Yesterday was the last day of the MiLB regular season. Only the Travs will be moving on to the post-season, as Everett and Modesto were both eliminated. This will be the last Midshipman’s Log of the season, but we’ll have recaps of the Travs games for as long as they keep playing, plus a thread for Wednesday’s game which will be televised on ROOT (and the other games if there’s interest in that). Over the next couple weeks we’ll have “season in review” recaps running in the spots where the MSL used to be; so far we’ve already done the Rookie level teams, who ended their seasons last week.
And of course, we’ll still have minors content over the off-season; some of us will be in attendance at the Arizona Fall League and we’ll bring you as much coverage as we can of that, and we’ll continue to have interviews and analysis over the off-season. If there’s anything specific you’d like to see, drop a note in the comments and we’ll see if we can make it work. Also, thank you to everyone who has read these articles over the course of the MiLB season. To be perfectly honest, they’re a lot of work to produce, especially when all the teams are going, but your comments and the pageviews we got on them helped keep us committed to late nights of poring over grainy minor-league footage. Thank you.
Everett AquaSox (37-39) go out with a bang, sweep Vancouver Canadians (30-46), 3-1
Fittingly, it was a Northwest native talent showcase in Everett for their final game of the season. Vancouver, WA’s tallest/handsomest son, Damon Casetta-Stubbs, had one of his best starts of the season, going six innings and giving up just one run one four hits while walking none and striking out four. Later, Federal Way native and Tacoma CC alum Garrett Westberg would earn the win, with a scoreless inning with two strikeouts of his own. Fellow 2019 draftees Kipp Rollings and Jarod Bayless pitched as well, and Bayless earned his first NWL save by striking out the side in the ninth. The Northwest boys of summer carried it through on the offensive side as well, with Marysville-Pilchuk HS grad Trent Tingelstad coming up with the key tie-breaking two-run double in the eighth inning; especially fitting because the giveaway at the game was a backpack with Tingelstad’s silhouette emblazoned on it. It hasn’t been a storybook season for the AquaSox by any extent, but this was certainly a Northwest fairytale ending. (Utah Jones also homered to get the Sox on the board in the fourth. I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that. Utah is...Northwest-adjacent?)
West Virginia Power (69-70) finish strong, win against Greensboro Grasshoppers (79-59), 2-0
The Power have been dinged all season by promotions and injuries but finished strong in their first year as a Mariners affiliate. Juan Then, once again a Mariner, had an excellent start, going five strong no-hit inning. The command can still be a bit questionable—Then walked two and only struck out three—but there’s plenty to dream on with the young arm, who will likely head off to the Mariners’ High Performance Camp this winter to further refine his game. Free-agent signee Brendan McGuigan followed with two shutout innings of his own, meaning the Power carried a no-hitter into the 8th inning before it was rudely broken up with a triple off another UDFA, Robert Winslow, who was able to get the next two batters to pop up harmlessly to preserve the shutout, if not the no-no. Elias Espino finished off the game and the shutout, earning the save.
With such an excellent pitching performance, the Power’s offensively-limited bats weren’t forced to do too much, which was helpful. Bobby Honeyman continued to be Bobby Two Bags, hitting his 20th double of the season and putting the Power out to an early 1-0 lead in the first. Dean Nevarez would drive Honeyman in on an RBI single and that...was all the Power would get on the day, and luckily all they would need.
One final plug: the broadcast team down in WV, David Kahn and Kyle Youmans, did a podcast this season called “Expanding the Grid” that we’ve touched on here a couple of times. The production values are excellent, the interviews are insightful, and the hosts are delightful. Add it to your podcast library to enjoy during the dark, baseball-less months.
Modesto Nuts (65-75) run out of magic against Visalia Rawhide (83-53), 4-3
If only Julio had been promoted a little earlier; if only the Nuts hadn’t let some of those close games slip away; if only Modesto had won two nights ago when San Jose lost; if only, if only, if only. Modesto hung around as long as they could but needed to both win today and have San Jose lose, and sadly, neither of those happened. Starter Devin Sweet wobbled a little, giving up 7 hits and not showcasing his trademark pinpoint command, and STILL struck out 7 batters in 5.2 innings before having to be lifted after he was struck by a comebacker on the elbow. We’re hoping Sweet is okay and will ask around for an update. Still, Sweet was one of the most pleasant surprises in the system this year—the changeup is elite—and it will be exciting to see what changes he makes in the off-season, as he’d be an excellent candidate for the renowned Gas Camp.
