoma folkhero Mike Zunino is 6-for-27 with two home runs, a double, four walks, and two strikeouts since returning to the Rainiers. With the current Seattle catchers playing a fun game of seeing who can post the lowest wRC+ without getting DFA’d, he may not be down there very long.
  • CF Leonys Martin is finding success at the plate again, slashing .295/.353/.500 (3 HR, 5 2B, 3B) over 20 games. I’m not sure he gets another shot in Seattle anytime soon with Heredia, Gamel, and Haniger all performing (when healthy), but hey, he’s an easy guy to root for. Keep it up, Leonys.
  • Aside from a three-game stretch where he had five hits and three home runs, things have been a bit bumpy for 1B Daniel Vogelbach over the last couple weeks. He is most definitely not demolishing pitchers at the moment and his odd 2017 campaign–complete with playing time gaps–continues. Overall, his numbers for the season aren’t terrible (.270/.383/.460).
  • It’d odd that in a time where virtually every living, breathing human being in the organization has pitched for the Mariners, they’ve yet to turn to RHP Ryne Harper. In 16.1 innings this season, Harper has recorded a 3.61 FIP and 21 strikeouts. The command has been a bit spotty at times, but it’s not like that stopped them from promoting several other arms.
  • LHP Paul Paez, who honestly may end up pitching for every single affiliate by the time this season is over, got the start on Thursday for Tacoma and was fairly decent (4 IP, 2 H, ER). He has small samples scattered across three teams this year, so it’s rough to get much of a read on how effective he truly has been, but like I mentioned in the Harper bullet point: every living, breathing human being and what not.
  • RHP Tyler Cloyd has been stellar since coming over from independent ball. In 7.2 innings, the 30-year-old righty has allowed just four hits while striking out six.

(AA) Arkansas Travelers

Team Record: 15-24, last in North Division, Texas League

Team Hitting: .254/.332/.341, third-best OBP in Texas League

Team Pitching: 4.38 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, worst ERA in Texas League

The Travelers are 3-5 since last Friday. The fun players have remained fun and the rest remain difficult to watch. This has been your official Arkansas Travelers performance report.

  • OF Ian Miller won’t stop hitting. Over his last ten games, he’s gone 16-for-41 (.390) with 3 BB, 7 K, 3 SB, and a dinger. The power surge appears to be legitimate and I’m not sure how much longer he’s in Arkansas.
Ian Miller home run
  • Miller-like, OF Chuck Taylor also won’t stop tearing the cover off the ball. Over 31 games, he’s slashing .348/.457/.487 with 20 walks and 20 strikeouts and has shown zero signs of slowing down. He’s still pretty young (turns 24 in September) and might be worth keeping an eye on in the future. The average is fairly BABIP-driven, but there’s a little bit of pop in that bat (.145 ISO).
  • INF Gianfranco Wawoe checked in with a three-hit night on Thursday, his second multi-hit game since joining the Travelers a week ago.
  • C Tyler Marlette has been okay in the middle of the Travelers’ lineup (.260/.321/.333), but it’s nowhere near the kind of production you expect from a bat-first player on their third significant (fourth total) trip through Double-A. If you had any excitement left in your soul regarding Marlette, this year has to be the ultimate make or break year. It’s just not happening so far.
  • RHP Tyler Herb had his second consecutive stellar outing on Thursday night. The righty went seven innings, striking out seven and allowing just one run. He’s stabilized a ton after a brutal start to the season.
  • RHP Max Povse has been a bit MIA lately. He went eleven days between starts at one point and threw just two innings in his return. He’s either a) nursing an injury or b) having his workload monitored, but there’s nothing official to go off as I type this sentence, meaning something official is going to break immediately after I post and I’m going to look like an idiot.
  • RHP Thyago Vieira hasn’t recorded a strikeout since May 4th. Everybody panic. But seriously, he’s been okay, but command issues remain a concern. The walks aren’t going away.
  • RHP Peter Tago had six strikeouts in two innings in his most recent outing and his xFIP now sits at 1.98. He’s pretty fun, everyone.
  • RHP Justin De Fratus made his Arkansas De But and gave up four runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings. So, you know, that happened.

(A+) Modesto Nuts

Team Record: 23-18, first in North Division, California League

Team Hitting: .261/.344/.381, second-highest OBP in California League

Team Pitching: 4.40 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, third-worst ERA in California League

Despite their first place standing, Modesto has actually ran into a bit of a rough patch. They’ve lost six of their last nine, primarily due to miserable pitching performance after miserable pitching performance. Only once this week have they held an opponent below five runs, and even staff ace Nick Neidert had his struggles on Thursday (5 IP, 4 ER, 7 H). The offense is still pretty great, however, and I don’t expect the pitching woes to last. They’re still a very fun team.

