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State of the Farm, 5/19/22

Happy almost birthday, Travis Kuhn!

China Binzhou Colorful Lubei Salt Farm Photo credit should read CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Hello! Usually we have been publishing mid-week updates on the farm on this day, but from here on we’ll be shifting these Thursday posts to our old friend, the State of the Farm, where we’ll give you updates on where each Seattle Marinerss affiliate stands in regard to their league, a glimpse at an affiliate leaderboard, how the top prospects at each level are faring, and our choices for some lesser-heralded performers you might have overlooked. We’ll still have granular rundowns on each affiliate’s weekly performance on Tuesdays, but consider these posts a more bird’s eye view the system as a whole.

We’ll be updating each week with the latest stats we can find from MiLB and FanGraphs; all numbers are updated at the time of writing but might have shifted some by publication.

Transactions (promotions, signings, rehab assignments, injuries, etc):

  • C Harry Ford (A) re-instated from injured list 5/13. Ford had been out with a minor shoulder injury. Modesto’s other primary catcher, C Freuddy Batista, remains on the IL and is rehabbing in Arizona. C Junior Gonzalez (2018 IFA signing) was summoned from the complex while Batista is out.
  • RHP Sam Carlson has returned from a knee injury and is building innings in Modesto.
  • While not officially on the IL, Milkar Pérez is rehabbing a finger injury in Arizona; he should return to Modesto soon.
  • Emerson Hancock (AA) Added to active roster on 5/17 after rehabbing a lat injury.

Modesto Nuts (15-19)

Team Stats:

Third of four in California League (North); 15-19, .441%, 6th of 8

Team OPS: .725 (4th of 8)

Team ERA: 4.48 (5th of 8); Team WHIP: 1.36 (2nd of 8); Team Ks: 343 (6th of 8)

Player Leaderboard:

OPS leader: Robert Pérez, .956 (8th overall); HR leader: Pérez (11, 1st); AVG leader: Edwin Arroyo, .289 (18th); Hits leader: Arroyo, 35 (7th); wRC+ leader: Pérez, 142 (11th)

ERA leader: Joseph Hernández, 2.15 (2nd); FIP leader: Hernández, 3.84 (7th); K leader: Hernández, 36 (6th); Saves: Jorge Benitez, 3 (3rd); K% leader: Hernández, 29% (5th)

SB leader: Jonatan Clase (15, 5th)

Top prospect updates:

Harry Ford (4): .231/.412/.346; 29.4% K 21.6% BB; 2 HR 3 2B

Ford’s numbers might look underwhelming at first glance but these numbers reflect a slow start plus some missed time on the IL; the arrow here is trending upwards.

Edwin Arroyo (8): .289/.379/.512; 19.3% K 10.7% BB; 5 HR 3 3B 7 SB

Milkar Perez (12): [currently rehabbing in AZ]

Michael Morales (18): 33.1 IP; 5.40 ERA/4.71 FIP; 22.6% K 8.4% BB

Morales got off to a strong start but has faded some as the plus command he showed early on has fled him some, but he’s still holding his own as one of the youngest starting pitchers in the league.

Jonatan Clase (19): .254/.343/.413; 10.2% BB 30.6% K; 5 2B 3 HR 3 3B 15 SB

Sam Carlson (26): [recently returned from rehab in AZ, has pitched fewer than 5 innings]

William Fleming (28): 32.2 IP; 4.96 ERA/4.25 FIP; 25.0% K 8.1% BB

Prospect performer:

SS Edwin Arroyo

I was prepared for Arroyo, as a high school arm known for his defensive prowess more than his bat in his draft year, to struggle in his first year of pro ball. And for the first few weeks, he was indeed scuffling, chasing after pitches out of the zone and making poor contact. But recently, a flip has switched for Arroyo, who stepped up in a huge way when fellow top prospect Harry Ford missed a week with injury. Arroyo will still chase at times, but he’s done a better job of late identifying pitches he can damage, and then inflicting said damage; he’s got three triples already, tied with speedster Jonatan Clase, along with six doubles and five home runs, including one off rehabbing major-leaguer Cole Irvin. Arroyo’s tantalizing power-speed combo should make him a quick riser when Top 100 lists are re-evaluated.

Other names to know:

1B Robert Pérez

In 33G: .274./359/.597; 25.5% K, 11.7% BB; 12 HR 2 SB; 21 y.o.

Look, I don’t know why the Mariners opted to make the 21-year-old Pérez repeat A ball to start the season, but it’s pretty clear the one they call Bobby Bombs doesn’t belong in the Cal League anymore. His 12 home runs lead the league, and none of them are cheapies. The strikeout rate is less than ideal, but that’s more and more appearing to be just who Pérez is; a big bopper whose bat is badly needed in the anemic AquaSox offense. Promote him already!