Like Modesto’s season, the bats came so close to making this one something special; Jose Caballero led the way with three hits, and Julioooo, as he so often has this season, came up with a huge hit:
Julio Rodriguez mashes a 2-run double. pic.twitter.com/WpRVAd6HXX— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 2, 2019
Julio also worked a very mature at-bat earlier in the game where he took a walk. Keaton Gillogly spoke to Julio about his plate approach and it’s quite something to listen to:
Julio had a chance to have another impact hit in the ninth when he came up with Caballero on and the Nuts down by one run, but it was taken away from him when the pitcher hit him. I’m ready to see Julio safely out of A-ball and away from scads of pitchers who can’t command their stuff, I think. Sadly, Joe Rizzo—who has been Mr. Reliable this year—wasn’t able to come up with the clutch hit to send Modesto out on a winning note, but what the team did down the stretch needs to be appreciated. Modesto had 17 games left when Julio was promoted; they won 10 of them. When prospect writers and scouts talk about “impact talent,” think back to what Julio did in Modesto—that’s impact talent. It’s the tide that lifts all the boats. It’s rare, and it’s special, and Julio has it, and he’s part of the Mariners organization. That alone is enough to warm my heart over the off-season.
Arkansas Travelers (81-57) bitten by Amarillo Sod Poodles (72-66), 6-5
The Travs apparently did not get the organizational-wide memo about finishing strong but since they’re the one affiliate to go to the playoffs, we’ll cut them a break. Ljay Newsome did not have a great time at hitter-friendly Hodgetown Park, although he did keep the ball in the park, something the other Travs pitchers have struggled with. Ljay did have a very uncharacteristic two walks and also gave up seven hits in four innings of work along with four runs; on the bright side, he did strike out six. Matt Tenuta and Joey Gerber vamped for a pair of scoreless innings, giving the Travs bats time to get back in this one, but spot reliever Bernie Martinez, a 2019 UDFA, couldn’t hold a potent Sod Poodles lineup off the board for two full innings. The Travs, absent some of their heavy-hitters in Evan White and Donnie Walton, didn’t have quite enough offensive firepower to keep up, although there were some highlights: Dom Thompson-Williams, who has been in a slump over the past month or so, had a double; Kyle Lewis had a multi-hit day; Jordan Cowan extended his on-base streak to 33 games (!); and Cal Raleigh, whose bat has been waking up some lately, had a two-hit day including this home run, giving him long balls in back-to-back games:
Cal Raleigh’s 29th HR. pic.twitter.com/P8qEheHhHb— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 2, 2019
Oh, yeah, and Jarred Kelenic added another homer after his two-homer day yesterday, just in case you forgot he is Very Good:
Jarred Kelenic mashes his 23rd HR of the season. pic.twitter.com/Sx5EZbrtnG— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 2, 2019
The Texas League playoffs start Wednesday at 5 and will be televised on ROOT. We’ll have a game thread up on the day, and Jerry Dipoto/Brad Adam will be on the call and will hopefully not spend the entire time admiring each others’ hair.
Tacoma Rainiers (61-78) are grounded by the Las Vegas Aviators (83-57), lose 3-2
The Rainiers make me sad, so sad I cannot even bear to come up with a snappier headline and am just re-using Nick’s. Triple-A baseball was a ridiculous place this year, where a slash line that would make you a first-ballot HOFer wasn’t even enough to be considered for PCL Team of the Week, and all pitcher ERAs have to be handicapped severely, then smothered, covered, chopped up into little pieces and never heard from again. There was not a lot to like about this game, so celebrate Shed Long’s health and two-hit day and impending callup to the big-league squad; Eric Filia’s two-hit day; and Jaycob Brugman’s two-hit day including yet another home run. I’d like to see Filia and Brugman both get a shot for a cup of coffee this September down the stretch (and bonus, it would allow Tim Lopes and Dylan Moore to play in the infield, where they’re more comfortable and able to showcase versatility for either the Mariners or another club who might be interested in their services.
None. :( The MiLB season is over! I know I said this already, but now we’re at the part where I list off the games for the day and there...are none. Is this legal? Is this allowed? It feels very wrong. Minor-league games are a constant presence in my life from April to September, and it feels very weird and a little sad to disable the First Pitch app and go back to focusing on the big club full-time. What...to do...with all this free time? Again, thank you for reading so far, and stay tuned for the end of the Travs season, Fall League coverage, year in review pieces, and 2020 draft previews. Until next April!