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Mariners Minor League Roundup: June 6 - June 11

Several players are starting to heat up along with the weather down on the farm

Axel Sánchez

Welcome back for another Mariners MiLB roundup where we look around the minor leagues and check in with the various affiliates. This week we have the first batch of rookie-league results to bring you, along with some other fun times down on the farm, like Arkansas taking on the first-place Drillers, a power surge for top prospect Harry Ford, and a strong professional debut for Michael Arroyo.

Tacoma Rainiers

31-32, 2nd in Pacific Coast League North

The Rainiers split a series this week in the big little city of Reno. After getting the doors blown off in Game 1 (12-5 loss), the Rainiers returned the favor in Game 2, winning 14-6. The two teams traded blows slightly more evenly over the rest of the series, including a one-run loss in a shortened eight-inning game and a nail-biter one-run win in the series finale spurred by a Cade Marlowe two-out, two-run single.

Hitting heroes:

OF Zach DeLoach continues to see the ball well at Triple-A, hitting .389 this week with seven total hits (although only one for extra bases); he struck out just twice while taking seven walks. Taylor Trammell was feast-or-famine this week, striking out seven times but also hitting a double and two homers. Jake Scheiner hit a double and a triple among his half-dozen or so hits, but also struck out a mighty 14 times—Jake no! That makes Cade Marlowe’s nine strikeouts look relatively trim in comparison, although Marlowe only came up with four hits this week, although a couple of them were biggies: one a home run, and one a clutch ninth-inning two-out 0-2 two-RBI single. Sam Haggerty had a pair of singles in the two games he played since returning to the Rainiers for the first time in over a year; he also swiped three bases and didn’t strike out once.

Prime Pitching:

The Rainiers rotation remains in shambles, but Marcus Walden provided some stability this week with a six-inning outing where he surrendered two runs, one on a solo shot, in Reno’s juiced offensive environment, en route to a 9-5 Rainiers win. Juan Then made one appearance this week and it was fairly rocky, as he gave up two runs in just one inning of work.

Next up:

The Rainiers return to Tacoma to face the Albuquerque Isotopes (Kate spelling update: still needed three tries on “Albuquerque”). Friday the 16th’s game supports local Girl Scouts troops with a special ticket purchase; you’ll receive a special commemorative patch to sew on your sash or cap of choice (also included in the “double” ticket special).

Arkansas Travelers

36-21, 2nd in Texas League North

Facing their direct competition for the top spot in the division, the Travs weren’t able to completely overtake the Drillers, but did shrink the gap between the two teams down to just one game, taking the series 4-2. The Travs came out with a bang at Tulsa’s home field, hanging 39 combined runs in the first three games of the series vs. just 14 scored against. They dropped the next two but rebounded strong in the final game of the series.

Prospect update:

Emerson Hancock got the Travs off to a great start this series with a solid opening game, going six strong innings and allowing no runs with seven strikeouts and just one walk. He then tied the series up nicely as well, going another six innings and allowing one run on five hits against a team that had already seen him once that series, striking out six and walking two.

Jonatan Clase sat in Sunday’s game after going hitless/walkless on Saturday but had a strong series otherwise, with three homers—one particularly monstrous blast, in the ninth inning, drew the Travs within one run of winning the game—and a double, as well as four more stolen bases for his total.

Hitting hero:

After getting off to a slow start this season, former first-rounder Logan Warmoth, signed this off-season to an MiLB deal, has been steadily heating up for the Travs. This week he had a huge series against Tulsa, with eight total hits including three homers and two doubles. Keep an eye on the superutility player going forward; he’s giving Dylan Moore vibes.

Next up:

The Travelers return home to face the Corpus Christi Hooks; Houston’s Double-A team began the season in the cellar of the division but have fought their way up to middle of the pack in the Texas League South.

Everett AquaSox

27-30, 5th in Northwest League

The AquaSox had a bit of a tough series this week against the Vancouver Canadians, the Toronto affiliate that’s played well thus far. After winning two of the first three, a rain postponement stole their mojo and they dropped the subsequent three games of the six game set. With some bad injury luck and general slumps cast over the Everett lineup, the team isn’t what it was earlier in the season, but there’s still plenty of fun and exciting storylines to watch for on a nightly basis.

Prospect update:

Top prospect Harry Ford continued his fine start to the month of June with a 7-20 performance that featured a walk, a double, a triple, and a homer. He did strike out five times while only walking once, something that is very atypical of the ever-disciplined Ford, but it is likely a product of Ford looking to damage the ball and send some over the fence rather than a lapse in judgement. We’ve been waiting for Ford to impact the baseball a bit more as the weather heats up, and he appears to be doing just that. His successful series brings his June slash line up to .297/.395/.541, good for an OPS of .936. Ford’s been incredibly solid all year and should continue to creep up the national rankings as the year goes on.

