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Midshipman’s Log: Ian Miller is Traded, Kelenic is Promoted, Lewis and White Double Dip the Chip

feeling a lot of feelings down on the farm

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MiLB: MAY 21 Fresno Grizzlies at Tacoma Rainiers
farewell, sweet prince
Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here we go with another Midshipman’s Log. This one will be much shorter, sadder, and less good than the last one—it’s just me here, alone [update: no it won’t there’s far too much for me to handle]. I also don’t have nearly as much time to write this, so it will be brief! That is probably a good thing for everyone.

Before we get started on the games, some major (minor) breaking news:

Ian Miller has been traded to the Minnesota Twins. I was initially shocked because I didn’t realize that you could trade players after the trade deadline, probably because it’s called a trade deadline. That shows my ignorance because apparently rules don’t matter and words don’t carry meaning (he can be traded as he doesn’t have an MLB contract and isn’t on the 40-man. Whatever.).

It’s a complicated thing to talk about, though it doesn’t seem so from an outside perspective. On the surface, Ian Miller is a 27 year old speed-first outfielder who has a 96 wRC+ in the PCL and has never hit enough to warrant a roster spot despite his ability to swipe bags. So trading him to someone who isn’t rebuilding and could get value from some speed makes sense.

But we don’t watch our team on the surface. The good and terrible thing about being a fan and investing our time and attention into other people is that we develop attachments, emotional bonds to people we’ve never met. I won’t go so far as to say Ian Miller and I are best friends, but I’ve been reading about him and following his games for six years. That’s nothing, really, that’s not a relationship, but over time I came to like Ian Miller. For the scrappy style of play, his one carrying tool, and his long hair. If I were a player, I’d likely be Ian Miller—he’s my age, my height, my weight (or thereabouts), plays hard, runs well, and that’s all. He wasn’t born with the most talent. He wasn’t a high draft pick. He was a scrapper who did everything he could—cut his hair, changed his swing, switched positions—and still had enough in him to help out his teammates.

It’s hard to watch someone give six years to an organization—the last three only one step away—and not get their shot. This game isn't handed to you, we all know that. Teams don’t owe players anything; it still aspires to be a meritocracy at its core. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t involved. People with relationships and attachments, dreams and plans.

Maybe this is a good thing, that the Mariners know they won’t call him up, they can’t reward him, and so are doing the next best thing—giving him a shot somewhere else. It’s not how Ian Miller likely wanted to get to the next level, but at least now he’s got a better shot at getting there.

All I’m saying is that it’s not wrong to be sad about a 27 year old fringe prospect not getting called up to the team he was drafted by. It’s also not wrong to not be sad. But I care so I am sad. It’s OK if you are, too.

Oh wow this is long already and while I was writing it a corresponding move was announced. Hey, it’s our own Joe Doyle with a mysterious and yet credible Source!

This is so huge I don’t even know if I can really talk about it in a way that captures the sheer hugeness. I can try.

Jarred Kelenic is 20 years old. He’s not just 20, he’s 20 years old and 26 days. He’s been 20 for less than a month. Can he drink in the US? N,o he cannot. Can he rent a car? Pretty sure it depends on where he lives. Probably with a co-signer.

That’s not cutting it, I know. How about the fact that he will be the second youngest player in all of the upper minors (out of qualified AA and AAA players)? In all of the upper minor leagues, he is the second youngest. I’m not sure there is a phrasing that makes that sound more impressive: There is only one player, Luis Garcia, who has taken in less oxygen and expelled less carbon dioxide,who has seen less sunrises, less sunsets, whose ATP has done less of whatever it does—something about the Powerhouse of the Cells—than Jarred Middle Name Kelenic. [Ed. note. Robert. It’s Jarred Robert Kelenic, or JRK.]

