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Midshipman’s Log: April 12th, 2019 - Kelenic dingers, Julio exits early, and Shed Long continues to Shed Long.

Your tri-weekly minor league highlights roundup

Jarred Kelenic with a big Left Turn
Sam Santilli

The Mariners farm is both more exciting and more functional than it’s been in a long time, which means it’s worth paying attention to how the prospects are performing down at the lower levels of the organization. In addition to our stalwart State of the Farm weekly roundup that takes a longer view on the farm, we’ll have minor league roundups thrice a week or so to share some highlights, gifs, and notes in our Midshipmen’s Log (it’s a baby sailor, get it? **waits patiently for ‘ba dum tiss’ on the drums** yeah yeah).

Log date: April 12th. This is Midshipman Stillman, reporting under duress. Please, to whoever finds these logs, understand that I have done all I can but I do not dictate the force of the seas, only report the directions of the wind. Some nights there are clear skies, Dingers on the breeze. Other times there are squalls, and injuries befall us. Today was a dark day, but at the end of each storm there is a spark of light.

West Virginia Power (4-5) succumb to the Augusta Green Jackets (4-4), 3-9

Link to full box score

The game began with the Second Worst Case Scenario in West Virginia (giant fish eats team is #1). Julio Rodriguez, owner of an .896 OPS in his first taste of Stateside ball, was struck on the hand by a first inning pitch from Jake Wong of the Augusta Green Jackets (they do not wear green jackets) and was taken out of the game. Tensions were high.

Luckily, Kate was spared the flight to West Virginia as Julio was quick to assure us that the injury was not serious enough to warrant a warrant (I wish my Captain did not force me to fill the pun quota, but a duty is a duty).

It was quite terrifying to see JULIOOOO in such obvious pain, but he sounds optimistic. We will let LL know the prognosis as soon as we get it.

In the game now marred with fear and doubt, Cesar Trejo, who was profiled in the previous Midshipman’s Log, replaced Julio on the bases and immediately stole 2nd. 1B Onil Pena smacked a double, his first of two on the night, and sweet revenge appeared to be at hand. The 1-0 lead would be short lived, however, as in the third, Power’s starter Elias Espino’s command left him and he walked three Green Jackets, hit a batter (REVENGE, I SAY!), threw a wild pitch, and gave up a double. Somehow the damage was only three runs, but the Power would never sniff the lead again.

What did happen was this:

Also, in the fifth inning on a 3-1 count, Jarred Kelenic hit his first home run as a Seattle Mariner. There is no video yet, so we will have to close our eyes and imagine this momentous occasion. Please, close them. In my mind, it went far.

After a slow start that saw Jarred racking up the BBs but not the hits, it was great to see him unload on a 3-1 pitch. He seemed more aggressive at the plate today, and though it netted him his first home run, he also wound up 1-5 with three Ks. Frustration would be understandable, but let’s see if getting that first dinger out of the way helps him relax and translate his patient approach into counts that let him drive the ball as he did tonight.

Not a lot else to report, except that four Power pitchers combined to yield 11 walks while still managing to strike out 12. I do not want to blame this all on fish throwing. However, as Midshipman it is my duty to report that fish are slippery and not good for baseball.

Modesto Nuts (4-5) lose to the Stockton Ports (3-6), 2-6

Link to full box score

The Nuts weren’t able to overcome their spotty defense on the night, with three errors and a double that was actually a popup that 2B Matt Sanders couldn’t glove. The pitching, led by Velocity Camp (straying a bit from the Gas Camp moniker) participant Reggie McClain, performed well under the error-filled circumstances. Nick Wells was relieved in the fifth by McClain who promptly allowed a massive dinger. He bounced back to pitch 3.2, striking out three. As he has seen a noticeable increase in velocity (reports of sitting low-90s or higher), he is a surprise candidate to move quickly if he continues to perform.

A 1-2 Slider after throwing two consecutive mid-90s fastball.