RHP Joseph Hernández

In 29.1 IP: 2.15 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 4.78 xFIP. 29% K 9.7% BB; 22 y.o.

Hernández, who signed as an IFA in 2017, is a touch old for the level at a month shy of his 22nd birthday, but you’ll see that more and more with the players who were making the slow climb out of the DSL who had to surrender an entire year of development in 2020. Yes, the walks are problematic, but he’s been Modesto’s most reliable arm despite working in weird piggyback starts with no real consistency in his role. Look for this fellow Cotuí native to join his hometown boys Marte and A-Rod in Everett soon.

Everett AquaSox (11-21)

Team Stats:

Team OPS: .701 (2nd of 6)

Team ERA: 5.25 (6th of 6); Team WHIP: 1.48 (6th of 6); Team Ks: 311 (3rd of 6)

Player Leaderboard:

OPS leader: Spencer Packard, .956; HR leader: Packard, 6; AVG leader: Justin Lavey, .296; Hits leader: Packard, 31; wRC+ leader: Packard, 173 (2nd)

ERA leader: Bryce Miller, .096 (2nd); FIP leader: Miller, 1.70 (2nd); K leader: Adam Macko, 54 (1st); Saves leader: Evan Johnson, 2 (6th); K% leader: Macko, 36.2% (2nd)

SB leader: Lavey, 6 (9th)

Top prospect updates:

Noelvi Marte (1): .246/.346/.395; 11.3% BB 22.6% K; 4 HR 5 2B

Sadly, Seattle’s new top prospect has been just whelming at High-A so far this year.

Alberto Rodríguez (7): .217/.277/.325; 6.9% BB 25.4% K; 2 HR 5 2B

So far, A-Rod hasn’t been able to recapture his offensive heights from the California League, when he actually outhit his buddy Marte. Maybe the pair of Cotuisanos are both just too cold up in the chilly Great North and their bats will warm up as the weather does.

Adam Macko (10): 34.1 IP; 4.19 ERA, 3.51 FIP; 36.2% K 10.1% BB

Bryce Miller (22): 28 IP; .096 ERA 1.70 FIP; 35.2% K 5.7% BB

Victor Labrada (25): .202/.260/.371; 6.3% BB 39.6% K; 3 HR 4 2B 5 SB

The 25-year-old Cuban has been disappointing so far, although these numbers also reflect a week missed when the team traveled to Vancouver and the unvaccinated Labrada had to return to Modesto, something that will repeat often in the tiny Northwest League. Still, there’s no reason anyone else on the team should have more stolen bases than the speedster/low power Labrada.

Prelander Berroa (30): [has only tossed 2.2 innings since being acquired from SFG]

Berroa was the exchange for longtime Mariners farmhand Donovan Walton in one of the Mariners’ many deals with the Giants. He’s a reliever with loud stuff and huge strikeout upside but command issues.

Prospect Performer:

LHP Adam Macko

Macko’s xFIP is even lower than those other two numbers (2.69) and he’s near the top of the league in strike percentage, although command remains a challenge. The lefty remains one of the most intriguing pitching prospects in Seattle’s system.

Other names to know:

OF Spencer Packard

.295/.409/.543; 5.0% BB 13.4% K; 8 2B, 6 HR

The flagging AquaSox offense would be completely at sea without Packard; unfortunately, the 24-year-old 2021 9th-rounder needs to be promoted to Arkansas ASAP.

RHP Juan Mercedes

Mercedes’ 6.52 ERA is belied by his 1.72 FIP/3.33 xFIP. He’s also striking out 28.9% of batters faced while walking just 6.7%, which is impressive considering he’s 22 but still relatively inexperienced in pro ball due to the pandemic, and also the Mariners have been yanking him around all over the system to cover innings as he’s one of their more polished young arms—he only has 9.2 innings so far in Everett, although it’s looking like that’s where he’ll stay for now.

Arkansas Travelers (15-19)

Team Stats:

Fourth of five in Texas League - North

Team OPS: .624 (10th of 10)

Team ERA: 4.15 (1st of 10); Team WHIP: 1.42 (2nd of 10); Team Ks: 317 (1st of 10)

Player Leaderboard:

OPS leader: Jake Scheiner .726 (56th); HR leader :Scheiner, 5 (T-26); AVG leader: Marlowe, .256 (48th); Hits leader: Rizzo, 31 (32nd); wRC+ leader: Zach DeLoach, 85 (56th)

ERA leader: Stephen Kolek, 3.22 (5th); FIP leader: Kolek, 4.06 (6th); K leader: Kolek, 39 (3rd); Saves: Michael Stryffeler, 6 (T-1st); K% leader: Kolek, 25.5% (6th)

SB leader: Cade Marlowe, 10 (5th)

Top prospect updates:

Emerson Hancock (3): [recently returned from rehab in AZ, has made just one start of 1.1 innings]

Levi Stoudt (6): In 36 IP: 4.75 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 4.44 xFIP. 22.8% K 5.5% BB

Zach DeLoach (11): .248/.336/.364; 30.7% K; 11.7% BB; 2 HR, 6 2B, 1 3B 1 SB

Taylor Dollard (14): In 29.1 IP: 0.92 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 4.21 xFIP. 26.1% K 5.7% BB.