It’s fairly astonishing at how quickly the Mariners organization has promoted him, and it says a lot about what they think of Jarred both in terms of his skillset and his maturity. You don’t promote a guy you don’t feel is ready for it mentally and emotionally. You can promote him if you think he’ll be challenged physically (he still struggles with advanced breaking stuff and his K% is a bit worrisome), but you don’t want to break his confidence in his ability to adapt. All indications are that Jarred and his 134 wRC+ are ready to be challenged again. Let’s all strap in, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

Also, there will likely be a corresponding move to take Ian Miller’s spot. Kyle Lewis, anyone? Hmmm? But that was not announced so that waits for another article.

Whew. That was ridiculous. That was an entire article. On to the games!

DSL Mariners (26-33) boarded and pirate-d by DSL Pirates 2 (48-11), 4-1

Link to full box score

This went much less well than yesterday’s victory in that it resulted in a loss. The Pirates 2 have a dominant team thanks to a stingy pitching staff and enough muscle to win basically every DSL game. The DSL Mariners’ lone run came off the bat of SS Noelvi Marte, which is great timing as Jerry Dipoto recently referred to him as a “real dude” who “could be a monster,” which, in baseball, is a good thing. If someone called me a real dude who has a chance to become a monster, that would be decidedly not good. It was his sixth home run on the year, and in the last four games he has 8 hits and 2 dingers. He’s about as hot as you can get before reaching the human combustion point.

Our dear friend C Jose Caguana did not get a hit today, but did add another throwing error, which puts him now at 15 compared to 13 walks. This is a mean thing to keep track of—it feels mean. Yet I started doing it and now it’s all I see. I will stop. Next time I will stop.

Lastly, CF Jonatan Clase was pulled from the game in the top of the fourth inning. There’s not a lot of info coming out of the DSL so feel free to speculate whether it’s a promotion (would be odd middle of season to go from DSL to AZL, though he’s probably earned one) or an injury, which would be disappointing.

AZL Mariners (19-24) are gilded by the AZL Athletics Gold (24-17), lose 5-4

Link to full box score

I’ll level with you: I know very little about the AZL Mariners. I do my best but invariably there are names I just cannot remember no matter how many times I look at them. It is refreshing, then, to find ones I do remember. Mariners SS prospect Juan Querecuto had two hits including his third double of the year. Querecuto hitting is always a good sign as he is regarded as a glove-first prospect. Once finding himself in the middle of the M’s Top 30 prospect lists, he has since fallen out for not performing with the bat (that and a much-improved farm) and a torn meniscus that cost him all of this spring training and then some. He is still struggling in his first year stateside, but has hit all three of his doubles in August and has brought his OPS up from the .300s to the .500s. Which is progress.

This game featured some decent pitching prospects doing some decent pitching as well. Reliever and 2019 7th round draftee Adam Macko pitched 2.1 scoreless innings with 3 Ks (though also 3 BBs allowed). He now has 17 strikeouts in his 12 innings of work. Recent signee Robert Winslow, who went undrafted out of The Masters University (which sounds like you can only get Masters Degrees from but apparently that is not the case), has been dominating the AZL, and did so on this date throwing 3 scoreless and striking out 5. He’s a 6’ 5” righty, who is 21 and throws in the low-90s but collected the third most strikeouts in Mustang history as a starter (he also slept through the Mariners phone call when they tried to sign him). I don’t know much about his arsenal, but he has a 0.99 ERA and over K/9 over 12.

Finally, Luis Curvelo is a prospect that Jerry Dipoto recently praised on The Wheelhouse and in this game threw a scoreless inning with two punchouts. Luis is now on my very-limited radar as an 18-year-old who is throwing mid-90s and has struck out 30 players in 22 AZL innings. Better yet, he has given up only 3 walks. My attention, Luis Curvelo has it.

Everett AquaSox (24-29) tell Vancouver Canadians poutine is overrated (20-33), win 8-2

Link to full box score

The offensively-starved AquaSox broke out a bit against our northern neighbors, to the tune of 12 hits. Those hits were spread fairly evenly with two-hit games from the first six hitters in the lineup. It was encouraging to see a double from SS Cesar Izturis Jr., his 8th, and 3B Patrick Frick, also his 8th. DH Cade Marlow added a triple as the AquaSox started well and poured it on in the final three innings.

