According to the radio broadcast today, LHPs George Sherrill and Randy Williams were cut today, reducing the camp to 40.
Sherrill seemed to be improving as the cactus league season went on, but it wasn't enough to recover from the three runs he allowed in his first appearance. He ends with a 9.00 ERA over three innings, allowing five hits (opp avg .357), two walks, and striking out four. He may be a candidate for a job should one of the other lefties go down, and should begin his season in Tacoma.
Williams saw very little time in the cactus league, only 2.1 innings, but he recently ran into some trouble and allowed two runs, one of them earned. He ends his campaign with a 3.85 ERA, four hits allowed (opp avg .364), with no walks or strikeouts.
I'm a little disappointed that both didn't see a little more time in the A games. It probably would have given them a better chance to make the team, but that would just be my opinion. Like last season, we have seen the M's sign some veterans late in free agent season and have seemed to give the ball to them. Not to knock on the pitching of Villone, Mulholland, and Myers, who have all pitched better than their competition. I just like to see useful rookie players come up and make an impact.
In the "better late than never" department, the PI has done another recap of the Evel Bastida-Martinez story
from late last season. It was an uncharacteristic move, reinstating him, but no one seemed to expect anything like what happened, given the nature of Evel's personality. As an added perspective, Mike Aldrete, new Mariners first base coach and manager of the Lancaster JetHawks at that time, gives a few words on the incident, basically saying that the higher-ups would probably know better than he does. In the article, it suggests that Evel did not do well enough to warrant a promotion to AA, but I'm not sure about that. He had a .274 average and a relatively even rate at which he walks and strikes out. Granted, he was slightly older than his competition and performed lower than league average overall, but where else are you going to send him? Repeating the Cal league may not be the brightest idea, but Ismael Castro will probably have second base duties in AA.
In other news, Ramon Santiago has been on a tear through the cactus league and there are suddenly some questions to be raised as to where he would fit on the roster. Bye bye Bloomie?
I'll catch up with whatever might be in the News Tribune tomorrow. Their update schedule is fairly erratic and I don't care to wait that long.
At MLB.com, there is a story on 3B Justin Leone
regarding his breakout season. This is probably the best story on Leone yet, comparable to the one put out by the Olympian a while ago without the spelling errors. Go check it out.
There was no news last night. I originally thought there might be something on the Everett Herald site, which was down around midnight, but there was nothing there either.
The Mariners have made five cuts today
. Leone, Madritsch, and Baek were optioned to Tacoma. Dobbs was optioned to San Antonio. Rene Rivera was reassigned to the minor league camp.
Ugueto, Putz, Looper, Santiago, and Taylor are still in camp, as is Jarvis. In terms of NRIs, there is Mulholland, Myers, Sherrill, Williams, Borders, Oliveros, Bocachica, Owens, Jacobsen, Mickey Lopez, and Jose Lopez.
The next set of cuts would probably figure one of the backup shortstops, one or more of the pitchers, possibly Bocachica, and both Lopez guys. It seems like Sherrill and Williams are being kept because they are the most "veteran" of the minor league lefties, there's no telling how much longer either will last but hopefully they'll see some time in different situations before they're cut.
Baek was sent to Tacoma, so I was wrong, but I probably should have expected it considering how he was returning to form after his injury. As he gets his velocity back, he could end up in the mid-90s range for his fastball. He handles all of his pitches with excellent control, and seems to have avoided being labeled as a relief prospect unlike some other pitchers. This may mean that Madritsch is moving to the bullpen, unless Thornton starts in San Antonio.
Madritsch was leaving many scratching their heads as to why he was still in camp. It wasn't as if he did poorly, 3.60 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, four strikeouts, but he still doesn't seem to have fully utilized his abilities and figure out how to pitch instead of throwing. The remaining minor league lefties didn't necessarily do better, but they're more polished in their approach.
Leone had tough luck in the cactus league and that's putting it lightly. It seems like it could've been nerves, he seems like he could be one of those "intense" players that is going to kick his own ass more than anyone else if he isn't doing well. That could be both good and bad.
