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Midshipman’s Log, August 6th: Justus Sheffield cooks up a win; Mariners All-Star selections shine; Ian Miller, Good

terrifying if literal: 2024 Mariners defeat 2024 Padres

secret caption message: I’m so glad the Mariners have backed off the blue-washed social images of 2018 and the extra-crispy images of this year’s ST

Today wasn’t a great day on the farm but there were some highlights: both the Mariners’ DSL All-Stars had big days, the NWL All-Star hitters showed out well, and the Baby Mariners were able to do what the Big Mariners were not. Also, Ian Miller (said in “Bonnie McMurray” voice from Letterkenny.)

DSL Mariners (25-31) tell DSL Royals you’ll never be us (25-31), win 6-4

Link to full box score

Jonatan Clase and Noelvi Marte seem to take turns having big days at the plate; today it was Clase’s turn to sing backup, with two walks but no hits, while Marte shone with a walk, a single, and a two-run home run, which he helpfully posted on his Instagram for us (thank u, Noelv):

Pitching-wise, 17-year-old David Morillo, part of the 2018 July 2 class and one of the Mariners’ DSL All-Star Game representatives, was very impressive on the mound today, tossing 3.2 innings and allowing four hits but no runs, walking two and striking out four. For the DSL, that’s an ace-level performance. Morillo is also, and I cannot stress this enough, absolutely enormous for a teenager; he’s officially listed as 6’2”/170, but, uh, no.

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Morillo has a team-leading 40 Ks in 37 innings against just 16 walks, and an ERA of 1.70. He’s a name to know.

AZL Mariners (19-21) do what their MLB avatars cannot, defeat AZL Padres (23-16) 4-3

Link to full box score

I’m always fascinated when a minor-league matchup mirrors the major-league matchup, although usually more at the A+/AA levels; I like to see how the 2022 Mariners stack up against the 2022 Rangers/A’s, or the 2023 Mariners against the 2023 A’s/Angels. In the AZL, the Mariners see a fair amount of the Padres by dint of them sharing a complex, although it is fortuitous for it to match up when their big-league brethren make their yearly pilgrimage to the Northwest, because natural rivals or whatever. Anyway, today the baby Mariners took down the baby Padres, despite being outhit 10-3. The Mariners scratched all their runs across in the first three innings on two RBI singles from 2019 draftee and extreme sauce-haver Antoine Carter-Mistico and international signee Sebastian Ochoa, and also benefited from scoring on a wild pitch, The story here was the pitching: every Mariner pitcher recorded at least two strikeouts for a total of twelve, including two from 2019 draftee Dutch Landis; three in one inning from Elvis Alvarado, who came over in the Roenis Elias trade; two from 2019 draftee and excellent music taste-haver Jared Bayless, who also earned his first save; three from 2017 Brazilian international signee Christian Pedrol, who earned a hold for doing the lion’s share of the work with three innings; and two from Anderson Mercedes, in his first year stateside, who had the highest ERA of the game but also got the win, because pitcher wins.

Everett AquaSox: OFF

The Sox had the day off again for their All-Star Break. In the All-Star Game itself, the pitchers didn’t fare well—George Kirby didn’t pitch and Damon Casetta-Stubbs had a fairly nightmarish inning in which he gave up a grand slam—but the position players showed out well, as Trent Tingelstad and Patrick Frick had two hits each, including an RBI double for Frick, and neither struck out and embarrassed us. Good job, guys.

West Virginia Power (58-57) unplugged by Rome Braves (52-62), 8-6

Link to full box score

Let anyone love you like the Power love playing .500 ball. West Virginia seemingly had this one well in hand, leading 5-2 headed into the 7th inning after a strong start from free-agent signing and former Nebraska Cornhusker Nate Fisher, who struck out six over six innings, walked none, and allowed just two runs on eight hits. Unfortunately reliever Reid Morgan just didn’t have command of his stuff today and got lit up in the seventh, allowing the R-Braves to take a lead they’d never relinquish. On the bright side, Julio Rodriguez had yet another multihit game including an RBI double and currently has a wRC+ of 136 in his first year of stateside ball, Onil Pena hit yet another home run, and Austin Shenton had a multihit day of his own.

Modesto Nuts (52-63) conquered by Inland Empire (44-70), 6-2

Link to full box score

I haaaaaate losing to the Angels farm teams, especially the 66ers, who are objectively bad and even worse now because former Mariner Gareth Morgan and his 160 wRC+ were promoted to Double-A recently. Now, Morgan and his 50% K-rate and 4% BB-rate should get eaten up at Double-A. But who knows, maybe he’ll create a new extreme Joey Gallo-plus way of being a baseball player and prove you can strike out 70% of the time if you do nothing but hit home runs the other 30% of the time. Who knows. I give up.

