All-Star Breaks and Futures Games and other fun things afoot
The Mariners farm is both more exciting and more functional than it’s been in a long time, which means it’s worth paying attention to how the prospects are performing down at the lower levels of the organization. In addition to our stalwart State of the Farm weekly roundup that takes a longer view of the farm, we’ll have minor league roundups thrice a week or so to share some highlights, gifs, and notes in our Midshipmen’s Log (it’s a baby sailor, get it? **waits patiently for ‘ba dum tiss’ on the drums** yeah yeah).
The Futures Game was Sunday, featuring three prospects of our very own. Sadly, no one made an especially big dent in the game, although Justin Dunn might have slightly dented a batter when he grazed his elbow with a pitch. Dunn pitched an inning and recorded a groundout, a flyout, and a strikeout, as well as the HBP.
Poor Evan White drew the shortest straw today; he absolutely scalded a ball but right at the left fielder in his lone at-bat. He was then replaced before his next AB, because the Futures Game is only seven innings, by Texas prospect Sam Huff, who proceeded to knock the game-tying HR and win MVP. White’s lineout still had the highest exit velocity of any ball in play in the game, though, at a blistering 112.2 mph EV.
Jarred Kelenic muscles a ball into LF off LHP Mackenzie Gore but Carter Kieboom is able to run it down. Evan White makes solid contact but unfortunately right at Reds OF Taylor Trammell. pic.twitter.com/xUrqX4kPpk
— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 7, 2019
Jarred Kelenic also got unlucky today; he played the entire game but went 0-3 on a soft flyout, a deeper flyout, and a blooper that shortstop Carter Kieboom made an excellent play on that had an expected batting average (xBA) of .850. Do you think Jarred was a little frustrated?
— Seattle Ms Nation (@seattlemsnation) July 8, 2019
Be fearful, Cal League pitchers, a pissed-off Jarred Kelenic is on his way to take some frustration out on you.
ROSTER MOVES: RHPs Parker Markel and David McKay have been recalled by Seattle, and Tacoma adds INF Connor Kopach and LHP Raymond Kerr from Modesto.
— Tacoma Rainiers (@RainiersLand) July 6, 2019
Should’ve been invited originally, but at least he gets to go. Now call him up to play left.
DSL Mariners (12-19) defang DSL Tigers (12-19), 9-4 (Saturday)
The DSL Mariners, like the USPS, don’t work Sundays, but since every win the DSL Mariners record is worth celebrating, we shall celebrate this one. Top prospect Noelvi Marte went 0-for-5 with two Ks but fellow not-top-but-definitely-worthy-of-attention prospect Jonatan Clase picked up the team with three hits, including a double (we promise, he’s on our list to write about). 18-year-old RHP Yeury Tatiz offered a strong start, going four innings and allowing a run on two hits while striking out five. In 18 innings, Tatiz has an ERA of 2.0 and has struck out 22 while only walking four.
AZL Mariners (9-8) tarnish AZL Athletics Gold (10-7), 8-3
While their older brothers were busily losing to our vuvuzela-loving neighbors to the south, the Baby M’s got it done thanks to a strong effort from a pair of pitchers: 18-year-old Brayan Perez, recently of the DSL, who pitched five innings and allowed one run (a solo HR) on three hits while striking out seven and walking no one; and Fellow Kid Danny Chang, who pitched three innings and allowed two runs on two hits (with four walks, yikes) and struck out six. Fun fact: Chang is running a K/9 of over 16 in the AZL. The offense did their part as well, tallying eight runs on eight hits, led by 3B Nolan Perez’s three-hit day that included an RBI single, a two-RBI single, and an RBI triple.
Everett AquaSox (12-12) vainquent the Vancouver Canadians (6-18), 6-4
Perhaps the Frogs were a little lulled to sleep by the Canadians’ dreadful record, because they almost gave this one away at the end, allowing all four of the Canadians runs to score in the final two frames of the game. Or maybe they were just repaying the Canadians for being such kind hosts, who can say. RHP Evan Johnson, a FA signing out of Creighton who has been a solid pickup, gave his bullpen a very nice plant he’d grown from seed—four innings of two-hit, no-run ball—and the bullpen proceeded to embrace the pot with buttered fingers. Luckily, the offense had laid down some soft cushioning just in case the plant fell, cranking out 14 hits, including a solo HR from C Carter Bins. 3B Austin Shenton continued to lay waste to the NWL and show why the Mariners paid full slot value for the fifth-rounder out of FIU, collecting three hits on the day including a double. Every member of the lineup was on base at least once during the game, and five players had multi-hit days.