Dobbs, on the other hand, has said regularly that he leaves it all on the field, and that's probably going to help him in the long run. It wouldn't be beyond reason to pencil in Dobbs for third base in Seattle next year. He ends his cactus league campaign hitting .333 and slugging .400 in 15 ABs.
Rivera and Oliveros have both seemed to see very little game time compared to what minor league catchers got last year. Rivera got one single in three at bats and is probably our catcher of the future at this point, given management's recent disillusion with Ben Davis (I write just as he catches a batter stealing). Given another year or two, he could probably be in the majors. I'll probably say the same things about Oliveros once he's cut. It's possible that the battery two or three years from now will be Rivera/Oliveros, which isn't bad, because both have above average endurance, good skills with the bat (Oli will hit for better average with less strikeouts, Rivera will hit for more power), and great defensive/game calling abilities. I'm not factoring Christianson in right now because of his recent injuries, but he could easily come back and knock Oliveros out of the picture.
BA added a minor league notebook for AL West teams
, but only subscribers can access it. It talks about former third rounder CF Michael Wilson who repeated the AZL last year to better number than before. They're currently trying to get him to find his power again. Currently, it seems like there are better CF prospects down there, though not all of them have the same power, unless you want to list Balentien as a CF since he has played all three OF positions, though he may end up projecting as a LF at this point.
Speaking of Balentien, over at ITP, there have been pictures of the minor league camps
being uploaded as they are taken. I recommend taking a look.
PI: Not exactly PI, but AP via PI, there's a story on SS Adam Jones
who made quite and impression on everyone this spring. Jones seems to expect to play in the majors by age 21, which doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. Gotta like the confidence, I guess.
Art Thiel quote: "Sure, spring training numbers are much like Janet Jackson's nipple adornments -- of interest to insiders, but not useful for public consumption." This is why I can't stand the guy.
Tribune: Chris Snelling apparently had minor surgery yesterday after feeling some minor discomfort in his left knee
. This was the result of a loose screw in his leg left over from his surgery in 2002. That's right, a loose screw. Sportwriters everywhere are thanking their lucky stars that they won't have to think of a clever title for this story; their work is already done.
Oregonian: Put up a piece on the future potential of M's minor league pitchers
. That makes it sound a little better than it is. Only the last few paragraphs is on the minor leaguers, despite the title, and even then it isn't much that you wouldn't already hear from another source already. More a rehashing sans detail than anything else.
BA: There was a question relating to the Mariners in the new Ask BA column...
"At this point, it looks like the Mariners' Triple-A Tacoma rotation may feature Clint Nageotte, Travis Blackley, Rett Johnson, Cha Baek and Bobby Madritsch, with Matt Thornton somewhere in the mix. How does that group stack up with the other top rotations throughout the minors? What other organizations have comparable or superior pitching depth that's close to major league ready?
Chris, I believe you've identified the best Opening Day rotation in the upper minors. It's quite possible that once they get settled in Seattle, Nageotte will be a closer and Johnson and Madritsch will be late-inning setup men, but for now the Mariners will continue to use all of them as starters.
After scanning our prospect lists, I came up with five other formidable potential rotations we could see in Double-A or Triple-A at the beginning of the season. I'll list them in alphabetical order by club:
Team (Class) (Org)
Top Pitching Prospects
Bowie (AA) (Bal)
John Maine, Erik Bedard, Rommie Lewis, Dave Crouthers, Ryan Hannaman
Indianapolis (AAA) (Mil)
Mike Jones, Ben Hendrickson, Jorge de la Rosa, Chris Capuano
Nashville (AAA) (Pit)
John VanBenschoten, Sean Burnett, Cory Stewart
Syracuse (AAA) (Bal)
Dustin McGowan, David Bush, Jason Arnold, Vinny Chulk, Cam Reimers
West Tenn (AA) (ChC)
Bobby Brownlie, Chadd Blasko, Jae-Kuk Ryu, Ricky Nolasco, Renyel Pinto, Carmen Pignatiello
I'd put the West Tenn rotation right behind Tacoma's, and it will get even stronger with the addition of Angel Guzman. The Cubs' top prospect, Guzman will miss the start of the season as he recovers from minor shoulder surgery last summer.
