The top prospects continued to produce as you’d hope top prospects would, which, let’s just remind you, is not a guarantee in this ball we call base. We are getting dangerously close to being spoiled by our prospects. Last night was pretty special for Jarred Kelenic, who had the second two-HR game of his young career; the last one came on April 27 when he was still in A-ball. To repeat the feat at Double-A, for a player who hasn’t been praised much for his power, is pretty exciting. Jarred sure thinks so:
It’ll be fun to see if Jarred can get to a 20/20 season (20 HR, 20 SB) in his first full year as a pro. He only needs one more stolen base to get there.
OK, to the games!
DSL Mariners (34-37) prove DSL Tigers (34-37) are not gr-r-reat (I had to google how to spell this), win 14-7
The Young Mariners dismantled the Tigers with a lopsided game that was intensely DSL with the Tigers giving up 9 walks and committing 5 errors. The Mariners played a relatively clean game on the other side and were led in “mature hitting approach” by none other than CF Jonatan Clase who walked 4 times and hit his 7th triple. His name has been picking up throughout baseball, even earning a 35+ from Fangraphs recently, and he’s earned it by getting on base (OBP ranked 20th in DSL), stealing bags (4th), and generally hitting well relative to the league (23rd in wRC+). Clase is currently listed at 5’ 8” and 150 pounds and while he might have some growing left to do, he will be a compact player. His speed, contact, and batting eye are carrying him so far. Can’t wait to see him finish strong and see if he starts in the AZL next year. He’s also a good candidate to bulk up at the High Performance Camp this off-season. If you go to the Arizona Fall League this year (and you should; Julio and Jarred will be there!), there’s a good chance you could see either Marte or Clase hanging around the PSC.
Noelvi Marte continues to completely demolish the entire month by going 3-4 with 4 RBIs and his 9th home run. There’s not a ton left to say that hasn’t already been said here in the Midshipman’s Log, so I’ll go ahead and just post an updated August slash line: .408/.465/.711/1.176 with 5 HRs, 5 SBs, 9 BBs and only 10 Ks. He is now in the Top-10 in the DSL for homers.
Noelvi is so helpful with posting his highlights on his Instagram. Here’s the latest one:
AZL Mariners (21-33) given last rites by AZL Padres (31-21), 6-4
The offensively-challenged AZL Mariners scored four whole runs! Unfortunately that wasn’t quite enough to dig out of the hole created by 2018 draftee/HS lefty Holden Laws, who had an uncharacteristically poor start: 3.2 IP, 7H, 5ER, 1BB, 4K. Laws is still just 19, and has showed an ability to miss bats, but this wasn’t one of his better outings. On the brighter side, fellow teenager Yeury Tatiz was able to hold things down over his 3.1 innings, giving up just one run despite walking three (eep). Michael Stryffeler, a 2019 UDFA signing, was solid in his two innings, allowing no runs on one hit, one walk, and three strikeouts. With an ERA of 1.64 and an accomplished college resume, Stryffeler would be a sensical call-up if the Mariners are planning to move any more players up before the end of the MiLB season. Sebastian Ochoa paced the baby M’s with three hits, including a double, and Nolan Perez and Jepherson Garcia pitched in doubles of their own, but it just wasn’t enough.
Everett AquaSox (32-35) dull the shine of the Eugene Emeralds (30-37), 4-3
The story of this one was the hitting, as the Frogs carried a no-hitter all the way into the 9th inning. Tim Elliott pitched two innings and struck out two, and then lefty Jorge Benitez took over and went five more hitless, shutout innings. Benitez has been very Jekyll and Hyde in his starts; sometimes he struggles with command, and other times he’s virtually untouchable. Today was happily the latter, as he walked just one and struck out five, but consistency continues to be a bugaboo for the (freshly-turned) 20-year-old Puerto Rican. The AquaSox got all their offense in the first, off a Connor Hoover three-run home run, although Cade Marlowe had a four-hit day. Unfortunately, it almost didn’t hold up when Kelvin Nunez struggled in his second inning of work, walking the first two batters in the ninth and then surrendering a two-run double and a run-scoring single to tie the game. Cade Marlowe to the rescue in the bottom of the 9th, though, leading off the frame with a single and advancing to second on a groundout. Then it was glove-first shortstop Cesar Izturis Jr.’s chance to play the hero, punching a ground ball through the left side to score Marlowe and win the game.
West Virginia Power (65-65) finally put an end to BlueClaw Summer by defeating Lakewood BlueClaws (55-73), 1-0
This game was unwatchable. I literally could not watch it.
It went by in a flash as the alliteratively named Matt Martin made his West Virginia debut after a call up from the Northwest League (he went undrafted out of Florida Southern) and threw an efficient 6 innings with 2 H, 0 ERs, with 4 Ks. A great first impression, was my impression of his impression. 2019 draftee Logan Rinehart earned the 3 inning save, allowing 1 hit and striking out 2.
The lineup continued to struggle without star power. CF Billy Cooke, who I will love forever because he plays incredible defense, notched a double and now has an .833 OPS spread over 4 levels this season. He’s been everywhere.
