After an injury-plagued start to the season, the Mariners are getting healthy at the major league level, and it’s having a trickle down effect on the minors, as the Rainiers’ lineup added a little thump this week.
(AAA) Tacoma Rainiers
Team Record: 10-9 (2nd in Pacific Northern Division)
.270/.377/.391, 4th in PCL in OBP
4.58 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 5th in PCL in strikeouts
Perkins Finding His Stroke
Right handed OF/1B Cameron Perkins has taken over duties as the offensive star for Tacoma since John Andreoli was shelved with a dislocated finger. Over his last 10 games, the phormer Phillie has gone 20-43 (.465) and scored eleven runs. That said, just four of those 20 knocks have gone for extra bases. If the 6’5” slugger can use that frame to start generating some extra-base hits, he’ll really catch the attention of M’s brass.
Chris Herrmann is Trying to Add Another Catcher to the Mix
The former-Diamonbacks backstop has apparently hit his stride recently for the Rainiers. Over his last seven games, he’s slashing .550/.700/.750 while batting in the heart of the Tacoma order and splitting catching duties with Mike Marjama. His continued time behind the dish may indicate that the club views Herrmann—who is a left-handed hitting catcher (!!!)—as yet another legitimate option for backup duties in the bigs.
Miller Pokes First PCL Homer
Friend of the site and notable speedster Ian Miller—who made his Triple-A debut towards the tail end of last season—connected for his first home run in the PCL. If you guessed it was going to be an in-the-parker, well, you were wrong.
The 26-year-old has been wearing out right-handed pitching, and the .375 BABIP he’s currently sporting is actually fairly sustainable considering his track record through the minors.
Rob Whalen Might Just Be A Legitimate Pitching Prospect
After struggling in his 2018 debut, Whalen has rebounded about as nicely as you could ask for, seriously impressing over three consecutive quality starts, as he’s posted a line of 18.2 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 8.7 K/9. He’s been outpitched slightly by rotation-mate Christian Bergman, but he may just slot in ahead of him (but behind Ariel Miranda) on the starting pitcher depth chart on account of his status on the 40-man.
(AA) Arkansas Travelers
Team Record: 10-7 (1st in Texas League North Division)
.265/.381/.386, 1st in Texas League in OBP
4.71 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 2nd fewest walks in Texas League
Mariscal Settling in Nicely
Second baseman Chris Mariscal has gotten the bat going over the last week-plus, as he’s reached 23 times in 10 games. He’s running a crazy-high BABIP of .516, and his strikeouts are way up—by like, 10%—from his career rate, but so are his walks. He’s already homered twice in 15 games at Arkansas after doing so just once in 40 games with the Travs last season, and his slugging percentage is up to .537 after sitting around .350 for his career enter this season, so it’s possible he’s selling out for power a bit here early on. It’ll be interesting to see if those rate stats start to fall a bit as the season unfolds.
Amaral is Getting His Hacks In
The ex-Reds farmhand has been impressive since being brought into the M’s system, although he hasn’t really done it by adopting the “C the Z” philosophy. He’s sporting a .424 OBP, but has drawn just two walks, the fewest of any M’s minor leaguer whose appeared in at least 12 games. Nevertheless, the Travs’ leadoff man is getting the job done, as he’s batting .389 on the season on the back of a .512 BABIP.
The “Starter” Thing is Going Better for Jo the Second Time Around
The M’s picked up RHP Johendi Jiminian as a minor league free agent after spending his entire eight year minor league career in the Rockies system. After being used nearly exclusively as a reliever the last two seasons, the M’s have used him as a starter so far in 2018, and he’s impressed. His 3.79 xFIP through three starts (15.2 IP) is the best mark he’s posted at any level beyond his rookie ball experience in the DSL, and he’s managed to cut his walk rate, which has strangely been higher as a reliever than it has as a starter.
(A+) Modesto Nuts
Team Record: 6-14 (4th in California League North Division)
.246/.332/.367, 2nd most strikeouts in Cal League
4.87 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, third fewest walks in Cal League
White Getting Things Going on Offense
After a late start to the season, #2 prospect Evan White has been driving the ball all over the ballpark recently, and while a handful of particularly hard hit balls have found gloves, he’s been reaching safely as of late. Over the past seven games, he’s slashing .286/.375/.393, and while those numbers don’t suggest he’s hitting for power, he’s been inching ever-closer to going deep for the first time the season, including a warning track flyout last night. Things are looking up for the 2017 first rounder, and good thing, because this farm system needs it.
