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State of the Farm, 5/12/21: Rainiers split a series, AquaSox crushin’, Kelenic comin’

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The State of the Farm content you love, plus Tacoma box scores

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 17 Georgia at LSU
Keegan McGovern hasn’t missed a step since his Georgia Bulldog days
Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Monday we brought back an old favorite in the Midshipmen’s Log and today marks the return of an even older favorite: the State of the Farm. State of the Farm is intended to be more of a big-picture view of the system, and will contain all relevant news about promotions and demotions, injuries, and general performance trends in the system. However, with the new minor-league schedule of six-game series, and Tacoma’s charming refusal to stick to the same schedule as the rest of the affiliates, this is where you’ll find the weekly recap of Tacoma’s series, as well as all that other good stuff. As always, we welcome feedback on this new structure as we attempt to adapt to all the changes in minor-league ball this year.

Triple-A West West: Tacoma Rainiers (3-3) split series with the El Paso Chihuahuas (3-3)

The Rainiers were one extra-innings loss and one bullpen meltdown away from almost-sweeping the Padres’ prospect-rich Triple-A team. Credit belongs to the offense, of course, driven by super-prospect Jarred Kelenic, but also to the pitching staff, which is the most patched-together of patched-together rotations. In their final loss of this series, the Rainiers used no fewer than eight (8) pitchers. That is quite a bullpen day.

Game One: El Paso ekes out a win in extras, 7-6

Jarred Kelenic’s two (!!!) homeruns in his Triple-A debut weren’t enough to save Tacoma from the specter of the inherited runner in extras. Braden Bishop, batting behind Kelenic, chipped in two more hits as well as a walk and, along with Jack Reinheimer, was one of just two starters to go all game without a strikeout.

Game Two: Tacoma takes a laugher in Gilbert’s debut, 8-2

The Rainiers weren’t supposed to be one of the big offensive clubs in the season, but backed by a strong performance from Logan Gilbert, who went five innings allowing just one run on four hits and striking out five in his Triple-A debut, the Rainiers got to Padres top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore, tagging him for three earned runs in just four innings. Gore, who seemed to struggle with commanding his stuff, also walked as many as he struck out (3). Gilbert might not have Gore’s level of stuff, but in this outing, at least, he did a better job commanding and mixing it, and flat out-pitched his more luminous counterpoint. Cal Raleigh, Jarred Kelenic, and Donovan Walton combined for five hits and five RBI between the three of them.

Game Three: Tacoma keeps the offense rolling and win, 9-4

Eight of nine Tacoma batters had at least one hit, and Dillon Thomas got greedy and had three, including a two-run home run, as Tacoma welcomed new pitcher Hector Santiago to the fold.

Game Four: Offense goes on the blink, Rainiers lose, 5-1

Two hits from Kelenic couldn’t spark the sluggish offense, and Reeves Martin, a 24-year-old who only pitched in A ball in 2019 who is doing admirable fill-in duty in Tacoma due to Seattle’s pitching staff blowing up like Alderaan, got tagged with the loss.

Game Five: Tacoma snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, wins in extras, 3-2

A game-tying hit from Donnie Walton in the 8th plus a Jack Reinheimer single in the bottom of the tenth added up to a win for Tacoma, thanks to the combined efforts of Jimmy Yacabonis, Ben Onyshko (another one who was pitching in West Virginia in 2019), Paul Sewald, and recently-reacquired Old Friend Justin Grimm.

Game Six: Tacoma snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, bullpen gives up run, winning run, plus five more runs in the tenth

That’s probably all you need to know about that one.

Prospect performer:

Jarred Kelenic, 10-for-27, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 SB

Name to know:

Dillon Thomas, 4-for-12, 1 HR, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 SB

Standings update:

Triple-A Tacoma:

Team record: 3-3 (.500), 3rd of 5 in Triple-A West-West

7th of 10 in Triple-A West in OPS (.758)

3.66 ERA (4th in Triple-A West), 1.29 WHIP (3rd), 72 Ks (1st)

Double-A Arkansas:

Team record: 3-3 (.500), 6th of 10 in Double-A Central

.794 OPS (4th)

3.60 ERA (3rd), 1.44 WHIP (6th), 65 Ks (7th)

High-A Everett:

Team record: 5-1 (.714), 1st in High-A West

.748 OPS (2nd)

2.95 ERA (1st), 1.05 WHIP (1st), 92 Ks (1st)

Low-A Modesto:

Team record: 4-3 (.571), 4th of 8 in Low-A West

.668 OPS (5th)

2.18 ERA (1st), 1.39 WHIP (6th), 88 Ks (3rd)

Promotions:

It’s obviously early for this section, but we do have a big one to talk about; reportedly Jarred Kelenic will be summoned from Tacoma to the big-league club this Thursday in time for the beginning of the series against Cleveland. Read more about it here. Maybe by next week we’ll have a Logan Gilbert promotion to discuss, as well! Ryan Divish seems to think so.

One other note on promotions: you’ll notice Ben Onyshko and Reeves Martin, both of whom were in Everett in 2019, are currently pitching with the Rainiers. That’s not a true promotion but more of stopgap coverage—similar to when Penn Murfee was moved all over the system in 2019 as a floating arm before landing for good in Modesto.

Leaderboard (non-Jarred Kelenic division):

Batters:

wRC+: Keegan McGovern (AA), 201

AVG: Donovan Walton (AAA), .381

BB/K: Bobby Honeyman (AA), 4.0 (4 BB, 0 K)

Pitchers:

ERA (5+ IP): Logan Gilbert (AAA), 1.50; FIP (5+ IP): Darren McCaughan, 1.27

Strikeouts: Tie, Paul Sewald (AAA) and Taylor Dollard (A), 10 each in 4 IP (edge to Dollard who has the higher K/9 by a smidge: 22.50 vs. 20.77)

It’s early enough in the season that the pitching data is all dominated by Sewald and Dollard’s performances: a combined 20 Ks in 8.1 innings. In addition to striking out over 66% of all batters seen, neither Dollard nor Sewald walked a batter.

Names to know of the week:

Seattle’s system currently has an outrageous wealth of blue-chip prospects who get plenty of well-deserved attention other places; in this section we’ll cover some more under-the-radar prospects you might not have heard of, based on performance in the system.

OF Keegan McGovern, Double-A Arkansas: .333/.467/.667

A lingering back issue shut McGovern down for much of 2019 and caused him to fall off some prospect radars, but he’s back healthy for his first shot at Double-A and so far has been impressive at the level. McGovern is on the older side for prospects (25) and has a limited role as a corner outfielder, so he’ll need to show some booming power. So far he has; he’s already got a home run and a double at Arkansas’ ball-eating park in just 15 plate appearances. Honorable mention here to McGovern’s teammate Jake Scheiner, also 25 and in his first run at Double-A, who walloped two home runs in DSP, which is especially impressive as he’s a right-handed hitter.

RHP Darren McCaughan, Double-A Arkansas: 5.2 IP, 6 Ks, 0 BBs, 1.27 FIP

McCaughan didn’t have the most dominant numbers in the system but he had a longer outing than anyone else in the system other than Gilbert, with even better FIP numbers. It was a little surprising to see McCaughan, 25, re-assigned to Arkansas after playing in Tacoma last season, and it would appear he’s not long for Little Rock, with Tacoma’s rotation more hastily stitched-together than Lisa Simpson’s “Floreda” costume.