A sleeper rotation to watch is Toronto's Double-A New Haven group. Francisco Rosario has almost completed his comeback from Tommy John surgery and should go there after a possible tuneup in high Class A. Vince Perkins, D.J. Hanson and Jesse Harper should be with the Ravens to start the season. "
Gee, if the Mariners rotation is the best and the ceiling of Nageotte, Johnson, and Madritsch all tops out at "reliever", I'd hate to see how the other top rotations turn out (grumbles). Realistically, I'd like to give Nageotte time in Tacoma before we start going down the road paved by every recent Mariners pitcher coming up and claim that he's going to be a closer. He doesn't really have a change-up at the moment, but when last season started some were suggesting that he didn't really have a fastball either and he seems to be making good progress with that. Sometimes pitchers are good throughout and then suddenly it clicks ofr them. Could anyone have seriously predicted Blackley doing what he's done over the past eyar given his minor leageu stats to this point? Pineiro looking like he could be an ace sometime soon? Mateo developing into a strong right-handed setup type (albeit, prone to HR which should decrease)? I'm not saying it's the rule and not the exception, but if a pitcher has what it takes mentally, they're going know to take the next step up. Blackley has it, Pineiro has it, Mateo has it, and from what I've heard, it seems to me that Nageotte may have it too.
Now that I'm done with my Nageotte rant... I think that the other two predictions might be true, to a point. Johnson, if he's to find a place on the M's staff, would theoretically end up as a Nelson-type reliever. In most other systems, he might be somewhere mid to back rotation in the majors. Madritsch seems to be making progress. Ben Davis said recently in the papers that he's starting to get an idea on the mound, which is scout/coach/catcher speak for "he's starting to realize he can't get by on one pitch and is learning how to deal with batters on a situational basis." Of course, this is the same Ben Davis that was seriously called out in the Tribune today
. Depending on how Madritsch does this year, it could eventually come down to either Madritsch or Thornton (who is about seven months younger) in the rotation as power lefty, btu right now Thornton's the more polished of the two, without question. It's sort of odd, Madritsch is the one who really wanted to start and Thornton was the one who was originally brought up in primarily relief appearances, and the end roles may be reversed. Kind of a shame, I thought quite highly of Mads when he was first signed, but it just goes to show you how hard it is to gauge indy league signings.
(Final Note: Cha Baek's probably going to be in San Antonio, or so was the opinion I was hearing in the papers at the end of the season. With his performance in ST, and considering how long they've kept him in camp, they might just seek out some place for him in Tacoma. All assuming that some crazy trade doesn't happen, and for the record, I'm opposed to anything sending out Blackley or Nageotte, but Johnson and below would be okay)
Oh yeah, check out the props the Orioles are getting for their pitching. Perhaps they'll contend sooner than we think?... Well, maybe not contend, but they'll be a pretty good team.
We're getting around to the time when we'll see a lot of cuts. Though it seems like Leone has been kept around to get him that one hit for confidence, he might not even get it at this point. A shame, truly. Hope he picks up in Tacoma and goes back to the level he was at last year.
There was no minor news overnight. None. Even BA didn't list any new transactions when they updated yesterday.
Instead, I'm going to leave you with a 2004 Mariners preview
just released today. If it's like the others, it will have some small notes within as to who might be able to make an impact from the minors. It's a detailed preview, I liked it. Jeff over at Leone for Third was even linked to when the guy made a reference about people calling for Bavasi's head.
ESPN's latest Down on the Farm column
had a partial question on SS Adam Jones...