West Virginia Power (46-42) erased by the Lexington Legends (43-44) 6-5 (10)
West Virginia held a narrow 5-4 lead headed into the eighth, but 2019 draftee Reeves Martin couldn’t hold the lead and 2018 draftee Ben Onyshko couldn’t keep the courtesy runner from scoring in the 10th. Starter Steven Moyers went seven innings and surrendered four runs, all in a single bad inning, which has been an odd sort of pattern with a few of the WV starters this year. The Power got the four runs back immediately in the half-inning after, with Joseph Rosa—thankfully recovered from a scary moment where he got hit by a pitch around the head/neck area yesterday—leading the charge. Rosa has been hot lately and might be pushing for a promotion to Modesto soon. CF Charlie McConnell also checked in with two hits, including a double and a two-RBI single. I was hoping manager Dave Berg might pull Julio off the bench to provide some punch for extras—and I’m sure Julio was campaigning for the shot—but as it was his first day off since coming off the IL, it was probably for the best he get his rest.
Modesto Nuts (39-49) felled by San Jose Giants (38-49), 3-2
The Nuts just got done with a series against prospect-packed Stockton, and on Sunday started a series (weird!) with a similarly prospect-packed Giants team. However, today several of those prospects were absent, with Jarred Kelenic, Heliot Ramos, and Joey Bart all off in Cleveland at the Futures Game. Cal Raleigh, who has been playing like the radioactive ghost of Yogi Berra bit him on the toe last month, decided he didn’t need an invite to the Futures Game: he’s just going to go ahead and make his own. The Beef Boy tallied two more hits today, including this double:
Cal Raleigh’s hot streak continues with this double. The ball is beach-ball sized to him right now. pic.twitter.com/m7mxXk1hFM
— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 8, 2019
He later singled, stole a base, and then advanced to third on the throw. He also had several nice blocks and caught a runner stealing, adding to his league-leading 38% CS percentage. I am like a week away from becoming a Cal Raleigh-based evangelist who goes door-to-door with grainy footage from Modesto to ask if people have heard the good news about our catcher of the future.
Ian McKinney had another strong start. He was lifted after six innings for pitch count reasons, because striking out NINE will do a number on your pitch count. Not only did he mow down the Giants, McKinney also didn’t walk a single batter, which is a great sign of progress for him, as walks have been an issue for him. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn’t hold it down/the offense couldn’t muster more than two runs.
Arkansas Travelers (55-30) shut out? by Springfield Cardinals (37-50), 4-0
The Arkansas Travelers, playing without Evan White and Justin Dunn, were shut out today, and I am going to consult my books of law because I’m pretty sure that’s illegal? Zac Grotz made a spot start and held things down for 3.1 innings, giving up just one run and striking out four, but long reliever/Modesto callup Scott Boches struggled in his 2.2 innings, giving up three runs. (On the bright side: Jake Haberer continued to rebound from an early rough start at AA and posted another scoreless inning). Ultimately it wouldn’t have made any difference how many runs the pitching staff surrendered, though, because the offense just couldn’t get anything going today. Aside from 1B/INF Mike Ahmed, who had two hits including a double, and ol’ reliable Joe Odom checking in with a double of his own, only two other members of the lineup squeaked out singles. It was a rare flat day for the Travs, who will hopefully rebound once they have reclaimed Evan White from his ancestral home.
Tacoma Rainiers (43-46): OFF
It’s the Triple-A All-Star Break. The Rainiers had to play a doubleheader to get there—their second doubleheader in three days—which they wound up splitting with the Fresno Grizzlies, and will now get to enjoy the same break as their MLB brethren. If you’re interested in seeing the Triple-A All-Star Game (go Ian Miller!), it will be broadcast on MLB Network on Tuesday at 6 PM PT. It will also be in El Paso, where the baseballs go very very far, so if you’re into dingers, this might be your cup of tea.
The pickings are slim with the big club and Tacoma on their respective All-Star Breaks, and various other clubs dented in personnel by shuffling around the system to put bodies in uniforms, but the Modesto game is one to watch tomorrow, with Ljay Newsome opposing top Giants pitching prospect/humorously tall person Sean Hjelle, whose head will undoubtedly be cut off by the limitations of my laptop screen.
DSL SEA at DSL Tigers, 7:30 AM PT
West Virginia, Tacoma: OFF
Northwest Arkansas at Arkansas (TV), 5:10 PT (RHP Ricardo Sanchez)
AZL Brewers Gold at AZL Mariners, 6 PT
Modesto at San Jose (TV), 7:00 PT (RHP Ljay Newsome)
Everett at Vancouver, 7:05 PT (RHP Kelvin Nuñez)