The sad news: this is our last full regular-season roundup. While Triple-A will go on to play for a couple more weeks and Double-A for one more week, Modesto and Everett’s seasons are now over. But now for the good news: both those squads made the playoffs, so there’s even more fun to follow.
The AquaSox start their playoff run tonight at 7:05 at Funko Field; the games are free to watch on MiLB TV. They’ll take on the Vancouver Canadians for three games at Funko Field, have an off-day on Thursday, and then travel to Vancouver for the weekend series.
The Nuts begin their playoff series against San Jose with a slightly weird schedule: they play tonight at 7:05 at home, have an off-day Wednesday, and then play Thurs-Fri at San Jose for the best of a three-game set. There is some exciting news for the Nuts, however: while they sadly lose power slugger Jared Sundstrom to injury, first-rounder Jonny Farmelo will be promoted from the Bridge League in the complexes to get his first taste of postseason ball. These games are also free to watch on MiLB TV, and highly recommended.
The Rainiers, while very much in the thick of the playoff picture, are the only affiliate yet to clinch a spot in the playoffs. With a brutal 1-5 series against Salt Lake where the team managed to lose every close game, they currently reside three games back with two weeks left to play. It’s far from a small task and the series they just played certainly didn’t make things any easier on themselves, but far crazier things have happened. Make sure you get out to the ballpark and support them before it’s too late!
Ryan Bliss has been scorching hot as of late and really making major strides at the plate since coming into the organization in August. The speedy shortstop picked up nine hits on the series and had seven walks to just three strikeouts, a mark that is sure to bode well going forward. In addition to his offensive output, he’s been playing an excellent defensive shortstop and stole his 50th base on the year. There are a whole lot of tools to love in Bliss and I have really enjoyed watching him play in the few months he’s been in the system. I have little doubt he will heavily factor into the infield situation with the big league club next year and wouldn’t be shocked to see him make a playoff taxi squad should that even be a concern. Pay attention to him, y’all. He’s a lot of fun.
Wow! What a play by Ryan Bliss. pic.twitter.com/KxUTxbgdzG— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 8, 2023
Next up: The Rainiers take on the powerhouse Oklahoma City Dodgers, the team currently leading the pack in all of the PCL with 84 wins.
The Travs slump through the end of their season with a series at Northwest Arkansas after dropping yet another season to Amarillo, winning just one game. The Travs have struggled with their pitching, but of late it’s their offense that’s been ice-cold, leading to a lot of low-scoring, close losses. After looking unbeatable for the first half of the season, it now seems like the Travs simply don’t have the firepower to make it deep in any kind of postseason run. While it’s never over until it’s over, they’ll really need things to spark and they’ll need it now.
Tyler Locklear ropes a 2-out RBI double scoring Robert Perez Jr. 1-0 Travs. pic.twitter.com/vsTGUcDj1d— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 6, 2023
Tyler Locklear and Jonatan Clase have both been relatively cool as of late with each going for two and three hits, respectively. While it’s far from the end of the world to have a down series against a good Amarillo team, neither were able to maintain their otherworldly production they had at Everett at Arkansas. Known as the hardest jump in the minor leagues, this is no reason to panic. Double-A pitching is no joke and to excel at the level basically amounts to a prospect available for a call up. If they’re struggling at the end of next year, alarm bells sounding is more than reasonable. Until then, they’re both still very exciting prospects that any prospect head should pay attention to.
Next up: Arkansas dukes it out with in-state rival Northwest Arkansas
The Frogs had a nice and chill series this week, having already clinched their spot in the playoffs on Monday. With little to play for, the Frogs still managed to take 4 of 6 from a solid Eugene team and are looking to do some serious damage in the playoffs. With thump at the top of the lineup and a much improved pitching staff, I think it’s fair to say the AquaSox can play with just about anybody. They’ll have to take on a very good Vancouver team to claim the championship, but the Canadians are in a bit of funk right now and Everett has been tremendously consistent. It’ll be a best-of-five series, with Reid VanScoter presumably taking the bump for game one on Tuesday.
Harry Ford got some much deserved rest this week and only appeared in four games, however he still laced a pair of doubles en route to a 4-16 series with three walks. Ford has been The Man all year for this squad and has really impressed with his leadership behind the plate. He’s still a freaky athlete with some of the best swing decisions in all of the minor leagues. The Mariners obviously have their Big Dumpin’ Backstop for the foreseeable future, but Harry is no slouch either. He’ll start next year at Arkansas and likely be just one step away from the big leagues, a very exciting prospect for any Mariner fan.
Harry Ford mashes an RBI double. pic.twitter.com/dusfuMi79O— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 10, 2023
Cole Young, the other top dog in the Mariner’s system, collected five hits and four walks in the series and continues to be a steady force at the top of Everett’s lineup. The lefty has shot up prospect boards all year and solidified himself as a top of the line prospect in the industry. Still only 20 years and in his first full season of minor league baseball, Young has been one of the top performers from his draft class and may not be all that far from the big leagues. I think he’ll see Arkansas early next year and continue to prove the M’s right for betting on him.
Cole Young ropes a 1st inning double. pic.twitter.com/kF61jCDbmc— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 8, 2023
Next up: The Championship. Tuesday night. Funko Field.
The Nuts continue to be one of the most exciting teams in minor-league baseball, full stop. They powered their way into the playoffs, surging with a 17 game win streak and clinching with a 4-2 series win over the Fresno Grizzlies. Their roster is loaded with exciting young talent and their pitching has quietly become a strong suit for them, something very atypical for the team at the beginning of the year. I’m not sure I’ve seen a bigger powerhouse going into a championship series in my time watching minor league baseball and they are sure to make for an extremely exacting series against a good Vancouver squad.
Baseball destroyed! Lazaro Montes game tying 2-run HR! pic.twitter.com/4NW2v1HwmV— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 9, 2023
There’s too many names to cover so I’m covering them all...
Final season long statlines:
Colt Emerson: .302/.436/.444/.880
Tai Peete: .242/.299/.387/.686
Brock Rodden: .319/.376/.465/.841
Michael Arroyo: .234/.389/.373/.762
Lazaro Montes: .321/.429/.565/.994
Luis Suisbel: .290/.375/.492/.867
The Modesto Nuts are the 2nd half Cal League North Division champions!! pic.twitter.com/pqXP9jTmJz— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 10, 2023
Of Note: First rounder will be making his debut with the Nuts in the playoff series this week. If you’ve got MLB.tv and need something to do this week, consider checking it out. Just one more reason to watch.