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 was a great weekend down on the farm, so even though the log is ostensibly about Sunday, I’m going to include some of Thursday/Friday/Saturday’s highlights as well (especially because Sunday was...not as much fun.)
DSL Mariners (9-16) sent to the dungeon by DSL Royals (11-13), 10-2 (Saturday)
The DSL Mariners lost again, something that is becoming alarmingly familiar. On the bright side, they only committed two errors in this game, which is a step up for them. Noelvi Marte had a single, and a player who is not on my radar at all, Ortwin Pieternella, had a double to raise his average to .340. Pieternella is 20, which is fairly old for the DSL, but over 54 PAs, he has a relatively hilarious slash line of .341/.500/.561 thanks to a K-rate of just 13% against a BB rate that would impress even newly-minted All-Star Daniel Vogelbach: 24.2%.
AZL Mariners (6-5) dent the halos of the AZL Angels (2-8), 6-3 (10 innings) (Saturday)
The junior Mariners were off on Sunday, but pulled out a win on Saturday at Tempe Diablo. The baby M’s racked up 11 hits and six extra-base hits against the baby Angels’ pitching staff, including three triples, led by LF Johnny Slater, who had a double and a triple. The decisive blow was a 10th-inning grand slam by 3B Nolan Perez off the unfortunately-named Angels pitcher Andrew Bash.
Everett AquaSox (8-9) have a pair of bad nights, get no-hit and blown out by the Tri-City Dust Devils (9-8)
Yuk. What a couple of stinkers for the AquaSox, who were on the wrong side of a no-hitter on Saturday, losing 5-0 (although collecting six walks in the contest! If your team walks six batters I don’t think you get to call it a no-hitter!), and then boat-raced on Sunday, 11-1. The Frogs only managed two hits on Sunday and struck out 10 times, although they did work seven walks. Unfortunately, the Frogs pitching staff issued 10 walks. Of the Dust Devils’ 11 runs, only two (2) were earned, thanks in part to the walks, and part to six errors charged to the Frogs, just one shy of a franchise record. Zoinks.
West Virginia Power (42-39) tell the Kannapolis Intimidators (34-45) they ain’t scared, win 9-8 (10 innings)
The Power and Intimidators wound up splitting the series, but West Virginia won the opening and closing games of the series in dramatic fashion, beginning with Jake Anchía’s walk-off bomb on Thursday:
On Sunday, it would be a different hero, as Ryan Ramiz delivered the walkoff single. The Power went into the 10th trailing 8-6: Julio Rodriguez led off with a single, followed by Bobby Honeyman taking a walk, and then David Sheaffer singled to score the courtesy runner and bring the Power within one. Jake Anchía worked a bases-loaded walk, scoring Julio, to tie the game, and then with two outs, Ramiz delivered the game winner:
This was a banner day for Ramiz, who had smacked a two-run HR in the 9th to tie the game at six. Bobby Honeyman also had another double, his 14th, and Julio collected two singles. West Virginia might not be the best team in the system, but they do have a knack for these late-game heroics.
Modesto Nuts (34-47) blanked by Visalia Rawhide (50-27), 6-0
Despite not having the prospect power some of the other Cal League teams do (the Rawhide have just one position player, Jake McCarthy, who is listed in FanGraphs’ Top 32 prospects), Visalia has been running the table so far in the first half. The Nuts failed to gain ground on the kings of the Cal League, as starter Penn Murfee had a rough go of it (5 IP, 8H, 4 ER, 7K, 1 BB) as he continues to convert into a starter. Jarred Kelenic has been mired in a slump lately, with his average falling all the way down to .203; he hit the ball hard but with nothing to show for it, as he was robbed of a base hit by some spectacular defense by SS Jancarlos Cintron. As the saying goes, though, defense doesn’t slump, as Kelenic made another fantastic sliding catch in the outfield:
The camera misses the play but you can see Jarred Kelenic come sliding into the frame. pic.twitter.com/6uFff4ZcOd— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) July 1, 2019
The Nuts were only able to scratch across two hits against Visalia’s starter Matt Green (Green being another one of Visalia’s top prospects), although OF Keegan McGovern did double off Green as he continues to heat up. Speaking of McGovern, he did this in Saturday’s much more fun game, which Modesto won 7-0:
It's only been a matter of time before 2018 draftee Keegan McGovern, who has tremendous power, would heat up in the Cal League. He crushes this ball to dead center (not an easy thing to do in Modesto) for a two-run shot. pic.twitter.com/a7oldDnLbb— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) June 30, 2019
McGovern also smacked a leadoff HR in Thursday’s game, another win against the Rawhide. A fun fact I learned from Keaton Gillogly, broadcaster for the Modesto Nuts, on Sunday’s broadcast (a simulcast with Visalia’s excellent announcer Jill Gearin): Keegan and Cal Raleigh are known as “The Beef Boys,” a club reserved for those over 6’3”/215. The other Beef Boy, Cal Raleigh, has also been electric at the plate lately; he’ll finish June slugging .556 with 6 HR.
