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State of the Farm: 5/3/18

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I dub the Big Threelievers a thing now/again

It was a rough week for the M’s affiliates overall, but the 2017 draftees continue to impress on an individual basis.

(AAA) Tacoma Rainiers

Team Record: 12-14 (3rd in Pacific Northern Division)

.256/.367/.383, 1st in PCL in walks

4.86 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 3rd fewest walks allowed in PCL

Miller Leading Rainiers in Hitting

OF Ian Miller finally got an extended run of starts thanks to a combination of injuries and promotions, and he’s made the most of it, reaching base 16 times over and swiping three bags over his last nine games. His .329 batting average has him in first place among Tacoma’s qualified hitters, and may have earned him a more secure role going forward. He replaced Kirk Nieuwenhuis—who is 30 years old and hitting just .217—in the sixth inning last night, and it didn’t appear to be injury-related. He continues to put his speed on display in the outfield, like he did here:

Andreoli and Beckham Return to Lineup

The Rainiers got a couple of their top offensive performers back this week, with Gordon Beckham returning Tuesday and John Andreoli slotting back in last night. Andreoli, who is running a wRC+ of 166, picked up where he left off, going deep last night.

Povse Continues Trend, Turns in Productive Outing

Right-hander Max Povse has continued to alternate strong and less-strong starts, tossing 6.2 innings of three run, no walk ball on Monday while picking up a season high eight strikeouts. It was his most promising outing of the season, and he’ll look to establish some consistency next time out on Saturday.

Elías Being Stretched Out

The Mariners stated they were sending Roenis to Tacoma to stretch out as a starter upon acquiring him, and last night was step one of the process. It was the Cuban lefty’s first start since August, and the results were less than ideal as he allowed four earned runs on a walk and six hits through three innings.

(AA) Arkansas Travelers

Team Record: 12-12 (3rd in Texas League North Division)

.255/.361/.374, 2nd in Texas League in walks

4.67 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 4th in Texas League in WHIP

Rule 5 Draftee Paying Dividends

26-year-old catcher Joseph Odom has been splitting time behind the plate with Joe DeCarlo, and has been making the most of limited opportunities. The Huntingdon College product—who the Mariners selected away from the Braves in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft—has slashed .353/.389/.647 over his last 10. He’s two years older than Double-A league average, and considering the presence of Mike Marjama and Chris Herrmann in Tacoma, it’s hard to imagine Odom working his way up, but the offensive production is exciting nonetheless.

DeCarlo Developing Nicely Behind the Dish

Converted-third baseman Joe DeCarlo has taken nicely to his newfound home at the catcher position, cutting down nine of 11 would-be-base stealers for the Travelers this season. Even while adapting to a new position, he’s managed to make improvements at the plate, striking out at a career-low rate and walking at a career-high this season. His GB% is up quite a bit, but the balls he does but on the ground are finding holes, and it doesn’t appear to be BABIP-driven.

Jiminian Limiting Hits by Opposition

Right-handed reclamation project Johendi Jiminian has been so-far-so-good this season, posting a 2.05 ERA that’s good for best on the Travs’ staff. His ability to work late into games—he had back-to-back six inning outings prior to a 4.2 inning effort on Tuesday—has been a bit surprising considering he’s three years removed from being used predominantly as a starter. Through six starts, he’s yet to allow more than six hits or three runs, and has worked no less than four innings in any of his five outings; however, he’s going to have to reel in the walks, of which he’s surrendered eight over his last two starts. On the plus side, his velocity apparently topped out at an excellent 94 mph.

(A+) Modesto Nuts

Team Record: 11-16 (4th in California League North Division)

.271/.354/.391, leading Cal League in strikeouts

4.70 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, leading Cal League in IP

Evan is White Hot

The sure-handed first baseman got a late start to the season, but he’s catching up to the pack quickly. Over his past 13 games, he’s slashing .377/.468/.528, and playing defense like this:

With Joey Curletta breaking out up at Double-A, and Dan Vogelbach still being worked at first base, White may start seeing reps in the outfield in the not-so-distant future if the M’s want to capitalize on his athleticism, although it’s hard to want to move an elite defensive prospect away from his primary position.

Rizzo Tapping into Offensive Potential

Former 2nd-round-pick Joe Rizzo has been on a tear as of late, collecting 14 hits and five walks over his last seven games. He’s posting a career best LD% (31.3%) and FB% (31.3%), a welcome sign after seeing his line drive rate dip in his second professional season last year. At just 20 years old, he’s still crazy young for the Advanced-A level, so seeing success early on here in 2018 is an excellent sign of development. He’s also running a career-best fielding percentage of .944 for Modesto while manning the hot corner.

Anderson Ironing Things Out

After a lights-out performance with Clinton last season, RHP Jack Anderson sturggled upon being promoted to High-A Modesto to close out the season. Things appeared to be headed down that same road after he surrendered four earned runs in 0.2 innings to start this year, but the submarine pitcher had an about-face following that outing. In 9.1 innings spanning eight outings since, he’s posted a line up 0.95 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 11.6 K/9, 1.9 BB/9. and his season-long xFIP of 2.84 and GB% of 72.4% suggest there’s something to be excited about here. The 2016 draftee out of Penn State is establishing himself as a legitimate candidate to join fellow-Nuts Wyatt Mills and Seth Elledge for the vacancy in the “Big Threelievers” group left by the departure of J.P. Sears over the offseason.

Elledge Back to Dominating Ways

Speaking of Elledge, the 2017 4th-round-pick has continued to impress out of the bullpen in his first taste of High-A ball. He’s gone more than one inning in five of his nine outings, and has managed to keep his strikeout rate up at 12.0 K/9 while doing so, however his walks have crept up just slightly this season to 3.75 BB/9.

(A) Clinton LumberKings

Team Record: 14-8 (1st in Midwest League Western Division)

.244/.328/.395, 2nd in Midwest League in home runs

3.33 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 1st in Midwest League in WHIP

De la Cruz Thriving With New Challenge

Domincian RHP Adonis De la Cruz has been a bright spot in the LumberKings bullpen in 2018. While he hasn’t been overpowering hitters—his K/9 is just 8.6—he’s managed to avoid letting opposing teams score by keeping walks to a minimum. He’s allowed just one free pass over 14.1 innings, and has shown an ability to work multiple innings, working 2.0+ innings in five outings out of the pen.

Ojeda Stringing Together Multi-Hit Games

OF Dimas Ojeda, a 2016 pick out of McLennan Community College, has picked up two hits in four of his last six games and is now running a line of .306/.370/.510 through 14 games for Clinton. The left-handed outfielder is repeating the Full-Season A level, likely a good step for the 22-year-old.

Other Notes:

Kyle Lewis Nearing a Return

The Mariners #1 prospect has been participating in extended spring training recently. Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times gave us this update today:

Rumbelow Back to Throwing

RHP Nick Rumbelow, who the Mariners acquired in exchange for J.P. Sears during the offseason, appeared in just one game during spring training before being shut down. Divish provided us with an update:

Jayson Werth Connects for First Homer

The 38-year-old has been playing left field and batting cleanup for Tacoma, and on Wednesday night, he went deep for the first time as a Rainier. He’s just a 67 wRC+ through seven games.

Pistorese Released

Former WSU ace LHP Joe Pistorese was cut loose by the organization last week. After showing some real promise in 2015 and 2016, he struggled in 2017, and had been roughed up in three outings with Double-A Arkansas this season.