The main takeaway is yet another great outing by Brandon Williamson, who you may remember from such classics as: the 2019 Mariners 2nd Round Draft Pick. He was limited to two innings, but both were spotless and efficient as he needed only 24 pitches. Williamson has 15 strikeouts to only 4 walks in his first 10 innings this year. This is a good, though perhaps not surprising, development.

None of this was presented in a very interesting way, I realize that and I apologize. It will get better once Kate takes over, I swear.

West Virginia Power (59-57) basically repeat yesterday by beating Lakewood Blueclaws (48-67), 3-1

Link to full box score

Another game between the Power and Blueclaws, another low-scoring victory. The Power started their secret weapon in Devin Sweet, who is coming off of a complete game, 12 K performance. You can read about why he’s ben so successful in Connor’s excellent breakdown.

The gist is that his ability to locate his fastball helps get whiffs on a changeup that sinks like an underwater kitchen (it’s getting late, this is the best I can do). The story was much the same tonight as he racked up 6 punchouts in 5 innings and lowered his season ERA to 2.98.

He’s almost 23 and still in the SAL so he’s not jumped to Top Prospect status yet, but he’s done nothing but perform at every level since going undrafted out of North Carolina Central and I’d love to see the control/change-up combo at Modesto.

Matt Sanders hit a home run!

Nice job, Matt Sanders!

Julio Rodriguez did not get a hit, today. I am sorry.

2019 draftee Austin Shenton had two hits and a double and for some reason I have a really good feeling about this 3B, right here. That reason is probably because he hasn’t stopped hitting since he was drafted and since I have never seen him fail I am incapable of imagining it.

Modesto Nuts (53-65) shelled and discarded upon the dugout steps by San Jose Giants (54-63), lose 20-5 wait what?

Link to full box score

They lost 20 to 5. That should not even be allowed, though I don’t know how you’d stop it. Maybe losing Jarred Kelenic in the third is the reason they gave up nine runs in the third? The fight just went right out of them without their Prince, is my narrative.

Whatever the cause, Austin Hutchinson and Steven Boches combined to throw 4 innings of 12 run baseball. That’s not great.

To their credit, the Nuts still technically played the game and the slant-rhyme twins David Sheaffer and Jake Scheiner each hit bombs. Scheiner, who was acquired in the Jay Bruce deal, has picked up where he left off in July and is slashing .259/.300/.667 in August. By “right where he left off” I mean hitting well and striking out (26% as a Nut) while refusing to walk (4% as a Nut).

If there are more interesting tidbits from this game I do not know them. If I did, I would share them, friends.

Arkansas Travelers (71-44) run roughshod over Springfield Cardinals (51-66), 8-1

Link to full box score

The Cardinals broadcast summed it up best in the 8th inning: “The good news is, Ricardo Sanchez is out of the game. The bad news is, the Arkansas bullpen is now in it.” For the second day in a row, the Cards were stymied by Arkansas pitching while the hitters romped all over Springfield’s pitching staff. Sanchez went seven innings, allowed just three hits, and gave up no runs, effectively pitching to contact. Sam Delaplane finished off the game, allowing the lone run of the day on two hits. Meanwhile, the Travelers lineup continued their exciting resurgence to the dominant team they were in the first half of the season. Donnie Walton continued to be a monster out of the lineup spot, with three hits including a double and a triple. The Springfield broadcasters can’t wait to see him get out of town, and they probably feel the same about the rest of the Travs. Evan White also had three hits, with two home runs, giving him three long balls in the past two games:

We’ve talked about how Hamm Field is a hitter’s park, especially for righty batters, but White’s HRs haven’t been cheapies. He deposits this one on the concourse:

Not to be outdone, Kyle Lewis had a two-homer day of his own. “Oh, homering to the pull side, huh? That’s cute.”