Cade Marlowe (16): .250/.349/.366; 27.1% K; 12.4% BB; 3 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B 10 SB

Kaden Polcovich (23): .198/.336/.257; 22.1% K; 14.8% BB; 4 2B, 1 3B 6 SB

Juan Then (24): [currently injured]

Stephen Kolek (29): In 36.1 IP: 3.22 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 5.31 xFIP. 25.5% K 13.7% BB; 25 y.o.

Prospect performer:

RHP Taylor Dollard

If it weren’t for a blister that cut his second start of the season short, Taylor Dollard would be near the top of the Texas League leaderboards in nearly every pitching statistic. If we lower the qualifications to 20 innings, he leads the league in ERA and FIP. He is in the top 15 in every other advanced stat on FanGraphs. While most of the headlines go to bigger name pitching prospects in the organization like George Kirby, Emerson Hancock, and Matt Brash, it is the 23 year old 2020 5th round pick who is arguably having the best year of any pitching prospect for the Ms.

Other names to know:

C Matt Scheffler

.260/.415/.280; 21.5% BB 18.5% K; 1 2B, 1 SB

The local product did not garner many headlines when he signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent after the abbreviated 2020 MLB Draft. The Auburn alum (the other Auburn) returned home to the Seattle area after his career with the Tigers. Scheffler grew up in Kirkland and led the Lake Washington Kangaroos (we, as a society, need more teams named the Kangaroos) to the 3A state title in 2016. He then spent two years at Pierce College before transferring to Auburn University for his final two seasons. The shortened draft undoubtedly hurt him, but the opportunity to pick his squad and return to a more familiar environment is a positive for the 23-year-old backstop. His power numbers have never been there, even dating to his days in Auburn, but if he can maintain a 20% BB rate, Scheffler might be more than organizational depth at the much-desired catching position.

RHP Travis Kuhn

In 18 IP: 2.00 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 4.87 xFIP. 28.6% K 11.4% BB; 23 y.o.

If there’s one person who stands the most to benefit from the Mariners playing underwhelming baseball over the next few months, it is probably Travis Kuhn. In the dream world that that was early April, the Mariners were going to be buyers at the deadline and almost assuredly add at least one solid bullpen arm to the mix. If that isn’t the case, Kuhn makes a lot of sense as a late summer add up to Seattle. Kuhn turns 24 tomorrow, and the 2019 19th round pick is rule-5 draft-eligible following the season. If the Ms see him in their future plans, then it makes sense to see what he can do against major league hitters for the last month or so of the season. because he has been quite impressive against Texas League bats.

Tacoma Rainiers (12-26)

Team Stats:

Fourth of five in Pacific Coast League (West); 12-26, .316%, 10th of 10

Team OPS: .771 (8th of 10)

Team ERA: 6.59 (9th of 10); Team WHIP: 1.63 (9th of 10); Team Ks: 310 (9th of 10)

Player Leaderboard:

OPS leader: Sam Haggerty, .876 (18th overall); HR leader: Zach Green (8th, T-9th); AVG leader: Haggerty, .302 (17th); Hits leader: Haggerty/Green, 35 (T-17th); wRC+ leader: Haggerty, 116 (21st)

ERA leader: Daniel Ponce de Leon, 5.63 (11th); FIP leader: Darren McCaughan, 5.05 (7th); K leader: McCaughan, 41 (T-2nd); Saves: Penn Murfee, 2 (T-11th); K% leader: McCaughan, 20.5%, 29% (5th)

SB leader: Forrest Wall (14, 2nd)

Top prospect updates:

RHP Matt Brash (5): in 6 IP out of the bullpen: 46.2% K 19.2% BB; 3.00 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 2.44 xFIP

Others of Note:

OF Kyle Lewis: Rehab assignment - 8 games, 10-34, 2 2B, 3 HR, 3 BB, 3 K. 7 games at DH, 1 in LF.

OF Jarred Kelenic: 2 games, 1-9, 6 K.

1B/OF Evan White: Rehab assignment - 1 game, 0-2, K.