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Mariners Minor League Round-Up, July 14-16

A tiny little weird three-game set as teams come out of the All-Star/Futures Game break

Cole Young
Evan Morud

Long time no see! The minor league roundup got a little shuffled aside with all the All-Star Week festivities and the draft, and then the teams were on break while the All-Star Week was happening. MiLB used to do its own All-Star games for each of the leagues, but that seems to have gone the way of public telephones and fax machines post-pandemic. That kind of stinks, though, because the league-wide All-Star Games were an opportunity for players who weren’t selected to the Futures Game to show out in front of scouts and a fun opportunity for fans and players alike. Hopefully they’ll come back at some point.

The Mariners have made some MiLB roster moves post-break and post-draft, and there will likely be more to come, but for now, here are the big ones:

  • OF Alberto Rodríguez promoted from High-A Everett to Double-A Arkansas. Rodríguez was tearing up the Northwest League and gets a long-overdue promotion to Double-A to help the Travs with their second-half championship push.
  • OF Gabriel González and INF Cole Young promoted from Single A-Modesto to High-A Arkansas. This is a pretty aggressive promotion for a pair of teenagers, and we’ll have to see how the Mariners decide to handle the timeshare at shortstop between Young and Axel Sánchez. Sánchez is the more defensively gifted of the two, but Young is the top prospect; so far, Sánchez has had one game at SS and two at 2B, while Young has had the opposite.
  • Not a promotion, but a roster move nonetheless: Modesto has gotten back 2B Michael Arroyo, who was out with a hamstring strain.

Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers

7-8, 4th in the Pacific Coast League West

Alas, the poor Rainiers. Triple-A teams basically exist as spare parts factories for the big league clubs to pull from as necessary, but this last series was an especially rough ride for the Rainiers, who got swept by Round Rock at home despite having a strong series against the Reno Aces just the week before. The Rainiers didn’t exactly get blown out; the offense just wasn’t able to put together enough runs to bail out their pitchers despite Taylor Trammell hitting two homers over the series and Sam Haggerty pitching his case on a game-by-game basis to be recalled to Seattle. Oh, also Jake Scheiner tried his best to keep the team in at least one of the games, with a three-run homer. Scheiner now has 23 homers, tying him for the PCL lead with Angels prospects Jo Adell and Trey Cabbage, both of whom are currently with the big-league team.

Next up: The Rainiers travel to Sacramento to face the River Cats.

Double-A Arkansas Travelers

9-5, 1st in the Texas League

The Travs keep on rolling, starting off post-All Star Break strong with a series win over the Astros’ affiliate Corpus Christi. 2020 third-rounder Kaden Polcovich, who’s been out recovering from a broken hamate bone since April, returned to the team and hit a double in his debut and then another one the next night for an RBI that helped the Travs to a 2-0 win backing up a strong start from Emerson Hancock, who struck out seven and gave up no runs in six innings. Jonatan Clase returned from his Futures Game experience energized; he hit the half-century mark for stolen bases after stealing two on Friday, one on Saturday to give him 50, and two more on Sunday; he now trails Luisangel Acuña of Frisco by one bag for the Texas League lead, despite having played in 19 fewer games. The Travs lost Sunday’s game but Alberto Rodríguez recorded his first hit, and it was an important one, an RBI single that also broke up a no-hitter.

Next up: The Travs head to Springfield to face the Cardinals affiliate, and Victor Scott and Clase will battle it out for stolen base supremacy head-to-head.

High-A Everett AquaSox

10-8, 2nd in the Northwest League

And Just Like That, Everett is the most interesting team in the system again. The Frogs’ lineup is stacked, with Cole Young pushing speedster Victor Labrada to the nine-hole to create a wraparound effect, followed by the one-two punch of Gabby González and Harry Ford, both of whom are power threats but also know how to work a count. A crew of polished college bats round out this lineup and make Everett a very difficult team to pitch to, and Axel Sánchez might be hitting for a low average as he adjusts to the level, but has proven he can handle a mistake pitch as well as anyone. That’s relaxed some pressure on the AquaSox pitching staff, which is starting to find itself some, especially the bullpen, led by closer Logan Rinehart but getting strong contributions across the board, especially from Sam Carlson, Jarod Bayless, Luis Curvelo and Kyle Hill.

Next up: You still have time to catch this fun AquaSox team for a homestand, as they’ll stay at home this week and host the Tri-City Dust Devils. Wednesday is a day game, Thursday is Brewfest, Friday is a Webbly Funko giveaway, and Saturday is a trading card giveaway.

Single-A Modesto Nuts

7-11, 2nd in the California League North

Fresno is the only team in the Cal League North with a winning record, going a bonkers 15-3, and everyone else is fighting for second place. The Nuts are off to a rough start in July, though, going 4-8, most recently dropping a three-game series to Rancho Cucamonga in which Nuts pitching surrendered 31 runs over three games. That’s bad! It’s very weird to talk about a Mariners affiliate and have the pitching be the glaring weak spot. Hopefully Modesto has some reinforcements headed up from the ACL because the offense is certainly giving them chances to stay in it, even if currently that offensive group is a bunch of later-round college picks and Michael Arroyo, who is back and healthy again after spending time on the IL with a hamstring strain. He’s also slid over from second and is playing shortstop now with Cole Young in Everett; that’s something to monitor since there are prospect writers who think he’s definitely not a shortstop, although it’s possible Colt Emerson jumps up and knocks Arroyo back over to second, as Cole Young made his Modesto debut late in August last season. Slugging first baseman Gabe Moncada is also back from his stint on the IL; he and Milkar Pérez have been trading off 1B/DH duties, which puts a scary amount of pressure on Pérez’s bat if they see him moving off the hot corner.

Next up: Modesto has an even tougher road ahead, heading to Fresno to face the best team in the Cal League.

ACL Mariners

18-9, 1st in the Arizona Complex League West

The Baby M’s are crushing it, with their record tied for second-best among the many, many, many teams of the ACL. They have the second-best run differential in the league and are on a seven-game winning streak, heating up along with the weather in Arizona (joking but also yikes, stay safe out there kids, drink your water). The Baby M’s are led offensively by 3B Luis Suisbel, fresh off winning ACL Player of the Week, who was signed in 2019 out of Venezuela. He’s a touch old for the level at 20 and is tearing up the ACL with a slash line close to .300/.485/.560, so he could definitely be on the move soon. Another 2019 signee, RHP Pedro da Costa Lemos, has been a terrifying force out of the Baby M’s bullpen, with 21 strikeouts in just 12 innings pitched.

DSL Mariners

13-16, 6th in the Dominican Summer League South

The Marineritos are not faring quite as well as their stateside cousins, but there are some standout performances to note, mostly on the pitching side. 17-year-old RHP Jeter Martinez, who was the top prospect out of Mexico when he signed this past January, has been up to 96 mph and has recorded 36 strikeouts in 27.1 innings pitched while walking 13. He’s trailed closely by a 2021 signee, Venezuelan righty Gleiner Diaz, who has 32 punchouts in 24 innings. Offensively, the Marineritos are not a strong club, ranking third from the bottom of an enormous (50 teams!) DSL in team OPS, at just .638. Pitching-wise, though, they’re 4th in team ERA, 6th in strikeouts, 4th in WHIP, and tops in the whole DSL at limiting opponent averages (.205).