Modesto Nuts (58-72) tanned by Visalia Rawhide (80-46), 6-1
This one was close until it wasn’t. It took until the third inning for either side to score, and when they both did, it was on errors—a wild pitch brought in Modesto’s first run, and an errant toss back to the pitcher for Visalia’s first tally. Recent callup Bernie Martinez struggled in his inning of relief, getting knocked around for five runs on five hits, striking out just one and walking four, which is anathema to Modesto’s “control the zone” philosophy. On a bright note, Devin Sweet had a strong California League debut, going six innings and walking just one while striking out six. Juliooooooooo continued to be a force, leading the club with two hits; he now has five multihit games in his first seven games at A+. One of his hits was an eighth-inning double when the game was still tied that might have been a game-changer, especially when he took third on a wild pitch. J-Rod is an impact player, the kind we haven’t seen around these parts in quite some time, and it’s very exciting to watch him grow (even when we cannot, physically, watch him—curse you, Visalia, with your lack of video and incessant, godforsaken cowbells).
Arkansas Travelers (76-52) decline Best in Show Award to Amarillo Sod Poodles (67-61), 5-2
I am pleased to report: the Travs did not lose! Things definitely looked a little shaky early, as the Travs struggled to scrape together offense against Sod Poodles starter Nick Margevicius, who actually started this year with the Padres before being demoted to Triple-A, and demoted again to Double-A once it was realized what terrors awaited a pitcher in El Paso. The Travs did touch up Margy Marg for nine hits, but weren’t able to push any of those runners across the plate until Jarred Kelenic got a hanging breaking ball in the fourth:
Hang a breaking ball to Jarred and that's what happens, but even more impressive is Evan White's single in the AB before, when he went down to get this curveball and punch it into LF. White has been slumping a little and already has two hits today. Great to see him back on track. pic.twitter.com/YjvGhZnqKq— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) August 24, 2019
As the tweet above indicates, Kelenic’s bomb was certainly impressive, but I was really happy with the curveball Evan White went down and got in the previous at-bat. White has been scuffling lately (34% K-rate in August, .216 AVG, .678 OPS), so it was nice to see him hit a couple singles with authority tonight. Speaking of overcoming scuffles, Cal Raleigh also had two singles, which is hopefully a sign of something to come as he looks to put it all together at the Double-A level. It’s likely Raleigh is just worn down after a long season where he’s been at two different levels, following a Spring Training that was spent almost entirely in big-league camp, which itself followed November’s high-performance camp and a weekend summit in Seattle in December.
Starter Ljay Newsome continues to improve as he settles in at Double-A. Newsome is yet to recoup his elite strikeout numbers of High-A, but he struck out five tonight over 5+ innings while giving up two runs, one a solo HR on a wallscraper that barely snuck over the wall at DSP. Jack Anderson stepped in and bailed Newsome out of a tight spot in the fifth, and Aaron Fletcher and Sam Delaplane combined to lock down the last three innings, with Delaplane earning his second save as he takes over for Art Warren, who’s landed on the 7-day IL with a strained groin. Meanwhile, Kelenic made a winner out of Anderson with his second (!) longball of the game:
Jarred Kelenic’s 2nd HR of the game, 20th HR of the season & had at exit velocity at 102mph. pic.twitter.com/mNbiyL1mx4— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 24, 2019
Thank you, and I cannot stress this enough, Mets.
Tacoma Rainiers (58-71) blinded by Las Vegas Aviators (78-52), 3-0
Look, Tacoma is basically the Hufflepuff of the affiliates (file under “assorted”), but this one was a toughie. Rehabber Sean Manaea shut down the Rainiers bats all day; only Eric Filia and Jaycob Brugman, who continues to be red-hot, could manage hits off him (Brugman’s was a double). Andrew Moore held the Aviators to just two runs over four innings, but even that would prove to be too much before a rehabbing Dan Altavilla allowed another run to score. Alt did strike out two in his inning, which is encouraging. Most encouraging: Nabil Crismatt, who posted dynamite numbers at Arkansas and has been rewarded for that by having to pitch with the superball at Triple-A, had one of his best outings as a Rainier, going three shutout innings and striking out five.
Nabil Crismatt has the good CB tonight. pic.twitter.com/94G1Fe2hDW— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 24, 2019
Today is slim pickings for the TV crowd, although listening to Keaton Gillogly call Modesto games is almost as good as being there, especially when he’s calling Juliooooooo at-bats. The Arkansas game is a must watch. To be honest, with a playoff run on the horizon and nearly every top prospect in the system, their games are always must watch. But Logan Gilbert has not been slowed down once this year and there’s no reason to expect it happening today. Braden Bishop and Mitch Haniger are both going to be in Tacoma, so either stop in or tune in—that should be fun.
DSL Mariners at DSL Tigers, 7:00 AM PT
Lakewood at West Virginia, 3:05 PM PT (TBD)
Amarillo at Arkansas (TV), 4:10 PM PT (RHP Logan Gilbert)
AZL Mariners at AZL Dodgers Mota, 6:00 PM PT
Modesto at Visalia, 7:05 PM PT (RHP Penn Murfee)
Eugene at Everett, 7:05 PM PT (LHP Brandon Williamson)
Las Vegas at Tacoma (TV), 7:05 PM PT (RHP Mike Wright)