Anyway, the Nuts annoyingly could not produce a ton of offense against a pitching staff that is, and I cannot stress this enough, made up of pitchers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization. Jarred Kelenic paced the team with two hits including an RBI double, and Jack Larsen had an RBI double of his own, and that...was it. Sparkplug Jake Scheiner was absent, and Joe Rizzo was 0-for-4 tonight in his return to the lineup after having a couple days off. None of the Nuts pitching staff particularly covered themselves in glory, although Collin Kober and Scott Boches did combine, in 2.1 innings, to strike out five.

Shoutout to MiLB Mariners for being able to wrangle something out of Modesto’s very spotty feed so you can see how quickly Kelenic cuts the bases:

Arkansas Travelers (68-44) denude NW Arkansas Naturals (45-66), 6-1

Link to full box score

I can’t remember if I posted this in an MSL or not, but ICYMI, 2019 draftee Utah Jones is currently with the Arkansas Travelers in a fill-in role, and doesn’t seem to be the, how you say, shy and retiring type:

Ga head, Utah. Anyway, Me and Mr. Jones here went from charming quirky lineup addition to legit offensive force tonight, pacing the team with three hits, including a double. Evan White, in his first game back since being bonked in his beautiful face with a baseball that I hope was given a swift death, no trial, had two hits of his own, and Kyle Lewis continued his recent offensive surge with a double. Luis Liberato also had a multihit day, and defensively-plus catcher Joe Odom, who has been scuffling with his bat lately and losing out on reps behind the dish to newly-promoted Cal Raleigh, had a double, adding to a home run he hit the previous night.

Pitching-wise, it was another strong start for Justus Sheffield, who doesn’t seem to be bothered at all about being in Double-A, starting the day after his buddy Justin Dunn. Dunn and Sheff are friends, but there’s also a little bit of healthy competition between the two, as Sheffield told Shannon Drayer in an interview that ran in the postgame show last night. Sheffield beat out Dunn’s line of 5.1 IP, 5K, 0BB, 4 ER (two were HRs, including a solo shot no one—including the batter—thought was going to make it out); Top Sheff allowed no runs over his six innings, also walking no one but striking out six. Sheffield was relieved by Wyatt Mills, Jake Haberer, and Joey Gerber; Haberer allowed a run to score on a walk and a hit, but that was the extent of the damage.

Tacoma Rainiers: OFF

The Rainiers were off as they travel to the improbably named Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, but I wanted to share this message that I got from MiLB coordinator Carson Vitale. This shot shows West Virginia Power players Ryan Ramiz and Bobby Honeyman showing off some lumber courtesy of Ian Miller:

In case you didn’t know: some players—the Juliooooos and Jarreds of the world—are sent top-shelf gear constantly, more than they could ever use. Some players have big deals; some have deals with smaller companies; some have small deals with big companies. Some players, especially the undrafted free agents or later-round choices, have no deals at all. Breaking a bat is a nuisance for some, and a concerning potential cash outlay for others.

Some people look at Ian Miller’s stats and don’t get why we’re such fans of him here at the site. This. This is why. He’s a genuinely good dude who looks out for other people, is grateful for the help he’s been given (from players like Dee Gordon and Daniel Vogelbach, which is its own kind of recommendation), vocal about that gratitude, and takes whatever he has to pay it forward, even if he doesn’t have as much as another guy. He’s a good dude, has been here for the long haul, and we just want to see him get his chance.

Today’s games:

It’s a light slate today with West Virginia and Everett both off and no top prospects among the pitchers, with previously-enjoyable Crismatt and Newsome both struggling at their new levels, so I might suggest tuning into the Modesto game to see how converted reliever Penn Murfee is faring, as well as the usual attractions of Jarred Kelenic, Joe Rizzo, Keegan McGovern, etc. Also potentially fun: Arkansas may be coming out of their deep offensive slumber now that Evan White’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble, hey na hey na, my freakish first baseman’s back.

DSL Giants at DSL Mariners, 7:30 AM PT

West Virginia and Everett: OFF

Tacoma at Oklahoma City, 5:05 PM PT (RHP Nabil Crismatt)

NW Arkansas at Arkansas, 5:10 PM PT (RHP Ljay Newsome)

AZL D-Backs at AZL Mariners, 6:00 PM PT

Inland Empire at Modesto, 7:05 PM PT (RHP Penn Murfee)