Hitting hero:

SS Axel Sánchez, fully recovered from the injury that put him on the shelf earlier this year, has been killing it as of late, showing the world that his torrid stretch in the Cal League last year was no fluke. With another impressive 6-19 series that saw him walk as much as he struck out (twice) as well as launch a pair of doubles and a homer, Sanchez has raised his post-injury slash line to .278/.361/.500 for an .861 OPS. He’s always been an outstanding fielder and is pretty firmly the best shortstop defender in the system, but should he continue to hit at a high level, he becomes one of the truly can’t miss talents the Mariners have needed up the middle for quite some time.

Prime pitching:

My main man Brandon Schaeffer got the promotion from Modesto and decided to just keep shovin’. up in Everett. Schaeffer actually pitched twice this series, going 12.1 innings and allowing 2 earned runs while tallying 14 K’s to just 2 walks. The lefty has been lights out all year and has only showed an astute ability at getting batters out in a variety of ways. People may look at the atypical arm slot and immediately think to move him into the bullpen, but he’s got the stamina to start. In all honesty, I tend to think he could end up looking very similar to Ryan Yarbrough, a former Mariner prospect that prospered in Tampa Bay. Schaeffer’s stuff is better than Yarbrough’s, but he’s also got to prove he can keep it up at every level of the minors. It’s not a flawless fit, but the way Schaeffer would be used should he make the big leagues feels like Yarbrough is a pretty good comp. A long way to go obviously, but it’s fun to dream.

Modesto Nuts

30-27, T-2nd in Cal League North

The Nuts had an excellent series against the Dodgers affiliate Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, a team that entered the series 32-20. Modesto went on to grab five of six, a fantastic showing for a Nuts team that’s been very hot and cold from night to night. The series featured some fantastic Modesto pitching, a phrase rarely uttered in the confines of John Thurmond field this year. Some big names are starting to heat up, and with the draft just around the corner, Modesto could be filled with an abundance of incredibly exciting talent in the coming months.

Prospect update:

The wonder twins atop the Modesto lineup, Cole Young and Gabriel Gonzalez, had two very different weeks. Young, who had been in a bit of a funk, is really starting to find his rhythm. Going 6-20 with a pair of doubles, a triple, and five walks is a welcome sight for last year’s first rounder who is yet to really crack the A-ball level. He’s got plenty of talent to do so and has shown plenty of glimpses into what he could become, he just needs to keep stringing together good weeks like this one. Gonzalez, undisputedly having the more successful season thus far, really struggled this week. Finishing the series 4-24 with 8 strikeouts certainly stings, but there’s no need to panic on the sweet swinging Venezuelan. He’s one of the better all around hitters in the entire system and really hasn’t struggled much at all dating back to last summer. He’s allowed to have a bad series here and there. He’ll be fine.

Hitting hero:

Freuddy Batista is such a fun player and I have to shout him out this week. Finishing the homestand 8-17 with 4 doubles, a triple, a dinger and 5 walks, Batista was laying waste to Dodger farmhands all series. The 23 year old catcher has really hit the ball well this year and has improved behind the dish. It’s still a bat first profile, but he’s certainly shown he can hit in Modesto. If a roster spot in Everett opens up some time soon, I’d expect Freuddy to be one of the first get the call.

Prime pitching:

I’m giving everyone a gold star. They all deserve it.

Riley Davis: 8IP 4H 0ER 5BB 5K (Two starts)

Shaddon Peavyhouse: 7.2IP 5H 0ER 1BB 5K

Michael Morales: 6.2IP 5H 0ER 1BB 9K

Marcelo Perez: 6IP 1H 0ER 1BB 7K

Tyler Cleveland: 4IP 6H 2ER 0BB 6K

ACL Mariners

3-1, 2nd in ACL West

INF Michael Arroyo has seven hits in his first 11 AB, including a home run; he’s also stolen three bases and walked once while striking out only once. He’s leading the ACL with a .636 average, and as of June 10, was yet to whiff.

On the pitching side, RHP Kristian Cardozo went five innings in his first start and allowed just two hits and no runs while striking out seven and walking just one.

DSL Mariners

4-1, 1st in DSL South

Like their grown-up brothers, the DSL Mariners are having trouble getting the bats going; they’re 38th out of 50 teams, hitting .233 as a team. But also like their big-league counterparts, the DSL Mariners are balancing this lack of offense with some solid pitching; they rank 7th in the DSL for team ERA (3.15), with 45 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched.