Hello! Long time no see. Or for some of you, first time see! The last time we published one of these bad boys, it was on September 3, 2019, and we were wrapping up an exciting season in the minors, all of us sweet summer children with no clue of the horrors awaiting us in 2020. Ah, sweet youth.
For those of you who have been reading along since the first installment of the Midshipmen’s Log (neé the Midshipman’s Log, until it was pointed out that the Mariners would eventually have more than one prospect), welcome back! And for those of you who are new here, welcome! We started the MSL in 2019 as a series of tri-weekly installments in order to help you, person who wants to learn about the exciting lower levels of the organization but is overwhelmed by the incredible amount of levels that is, navigate through these fun yet very dense seas. If you don’t know, a Midshipman is basically a baby sailor, so not only are you getting to learn about the minors, but also all the fun nautical-themed terminology we can throw at you. Double bonus! As a reminder, you can find any of the MSL articles under the group heading “Midshipmen’s Log,” and under the tab “Seattle Mariners Minors” as well.
This year the minors are operating on a slightly different schedule engineered to cut down travel time even as leagues expand (due to contraction, that is a sentence that makes a very certain kind of minor-league sense). So while previously the MSL published three times a week, this year we might have to shift that some to make sense with minor-league schedules. Every other league has Monday off-days, but the Rainiers have Wednesday as an off-day, so what we’ll probably do is publish a roundup of every level from A to Double-A on Mondays, and do the “State of the Farm” articles on Wednesdays, which will cover the Triple-A club, Got feedback about that schedule? Want shorter articles and more or less frequent updates? Leave it in the comments, please!
Low-A West: Modesto Nuts (4-2) take series from Stockton Ports (2-4)
The Nuts have the lowest ERA in the former California League, with a stingy 2.17 ERA, and their winning percentage is second only to the Robert Hassell III-led Padres affiliate the Lake Elsinore Storm.
Game One: The Nuts opened their season by shutting out Oakland’s affiliate, 3-0, led by a late-innings homer from Seattle native and UDFA signing Matt Scheffler. The Nuts pitching was lights-out, with a combined six strong innings from international signings Josias De Los Santos and Luis Curvelo, who combined for six innings, no runs, and seven strikeouts.
Game Two: Modesto’s strong pitching failed them here despite 2020 draftee Connor Phillips racking up 6 Ks in just 3.1 innings. Phillips, making his professional pitching debut, also walked three and allowed three earned runs (one unearned) on three hits.
Oh this slider from Connor Phillips is guh-ross. He has six (!) Ks in three (!!!) innings. pic.twitter.com/nnw7OnEoRi— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) May 6, 2021
Max Roberts, making his first pitching appearance since 2018, struck out three in two innings and allowed no runs. The offense had a tough night, however, with six of nine batters in the lineup striking out twice, and the entire lineup striking out fifteen times total. The Nuts would go on to lose, 8-3. Ouch.
Game Three: The Nuts bounced back to win a nailbiter, 2-1, over Modesto. LHP Adam Macko made his season debut and was very impressive, striking out seven over four innings and looking nasty while doing it.
Noelvi Marte provided all the offense on the night with a two-out, two-run single.
Noelvi Marte starts off Modesto's day with another base hit. Not consistently elevating the ball yet but he is hitting it hard and finding holes. It's such a smooth swing. pic.twitter.com/SfqlCA9sbM— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) May 9, 2021
Game Four: In a mirror image of Game Three, the Nuts again squeaked past the Ports, 2-1, thanks to a strong performance from a young pitcher: this time it was Taylor Dollard, 2020 fifth-round draft choice, who struck out an eye-popping 10 batters in just four innings while walking no one and giving up just two hits.
Taylor Dollard in his pro debut hits his 10th strikeout of the game to strand runners at second and third. He's through four scoreless innings in his debut and is fired up about it. pic.twitter.com/5IHI8mCi96— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) May 8, 2021
Dollard can’t be long for Low-A. The top of the order got it done offensively in this game, with 1-3 batters Noelvi Marte, Cade Marlowe, and Robert Perez Jr. combining for five hits and two RBI.
Game Five: I hope you aren’t sick of young Mariners pitching prospects striking out the world, because Saturday night was Sam Carlson’s time to shine. In his first time pitching since his draft year in 2017, Carlson was excellent, striking out seven over four innings while allowing one run on two hits and walking one. What really stood out for Carlson was the work he’s put in on his secondaries; even though most of his punchouts came on the heater, he was using the curve and slider to get ahead all night.