  • I’ll once again lead this section off with Braden Bishop, who just keeps doing the darn thing over and over again. He’s at .316/.412/.432 for the year and has hits in nine of his last ten games. He’s also sporting a 1:1 K:BB ratio. Lots of good stuff from Bishop this year.
  • 2B Chris Mariscal gets zero praise from anyone, myself included, but my goodness, the guy just keeps hitting. Following a three-hit night on Thursday, the 24-year-old is sporting a shiny slash line of .310/.413/.395 over 129 at-bats. He’s one of those guys who is going to need to keep proving himself over and over again at every single level as he moves through the system, but let the record show that since the start of last season, Mariscal has put up some of the best numbers in the system.
  • Joe DeCarlo’s offensive struggles have continued as he adjusts to life as a catcher. He’s currently sporting an 87 wRC+ and I don’t expect it to start turning around anytime soon. Catching is really freaking hard and I’m perfectly fine with most of, if not all of his energy going towards learning the position. I really, really want to write about a catching prospect for once.
  • OF Eric Filia has struck out once over his last 45 at-bats. He also has 15 hits, four walks, four triples, and a double in that same time period.
  • Newly acquired RHP Bryan Bonnell has made three appearances with Modesto, allowing five hits and one run in 4.1 innings.

(A) Clinton LumberKings

Team Record: 15-22, 6th in Western Division, Midwest League

Team Hitting: .250/.317/.369, ninth-best OPS in Midwest League

Team Pitching: 4.62 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, fourth-worst ERA in Midwest League

The LumberKings had themselves a successful week, going 4-2 over the last seven days. They finally were treated to strong offensive performances, scoring 8, 7, 10, and 15 runs in their four victories. The pitching also improved, as LumberKings hurlers limited the opposition to four runs or less in four of the contests. That’s a great week for a team that looked dead in the water for most of the season.

  • OF Gareth Morgan’s Tokyo Drift-esque turning of the corner has continued. After getting his numbers back to a respectable level last week, he has continued to tear the cover off the ball and is currently hitting .329/.389/.561 (168 wRC+) over the last 30 days. I’m not sure there’s another performance in the whole system that’s been anywhere near as surprising. How much stock should we put into this? He’ll need to keep this up for awhile before he starts getting attention, so I’d say stay calm for now. Or go nuts. I don’t care. The fun thing about prospects is you’re totally free to feel however you want about them. Now watch this:
  • Another guy picking things up in a big way is 21-year-old outfielder Anthony Jimenez. Just look at what he’s done over this last ten games: 18-36, HR, 4 BB, 8 K, 6 SB. He’s now rocking a .328/.383/.491 slash line for the season. Not bad at all.
  • Catcher (catcher!) Yojhan Quevedo’s hit streak officially stands at ten games heading into Friday. Quevedo is 16-for-46 with five doubles and a home run during the streak.
  • RHP Kyle Wilcox has impressed over his last five outings: 8.1 IP, ER, 2 BB, 12 K. He’s always had electric stuff, the problem is getting the electric stuff to go where he wants it to.
  • RHP Jack Anderson, who I will vehemently root for as long as he is in the system simply because I love me some submarine pitchers, has surrendered just three baserunners in his last 5.1 innings, lowering his FIP to 3.01 in the process. Go get ‘em, submarine man.
  • OF Nick Zammarelli has started to piece together hits more often, but there’s no question he’s struggling to get back into the swing of things since returning from injury. Through 70 at bats, the bat-first prospect is at .214/.313/.343.

Notable Transactions/Awards

  • Ryan Weber named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week. Weber pitched seven scoreless innings against the New Orleans Baby Cakes the week prior to receiving the award. He has since landed on the disabled list because he made the mistake of wearing a Seattle Mariner uniform.
  • Brock Hebert released from system. It’s always a bummer to see guys who’ve been in the system forever go, and it’s no different with Hebert. A 14th-round selection back in 2012, Hebert worked his way up to Double-A, but never managed to figure things out over multiple trips through the level.
  • Jean Machi outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma. After being DFA’d, the Mariners were able to keep Machi in the system.
  • Gareth Morgan named the Canadian Baseball Network Canuck Player of the Week. As we previously covered, Morgan is scorching hot for Clinton at the moment and he’s now earning some love from his country.