“Like I said. Cute.”

Lewis and White are actually good friends and roommates, so it’s possible this interchange actually happened, especially because the two enjoy poking fun at each other. (A few months ago, Kyle put on his Instagram story that Evan had farted in the elevator they were sharing up to their hotel room. White retaliated by posting the world’s least flattering picture of Kyle on his birthday. Friends! Brothers! Travelers! Why is Little Rock so far from Seattle.)

Tacoma Rainiers (52-65) dusted by Oklahoma City Dodgers (55-61), 9-2

Link to full box score

In retrospect, this was a sad game. Ian Miller went 0-for in his last game with the Mariners organization, which feels like a harsh note to end on. Darren McCaughan, who deserves better than having to pitch in the hellscape of the PCL, gave up eight runs in just 2.2 innings. Tacoma could only scrape together five hits, and couldn’t string any of them together for more than a couple runs. But one good thing did happen in this game.

Joe Odom is a 27-year-old catcher who spent basically all of last season and most of this season with the Travelers, where he was a Texas League All-Star. A veteran on a team suddenly crowded with young top prospects, his nickname is “the mayor.” He’s also a college student; Odom has been in school for the past few years, getting up early and setting up in coffee shops to do his homework before heading to the park for the day. Recently, Odom saw his playing time drastically curtailed with the arrival of top prospect Cal Raleigh. He was forced over to first base, where he struggled to learn the position on the fly, and—as one would expect—made several mistakes there, frustrating for Odom, whose excellent receiving skills behind the dish are his calling card and likeliest path to advancement. But with Jose Lobaton sent to the Dodgers, Odom got the call to Triple-A, where he’s had brief cups of coffee before; 10 PAs with the Braves in 2017 and 21 PAs with the Mariners in 2018, with a total of three hits, all singles.

Odom made his first extra-base hit at Triple-A count:

For as enjoyable as these call-up stories are at the MLB level, it’s good to remember there are also other, smaller stories like that happening in the minors.

Today’s games:

I believe the “TBD” for the AquaSox is 2019 first-rounder George Kirby, although don’t quote me on that, and remember that Kirby is on a very strict pitch limit right now. Side note: the AquaSox are enjoying their time visiting Vancouver. Isaiah Campbell isn’t pitching but he’s traveling with the team, and he and some of his fellow 2019 draftees (including Brandon Williamson and Travis Kuhn) went to Victoria to do some whale-watching on their off-day, which I just think is precious. Brownsville native Fred Villarreal couldn’t get over the fact that there was a Chevron station on the water in Vancouver, because apparently in Texas the boats run on rattlesnake oil. Drink in all this Northwest glory, my children, the dusty roads of Arkansas and Modesto await.

Otherwise, check out the Travs game because 1) glorious hi-def TV; 2) Justin Dunn because he is always fun; 3) and who knows if Jarred Kelenic might make an appearance. (He won’t but it will be fun to be on KelenicWatch until he shows up there. Staff writer Tim is frantically flipping through the flight manifests as we speak.) In Triple-A, old friend Nick Neidert will be on the mound for New Orleans, if you’re the “likes to look at pictures of old exes” type, and Anthony Misiewicz will make his first start since his near no-no. Ian McKinney will make his second start in August after an absolutely torrid July in which he threw three 10+ strikeout games, although he’ll do so away from the friendly confines of Modesto, and with the LL curse of having just been the subject of an article:

DSL Mariners at DSL Pirates, 7:00 AM PT (TBD)

Tacoma at New Orleans (TV), 4:00 PM PT (LHP Anthony Misiewicz)

West Virginia at Lakewood (TV), 4:05 PM PT (RHP Evan Johnson)

Arkansas at Springfield (TV), 4:10 PM PT (RHP Justin Dunn)

Modesto at San Jose, 5:00 PM PT (LHP Ian McKinney)

Everett at Vancouver, 7:05 PM PT (TBD)

AZL Mariners: OFF