Dave from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, writes: Adam Jones was a supplemental first round pick by the Mariners in 2003. He played most of last season for Peoria (Rookie-level), putting up decent numbers and finished off the year playing at Class A Everett. He's also apparently in spring training this year with the Mariners, doing well, even if it is a very small sample. What caught my eye was that he's only 18. Basically I was curious if you knew anything of him, and is he possibly the next Jose Reyes or Miguel Cabrera?
Jones was a supplemental first-round pick in '03, out of high school in San Diego. He could have gone higher in the draft ... many teams were intrigued with his 93-96 mph fastball ... but he wanted to play shortstop instead, and many scouts were skeptical about his bat, so his stock dropped a bit.
The Mariners are giving him a shot in the infield, and so far the results look decent. He hit .303 in 31 games combined between the Arizona Rookie League and the Class A Northwest League last summer. On the other hand, he had just seven extra-base hits, and didn't draw many walks (just six in 130 plate appearances). He's expected to hit for average, but he needs to hone the strike zone in order to develop power. Although he has the athleticism to play shortstop, he is still error-prone and needs more experience. Jones has tons of potential, but still has a lot to learn about playing baseball. I wouldn't put him in the Cabrera/Reyes class at this point.
Personally, I'm not sure what to think of the comparison he came up with, but the same guy also compared Jared Weaver to Mark Prior...
Corey at Mariner Optimist
just recommended people come here for minor-related news, so I guess I'll finish up the news review and then collapse in a heap on the floor. Hopefully with not a lot of redundancy. My CD isn't finished anyway (downloaded Machina II by The Smashing Pumpkins a few days ago, highly recommend it).
PI: There's the notebook containing commentary on the three demoted pitchers
. I'll post all three, but the content doesn't vary a lot between them. The coaches seem most impressed with Blackley at this point. More interesting, however, is the allusions to the idea of putting Thornton in the rotation. He was originally used as a reliever, despite being a first-round picked starting pitcher, but couldn't seem to adjust to it, so they used him in starting again before he went down with the injuries. I don't think his injuries are going to develop into any sort of chronic concern. So far as power lefties in the rotation go, he seems as good an option as any, and he's more polished than Madritsch. It's going to be hard to tell where to put him right now though. Same situation with Baek, the surprise comeback kid of the 2003 minor league season, who has a killer blend of power and control.
Art Thiel's piece on Travis Blackley
should give more insight into the kind of character he has. Sort of goofy off the field, but intense on the mound, a trait shared by many Australians. Ordinarily, I can't stand Thiel's writing, particularly his bizarre choice of pop culture similes, but this article is quite good, and tolerable as well. He reassures that Blackley is rotation material, so at least someone's bringing sense to the papers... on the other hand it's Thiel. I hear the weather's getting unseasonably chilly in Hell right now.
There's also the take five with Justin Leone
. I ordinarily don't link to those, but you've got to respect a guy who's gotten stuck in a freezer at a Chinese restaurant.
Times: The Mariners notebook
adds some more depth to the idea of Thornton in the rotation. We also get Davis' commentary on Thornton, Baek, and Madritsch. Thornton has some good movement on his pitches, apparently.
Herald: Rehash of Tribune's piece on Ryan Anderson
from yesterday. Similar quotes, though some are expanded in this version.
News Tribune: A notebook similar to what was put out in the Times and PI on the three demoted pitchers
. This projects the Rainiers rotation as being Thorton, Blackley, Nageotte, Baek, and Madritsch. I'm going to come out disagreeing with this assessment right now. Baek was proejcted for San Antonio to start with a midseason promotion. Thornton may start in SA too, just for the sake of warmer climate. Madritsch may
end up being used as a reliever, but that's my guesswork right there. And where do C. Anderson and Rett Johnson go? Too many questions, but the Tacoma rotation is going to be a force to be reckoned with, no doubt.
In other news around the minors, an article in a Fort Worth paper makes brief mention of C Brian Moon
, who was assigned to San Antonio as a signing early in the fall. They indicate that Moon may return since the Fort Worth independant league team has some control of his rights. I assume that this means they will get him back in the event he is cut from the Mariners minor league camp when it breaks, and I wouldn't rule that out as a possibility due to the noticable increase in the number of catchers in the system just over the past year.