The bats didn’t fare well, as they couldn’t manage an extra base hit. Cal Raleigh continued to cool, going 1-5 with a single, and Luis Liberto, who has been the hottest hitter on the Nuts roster, went 0-4. He did, though, show off his arm by throwing out a runner at the plate.

Arkansas Travelers (7-2) lose to the Tulsa Drillers (5-4), 2-8

Link to full box score

Continuing the theme of utter despair, Evan White did not play in this game as he landed on the 7-day IL after fouling a ball off of his foot the previous night.

The full details have yet to emerge, but having two top prospects go down on consecutive days is, uh, “not ideal” during a year focused on prospect development. As Kate pointed out on Twitter, the freak accident brand of injury is much less terrifying than the hamstring issues that have plagued Evan during his professional career. Still, we hope for a speedy recovery.

The game itself was kind of goofy as Tulsa started 36 year old Knuckleballer J.D. Martin who walked 6, struck out 5, and yielded this reaction from Connor Hoover:

#Sheesh is right, Connor. The whole game was #Sheesh. #Sheesh sums up my entire life.

The Travs could not get the bats going as they netted only three hits, but Jake Fraley continued to Have Himself a Year. He reached base three times, with two walks and a single, and took full advantage of the slow, wandering knuckler to swipe three bags. His power and speed combo are playing just as advertised and he has not missed a step since his red-hot spring. In eight games he now has four extra-base hits, four stolen bases, all while playing solid in the outfield.

On the other end of the diamond, Anthony Misiewicz started, giving up one run on six hits while strike out six in 4.2. His first two outings have been solid thus far and hopefully he can begin to pitch deeper into games once his arm builds up mid-season.

Wyatt Mills had himself an off night and has been worryingly inconsistent this year with his command. The Gonzaga grad walked three in 0.2 innings, but it was reliever Darin Gillies who should bear the brunt of the loss, giving up 6 runs (4 ER) in only 1.1 innings.

Tacoma Rainiers (4-5) defeat the Albuquerque Isotopes (5-4), 10-3

Link to full box score

Justus Sheffield got the start and managed to work himself out of several jams in his four innings. He allowed only one run despite poor command of his fastball (averaging about 92 mph) and an inconsistent slider. While his stuff is still electric and he snapped a few good breaking pitches, he is going to have to be more consistent with the fastball to let the slider play against big league hitters. With news about Wade LeBlanc’s strained oblique tonight, that would line Sheffield up perfectly to make his Mariner debut. The FO will have some decisions to make, as Eric Swanson looked quite good the other night.

This game, unlike every single other game today, was about the offense. The heart of the Rainier’s lineup did serious damage, with the 2, 3, 4, and 5 hitters combining to go 9-17 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, and 5 RBIs.

It was very encouraging to see JP Crawford checking in with two hits, including a double, as he has turned it on at the plate after a slow start. The real star of the night, however, was Shed Long. Shed just continues to do good things with the baseball bat. After getting the start at 3B tonight (and making a throwing error in the process), he mashed the stitches off of the baseball, collecting three hits, including this triple:

Shed Long makes centerfielder come up short

Long is proving that the bat is real with each passing day. While there doesn’t seem to be a spot for him on the roster at the moment, he will likely wind up on the big league club at the first sign of need.

Today’s Games:

Today there are some good matchups to choose among. I would recommend watching Darren McCaughen’s start for the Travelers. The former Long Beach State Dirtbag is an under-the-radar high performer last year who pitched great in his debut this year. You can listen for free on TuneIn.

West Virginia vs. Augusta, 11:05 AM PT (LHP Steven Moyers)

Modesto vs. Stockton, 7:05 PM PT (RHP Raymond Kerr)

Arkansas vs. Tulsa 4:05 PM PT (RHP Darren McCaughan)

Tacoma vs. Albuquerque, 5:05 PM PT (RHP Nabil Crismat)