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2022 Mariners affiliate wrap-up: Everett AquaSox (High-A)

The Frogs did baseball this year, for sure

For the low minors (below AA), the regular season has come to an end, and sadly, none of the Mariners affiliates have advanced to the post-season. So as each affiliate’s season comes to a close we will be highlighting each team: how their season went, and the standout performances from both highly-touted prospects and some sleepers to keep an eye on. Next up is High-A Everett.

Team overview:

Final record: 59-72, T-5th in the Northwest League

Everett had an uneven start to the year, managing to finish third in the first half with a 31-34 record before really taking a slide in the second half - 28-38 with a -70 run differential. Yikes! Everett ends with an OPS of just .725, 4th of 6 in the Northwest League. Their OPS was boosted by their league-leading 595 walks - the next closest team was Vancouver with 516. On the mound, Everett was, uh, worse. They finished in dead last by a mile in team ERA at 4.91 in a very depressed offensive environment. Tellingly, they also had the second-highest blown save % at nearly 47%, which certainly tracks with my perception that this team had relatively strong starting pitching that was let down by the bullpen at times.

Overall, this team had some standout performers that we’ll discuss below, but overall struggled to seal the deal as a team.

Key subtractions:

It needs no saying that Luis Castillo has been one of the most important deadline acquisitions that Seattle has had in years. However, losing young shortstop Noelvi Marte certainly made this team less exciting and dynamic. They were a dismal 13-26 after the trade.

This also coincided pretty closely with a wave of early-August call-ups, as Everett saw a chunk of their talented starting rotation take the long flight over to Arkansas, as Bryce Miller and Prelander Berroa were promoted not long after the Noelvi trade. This took away probably the three best players in Everett.

Key additions:

The most exciting addition was no one other than RPJ, Bobby Bombs, Robert Perez Jr. himself. He lived up to his billing, hitting .342/.477/.583, with 7 home runs and a bonkers 195 wRC+. Check out the bat flip on this one:

Perez Jr’s defense leaves much to be desired, but if his bat can continue to develop, they’ll find a place for him. Ideally, we’ll see his pitch selection and strikeout rates continue to improve, and I think we’ll see him in Everett to start the year before he makes his way to Arkansas in due time.

Starting pitcher Bryan Woo also found his way up to Everett, showing strong potential, if at times a bit inconsistent. In seven starts with the Frogs, he had three scoreless outings and three where he gave up 4+ runs.

Team MVP, offense: Spencer Packard

From day 1, Packard has been the heart and soul of this Everett lineup. He missed a bit of time for injury, but among full time starters, he led the team with a 147 wRC+ from the left side - this ranked first in the Northwest League among batters with 300+ PA. With a .282/.397/.490 slash line along with 15 doubles and 12 home runs, Packard contributed in all aspects of the offense. His 13.3% BB rate and 15.3% K rate show an advanced approach at the plate. Granted, he’s touch old for the level at 24 but he will almost certainly start next season at Double-A Arkansas.

Honorable mention: Alberto Rodríguez (no. 14)

Rodríguez didn’t lead the league in wRC+, home runs, stolen bases, etc. But his value to the Frogs was in being a fairly stable and consistent every-day player - he led the team in hits and doubles while contributing an above-average wRC+ and solid defense from both CF and RF. Everett’s ironman appeared in 119 of 131 games and led the team in both ABs and PAs.

Team MVP, pitching staff: Bryce Miller (no. 5)

At first I waffled on including Miller on this list, as he ended the season in Arkansas, but it definitely makes my life a little easier to include him here on this list, as there isn’t a player more deserving than Miller this season. In case you missed it, the dude shoves. He features an electric fastball that has touched 101 in bullpens, and has lots of evaluators drooling - without getting into IVB and the like, trust us that it’s fantastic. He also features an improved changeup for right-handed batters and a pretty nasty, if inconsistent slider. He has kept the call of the bullpen at bay this year, with a 24% K-BB rate that speaks to improved command and a more consistent delivery. Check out this homage to his fastball:

Honorable mention: Prelander Berroa (no. 16)

Acquired in a trade for Donovan Walton early in the year, Berroa came to Everett and delivered 12 starts with some pretty unbelievable numbers. He gave up one run or less in 10 of his starts - he led the NWL in ERA and FIP during his time in Everett - he ran a nearly 38% K rate as a starter! His walk rate is still too high (15% in Everett) and his length in his starts has been short (4-5 innings instead of 5-6), and so for the time being, Prelander carries some significant reliever risk. However, he would likely be a lights-out reliever with his mid-upper 90’s fastball and a fast-improving slider.