Also, Jason reports to me that RHP Scott Patterson is 6'7, 24, a former West Virginia State Yellow Jacket, conference pitcher of the year in his senior year, and was assigned to Double-A San Antonio. We don't call him Diamond Genius for nothing.
Aaron Gleeman, who writes articles of epic length, has been composing some prospect rankings. The 26-50 Prospects
were posted yesterday, and the 1-25 Prospects
came today. Here's the Mariners-related rundown, from lowest to highest rank.
45) Jose Lopez
Seattle Mariners | Shortstop | Bats: Right | DOB: 11/24/1983
YEAR LVL AB AVG OBP SLG HR D+T BB SO SB
2001 A 289 .256 .309 .329 2 15 13 44 13
2002 A 522 .324 .360 .464 8 44 27 45 31
2003 AA 538 .258 .303 .403 13 37 27 56 18
I was very high on Jose Lopez last year and he had a decent but disappointing season in 2003. He batted just .258/.303/.403, but did have 13 homers and 50 total extra-base hits in 538 at bats, while also stealing 18 bases.
Before putting him back on this list for 2004, I thought long and hard about whether or not I was falling into what I like to call the "Luis Rivas trap." Basically, Rivas was pushed very fast through the minor leagues and was extremely young for each level he played at. He never actually produced offensively, but most people kept giving him free passes because of his youth. Now he's 24, he still has yet to produce any kind of good offense for a sustained period of time, and many people are still giving him a free pass. As readers of my blog know, I have complained about this many times.
So, does this apply to Jose Lopez? Honestly, no. Like Rivas, Lopez has been extremely young for each level he's played at. However, unlike Rivas, Lopez actually had a very productive offensive season, hitting .324/.360/.464 at Single-A in 2002. Rivas doesn't have anything close to that on his resume.
I am very willing to give extremely young players the benefit of the doubt, as long as they show me something to get excited about. Rivas never showed that, but Lopez definitely has. Jose Lopez may never become a great player, but his spot on this list is justified.
39) Clint Nageotte
Seattle Mariners | Pitcher | Throws: Right | DOB: 10/25/1980
YEAR LVL IP ERA SO BB H HR
2001 A 152.1 3.13 187 50 141 10
2002 A 164.2 4.54 214 68 153 10
2003 AA 154.0 3.10 157 67 127 6
I'm still a big fan of Clint Nageotte's, but I'm not as convinced of his ability to become a dominant starting pitcher as I was this time last year. He had a very good season at Double-A San Antonio in 2003, going 11-7 with a 3.10 ERA in 154 innings. His strikeout numbers, as usual, were very impressive. However, the deterioration of his strikeout/walk ratio is concerning.
Part of that is due to moving up a level each year, but you would also expect a pitcher to refine his control during that span, which Nageotte hasn't really done.
Almost anyone you talk to will say that Nageotte has perhaps the best slider in all of minor league baseball and his fastball and changeup are considered good pitches too. Still, there has always been talk that he may simply be best suited for the bullpen long-term because of his reliance on the slider. I still think a guy who posts a 3.10 ERA as a 22-year-old at Double-A and strikes out more than a batter an inning there has a future as a starting pitcher, but 2004 will probably tell for sure.
36) Travis Blackley
Seattle Mariners | Pitcher | Throws: Left | DOB: 11/4/1982
YEAR LVL IP ERA SO BB H HR
2001 A 78.2 3.32 90 29 60 7
2002 A 121.1 3.49 152 44 102 11
2003 AA 162.1 2.61 144 62 125 11
Travis Blackley is still a relatively unknown prospect thanks to unspectacular "stuff," but his actual performance, which I'm happy to take over radar gun readings, has always been extremely impressive. Signed out of Australia in 2000, Blackley has a career record of 28-13 with a 3.06 ERA in three minor league seasons. He had his best year in 2003.
Blackley won the 2003 Texas League Pitcher of the Year by going 17-3 with a 2.61 ERA in 162.1 innings at Double-A San Antonio. He lacks the blazing fastball that many pitchers on this list possess, but despite the lack of velocity, Blackley struck out 8.0 batters per nine innings last year and has 386 strikeouts in 362.1 career innings.
Blackley won't turn 22 until November and he is just a couple steps from the majors. He'll likely begin this season at Triple-A and could see time in Seattle by the end of the year. He doesn't look to me like a future ace, but I think he'll make a solid #2/#3 starter on a good team. He should be ready to step in as a regular member of the starting rotation just in time to replace another lefty with results that dwarf his stuff, Jamie Moyer.
25) Felix Hernandez
Seattle Mariners | Pitcher | Throws: Right | DOB: 4/18/1986
YEAR LVL IP ERA SO BB H HR
2003 A 55.0 2.29 73 24 43 2
A 14.0 1.93 18 3 9 1
Felix Hernandez was born on April 18...1986. I've heard baseball fans say they start to feel old when players who are younger than they are begin making their major league debuts. But for me, it makes me feel old when a great pitching prospect was born three years after I was.
King Felix was signed at the age of 16 out of Venezuela in 2002 and made his pro debut last season. He was simply spectacular. Hernandez began the year at Single-A Everett of the Northwest League and went 7-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 55 innings, striking out 73 while walking 24. Then he moved up to Single-A Wisconsin of the Midwest League and posted a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings there.
For the year, Hernandez went 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 69 innings, compiling a 91/27 strikeout/walk ratio while holding batters to a combined .209 batting average. And he did all that at the age of 17.
All of the disclaimers about young pitchers and injuries apply, and certainly Hernandez needs to show that he can pitch like this at higher levels, but right now he looks like a serious stud. Here's an interesting little tidbit: Pedro Martinez was also signed when he was just 16 years and, when he was 17, he went 7-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 85.2 innings pitching in the Dominican Summer League.
*Four out of fifty is pretty good, well above average.
*Lopez is looking like he might make it in '05 so far from his performance in the cactus league. He's hitting .313 and sligging .563 right now. He hasn't stolen any bases yet though, which shouldn't be any concern in spring training, but that's been a little concern of mine. He stole little more than half as many bases last year as he did in the previous year. Heck, Justin Leone stole more bases than him. I hope he rebounds in that this year, I like it when a player can steal a few bases here and there.
*Again, I'm going to attribute Nageotte's decrease in control last year partially to being forced to use his fastball more often. His control may similarly suffer this year as he uses his change-up more, but in the long run, it'll help him in every aspect of his game. It may hurt his status a little now, but who cares once he makes it?
*Blackley, from his spring training time, looks like he could've been ready to step in right now. He seems to have the Jamie Moyer tendency to add new pitches to his repetoire all the time. The cutter was a new one for this season, I believe, and you can't really argue with the results. He may not dominate, but like Moyer, he could probably give opposing batters an 0-for-4 that doesn't feel so bad. He may end up with some ace-type status down the road anyway, people forget how little of his life he's been pitching.
*Interesting comparison from Felix to Pedro. Looks like he'll be moving through the system pretty quickly.
As for the minor league news around the local papers, I think I'm going to put that off until tomorrow at some point. Not that there will be much to report, but I've learned from writing late-night responses to James (whose blog I highly recommend
), it's that I can get really sloppy in my reading ability this time of night and should probably go to sleep instead.
According to Dave Neihaus on KOMO 1000 radio, LHP Matt Thornton and RHP Clint Nageotte have been optioned to Tacoma. LHP Travis Blackley may have been reassigned to the minor league camp as well.
The local papers were championing Thornton as a bullpen savior for a while and claiming that he was completely healthy. I think that this is probably for the best as he'll be able to get more regular time throwing in wherever he ends up, possibly the warmer climate of San Antonio, just to start the year. He's started and relieved in his career, so if a lefty in the bullpen ends up going down, it's possible that Thornton may be called up.
