I have always wanted to be a sailor, a real old salty seadog type, so I could sniff the air and say something like “storm’s a-comin’.” Well instead I am a professional snoop, but also one who bears a message: promotions are a-comin’. Who will they be? You will have to read on to find out!
DSL Mariners: OFF
It’s the All-Star Break for the mini-M’s. SS Noelvi Marte and RHP David Morillo represented the Mariners; Marte did not get a hit in his lone plate appearance, but made a strong defensive play (and also had an error, although he was playing out of his regular position at third base). Morillo, who pitched the 9th, gave up a run on a solo HR and walked a batter but got the save anyway as the AL All-Stars beat the NL All-Stars 5-4.
AZL Mariners (10-12) slim down AZL Dodgers-Lasorda (12-10), 5-3
The Baby M’s jumped out to a 4-1 lead over the first two innings thanks to a power surge from the top half of the lineup; 2019 draftee 2B Cody Grosse had two hits, SS Kevin Santa—who continues to look strong in his first ABs after rehabbing all off-season—had two hits including a double, and 1B Connor Hoover also chipped in a double. High-energy speedster OF Luis Veloz also had a triple.
But the real story of the day was a pair of teenaged lefty pitching prospects. 2018 draftee Holden Laws pitched two innings and gave up one run on three hits (although only one was earned, as Hoover made a throwing error allowing the first run to score). 2019 draftee Adam Macko (from Slovakia! You remember Adam Macko of the interesting backstory, right?) pitched his first professional inning and allowed no runs and no hits, walking one batter and striking out two. The bulk of the pitching work was done by Robert Winslow, a free agent signing out of The Master’s University, from where the M’s also selected SS Anthony Lepre, Winslow’s AZL teammate. Winslow is a 6’5” righty who struck out 104 batters in 82.2 innings this year for the Mustangs while walking just 31. He currently has 24 Ks in 16.1 innings for the AZL Mariners with an ERA of 1.65 and, providing he’s healthy, might be a candidate for a promotion once people start moving around the system. He went 3.0 IP, allowed one run on two hits and a walk, and struck out four. He was followed by Bernie Martinez, another free-agent signing, who pitched three innings and only allowed one hit while striking out four.
Everett AquaSox (16-14) belly up against Spokane Indians (16-14), 6-3
The AquaSox maneuvered themselves into a tie for first place with this win and have been playing solidly of late. 19-year-old Kelvin Nunez, in his first stateside season after spending the last two in the DSL, allowed seven hits over five innings of work, including three doubles, but only surrendered two runs, striking out four and walking none. Matt Martin vultured the win, going three innings and allowing one run on three hits while striking out five and walking two. Logan Rinehart locked down the save with a scoreless inning where he worked his way around a leadoff double. There were also two ejections in that inning: Spokane’s manager and catcher both got run. Things are getting chippy in the NWL!
Offensively, Cesar Izturis Jr. had the most hits on the day, with three, but the delightfully named triad of Patrick Frick, Cash Gladfelter, and Trent Tingelstad all caused damage at the top of the lineup with two hits apiece, and one of Gladfelter’s a two-run home run.
West Virginia Power (48-46) get sick on Greensboro Grasshoppers (57-35) 12-9
This game was annoying. The Power went into the bottom of the 8th inning with a hard-fought 9-7 lead, but reliever Matt Willrodt couldn’t hold it, allowing the Grasshoppers to rack up five runs and an eventual victory. Worse:
Julio Rodriguez HBP for the 7th time in 39 games. He was hit on the left arm, stayed in to run the bases but is now out of the game.— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) July 14, 2019
Per the Power announcers, this move was made in an excess of caution as the arm was clearly a little tender, but it’s frustrating nonetheless. Stop hitting Julio. Don’t make me come over there, South Atlantic League. On the bright side: Onil Pena bashed his 12th home run, and David Sheaffer had a three-hit day.
