Sorry for the delays today, Blogger wouldn't publish for me.
The organization is now 4-8 as a whole. Meanwhile, the Mariners are still seeking their first win.
Tacoma was tagged with another loss to the Sidewinders today, 8-4. LHP Travis Blackley allowed five runs through five innings, with nine hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. Blackley also had three wild pitches and a balk, so the fact that the damage was kept that low is pretty amazing. LHP Craig Anderson followed with three innings in which he allowed another three runs on six hits (one HR) and a walk, getting three strikeouts along the way. From the offense's side, SS Ramon Santiago (2B), 1B AJ Zapp (2B, R), and RF Elpidio Guzman (HR) picked up two hits each. 2B Jose Lopez, who is being moved all over the place, hit his second home run of the season. LHP Matt Thornton should start tomorrow.
San Antonio picked up their first win of the season, 3-2 against the Midland Rockhounds. The Missions won the game when DH John Lindsey hit a home run off of RHP Bert Snow in the ninth inning. LHP Glenn Bott started and went four and two thirds innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. LHP Tim Rall followed with a stunning two and a third innings where he recorded six strikeouts and only one hit. RHPs Emiliano Fruto and Jared Hoerman followed with an inning a piece to get the win and the save. Outside of Lindsey, RF Cristian Guerrero also hit a home run in the seventh. LF Shin Soo Choo picked up a triple and CF Dustin Delucchi got a double, as well. RHP Elvis Perez should get the start tomorrow. Also worth noting is that second baseman Rob Gandolfo pulled a hammy in yesterday's game and Evel Bastida-Martinez has been called up in his stead. No word yet as to who might replace him down in Wisconsin, but it might be a starting pitcher. Just me speculating.
Inland Empire slammed Lake Elisinore today, 16-4. Half of those runs scored in the final three frames. RHP T.A. Fulmer was nothing short of dominant in his start, going five and two thirds innings allowing one earned run (the only earned run in the game against the 66ers) on four hits and a walk, stiking out seven in the process. The rest of the game was finished up by LHP Melvin Pizarro, who allowed two unearned runs, RHP David Viane, and RHP Tanner Watson, a former starter. 3B Matt Rogelstad (2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, E) an offensive standout in the game with four hits batting in the five spot. He was backed up by three-hit guys 1B Frederico Balet (R, RBI, 2 E) and CF Gary Haris (3B, HR, 4 R, 5 RBI). SS Juan Gonzalez (2 R, BB), 2B Ismael Castro (2 R, BB), DH Jon Nelson (2B, 3B, 2 R, RBI, BB) and LF Carlos Arroyo (2B, R, RBI) each had two hits. The placement of Tanner Watson in the bullpen, particularly in a blowout, raises questions about the rotation for the future. RHP Juan Sandoval will be a likely starter today or tomorrow, beyond that, RHP Rich Dorman could be a candidate for a rotation spot, or LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith, if RHP Darwin Soto is taking the closer's spot.
Wisconsin got pounded today, 10-3. LHP Ryan Feierabend couldn't get out of trouble today, pitching only one inning and allowing five runs on four walks and four hits, two strikeouts. RHP Bryan Stitt, my original candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, followed with four innings of scoreless baseball, before LHP Jason Mackintosh allowed another five runs on five hits and a walk in two and a third innings of work. The offense couldn't really hack it either; no player had more than a single hit. Those who did were CF Josh Womack (3B, R), SS Adam Jones (2B, R, RBI), LF Wladimir Balentien (R, RBI, no K), 1B Jeremy Dutton, and C Justin Ruchti (2B). The scheduled starter for tomorrow is anyone's guess, LHP Eric O'Flaherty and RHP Nibaldo Acosta were supposed to be the back of the rotation, but so far, RHP Juan Ovalles hasn't pitched yet and it could very well be him on the mound tomorrow.
While the Mariners still hunt for their first win, the organization as a whole no longer needs to worry, their record is boosted to 2-6.