Nageotte and Blackley shouldn't be surprises, and despite recent cheers that they deserve time in Seattle, this will work better in the long run. Nageotte is trying to get comfortable with his change-up, and he simply would not be able to do that as easily in the bullpen. But the change-up's value is two-fold; it gives him one more pitch for opposing batters to think about AND it means that he will have to throw less sliders overall, reducing the chances of an elbow injury.
Blackley, well, I'll just briefly rehash the argument: lefties hit .302 against him last year, arsenal more suited to starting, has only been pitching for five years or so and still has room for improvement, more regular pitching schedule in Tacoma, wouldn't need to be added to 40-man just yet, etc etc etc.
In other transaction-related news, according to OurSports Central, which is one of the better resources for Independant League information, the Mariners have signed RHP Scott Patterson from the Gateway Grizzlies of the independant Frontier League
. Patterson had twenty appearances last year, eighteen of them starts and three of those were completed. He struck out 120 while walking only 24 in 129.2 innings. He had a 2.92 ERA and allowed 119 hits, six of them home runs. He has not yet been signed to a specific minor league club.
Indie league signing are always interesting because even within them, there is some difference of competition between the leagues. I don't know about the Frontier League's level of competition because the Mariners haven't signed many players from there since I've been paying attention. Patterson holds the Grizzlies' single season record for strikeouts, but it doesn't mean that he is a polished pitcher by any means (remember how Bobby Madritsch used to rely mostly on fastball).
I have no data on Patterson ever being drafted by a major league team, but hopefully he's young enough to improve while still being young enough to make an impact. He had been pitching with the Grizzlies since the middle of the 2002 season.
The news in the papers has been a little light recently, but the News Tribune did one on former top prospect LHP Ryan Anderson
. It seems like he has grown a lot mentally in recent years and is taking less for granted. Granted, I probably would have said the same last year around this time too. I, like others, am hoping that he makes it to the majors if for no other reason than he would be the first pitcher to endure so many surgeries and still make the majors. Hope he makes it.
Seattle Times: Finnegan put together a story comparing Greg Dobbs and Justin Leone
. It doesn't have much that hasn't been said already. Dobbs is happy for Leone and his breakout, Leone is disappointed that his season had to come via Dobbs' blown Achilles. Both expect to be with Mariners sometime soon.
There was a story two days ago on Adam Jones
that I missed. You know Jones is talented when he makes the transition from aluminum bat to wood bat with so little difficulty. Looking forward to seeing what he can do.
News Tribune: New story on J.J. Putz
. They've changed his mechanics a bit to help him keep his pitches down (he already says he can pitch up). Melvin believes that he's one of the top ooptions should they need a starter or reliever in the majors.
Putz probably would have been in our pen last year if not for the signing of a certain ex-Dodger who will remain nameless. Instead, they used him for most of last year as a reliever when he had started for the rest of his career. This improved his chances of getting on the M's roster, but probably reduced his trade value a bit. Considering how many pitchers we have in the system, I dont' know how we couldn't get some value out of him. Surely, all the teams can't be asking for Soriano/Blackley/Nageotte.
Villone worked three innings in the B game today, one hit and two strikeouts. Sherrill worked one inning, gave up one hit, struck out the side. Following his sad debut, we've seen more of the true Sherrill. A few days ago, he got the side out on a strikeout, a groundout, and a flyout. I'm hoping he continues to make a good impression on the team officials.
Bocachica and Strong both went 2-for-4, Jose Lopez went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI. Right now, it's looking like Lopez will be ready to take over SS in 2005.
Matt Thornton, despite only allowing one run, got beat up pretty badly. Not entirely surprised, but I still hope he does well.
Those getting tired of Griffey stories may appreciate this story
According to the Seattle Times
, Jeff Heaverlo has been sent down to the minor league camp, reducing the number in camp to 50.
This move, like the Johnson move, is primarily to get Heaverlo the additional work he needs. Heaverlo is still recovering from various aches and surgeries.