This week, in lieu of the normal State of the Farm post, we’re going to recognize the top performers at each position for the past month and create an All-Star Team for the month of June down on the farm. “All-Star” is in this case somewhat relative, as certain position groups are deeper than others. We got a good mix of top prospects and pleasant surprises for this month, but mostly names you should recognize if you’re a fan of the farm. This will also be our first month with the complex leagues playing, and given our sub-par coverage of both the Arizona Complex League and the Dominican Summer League teams so far, those players got some extra priority.
Disagree with any of our picks? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll probably agree with you.
Catcher: Harry Ford (A)
The first pick of the 2021 draft for the Mariners, Ford has impressed in his first full season at just 18. He started out slow, but has really been cranking it recently. June saw him hit .277 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts while contributing a 143 wRC+. Highlights included showing off his plus-speed in a game where he hit two triples on top of a dinger and a single. He’s still young and will likely spend the whole season in Modesto, but has lots of organizational eyes on him - they likely hope he’ll be one of the top two names of the next wave of prospects.
Have a day, @harry_ford!— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) June 13, 2022
4-for-5, 5 RBI, 2 3B, HR, BB pic.twitter.com/fdn5m8IKLU
First base: Dariel Gomez (A+)
Relatively thin-pickings here through the organization, but Gomez has been unleashing some serious power this season, and June saw this continue. He leads the league in home runs with 14 (already just one off his career high), including five in June, and has contributed a 116 wRC+ for the year. He’s been a cornerstone of the Everett offense, seemingly in the middle of every rally.
Second base: Ben Ramirez (A)
This one was a no-doubter. Ramirez, a 2021 draft pick, had a slow start to the season but really locked in for June - he ran a real-deal 150 wRC+ for the month. He put the bat on the ball quite a bit for a .333 batting average, but also showed some pop, with 13 XBHs. He also threw down 26 RBIs, good for more than one a game.
Shortstop: Edwin Arroyo (A)
Arroyo has stayed red-hot, adding on to an impressive first season stateside. He’s shown a little bit of everything for the Nuts. In June, he slashed .340/.404/.530 with a 140 wRC+, showing off some wheels on the basepaths (five stolen bases) and flashing a clean glove at shortstop. Arroyo is another player whose stock is skyrocketing - his bat has played louder than expected for his first season, and at his age (18), there’s a lot to dream about here. His emergence also likely could see Noelvi move to 3B, or perhaps become the high-end trade bait the M’s could need for a blockbuster trade in a playoff hunt.
Third base: Joe Rizzo (AA)
This month has belonged to Joe. The 2016 2nd round pick out of Virginia has been punishing the Texas League pitching in June - does 10 home runs in just one month work for you? How about a 138 wRC+, 8 multi-hit games, or reaching base safely in 23 of 24 games during that time period? Rizzo has done it all in this month, making his impact felt. One does wonder if Tacoma is on the horizon for him.
Outfielders: Lazaro Montes (DSL), Gabriel Gonzalez (ACL), Zach DeLoach (AA)
Montes, he of the dwarfing-Boomstick-size, has been crushing it in his first taste of pro ball down in the Dominican Summer League. The 17-year-old’s power and bat-to-ball skills have been showing itself, to the tune of a 1.117 OPS and a 175 wRC+, while playing some good outfield - he’s recorded three assists in 12 games out in right field. Gonzalez, just one year Montes’ senior, has been tearing it up in the Arizona Complex League, while matching his eye-boggling 175 wRC+. MLB Pipeline, slotting him in at No. 8 on their organizational prospect rankings, said “[his] bat will likely dictate how quickly he can move up the ladder.” Well, his bat is saying that next year we’ll find him in Modesto.
It is very good to see DeLoach here. His solid tools across the board have always been something to dream on, even without the flashiness of some younger prospects in the org. His bat is showing signs of coming alive: a 133 wRC+ for the month is a welcome change from his 87 wRC+ over April and May. His ceiling is still within reach, if he continues to flash the same ability he has this month going forward.
Starting Pitchers: Juan Mercedes (A+), Prelander Berroa (A+), Taylor Dollard (AA), Emerson Hancock (AA) Joseph Hernandez (A),
There’s been a ton of high-octane pitching this month in the Mariners system, mostly coming from arms that came into the year relatively unheralded. Starting in Everett, Mercedes and Berroa have both been lights out this month. In Mercedes’ five June starts, there are lots of shiny stats to look at: take his .760 WHIP, his 1.73 ERA or his 2.90 FIP. But the shiniest of all? How about a K/BB rate of 31/1? His rotation mate Berroa has been just as lights-out. Berroa gave up just three runs in June in his six starts for a 1.09 ERA. He didn’t rack up a whole ton of innings, averaging just over four innings per start, but he put up quality over quantity - he recorded an eye-popping, league-leading 39 strikeouts for the month.
Dollard has continued to be an absolute shining star for the franchise, turning in another sterling month where he gave up just 3 runs en route to recording a 0.86 ERA. Dollard flashed his fastball/slider combination for 29 strikeouts and a sterling 18.6% K-BB%. The guy has just been lights-out, must watch baseball.
You remember Emerson Hancock, right? Mariners first round draft pick in 2020, previously considered the top end of the Big Three of Gilbert, Kirby and himself? He’s finally back pitching again regularly after over a year of shoulder stiffness, and he’s look strong, displaying a similarly-vicious FB/SL combo as his rotation-mate Dollard. In his five starts, he’s been building up innings after such a long delay, but has still managed some good results: a 3.30 ERA and a 21.1% K-BB% rate will play just fine. His prospect star has lost some of it’s shine due to the long layoffs, but he will be the M’s attendee at the Futures Game, and there’s still so much upside there.
Finally, Hernandez has been the lone bright spot out of the Nuts rotation: outside of one bumpy outing, he’s looked stellar, including a 36% strikeout-rate and a 3.40 FIP across the month. For a team that has struggled on the mound, Hernandez has been the go-to guy, and has kept his team in the game more often than not.
Relievers: Isaiah Campbell (A+), Matt Brash (AAA)
A closer is born: Campbell is back and is shutting things down for the Frogs. Campbell went away to Closer Academy (the injured list) for the month of May, and returned a closing machine. In eight appearances, Campbell put up eight scoreless innings, as well as six saves in six opportunities. He racked up 11 strikeouts versus just two hits and one walk.
Brash, after an uneven start to his bullpen experiment where he struck a lot of batters out but also walked a ton of batters, has really settled in. In his first nine outings in June (all out of the pen), he racked up 15 strikeouts while walking just two. With a 2.25 ERA and signs of improvement that the franchise was looking for, expect to see Brash back at T-Mobile, hopefully locking things down out of the pen. A back-end of the pen with Brash, Swanson, Giles, Sewald and Muñoz could get pretty spicy.