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State of the Farm, 5/19/21: Taylor Trammell is impeccable, Julio is Julio, Modesto’s Top Three rake

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Modesto and Everett are competing to see who can be the best affiliate and it’s very exciting

Los Angeles Angels v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Hello! We’re still getting used to this weird new minors schedule, which doles out an off-day to every single team in the system except Tacoma on Mondays, and also requires quite a bit of summation in the now-once-weekly Midshipmen’s Log report. If you’re interested in tracking a particular affiliate’s performance over a week or looking for some standout performances, check that out. For a more broad view of the farm, as well as news, promotions, injuries, etc., well, you’ll find that here (along with the Triple-A weekly report, because what fun is a synchronized schedule).

Promotions:

No official promotions to get to as the season is still quite young. Noelvi Marte and Cade Marlowe, who have both been raking in Low-A West, were out of Modesto’s lineup on Sunday, but that appears to have been just an off-day for these top-of-the-lineup stalwarts, as both returned to action in the series against Inland Empire.

This one probably doesn’t count as a promotion so much as a short ramping-up before reaching the level he was meant to be at, but last week Modesto was joined by Cuban outfield prospect Victor Labrada. Labrada agreed to terms with the Mariners back in November of 2019, when he was just 19, but after COVID hit, his official signing date got pushed back, as did his stateside debut. As a defector, Labrada couldn’t return to his home country during COVID, and so spent his quarantine hanging out at the Mariners’ complex in the DR and training. That extra incubation time must have paid off, because Labrada’s professional career is off to a torrid start. In his first 12 stateside ABs he recorded five hits, swiped four bases, and used his plus speed to make some stunning catches in the outfield. As he’s a little old for the level now (21) with a solid background of professional play in Cuba, he’ll be a quick mover, so this won’t be the last time we talk about him in this space.

Injury Updates:

A good injury update: Jonatan Clase, who missed all of minor-league spring training with a broken hamate bone, returned to game action this week in the AZL. Their season hasn’t started officially, but they are playing scrimmage games against other nearby Cactus League teams.

Triple-A West West: Tacoma Rainiers Salt Lake Bees (LAA)

Taylor Trammell has stepped into Jarred Kelenic’s role of Torturing Triple-A Pitchers quite well

Game One: Rainiers endanger Bees, win 15-5

In Taylor Trammell’s first Triple-A game, he was 4-for-5 with 4 RBI, including a three-run home run. He also stole a base, just because he could. Trammell was the big bopper on the day but everyone in the lineup had a hit (Jack Mayfield had three!); Dillon Thomas had a solo shot of his own and a two-RBI double; Cal Raleigh also had a two-run double; and Luis Liberato tripled as the Rainiers obliterated the hapless trio of Dillon Peters (5.1 IP, 5 ER), Ben Rowen (1 IP, 7 ER on 7 H), and Jake Reed (.2 IP, 3 ER). Meanwhile, the Rainiers ran out a bullpen start headed by Vinny Nittoli, who gave up three runs in three innings, followed by Ben Onyshko, doing fill-in duty for the battered Rainiers pitching staff and giving up two runs in 1.1 innings, and then the rest of the Rainiers bullpen throttled down the Bees after that. Yohan Ramírez pitched a 1-2-3 inning and didn’t walk anyone, which is good news.

Game Two: Rainiers can’t overcome early deficit, lose 4-6

Darren McCaughan had a rough first inning, giving up two runs right off the bat to Jo Adell on a mammoth homer, and then got tagged again by a Scott Schebler two-run shot in the fourth, but really pitched better than his line indicates (he got charged a run when Aaron Fletcher threw a wild pitch and allowed an inherited runner to score). The Rainiers tried to battle back, led by Dillon Thomas, who had a two-hit, two-RBI day, and Jack Reinheimer drove in two more from the top of the lineup, but it just didn’t all come together and the Rainiers couldn’t cash in on another two-hit day from Trammell.

Game Three: Rainiers rally comes up just short, lose 7-8

Tacoma staked Hector Santiago to a four-run lead in the first inning and Santiago threaded the needle in Salt Lake’s high-offense environment as best as he was able, giving up four runs over four innings, but former Angel Brooks Pounders, pitching in what should have been familiar environs, couldn’t hang, recording no outs and giving up two runs. The bullpen leaked another two runs and while Tacoma mounted a noble comeback effort, it just wasn’t enough, despite yet another home run from Taylor Trammell, a triple (!) from Cal Raleigh, and a three-hit day for Eric Filia.

Game Four: Rainiers experience deja vu all over again, lose 7-8

Yet another Taylor Trammell home run and a two-hit day for TT, as well as a three-hit, three-RBI day for catcher Jose Godoy, wasn’t enough to overcome some deficits in the Rainiers “starting” pitching staff. Bryan Pall, a reliever who last pitched in A ball in 2019, gave up four runs in two innings and Aaron Fletcher gave up three more behind him to put the Rainiers in an early 7-0 hole. Credit the offense for battling back and the rest of the pitching staff for keeping Salt Lake in check over the remaining six innings; a highlight was Yohan Ramírez pitching another scoreless, hitless inning with one walk but two strikeouts.

Game Five: Rainiers trap Bees in early deficit, win 7-3

The Rainiers made a habit of getting after it in early innings in this series, and that was the case again in this game; Tacoma scored three runs off Salt Lake starter Jacob Faria in the first on yet ANOTHER another Taylor Trammell home run, this time with two aboard. Ben Onyshko tossed a clean first but struggled with his command in the second, walking one batter, hitting two, and allowing an RBI double to make the game 3-1. Ryan Dull, who is apparently with Seattle now?, replaced him and allowed two runs on a game-tying Kean Wong RBI double. From there, though, the Rainiers bullpen trio of Jimmy Yacabonis, Wyatt Mills, and Vinny Nittoli buckled down and held the Bees scoreless while the offense went to work, scoring four more unanswered runs. Taylor Trammell was responsible for two of those, with a sac fly and a double, as part of his three-hit, five-RBI day. Also Seattle apparently signed 34-year-old Eric Campbell to take Jack Mayfield’s place for now, as he had an RBI single as well. Campbell’s professional playing time came in 2014-16 with the New York Mets, because there’s nothing this organization loves more than a former Met. Gotta catch ‘em all!

