Welcome back! It’s with great pleasure that I bring you the 2018 season’s inaugural State of the Farm report! The premium crops are currently team-less, but check out these guys who are being deployed in their stead!
(AAA) Tacoma Rainiers
Team Record: 2-3 (4th in Pacific Northern Division)
.264/.383/.389, 2nd in PCL in walks
5.08 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 2nd in PCL in strikeouts
Vincej’s Hot Start
Shortstop Zach Vincej, who the Mariners claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds back in November, flashed some interesting upside in big league camp with the Mariners over the spring. Jeff Sullivan had an interesting piece on him over at Fangraphs shortly after the M’s brought him in, and it appears he may have been on to something. The Pepperdine alum is tied for fourth in the PCL in total bases, and is leading the league among guys without significant big league experience.
Through a five game sample, he’s slashing .529/.579/.706 and hitting near the bottom of Tacoma’s lineup. It would take some pretty serious injury issues for him to wind up in Seattle, but he could easily leapfrog Gordon Beckham on the depth chart if he continues hitting.
Andreoli Slams Sunday Walkoff
Former Cubs farmhand John Andreoli smashed a walk-off home run on Sunday, one of three hits he had in the game.
Love a good walk-off dinger. pic.twitter.com/JcElJk8wZJ— Brett Gleason (@brett_gleason) April 9, 2018
The one time hit-for-contact /stolen base threat developed some serious power and--to a lesser extent--strikeout issues the last couple of seasons, and he’s leading the Rainiers in extra base hits on the short season.
Herrmann Added to Provide Catching Depth
In a somewhat surprising move, the M’s cut ties with Tuffy Gosewisch on the Rainiers opening day, leaving Garrett Kennedy, who topped out Double-A where he posted a 73 wRC+ last season, as the starting catcher. Four days later, the M’s snatched up ex-Diamondbacks catcher Chris Herrmann, who is addition to providing some defensive versatility, is just two years removed from posting a 1.5 fWAR, 117 wRC+ season for Arizona.
Solid Starts by Bergman and Povse
The Rainiers had solid efforts by a pair of guys who were used occasionally as relievers for the Mariners last season. Christian Bergman got the opening day nod for Tacoma, and tossed 5.2 innings, allowing no runs and striking out eight. Max Povse worked 5.0 innings of three-hit, two-walk innings over which he struck out seven in his first turn through the rotation. The start from Povse--who really struggled the second and third times through the order last season--was particularly exciting, as he retired the side in order in the fifth, his final inning of work. It will be interesting to see him work into the third time through the order as he’s stretched out over the course of the season.
(AA) Arkansas Travelers
Team Record: 4-2 (1st in Texas League North Division)
.239/.382/.342, 1st in Texas League in walks
4.17 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1st in Texas League in saves
The Mariners Might Have a Catching Prospect
After a successful first season in transition to the catcher position, former 2nd-round-pick Joe DeCarlo spent the fall with the Peoria Javelinas of the AFL before opening this season with the Travelers. Through three games, he’s already swatted a pair of doubles and collected three walks, while fanning just three times. Another year with an 11+% walk rate would go a long way towards ensuring he continues his streak of > 100 wRC+’s this season.
Andrew Moore Wants to Come Back to the PNW
Many were surprised when Moore, who struggled badly in four spring training appearances, was demoted all the way to Double-A. The OSU grad is certainly making his case for a rotation spot in Tacoma, as he’s already racked up 17 strikeouts in just 11.2 innings, including a career-best 10 earlier today against Yuli Gurriel and the Corpus Christi Hooks.
(A+) Modesto Nuts
Team Record: 1-4 (4th in California League North Division)
.316/.378/.489, 2nd in Cal League in hitting
7.02 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, last in Cal League in WHIP
With a team average of .316 on the young season, it’s no surprise to see a handful of offensive standouts. Leading the way are second baseman Bryson Brigman and first baseman Nick Zammarelli, who have combined for 28 total bases in five games. The Mariners #6 prospect Joe Rizzo is 8-21 (.381), but it’s probably worth noting that all eight hits have been singles. Gareth Morgan has clubbed two home runs, but has struck in half of his 24 at-bats.
Mills and Elledge Still Good, Still Fun
The pair of relievers the Mariners selected in the 3rd and 4th rounds of the draft last season combined for 71 strikeouts in 45.1 innings last season. The duo has allowed just two baserunners and struck out five in 4.1 so far this season, and either--if not both--have the potential to be pitching in Seattle sooner than you might think. Unless somebody posts a better nickname in the comments, I’m going to continue to refer to them as “The Big Three” even though fellow strikeout king JP Sears is no longer in the organization.
Gamel, Miranda, Ramirez All Looking Good in Rehab Appearances
It’s been smooth sailing for the trio of 2017 Mariners currently rehabbing in Modesto. Gamel’s scored a team-leading six runs while slashing .294/.429/.353, while Miranda (5.0) and Ramirez (3.0) were each able to provide multiple solid innings in their respective starts.
(A) Clinton LumberKings
Team Record: 1-4 (T-4th in Midwest League Western Division)
.254/.338/.415, 1st in Midwest League in slugging
3.66 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 4th in Midwest League in WHIP
Sandoval’s Bat Has Been a Pleasant Surprise
The Mariners traded nobody-knows-what to the Dodgers on March 24th in exchange for Ariel Sandoval, a right-handed 22-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Sandoval immediately put himself in good graces with his new organization, belting a pair of homers on opening night for the LumberKings before adding one last night, and yet another--his fourth in five games--today.
Romero and Jaskie Providing the Punchouts
Right-hander Tommy Romero and lefty Oliver Jaskie each received a start on Sunday vs. Kane County, and combined for 9.2 innings of 16 strikeout baseball, while allowing just nine baserunners (four of which came on walks from Jaskie). The pair of 2017 draftees will look to head up the rotation for a Clinton team loaded with graduates of the 2017 Arizona League Champs AZL Mariners.
Kyle Lewis Continues Rehab
Mariners fans anxiously await (again) news regarding the status of top prospect Kyle Lewis, who had surgery back in February to “clean up the fat pad on his patella.” Back in February, Jerry Dipoto was said the plan was to have him back on the field by the end of April.
White Awaits Assignment Following Groin Injury
White has been sidelined since spring training wrapped up, but the expectation is that he’ll be assigned--according to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times--to Modesto sometime this week. He’s been participating in extended spring training down in Arizona recently.
No Assignment Yet for Carlson
Sam Carlson is still down in Arizona as well, and considering he’s not even a year removed from pitching in high school, he seems a likely candidate to either return to rookie ball, or perhaps join Everett when their season gets underway in June.