Tacoma beat Tuscon 13-4 last night. RHP Clint Nageotte was effective, but not dominant in his first triple-A outing, going five and a third innings with three earned runs, one walk, and four strikeouts. LHP Sherrill took over in relief and struck out five while allowing a run over three and a third on two hits, a walk, and five strikeouts. RHP Brad Rose, who was with Everett last season, pitched the last third of an inning and got away unscathed despite walking two men. On the offensive end of the things, CF Jamal Strong (3B, 2 R, 2 RBI) and RF Elpidio Guzman (3B, 2 R) had four hits. Ramon Santiago (2B, R, 3 RBI) got three hits. The only regular to not get a hit was 2B Mickey Lopez. DH Bucky Jacobsen, 3B Jose Lopez, and C Wiki Gonzalez all had home runs. LHP Travis Blackley should make his first start tonight.
San Antonio got edged against Midland in the ninth inning, 11-12. The pitching was rather unimpressive, in no small part due to three errors committed by the Missions. RHP Chris Buglovsky, acquired in the trade for Allan Simpson, got the start and went four innings allowing three earned runs. LHP Jose Nunez, still recovering from surgery, allowed three runs on six hits (one HR) in an inning. The offense was a lot more impressive, with RF Greg Jacobs (2 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI) being the standout as he went 4-4. He is hitting .857 over the first two games. DH John Lindsey (2B, R), 3B Greg Dobbs (R, 3 RBI), and C Luis Olveros (2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) each had two hits. LF Shin Soo Choo also had a HR. LHP Glenn Bott is the likely starter tonight.
Inland Empire edged Lake Elsinore 5-4. RHP Felix Hernandez went five and a third, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out six. Both runs can be attributed to the home run LHP Miguel Martinez allowed after inheriting two runners. Martinez would allow another home run in his one and a third innings. RHP Darwin Soto, who would probably have started higher if not for the pitchign glut, picked up the save by allowing only one hit in his ninth inning work. 2B Ismael Castro went 2-5 while SS Michael Garciaparra (3B, R, RBI) went 2-4. C Rene Rivera is still looking for his first hit of the season. RHP T.A. Fulmer should take the mound later tonight.
In Wisconsin, the T-Rats lost to the Lumberkings in the 8th inning 3-2. RHP Brandon Moorhead, former closer for the Aquasox last season, got the start and allowed one run in five innings. Surprisingly, LHP Brandon Perry, who most expected to be the closer, followed by allowing a run in two and a third innings, allowing three hits and a walk with one strikeout. I now can say with certainty I have no idea what manager Steve Roadcap is doing with the pitching up there. The offensive star of the game was none other than CF Wladimir Balentien (2 2b, RBI), who went 3-4. Without striking out. I'd suggest the starter tonight will be LHP Ryan Feierabend, but for all I know at this point, it might as well be Ryan Anderson.
Following the trend set by the parent organization, the Mariners minor league system as a whole is 0-4.
The Tacoma Rainiers lost in the 12th inning to the Tuscon Sidewinders (ARI), 8-9. The offense had a few stars, with CF Jamal Strong going 3-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs, DH Bucky Jacobsen going 3-6 with 5 RBI and a home run, and LF (yes, LF) Luis Ugueto going 3-6 in the nine spot with two doubles and two runs scored. LHS Bobby Madritsch wasn't stellar, though he did manage to hold the Sidewinders to two runs over five innings. The rest of the staff wasn't so great either; the only pitchers who didn't allow runs were RHP Jeff Heaverlo and LHP George Sherrill who both only worked a third of an inning. The game was lost on a homerun hit off of LHP Craig Anderson. RHP Clint Nageotte is the scheduled starter tonight.
The San Antonio Missions lost to the Midland Rockhounds (OAK) in the bottom of the ninth inning, 8-9. Among the offensive stars, CF Dustin Delucchi, 3B Greg Dobbs, 2B Rob Gandolfo, and LF Greg Jacobs (who went yard) all had two hits each and four runs with six RBIs between them. Each pitcher gave up at least one run before closer RHP Jared Hoerman allowed three runs to score in the ninth. LHP Glenn Bott is the expected starter for tonight's game.
