After speculating we’d see some movement down on the farm for three weeks, we finally saw some pieces start moving since we last checked in. A handful of top prospects and our favorite late-round pet projects were dealt for big league help, but some much-deserved promotions were handed out as a result of the chaos! It’ll be interesting to see how the guys who have climbed a rung in the organizational ladder handle the transition over the remainder of the season.
(AAA) Tacoma Rainiers
Team Record: 53-55 (3rd in Pacific Northern Division)
.255/.352/.387, 3rd in PCL in OBP
4.51 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 5th-fewest walks allowed in PCL
Mejias-Brean Riding Hot Streak
Former Reds 8th rounder 3B Seth Mejias-Brean has put together a cool 11-game hitting streak over which he’s slashing .436/.477/.538 with a 171 wRC+. The 27-year-old has played the infield corners exclusively throughout his career, so his versatility is limited, but he continues to show just enough offensive upside to hang around as a depth option for the remainder of the season.
Garton Dominating Out of Rainiers ‘Pen
As we approach the one-year anniversary of RHP Ryan Garton being acquired from Tampa Bay, the 28-year-old reliever has been pitching as well as he has at any point since joining the organization. He’s tossed 12.1 innings over his last 10 outings, allowing two hits, three walks, and one earned run—good for a 0.41 WHIP and a 0.73 ERA—while striking out 15. Both he and Tacoma closer Shawn Armstrong (not to mention Chasen Bradford, who was optioned to Tacoma earlier this week) should be summoned for big league duty when rosters expand come September, if not before then.
(AA) Arkansas Travelers
Team Record: 55-54 (2nd in Texas League North Division)
.270/.354/.383, 2nd in Texas League in hitting
4.41 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 5th in Texas League in WHIP
Frank Making Strong Impression
After being picked up by the the M’s on July 18—just two days after being released by the Padres’ organization—RHP Trevor Frank has been seriously impressive out of the Travs’ bullpen over the last week. Over outings of 2.1 and 2.0 innings, he combined to allow just one hit, one walk, and no earned runs while fanning six. Frank, 27, was running a nice 2.11 ERA through 12 appearances with the Padres Double-A affiliate, but his peripherals suggested it was a bit of a facade, as he was running a 3.90 FIP and 4.54 xFIP. Considering his age and level, it’d be a surprise to see him make an impact at the big league level, but it’s nice to see him providing meaningful innings for Arkansas.
McKay Back on Track
After allowing earned runs in back-to-back relief outings, RHP David McKay has hasn’t thrown up zeros in his last four outings, striking out nine over 5.0 innings while allowing two hits and walking four. McKay has broken out as yet another interesting strikeout reliever with the ability to give his club multiple innings per outing, as he’s racked up 12.3 K/9 and averaged nearly 1.2 innings per appearance. Considering he’s still just 23 years old and a 14th-round-pick in 2016, it’s a little surprising that he was released earlier this year, but he looks like a solid pickup for the M’s.
Curletta Continues Mashing
This year’s breakout prospect 1B Joey Curletta continues to make his case for a promotion to Triple-A as he’s slashed .375/.467/.542 over the last week. The Rainiers continue to roll out 27-year-old converted outfielder Cameron Perkins at first base, who is running a wRC+ of 92 while the 24-year-old Curletta is posting a 152 wRC+ at Arkansas. I still expect he’ll get a taste of the PCL before season’s end, but he may not get full-time Triple-A duties until 2019.
(A+) Modesto Nuts
Team Record: 46-64 (4th in California League North Division)
.248/.319/.365, Last in Cal League in AVG/OBP/OPS
4.50 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, fewest walks allowed in Cal League
McCaughan Takes Home Pitcher of the Week Honors
Perhaps the organization’s breakout pitching prospect this season RHP Darren McCaughan added another chapter to his impressive sophomore campaign last Thursday, tossing 8.0 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out five. The 22-year-old right-hander out of Long Beach State has made 20 starts this season—18 of which have come at the Double-A level, where he’s posted a 3.78 FIP and 4.20 xFIP. He’s managed to produce without being particularly overpowering—he’s running a rate of just 7.1 K/9—but he’s produced nonetheless and has positioned himself about as well as anyone to take home the distinction as the organization’s Pitcher of the Year.
Desguin Holding Own in Transitioning From Indy Leagues
Jerry once again dipped into the independent leagues last week to acquire some more pitching depth for the system, signing RHP Jordan Desguin away from the Traverse City Beach Bums. The Florida Gulf Coast alum accumulated 23 starts in 52 appearances as a member of the Brewers’ organization from 2015-2017, but has been used as a reliever in each of his two outings with the Nuts. After striking out five in 2.0 innings of shutout, one-hit ball, Desguin worked around two hits and two walks to log 1.1 shutout innings on Tuesday.
Kober Up to the Challenge of New Level
After posting 12.3 K/9 and a 2.40 xFIP through 46.2 innings with the Clinton LumberKings this season, RHP Collin Kober was awarded with a promotion to High-A Modesto over the weekend. Between Wyatt Mills’ promotion and Seth Elledge being dealt to St. Louis, he appears to be set to step in as the Nuts’ closer, and appears every bit up to the task through his first two outings. He’s tossed 3.1 perfect innings, striking out four since making the move to Modesto, and converted his only save opportunity he’s had so far.
