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 of 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).
It’s that weird point of the season where most of the full-season affiliates are headed into their All-Star Breaks, while the short-season babies (the AquaSox, the DSL and AZL) are just getting started after a fresh infusion of talent from the draft. Some prospects are getting their first chance for a breather, while others are taking their first breaths of pro ball air. It’s exciting! So many things are possible! These reports are about to get really long! Wheeeee!
All-Star Break Info:
Two teams from the system have their All-Star Breaks this week: West Virginia (South Atlantic League) and Modesto (California League). Arkansas will have their break next week, Triple-A’s break isn’t until the second week of July, and Everett’s is in early August. Both West Virginia and Modesto will be off this week until Thursday.
West Virginia (A, South Atlantic League):
Game time: 4:35 PT (HR Derby 3 PT)
MiLB TV: No
The Power are the hosts for the South Atlantic League All-Star Game this Tuesday, June 18. The festivities kick off with the home run derby at 6 PM (3 PT). The Power will be represented in the Derby by Jake Anchía, who has 9 HR on the season to date and is slugging .430.
The All-Star Game itself starts at 7:35 PM (4:35 PT). The Power will be represented by four players, Anchía and three pitchers: closer Dayeison Arias, reliever Bryan Pall, and starter Clay Chandler. There’s no TV feed, but you can listen to the game via TuneIn.
Modesto (A+, California League):
Game time: 4:35 PT (HR Derby 3 PT)
MiLB TV: Yes, but the Inland Empire camera is essentially a 1980s ViewMaster hooked to a potato.
The Cal League All-Star Game is also scheduled for Tuesday the 18th at San Bernardino, home of the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels affiliate). The home run derby begins at 5 PT; catcher Cal Raleigh will represent Modesto in the derby. Cal is slugging .414 with 8 HR.
The game itself starts at 7:05 PT. The Nuts will be represented on the pitching side by Cal League strikeout leader Ljay Newsome, along with relievers Kyle Wilcox and Joey Gerber (Sam Delaplane was also tabbed for ASG honors but was recently promoted to Arkansas). Cal Raleigh, hot-hitting infielder Joe Rizzo, and superutility Connor Kopach will represent Modesto as position players. Jose Umbria will also represent the Nuts and the Mariners organization as the North squad’s manager.
On to the recaps!
DSL Mariners (5-8) rocked by DSL Rockies (4-9), 10-1 (Saturday)
DSL teams, like Chik-Fil-A, don’t play on Sundays, but in the interest of full coverage it is our sad duty to report that the DSL Mariners again got blown out, although we will note OF Jonatan Clase hit his second HR of the young season to score the baby M’s first and only run of the day. Also, top prospect SS Noelvi Marte didn’t play in this contest, but went 2-for-4 the day before with a double and a triple.
West Virginia Power (37-33) sweep aside the Hagerstown Suns (30-40), 6-1
Having top prospect Julio Rodriguez back seems to have put a charge into the Power, who followed up their sweep of the best team in MiLB by record with a sweep of the Suns. Julio started off slow, going just 1-for-12 in his first few games off the IL, and then busted out with his first Sally League homer on the 14th and has been on a tear ever since. Hopefully the break doesn’t do too much to cool off Julio’s bat, because he seems to be really heating up. Today’s win was powered by catcher David Sheaffer, stepping into a backup catcher role now that Dean Nevarez is with Everett. Sheaffer, signed as a free agent last year, had four hits on the day, including a home run. On the pitching side, RHP Devin Sweet, who has been working out of the Power’s bullpen, made his first career start and pitched five strong innings of two-hit, no-run ball. He was followed by a parade of relievers trying to get work in before the ASB including 2019 10th-rounder Kyle Hill. Hill, who didn’t give up a single run as Baylor’s closer this year, had a bit of a rude introduction to pro ball, with a leadoff double followed by a bloop base hit, but recovered to get pesky Gilbert Lara to ground into a double play (scoring a run) and then got a soft comebacker to the mound to end the inning without further damage. Hill lived up to his reputation as a strike-thrower, throwing 11 of his 14 pitches for strikes.
Arkansas Travelers (43-24) dash the Midland RockHounds (34-34), 5-2
The Travs hadn’t won a game since the news broke that Mitch Canham was departing as manager, but they got back to their winning ways against a RockHounds team hungry for a Southern division title to avoid the series sweep. They also delivered a win to Cesar Nicolas, 2017 Mariners MiLB staffer of the year, in his first game since being named the Travs’ new manager. RHP Darren McCaughan continued to do Darren McCaughan things, going 6.1 innings and surrendering one run on six hits while walking just one and striking out seven. There were questions about whether or not McCaughan’s softer stuff would play against more advanced batters, but so far he’s carried his success from the California League straight into AA. DMac continues to be a ground ball machine, getting seven ground ball outs against just three in the air. McCaughan was relieved by RHP Sam Delaplane, who continues to be just ridiculous, striking out four more batters in 1.2 innings of work. He now has 16 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work, which is a K/9 of over 23. To put that in perspective, MLB’s K/9 leader, Josh Hader, has a K/9 of 17.64.