The Inland Empire 66ers fell to the Lake Elsinore Storm (SD) in the ninth inning (see a pattern?), 1-0. 3B Juan Gonzalez, 2B Ismael Castro, RF TJ Bohn, and 1B Matt Hagen each got a hit each, Hagen with a double. The pitching was more than impressive, with LHS Bobby Livingston two-hitting the Storm through eight innings with three SO. The deciding run scored in the ninth when LHP Caesar Jimenez balked, and I'm sure we all know what a pain that is to watch. RHP Felix Hernandez, who recently celebrated his 18th birthday, will take the hill tonight.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers lost to the Clinton Lumberkings (TEX), though in the 6th inning and not the ninth, with the final score of 5-1. There weren't many offensive highlights, save for RF Chris Colton hitting the home run which accounted for the only run the T-Rats put up. LF Josh Womack, DH Evel-Bastida-Martinez, 1B Jeremy Dutton, CF Wladimir Balentien, and 3B Michael Cox each got a hit. Dutton's was, amazingly, a triple. From the pitching end of things, LHS Thom Oldham was impressive in his four innings, allowing three hits, three walks, and striking out seven. The pitching which followed was a little curious, with RHP Nibaldo Acosta and LHP Eric O'Flaherty, both thought to be members of the rotation, followed Oldham and combined for four innings, four hits, three runs (one earned), with a walk and six strikeouts. It's hard to tell what this means for the rotation. RHP Brandon Moorhead takes the mound tonight, and from this, I assume LHP Ryan Feierabend will follow him in the rotation. Beyond that...
BA has a new article on minor league park factors
which is fascinating and I highly endorse. It gives a chart of the park factors for each of the full-season minor league stadiums as well, so check it out because (best of all) it's free.
Finally, we have all the minor league previews up at ITP, Tacoma
, San Antonio
, Inland Empire
, and Wisconsin
, which was the one I did. The Tacoma preview will be the only one non-subscribers will be able to access. Similarly, the weekly (near as we can figure) column with Bobby Livingston
is also subscribers only.
I'm still waiting for some of the night's box scores to go final, Tacoma seems to be all tied in the 11th from what I see, but there are some peculiar occurences so far. For example, in Wisconsin, Acosta and O'Flaherty were used in relief when both were considered as rotation members. Stranger still was Balentien playing in center field, and getting a hit that WASN'T for extra bases. Those fearing for the safety of the universe as we know it can rest easily though, he did strike out twice.
While the articles previewing each team are somewhat delayed, there are some stories I can link to.
The Tacoma News Tribune mentions that the Rainiers this season are a team for the ages
, provided that one can overlook the fact that they are still for sale. Madritsch will be the opening day starter, followed by Nageotte, Thornton, Baek, and Blackley. It seems they're serious about Thornton being a starter, but I find it interesting that Madritsch would be kept in the rotation. Also interesting is the idea that both Heaverlo and Putz will be closing. I don't think this is necessarily a bad move for Heaverlo, though I assume last season was part of the recovery process. There aren't enough spots in the rotation for everyone, I suppose. Also on the Tribune is a series preview
with some comments about the opposition. Worth noting is the fact that the Rainiers will be a man short with Looper gone to LA. I'll update when I find out who is filling in.
At the San Antonio Express-News there are two articles, including one I overlooked yesterday. That article is one on Greg Dobbs
and his return to the field after tearing his Achilles tendon in the second game of last season. There is also a minor preview of the 2004 season
and the possibility that the Missions will be league champions for a third year, something which hasn't happened since the 1920's when the Fort Worth club won six straight. Cate is scheduled to start the season opener in place of Ketchner, and filling out the back of the rotation will be Juan Done. I think the loss of Ketchner will be a serious blow to the staff, considering the inconsistancy of Done, but no one really thought that the 2003 Inland team would win a title either. Speaking of Inland, I can't find any current articles for them.
The Wisconsin Rattler Report has an article on Adam Jones
in which people compare him to Alex Rodriguez. David at USS Mariner
found this already, but to summarize: A-Rod was regarded to be the best player most scouts had ever seen, Jones has question marks with his bat and his defense. It's as simple as that, not to disregard Jones' potential entirely. Also there is an article previewing the 2004 season
from which we can gather that RHPs Brandon Moorhead and Nibaldo Acosta are in the rotation above guys like Jason Mackintosh and Bryan Stitt. Not a bad decision for Acosta, he did start for Aguirre in 2002, but I wonder about Moorhead, since this is the first time the possibility has been brought up.