No discussion of Cal Raleigh is complete without what he does behind the plate, though. RHP Logan Gilbert appeared in a shortened start on Saturday (no injury that we know of, most likely just an innings-management situation) and was very good, going three innings with three strikeouts, one walk, and one hit. Gilbert looked good, as usual, but what will be really interesting to watch going forward is the relationship between this battery:
The Cal Raleigh praise will continue until he gets more recognition, dangit. Watch this interaction between Cal and Logan Gilbert--Gilbert spins a slider too tightly, Cal coaches him with a nonverbal cue, Gilbert comes back with a swinging K of one of Visalia's hottest hitters. pic.twitter.com/JsUO6scQih— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) June 30, 2019
Arkansas Travelers (51-27) remind Tulsa Drillers (43-36) they’re the captains now, walk it off for the second day in a row, 2-1
Tulsa and Arkansas just finished a four-game series where not one of the games was decided by more than a run. On Thursday, Justin Dunn spun a gem, striking out 9 in just 5.1 innings. Dom Thompson-Williams, who is starting to heat up again, hit a go-ahead HR in the sixth and the bullpen locked it down to hold a 3-2 win. Friday it was the Drillers eking out a win thanks to an uncharacteristic ninth-inning meltdown from recently-promoted Sam Delaplane (meltdown is relative: Delaplane actually struck out four batters in his one inning of work. The dropped third strike rule remains garbage). The Travs came back on Saturday to win 2-1 behind a strong eight-inning outing from Justus Sheffield, who carried a no-hitter into the 8th and struck out eight, giving up just one run on a leadoff double from Keibert Ruiz (breaking up the no-hitter) followed by a dumb old swinging bunt. Hard-throwing Joey Gerber relieved Sheffield in the 9th and posted a scoreless inning with two strikeouts (and no walks!), earning a win in his minor-league debut. The Travs rallied in the ninth, though, loading the bases for Kyle Lewis to walk it off with a single. Sunday was more of the same: Nabil Crismatt, back in a starter role, threw six innings and allowed just one run while striking out seven and Sam Tuivailala, who seems to pop up all over the system, had a scoreless inning of relief with a walk and two Ks; Jake Haberer earned the win, pitching the two final innings of the game and striking out four while allowing just one hit and no runs. The Travs won on a walkoff walk, which isn’t so exciting, so instead, here’s how the Travs got their lone run. Bet you can’t guess who would be responsible for that!
Evan White’s 10th HR of the season. pic.twitter.com/qElsEd89Xw— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) July 1, 2019
All this talk about how Evan White is such a good guy, and look at him disrupt these people, just calmly trying to have a picnic way out in left field. Picnic-disruptor Evan White! The nerve!
Tacoma Rainiers (40-43) stung by the Salt Lake Bees (36-46), 9-7
Sunday’s game was a bummer as Tyler Cloyd and Ryan Garton combined to spot the Bees seven runs over the first five innings, so let us focus instead on Saturday’s game, when the Rainiers shellacked the Bees 12-3, and Jake Fraley had a triple and Shed Long had [pause for dramatic effect]
an inside-the-park grand slam
That feels like a good note to end on. Much nicer than Sunday’s game, certainly.
DSL Royals vs. DSL Mariners, 7:30 AM PT
Hickory at West Virginia, 4:05 PM (RHP Devin Sweet)
Arkansas at NW Arkansas (TV), 4:35 PM (RHP Darren McCaughan)
AZL Mariners vs. AZL Padres, 6 PT
Salt Lake at Tacoma (TV), 7:05 PT (LHP Anthony Misiewicz)
San Jose at Modesto (TV), 7:05 PT (RHP Austin Hutchison)
Boise at Everett, 7:05 PT (RHP Damon Casetta-Stubbs)