Recently promoted to AA, Sam Delaplane has faced 18 batters in the Texas League.— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) June 16, 2019
He has struck out 14 of them. pic.twitter.com/zmzZwUHBLu
On the offensive side, 1B Evan White stayed red-hot (White-hot?), with another two hits including a two-RBI triple.
INF Donnie Walton, who is making an argument that he was snubbed for an All-Star berth, had a three-hit day.
Modesto Nuts (30-40) sunk by Stockton Ports (33-35), 10-2
Stockton had two of the A’s top pitching prospects covering 3⁄4 of this game in rehabbers A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo, so it’s not surprising the Nuts scuffled to come up with offense against that tandem. What is encouraging is that C Cal Raleigh had a hit off each of them, including a home run off Puk.
Cal Raleigh HR off AJ Puk. pic.twitter.com/3v9pRhYvjO— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) June 16, 2019
Less encouraging: after a strong opening frame from RHP Penn Murfee, who was on a planned inning limit, starter LHP Ray Kerr couldn’t escape the second inning, surrendering six earned runs. RHP J.T. Salter couldn’t staunch the bleeding, either, giving up three earned runs of his own. RHP Matt Willrodt, who has bounced all over the system this year, finally provided some stability, going 4.2 scoreless innings, but the hole was too deep for the Nuts to climb back out of, despite OF Keegan McGovern contributing his second double since showing up in Modesto less than a week ago and Connor Kopach slugging a solo shot of his own off the hard-throwing Luzardo. Kopach has quietly been a pleasant surprise in Modesto this season: a senior sign in the 25th round out of Southern Illinois last year, Kopach is a plus defensive infielder who’s made room for Joe Rizzo and Johnny Adams (a plus-plus infielder) by moving out to the outfield, where he’s acquitted himself well, even moving over to cover center while Jarred Kelenic is down with a wrist injury.
Connor Kopach takes top pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo off the scoreboard. pic.twitter.com/ZQmY1pOSXf— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) June 16, 2019
Tacoma Rainiers (32-38) run over by Round Rock Express (42-27)
It should not come as a surprise that the Astros’ Triple-A team are the bullies of the PCL, although on the bright side, today was better than the 14-0 drubbing the Rainiers suffered yesterday. Shed Long had the lone two RBI for Tacoma today, and Ian Miller also contributed a double; in fact, every member of Tacoma’s lineup had a hit with the exception of [checks notes] catcher Brennon Kaleiwahea? The Mariners signed the Lacey native May 4th, apparently. C’mon, guys, I only recently got “Misiewicz” right without looking. David McKay and Parker Markel banded together for three scoreless innings but the Rainiers were unable to overcome the six-run deficit handed to them by starter Jonathan Niese. Such is the nature of Triple-A ball, but today’s lineup featured only four players who were on the Opening Day lineup: Miller, Long, Lopes, and Negrón. Mariscal was promoted from within the system, and the remaining four (Kelby Tomlinson, Jaycob Brugman, John Andreoli, and Kaleiwahea) were all mid-season signs.
Everett AquaSox (2-1) choked by Tri-City Dust Devils (1-2), 6-2
After winning the first two games to open the season, the Frogs dropped Sunday’s contest despite a strong start from RHP Damon Casetta-Stubbs, recently transferred from West Virginia. DCS went five innings of three-hit, one-run ball with two walks and six strikeouts, and seemed to have his changeup well in order to keep batters off-balance. Speedy center fielder Miguel Perez put Everett out to an early lead with a leadoff home run, his first in the NWL, and also hit an RBI groundout scoring another former member of the Power, Cesar Izturis Jr. Unfortunately, 2019 draftee RHP Travis Kuhn made a couple mistakes in a HBP, single, and then a poorly-located pitch for a three-run home run. Fellow 2019 draftee RHP Reeves Martin didn’t fare much better, giving up two runs in his frame. Growing pains!
DSL Rockies vs. DSL Mariners, 7:30 AM PT
West Virginia and Modesto: OFF
Arkansas at Corpus Christi, 5:15 PT (RHP Nabil Crismatt)
Tacoma at Round Rock, 5:05 PT (RHP Mike Wright Jr.)