Carlson was helped out with a balanced offensive attack from the Nuts, where 7/9 batters had hits en route to a 5-2 win; Noelvi Marte had two, as did shortstop Cesar Izturis Jr., in his second try at the Low-A level. Cade Marlowe, making a strong bid for an early promotion to Double-A, had a double, his third in five games.
Game Six: Oooof. This was a rough one that probably should have been winnable for the Nuts except for some sloppy defensive play. Modesto got another strong start from a young pitcher in Damon Casetta-Stubbs.
Damon Casetta-Stubbs with a big strikeout to get out of a bases-loaded jam. He's got 6 Ks through 3 IP. pic.twitter.com/PT2o55fVbN— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) May 9, 2021
The Vancouver native struck out seven in 3.1 innings, but the bullpen couldn’t hold on to a four-run lead and the defense committed three errors. Dariel Gomez had two of those errors but also hit a double and a home run, and Noelvi Marte’s best friend and the return in the Taijuan Walker trade, Alberto Rodríguez, also homered.
Noelvi Marte, 7-for-25, 1 2B, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 SB
Name to know:
Cade Marlowe, 7-for-19, 3 2B, 7 BB, 5 K, 2 SB
High-A West: Everett AquaSox (4-2) take series from Hillsboro Hops (2-4)
Like Everett, Hillsboro has a prospect-packed roster, with Top-30 prospects Corbin Carroll and Blaze Alexander on the position player side, plus Bryce Jarvis, Luis Frías, Drey Jameson, Ryne Nelson, Matt Tabor, and Conor Grammes on the pitching side. That’s almost a mirror image of the highly-ranked position player/pitching split in Seattle’s system assigned to High-A, which means we should be seeing some pretty intense battles here in the Northwest this season. Excite!
Game One: A solid start from Matt Brash, the return from the Padres in the Taylor Williams trade, went for naught as the Frogs bats were silent, losing 4-1.
Game Two: Levi Stoudt made his season debut, striking out seven over four innings, and the Frogs scraped together just enough offense to eke out a 3-2 win, highlighted by Zach DeLoach’s 2-for-3 day (with two BB), including his first pro HR, accounting for Everett’s offensive push.
Game Three: Watch out, because the Frogs are getting hot! Spurred on by 2020 first-rounder Emerson Hancock’s professional debut (2 IP, 0 H, 3 K), Everett’s bats woke up in a big way in a 12-1 rout, with every batter except one (2020 draftee Tyler Keenan) recording at least one hit. Austin Shenton led the way with two doubles and three RBI, and Julio Rodríguez had his first multi-hit game of the year. Joseph Rosa and 2020 draftee Kaden Polcovich each had three hits and two doubles apiece.
Game Four: It wasn’t as smooth a start to the season for George Kirby in his 2021 debut; Kirby got tagged with the loss after giving up three runs in just 3.2 innings, although he maintained his walks-free streak. The Hops ran up seven total runs on the Frogs’ pitching staff, while Everett batters were only able to muster up two runs on eight hits, including three from High-A repeater Jack Larsen.
Game Five: The pitching with this AquaSox team just won’t stop, as Brandon Williamson toed the mound for his season debut and struck out nine in just four innings of work, walking no one and allowing just two hits. The Sox pitching staff of Williamson, David Ellingson, Brendan McGuigan, and Jarod Bayless combined for 18 strikeouts, just one walk, two hits, and no runs. Carter Bins, in addition to catching this staff, led the way offensively with two hits and an RBI as the Frogs shut out the Hops 3-0.
Brandon Williamson up to 6 strikeouts. pic.twitter.com/RShqJdCpGN— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 9, 2021
Game Six: In a thrilling extra-innings win, the Sox overcame some sloppy defensive play to secure a series win, 8-7. Juan Then started the game, going just two innings before being relieved by 2019 draftee Isaiah Campbell, making his professional debut. Campbell pitched ably over four innings, allowing just one unearned run on two hits while walking two and striking out four. While clinging to a 3-2 lead, the Sox bullpen fell apart in the seventh, allowing three runs to score, but the Frogs battled back in the ninth to score three more runs for what should have been a victory—except the bullpen allowed the tying run to score in the bottom of the ninth. The Sox would battle back one more time and score two runs in extras, led by Julio Rodríguez, who singled to score the courtesy runner and then ran hard on a shallow sac fly off the bat of Tyler Keenan to score what would be the winning run, although not without nicking himself up in the process.
