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State of the Farm, 6/9/21: Rainiers get stung by Bees, Modesto’s pitching staff falters, Cal Raleigh is king

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Also: promote Jack Larsen already

Arizona Diamondbacks v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After getting off to a hot start, Modesto is starting to fade some, but Everett is still riding high in the former Northwest League. Unfortunately, Tacoma and Arkansas are more starting to play towards expectations, meaning there isn’t a ton of encouraging news on the affiliate front, even as several individual players continue to have standout performances.

Transactions:

  • After Team Canada lost out to the Dominican Republic in a pre-Olympics qualifier, the Mariners prospects involved in those games re-join their teams: From Team Dominicana, Luís Liberato heads back to Tacoma and Julio Rodríguez to Everett; Ben Onyshko also goes back to Everett. No corresponding move has been announced yet for Onyshko’s Team Canada teammate Brendan McGuigan, but he’ll likely return to Everett as well.
  • Tacoma pitcher Brooks Pounders has been activated from the IL; unfortunately, 1B Sam Travis goes on the IL in his place.
  • The Mariners have moved OF Dom Thompson-Williams from Arkansas to the Development List (aka, Extended Spring Training.) DTW was slashing just .155/.259/.282 after being sidelined from baseball activities all of last year.
  • Everett placed RHP Isaiah Campbell on the 7-day IL.
  • C Jake Anchía has been moved back to Everett; the 2018 draftee had been playing under an aggressive assignment to Arkansas.
  • RHP Bernie Martinez has returned to Everett from Tacoma; Robert Winslow has been returned to Modesto.
  • Juan Querecuto, now officially listed as a third baseman although his natural position is shortstop, has been placed on the 7-day IL for Modesto.

Tacoma Rainiers (15-14) lose shortened series to Salt Lake Bees (12-17)

The Bees just seem to have the Rainiers’ number despite boasting a pitching staff no better than Tacoma’s. The penultimate game of this series was rained out on Sunday and will need to be made up at a later date.

Game one: Tacoma loses big, 5-10

Perhaps forgetting they were playing at home in Tacoma and not in Reno’s Happy Fun Park, Tacoma’s six pitchers gave up ten runs total; the pitching ranged from seasoned veteran Ryan Dull (who gave up two runs) to MLB-adjacent arm Vinny Nittoli (who gave up three runs) to fresh-faced emergency fill-in Max Roberts (who also gave up two runs). A Cal Raleigh home run, extending his hitting streak, and doubles from a freshly-returned Shed Long and José Marmolejos weren’t enough to keep Tacoma in it.

Game two: Tacoma is again stung by the Bees, 2-8

Darren McCaughan struggled, giving up five runs in five innings, while Bees starter Jacob Faria was able to hold the Rainiers offense to two runs over the same, all on a two-run homer from Luis Torrens in the first. Raleigh extended his hitting streak with his 12th double on the season and Marmolejos also had a double.

Game three: Early onslaught from Tacoma holds up for first win, 5-4

The Rainiers did all their scoring in the first two innings off Bees starter Jake Buchanan, led by a Shed Long homer and a Dillon Thomas double, both of whom are now up with the big club. Emergency call-up Bernie Martinez gave up three runs in 2.2 innings but the Tacoma bullpen (Justin Grimm, Wyatt Mills, Williams Jerez, and Jimmy Yacabonis) banded together to make those runs stand up, with Mills striking out four in two innings and Grimm three in just 1.1 innings and earning the win.

Game four: postponed

Game five: Bees blow the doors off the Rainiers, 9-2

A rough night for recent indy-ball signing Logan Verrett, who’s been solid but tonight gave up four runs on ten hits over just four innings, including a triple to the slow-footed Matt Thaiss. Cal Raleigh continued his hit streak on a suspiciously-called infield hit.

Game six: Tacoma pulls out a win in the series finale, 7-3

Recent signing 36-year-old David Huff did journeyman’s work tonight, hanging tough for six innings and surrendering just one run while striking out five. Kendall Graveman gave up a run in a rehab inning but also collected two strikeouts, and Yohan Ramírez capped off the game with a brilliant inning of no-hit, no-walk, two-strikeout relief. The pitching staff got run support in the form of Cal Raleigh extending his hitting streak with a double, and a rehabbing Dylan Moore had two doubles of his own. Jack Reinheimer and José Marmolejos pitched in run support via the long ball, as well.

Standings update:

Woof. It was expected for Arkansas and Tacoma to struggle, but it’s been a rough go lately for Modesto, who tumbled out of first place all the way to third in their division after their powerful pitching staff has faltered lately. Everett is also engaged in a slug-out for first place in their division with Eugene in town.

Triple-A Tacoma:

Team record: 15-14 (.517), 3rd of 5 in Triple-A West - West

4th of 10 in Triple-A West in OPS (.848)

5.18 ERA (4th in Triple-A West), 1.40 WHIP (2nd), 306 Ks (3rd)

Double-A Arkansas:

Team record: 14-16 (.267), 4th of 5 in Double-A Central-North

.721 OPS (6th of 10 in Double-A Central)

3.86 ERA (3rd), 1.39 WHIP (6th), 287 Ks (6th)

High-A Everett:

Team record: 18-12 (.600), 2nd of 6 in High-A West

.821 OPS (2nd place = Eugene, at .716)

3.48 ERA (1st), 1.29 WHIP (1st), 339 Ks (2nd)

Low-A Modesto:

Team record: 19-12 (.677), 3rd of 4 in Low-A West-North

.736 OPS (2nd)

3.81 ERA (3rd), 1.49 WHIP (6th), 389 Ks (2nd)

Leaderboard:

Batters:

wRC+: Jack Larsen (A+), 178

AVG: Cal Raleigh, .356

HR: TIE, Jake Scheiner (AA) and Kaden Polcovich (A+), 7

BB/K: Victor Labrada (A), 1.06

Hits: Cal Raleigh, 36

Pitchers:

ERA (min 25 IP): Tyler Herb (AA), 1.04

FIP (min 25 IP): Taylor Dollard (A), 1.91

K%: Brandon Williamson (A+), 50%

Strikeouts: Brandon Williamson, 51

K-BB%: Wyatt Mills, 45.5%

Saves: TIE, Travis Ray Kuhn (A), Darin Gillies (AA)

Prospect performer:

Cal Raleigh is currently working on a 18-game hitting streak for Tacoma. His slash line is an absurd .356/.404/.673, each of those representing career-bests—and not by a little, by like 70-points plus. He’s absolutely crushing the ball, not just in the bouncy-ball playgrounds of the PCL, but also in Tacoma’s more neutral park. It’s hard to see him not getting a call-up soon because like...what else can he do there? Unless you want to send him back to AA to face the Tulsa Drillers, there’s not a lot else Calboy can do to prove himself at this level.

Name to know: OF Jack Larsen, A+

There haven’t been many movements happening yet this season, but when promotion time comes, there are a few names that seem obvious: Cade Marlowe from A, Brian O’Keefe from AA, and Jack Larsen from A+. The Mariners sent Larsen to re-repeat the High-A level after he had solid results in the Cal League in 2019 but also, for the second year in a row, struck out way too much (30%); he’s since lowered his K-rate to a tenable 23.7% and he’s crushing the ball in the tiny parks of the Northwest League. Time for Double-A for this man, where the offense-poor Travelers could certainly use his bat, especially with fellow OF Dom Thompson-Williams being re-assigned to extended spring.