Zammarelli Hitting Relli Good
Zammarelli got the stick going early this season, but his plate discipline left something to be desired as he had struck out 16 times without drawing a walk in the season’s first 10 games, leaving him with a batting average (.333) higher than his on-base percentage (.325). In 10 games since, the left-handed-hitting first baseman has raised his average to .343 and walked (eight times) nearly as much as he’s struck out (11 times). After posting wRC+’s of 141 and 114 in his first two professional seasons, his current mark of 152 bodes well for his chances of doing so again this season.
Wyatt Mills is Posting Video Game Numbers
The Gonzaga product continues to be unfazed by professional hitting. While his strikeout numbers have fallen off a little in the hitter-friendly Cal League—although he’s still running a K/9 north of 10—his ground ball rate is hovering up around 60%. He’s struck out (11) more than twice as many hitters than he’s allowed to reach base (five) and is making his case early on that he’s ready to be tested at the Double-A level.
(A) Clinton LumberKings
Team Record: 11-5 (1st in Midwest League Western Division)
.248/.334/.392, T-1st in Midwest League in home runs
3.07 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 1st in Midwest League in WHIP
Undrafted Larsen Putting Himself on the Map
23-year-old outfielder Jack Larsen, who somehow went undrafted last year following an illustrious career at UC San Diego, responded by posting a 175 wRC+ for the AZL Mariners last season. While he’s been hot lately, the lefty has continued to come through in the clutch, and is now tied with John Andreoli as the affiliate leaders with 14 RBI’s. He’s currently running a 162 wRC+ and slashing .265/.400/.531 on the season for the LumberKings.
Costello Excelling in Clinton
Ryan Costello, who has split time between first and third for Clinton, has continued to use a disciplined approach at the plate to hunt out pitches to hit in his second pro season. The 21-year-old has slashed .303/.425/.606 over his last 10 games, and is running a walk rate (17.2%) that’s pretty close to his strikeout rate (20.7%). We’ve posted this before, but here’s a pretty awesome video of him being informed he got drafted by the Mariners last summer:
Oliver Jaskie Might Be Reinventing Himself
LHP Oliver Jaskie, who the M’s took in the 6th round last June out of Michigan, has been nails for the LumberKings after a rough debut last year for Short-Season-Everett. After lasting just 4.1 and 4.0 innings in his first two outings of the season over which he fanned 16, things took a new turn for the southpaw on Monday. Coming into his start that day, Jaskie had never lasted longer than 4.1 innings in any appearance, but that day, Jaskie lasted 7.0 innings, besting his previous his by 2.2 innings. They key to his extended outing? He recorded just three strikeouts, which allowed him to conserve pitches and go deeper into the game. He needed just 76 pitches to throw seven shutout frames, and given the results, you’d think he’ll come out pounding the zone again in his next start. As things stand now, he’s allowed just one run over 15.1 innings this season while fanning 19 and walking eight.
After spending just over two weeks on the DL, OF Anthony Jimenez returned to action on Tuesday. Jimenez is listed as the Mariners #14 prospects on MLB.com’s Prospect Pipeline.
Kyle Lewis Update
We’ve received a long-awaited update on the status of top prospect Kyle Lewis, and it’s good news. Lewis took part in his first game action of the season down in extended spring training on Wednesday, going 4-4.
Kyle Lewis lines a single up the middle in what will probably be his last AB today. Then slid into 2nd when retired on FC. 4-for-4 in 1st extended spring game. #Mariners— Bill Mitchell (@billazbbphotog) April 25, 2018
Werth Reports to Tacoma
The former Nationals outfielder reported to Tacoma on Wednesday after signing with the Mariners on April 3. Werth—who is just two years removed from a 1.4 win season with the Nats—batted fifth and went 0-3 with a walk in his Rainiers debut.
In order to make room for Werth, and eventually Dan Vogelbach, the Mariners released Matt Hague was tied for the organizational lead in walks with 19.