Modesto Nuts (43-52) conquered by Inland Empire (33-61), 7-5
Scratch that about the last game being annoying because this game was truly, truly annoying. Inland Empire is an objectively not very good team, but they have Gareth Morgan. You remember Gareth Morgan, don’t you? 2014’s 76th overall pick? K-rate of 62.5% when he was finally released by the Mariners this year? Well he just hustled across the valley and got picked up by the Angels, where he is posting this utterly hilarious line: 3% BB/48.8% K/.336 ISO/151 wRC+. It would be funny, except Morgan lit up our dearly beloved Ljay Newsome for not one but two home runs today, giving Ljay an early exit from the game and putting Modesto in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
Also exiting this game early: Cal Raleigh, but not before he did this:
Cal Raleigh’s 22nd HR. pic.twitter.com/zNSRnqaheV— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) July 15, 2019
Jerry Dipoto got his Beef Boy Bomb and has packed Cal up in his suitcase, affixed the “heavy” tag, and sent him on his way to Arkansas, it would seem. With his early exit from the game, Ljay Newsome is likely on his way out as well, and if Cal is going, it seems Logan Gilbert and his 30% K rate will go as well. There’s something else that makes these two special, which we’ll dive into some over the next week, that makes the organization confident that the young pair can handle the rigors of Double-A.
LHP Ray Kerr continued to throw well in relief of Newsome, with 2.1 scoreless innings and three strikeouts, no walks; he’s one to watch, especially as he continues to build strength. Offensive bright spots included Jarred Kelenic getting a hit and stealing a base, Jake Scheiner (the return in the Jay Bruce deal) staying hot with a double, and Joe Rizzo throwing his hat in the ring for consideration as the next Beef Boy:
If Cal Raleigh does get promoted to AA soon, Joe Rizzo would like to submit his application as his homer-bashing replacement: pic.twitter.com/6K5MtRTDUy— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 15, 2019
Arkansas Travelers (58-34) divebombed by Springfield Cardinals (42-52), 3-2
Another annoying day. Despite a two-hit day from Evan White, including a double, and another double from a suddenly-hot Kyle Lewis, the Travs failed to do anything with that, scoring both of their runs on solo HRs from C Joe Odom and UTIL Mike Ahmed. It’s a bummer, too, because Justus Sheffield was solid today, giving up three runs (two earned; Aaron Knapp dropped a fly ball in the OF) over six innings while striking out six and walking just one (yay!). Joey Gerber and Wyatt Mills—who has sawed two his ERA in half after the ASB—kept the Cards off the board, but the Travs offense continued to be flat. They just haven’t looked like the same team since Mitch Canham left/Jake Fraley was promoted to AAA. Maybe the new infusion coming up from Modesto will help the Travs get their Texas League-dominating mojo back.
Although, an Evan White promotion, especially if Austin Nola has worked his way on to the Mariners roster, doesn’t seem out of the question. Here’s White smacking his oppo double:
Tacoma Rainiers (46-48) bust Reno Aces (40-53), 5-4
At last, a respite from the annoyingness, and in fact, some awesomeness. Well, maybe not for Jonathan Niese, who pitched six innings and gave up four runs only to have his win vultured away by Tyler Cloyd. The big offensive star of the day was Jake Fraley, who hit a double, a home run, and, when the game went to extras, walked it off with a game-winning single.
WALK IT OFF, JAKE FRALEY— Tacoma Rainiers (@RainiersLand) July 14, 2019
THIS. IS. R. CITY. pic.twitter.com/RoyzVo1ENQ
If we’re talking moves, Jake Fraley to the bigs is a possibility. I don’t know if they want to start his service time clock ticking, and the K rate (25%) is a little concerning. I’m also not sure how much the tennis ball in Triple-A is influencing that .336 ISO. But other than the K-rate (again, just about four ticks higher than it was in AA), it certainly looks like he’s adapted to the level. If you would like to pay discount prices to see Jake Fraley/get a Fraley autograph, you might want to hie yourself over to Tacoma post-haste.
Sadly there is no Travs game on the Mariners’ off-day. If you are on the East side of the state, get yourself out to see Damon Casetta-Stubbs in Spokane. Or Western Washington people can head down to Tacoma to see Jake Fraley, if he’s still there. Penn Murfee is also an interesting one to watch as he continues to transition to a starter, and plans his summer spent working on a ranch in the great American West. Intrigue!
DSL Giants at DSL Mariners, 10:30 AM PT. Some All-Star Break!
Columbia at West Virginia, 4:05 PT (RHP Clay Chandler)
AZL Mariners at AZL White Sox, 6 PT
Everett at Spokane, 6:30 PT (RHP Damon Casetta-Stubbs)
Inland Empire at Modesto (TV), 7:05 PT (RHP Penn Murfee)
Las Vegas at Tacoma, 7:05 PT (RHP Mike Wright)