Julio also had a triple in this game, because he is intent on burning that “45” on his speed into the ground.
Kaden Polcovich, 6-for-19, 1 HR, 2 2B, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 SB
Julio Rodríguez, 7-for-25, 1 3B, 2 2B, 3 BB, 9 K, 3 SB
Names to know:
C Carter Bins, 5-for-16, 2 2B, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
CF Jack Larsen, 5-for-15, 1 2B, 2 BB, 3 K
Double-A Central: Arkansas Travelers (2-3) lose abbreviated series to NW Arkansas Naturals (3-2)
The Travs are probably Seattle’s least-exciting team from a prospect standpoint, but there’s still intrigue here as manager Collin Cowgill—just a year removed from his own playing career—attempts to shepherd this band of misfits.
Game One: The Travs lost their home opener, 7-4, after a patched-together pitching staff of minor-league signee Alejandro Requena and 2019 draftee (who had all of two innings at High-A in 2019 prior to the shutdown) Reid Morgan combined to surrender five runs in five innings. A bright spot: Ryne Inman, who spent most of 2019 in Low-A, was solid over 1.2 innings, striking out three. The Travs also got helped out offensively with three solo shots off the bats of C Colin O’Keefe, OF Keegan McGovern (making his Double-A debut), and INF Jake Scheiner.
Game Two: Another tough one as the Travs got shut out, 3-0. Darren McCaughan gave up two runs in 5.2 innings while striking out six, but the Travs offense was again quiet. McGovern kicked in another double, as did 1B(?) Joe Rizzo, who had his first two Double-A hits in this matchup.
Game Three: The Travs earned their first win of the season behind a solid start from Ian McKinney, who struck out nine batters in five innings. The longball continues to be a problem for McKinney, who gave up two runs, one on the homer, but the bullpen (Nick Duron, Daren Gillies, and Jack Anderson) was able to hold the Naturals scoreless over the remainder of the game. Meanwhile, the offense chipped in four runs powered entirely by the bottom of the order; only the five through nine hitters recorded any hits in the day’s contest.
Nine punchouts in five innings... that’ll do, Ian McKinney. pic.twitter.com/FNHTjveVt4— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) May 7, 2021
Game Four: The rain helped the Travs earn a shortened win, 4-0, shutting out the Naturals in five innings. Penn Murfee was a rain warrior, spinning his sidearm magic and striking out six Naturals in just 3.2 innings in a blistering downpour.
Meanwhile, everyone in the lineup except McGovern had a hit, and new acquisition Stephen Wrenn put a ball in a place in the park righties don’t usually reach.
Stephen Wrenn blasts a solo HR! Tough to hit a ball out to that part of DSP but he mashed it. pic.twitter.com/qkBHnVI60r— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 8, 2021
Game Five: Devin Sweet had one of the odder lines you’ll see in his Double-A debut, walking six but striking out seven and allowing no runs in just 3.2 innings, but a late bullpen collapse spoiled another fine outing by Inman in relief, who struck out 3 in 1.1 innings, and the Double-A debut of Collin Kober, who earned three strikeouts in his two innings. The Travs did all their scoring in the seventh inning on a Jordan Cowan double, but the bullpen allowed three tying runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth to seal a Naturals victory. Joe Rizzo checked in with another double, as did a finally-healthy Dom Thompson-Williams.
Game Six: Postponed due to rain.
Names to know:
OF Keegan McGovern, 4-for-12, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 BB, 6 K
3B Jake Scheiner, 5-for-17, 2 HR, 1 BB, 7 K
Upcoming matchups, May 11- 16:
AA: Arkansas at Springfield (Cardinals): 9 AM PT Tuesday, 5:10 PM PT Weds-Fri, 4:10 PT Sat, 12:10 PT Sun
High-A: Everett vs. Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels): 7:05 PT Tues-Sat, 4:05 PT Sun
Low-A: Nuts at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers): 6:30 PT Tues-Sat, 2 PT Sun
***If you’re interested in attending the AquaSox games, Opening Weekend is sold out, but you might still be able to score tickets to the Wednesday or Thursday games. Call the AquaSox box office for more details.