White Struggling Over Last Week
It’s been a rough seven days for the M’s 2017 first rounder, 1B Evan White as he’s gone 1-17 through five games. He’s still got his wRC+ north of 100—it sits at 104 through Wednesday—but he’ll likely need a significant hot streak in order to receive a promotion before season’s end.
(A) Clinton LumberKings
Team Record: 58-50 (4th in Midwest League Western Division)
.238/.320/.366, 2nd-worst in Midwest League in hitting
4.16 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 4th-worst in Midwest League in ERA
McGovern Stays Hot
LumberKings OF Keegan McGovern, who the Mariners used their 9th round selection on in this year’s draft, has been a consistent middle-of-the-order contributor since joining Clinton, slashing .294/.370/.517 with seven homer runs and 27 RBI through 39 games. The 6’3” left-handed hitter hasn’t skipped a beat in transitioning from a breakout senior season at Georgia to the professional ranks, and is not only a 2018 draft success, but is looking like one of the organization’s position players with the most potential to move through the ranks quickly.
Gerber Makes the Step from Everett
2018 8th rounder RHP Joey Gerber, who was regarded as possessing the potential to reach the bigs as soon as this summer during MLB Network’s 2018 draft coverage, took his first step towards the big leagues over the weekend, moving from Short Season-A to Clinton. After surrendering two earned runs in his LumberKings debut, he pitched a hitless, one walk shutout inning on Wednesday. Clinton should be a good test for the right-hander out of Illinois after posting a 1.81 FIP and 2.40 xFIP with the AquaSox.
Walkless Streak Continues for Wilcox
Following a season-long struggle with walks, RHP Kyle Wilcox has worked 7.0 straight innings without issuing a walk, while striking out 10 batters over that span. The 2015 6th-round-pick has logged 14.6 K/9 through 40.0 innings with Clinton this year, and his recent ability to command the strike zone could make him the next reliever in line for a promotion.
(A-) Everett AquaSox
Team Record: 25-22 (1st in Northwest League North Division)
.257/.329/.388, 3rd in NWL in hitting
4.32 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 3rd-most earned runs allowed in NWL
- C Cal Raleigh, who MLB.com named the Mariners’ #13 prospect in the recent Prospect Pipeline update, has been on a tear over the last week. Through his last six games, he’s 12-28 with 12 R, 3 HR, and 7 RBI. The switch-hitting backstop is now slashing .304/.360/.565 on the season.
- 22nd round selection INF Nick Rodriguez, who is listed as shortstop despite that being the only infield position he has not played for the AquaSox this season, has been on a hot streak of his own over the last week, going 12-25 (.480) since last Friday. He’s running a lopsided 4:29 walk to strikeout ratio this season that might hold him back a bit regardless of how hot his bat gets.
- A week after I claimed RHP J.T. Salter appeared set to stick in High-A Modesto, he was sent back down to Everett, but certainly not on account of his performance. The 6’6” 300lb right-hander has allowed just one hit through his first 13.0 professional innings, and after striking out the side with a perfect inning in his AquaSox debut, hasn’t issued a walk through his last four outings after combining for nine in his previous four outings.
- 2018 29th round selection 3B Bobby Honeyman rejoined Everett on July 17 after spending a week with High-A Modesto. He’s gone 20-35 (.571) since last Tuesday, including a 5-5 performance on Wednesday night.
- LHP Ben Onyshko, who was teammates with first round selection Logan Gilbert at Stetson, has bounced around a bit already, splitting his inaugural professional season with Modesto, the AZL Mariners, and now Everett. After a rough first couple outings, he’s tossed 4.2 scoreless innings over his last three outings while striking out seven.
Brigman, Costello, De Jong, and Elledge Sent Out in Trades
Through three separate trades that netted the Mariners RHP Sam Tuivailala, LHP Zach Duke, and OF Cameron Maybin, the Mariners parted was with INF Bryson Brigman (Miami), RHP Chase De Jong (Minnesota), and RHP Seth Elledge (St. Louis), all of which were listed among the Mariners’ Top 30 prospects per MLB.com’s Prospect Pipeline. 1B Ryan Costello was also sent to Minnesota along with De Jong.
Larsen, Gerber, and Mills Promoted
In the aftermath of the Mariners’ deadline deals, and handful of 2018’s top performers received mid-season promotions, including OF Jack Larsen moving to Modesto, RHP Joey Gerber getting bumped to Clinton, and RHP Wyatt Mills joining Double-A Arkansas.
Erasmo Again Sharp in Rehab Outing
After originally having his third start of his rehab assignment scheduled to take place in Tacoma on Monday, inclement weather forced him to instead start for Double-A Arkansas on Tuesday. He used 66 pitches to work 4.0 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out six. He’s now allowed just one run through 9.0 innings on his rehab assignment as struck out 12 without issuing a walk.
INF Gordon Beckham, who had a 132 wRC+ in Tacoma this season, was designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
After being released by the Mariners earlier this season, LHP Marc Rzepczynski appeared in five games with the Cleveland Indians before being released. The M’s have brought him back into in the organization, inking the veteran to a minor league deal on Monday.
Four AquaSox Earn All-Star Honors
RHP Jheyson Caraballo, LHP Michael Plassmeyer, OF Josh Stowers and 2B Connor Kopach were selected to represent Everett in the Northwest League All-Star Game.
17-year-old OF Julio Rodriguez turned in a 4-6 night on Wednesday and now has a 150 wRC+ in his first professional season.