Game Six: Tacoma gets buzzed (in the bad way), Rainiers lose 3-9

Another bullpen game, this time with bad results. Surprisingly the A-ball callups didn’t perform well against Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh and Co., and Yohan Ramírez did not walk anyone, yay, but also surrendered three runs in 1.2 IP including a home run. He struck out three, though! Dillon Thomas, Taylor Trammell, and Cal Raleigh all had doubles off Packy Naughton (Raleigh had two!), but it was all for Naughton as the Rainiers failed to score after the fifth inning.

Prospect performer:

Name to know: OF Dillon Thomas

Dillon Thomas signed with the Mariners prior to spring training this year and played consistently in the second half of games this spring. He’s striking out too much (8 times in 29 ABs) but also has two doubles and two HR for an impressive .621 slugging mark, and he has 10 total hits in those 29 AB for a team*-leading .345 average. (*part of team not named Taylor Trammell)

Standings update:

It was a good week for the affiliates, who as of Monday* had the highest winning percentage in minor-league baseball, at .674. They also had the highest run differential in MiLB (+97) and Everett was the best team in all of minor-league baseball with their winning percentage of .833; their +57 run differential the best for any individual team. They’re SO GOOD, you guys.

(*These numbers are now slightly dinged by a Tuesday where only Modesto won, although Modesto crushed the Angels affiliated Inland Empire 66ers 14-4, so at least the run differential for the system should still be intact.)

Triple-A Tacoma:

Team record: 7-7 (.417), 5th of 5 in Triple-A West-West

6th of 10 in Triple-A West in OPS (.800)

5.20 ERA (6th in Triple-A West), 1.39 WHIP (2nd), 142 Ks (1st)

Double-A Arkansas:

Team record: 7-5 (.583), 2nd of 5 in Double-A Central-North

.764 OPS (2nd of 10 in Double-A Central)

4.07 ERA (5th), 1.35 WHIP (6th), 115 Ks (9th)

High-A Everett:

Team record: 10-3 (.769), 1st of 6 in High-A West

.870 OPS (1st)

2.82 ERA (1st), 1.08 WHIP (1st), 170 Ks (1st)

+54 Run Differential

Low-A Modesto:

Team record: 10-3 (.769), 1st of 4 in Low-A West-North (also 1st in all of Low-A West)

.798 OPS (1st)

2.79 ERA (T-1st), 1.41 WHIP (4th), 172 Ks (T-1st)

Leaderboard (non-Taylor Trammell division):

Batters:

wRC+: TIE, Cade Marlowe (A) and Jack Larsen (A+), 206

AVG: Noelvi Marte (A), .404

BB/K: Bobby Honeyman (AA), 2.33

Pitchers:

ERA: Josias De Los Santos (A), 1.29 in 14 IP; FIP: Ian McKinney (AA), 2.79 in 10 IP

Strikeouts: Matt Brash, 21 in 10.2 IP

K-BB%: Ian McKinney, 31%

Prospect performers:

Julio Rodríguez: .327/.413/.727, 197 wRC+, 5 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR

Noelvi Marte: .404/.483/.635, 202 wRC+, 3 2B, 3 HR

Names to know of the week:

Batters:

We’ll skip over Cade Marlowe this week (slashing .356/.466/.733 with 5 2B and in Modesto) because you should know him from last week. He’s absolutely wearing out the former Cal League and the top of Modesto’s lineup (Marte-Marlowe-Labrada) is a terrifying trio. Modesto has been crushing their opposition with early leads thanks to those three.

INF Jake Scheiner (AA): .340/.392/.596, 2 2B 3 HR

Jake Scheiner was the return in the Jay Bruce trade, which happened in 2019? Wow. Scheiner is 25 and was a touch old for Modesto last year, as he’s a touch old for Double-A this year, but he’s been torching the ball in Dickey-Stephens Park, which, as a righty, is a pretty impressive feat. Arkansas wasn’t supposed to be a big-hitting team but the duo of Scheiner and Keegan McGovern has been slugging them into wins.

Jack Larsen (A+): .395/.469/.674 6 2B, 2 HR

Larsen is old for the level (26) and is repeating, but he needed to improve on a 30% K rate from 2019 at Modesto. So far so good, as he’s cut his strikeouts in half (14.3%), and is showing some big-time power. Move him on up!

Pitchers:

Matt Brash (A+): 2.53 ERA, 21 Ks in 10.2 IP (7 BB)

Brash was the return from the Padres in the Taylor Williams trade. He’s a hard thrower and is currently getting by on overwhelming batters with his stuff, but he’ll need to refine his command to make that stuff work in a big-league bullpen. He’s just 23, so he’s got some time, but it’s definitely something to monitor.

Josias De Los Santos: 1.29 ERA, 16 Ks in 14 IP (8 BB)

Signed out of the DR in April of 2018, the Mariners have been aggressive with De Los Santos, sending him to full-season ball in 2019 when he was just 18, where he logged over 100 innings. He’s now back at the level as a 21-year-old, although in a more difficult offensive environment. Like many of the other young arms in the Mariners’ system this year, he’ll need to improve his command before he can move forward, but the strikeout stuff—something he had flashed in rookie ball—is exciting.