Finally, we have my piece at ITP where I interviewed Wisconsin OF Sam Bradford, Jr.
This was my first time interviewing someone and I don't have any strong interest in journalism, but I think next time it would work better for everyone involved if I used a tape recorder instead of trying to directly transcribe it as I was getting the responses.
At present moment, my monitor seems to be taking a page out of the book of the seizure robots
. By the way, don't click that if you're an epileptic.
In the meantime, I'm starting to get a nasty headache and I might not be able to post anything until I get this resolved. I've had monitors do this before, so I'll just let it rest for a while and check again.
Scott at OnDeck
decided to do a list of prospects
who could "explode", "emerge" "swing" ('A prospect whose value could really change a system if they would fail or succeed this season'), or "surprise". Without further ado, here's the Mariners end of it...
Explode: RHP Felix Hernandez Hernandez could be on the verge of stardom. He absolutely dominated the Northwest League as a 17-year-old last year. He also pitched very well in his two starts in the Midwest League and in the Venezuelan Winter League this past offseason. What makes Hernandez impressive is his high-90s gas and his sharp breaking curveball. Those two pitches seal hitters in carbonite. He also throws a change-up, but that's not even needed right now. Hernandez should embarrass hitters this season, pushing towards Double-A. He's looking like a future ace.
Emerge: SS Adam Jones. Jones is a wiry shortstop with great athleticism and a terrific will to succeed. He continues to work hard to better his game at short and at the plate. As of now, he's a very raw player who flashes plus offensive potential and a dynamic arm from the hole. Once Jones gains some strength, his overall game should take off. He could develop into an Edgar Renteria-type.
Swing: OF Wladimir Balentien. Balentien burned down the Arizona League last season, hitting .283 and slugging an eye-gouging .658. He also knocked in 52 runs in 50 games but he also fanned 55 times in 50 games, and that's the red flag number. So the question now becomes, can Balentien carry this kind of power to the next level or will he become one big strikeout? If Balentien can carry his power up the chain, his stock will definitely go up. He's an intriguing power prospect with a danger sign.
Surprise: 3B Greg Dobbs. Dobbs missed most of the 2003 season due to a torn Achilles' tendon, but he's now back and healthy. Dobbs isn't regarded as a big-time prospect because he's going to turn 26 later this year, but he sure can rake. The left-handed hitting third baseman makes hard contact more often than not. He can really turn on a fastball, peppering the gaps. The one big thing that holds Dobbs back is his poor defensive play. He's basically a hitter attempting to play in the field. Nonetheless, Dobbs should be a lock for the majors because of his bat. He could end up being a left-handed hitting Greg Colbrunn.
*Hernandez is no big surprise, he could be in the top 10 overall for most prospect ranking groups after this season. Original estimates for when he could contribute were fairly conservative, but it doesn't look like he's going to stay on par with that.
*Jones and Renteria seems like a good enough comparison possiblity, Jones can hit for high average and take a walk here and there, but Scott is right about Jones being fairly raw, I son't think that he'll be that way for too long considering he's no longer trying to pitch in addition.
*I will agree that Wlad's high strikeout numbers are a big concern, but my gut feeling tells me he'll adapt. He does go all out in his swing, but his plate discipline isn't awful; he sported an OBP .080 higher than his average last season. But to judge his worth based off a campaign in Wisconsin would be a little premature, well, if he doesn't hit for as much power at least.
*Dobbs, from what I've heard from people who have seen him, is not a bat trying to play the field.
I've been meaning to catch up on some things. In particular, over at ITP
, Jason has put together a list of 10 Prospects Who Need to Step Up
and 10 Prospects Who Could Break Through
. I might have helped contribute to the support of Bohn... We're still trying to determine who ends up where, but once that goes through, some team previews will start popping up. I think I'm doing San Antonio and maybe Wisconsin. We'll see. In the meantime, the roster for the San Antonio Missions has been announced
. Ketchner was supposed to be the ace...
In addition, there's an in-depth article on LHP Bobby Livingston
that Joe did a while ago. I'm also going to be interviewing Sam Bradford Jr. sooner or later, so I'll throw in a link to that once it's done.