Mariner Minors
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Tacoma 5, Salt Lake 13 (ANA)
RHP Clint Nageotte (4.62, L) had problems with his control for the second straight start, going five and third while giving up five earned runs on seven hits (HR) and three walks as he only stuck out four. RHP Scott Atchison (5.17) didn't help things any, allowing four runs of his own and one of Nageotte's in the two-thirds of an inning that followed. RHP Greg Wear (13.50), making the temporary jump from Inland Empire, was tagged for three run on three this (HR) in his two innings. 3B Jose Lopez (HR, 2 R, .296) went 3-4 on the night and is looking to be one of the Rainiers hottest hitters, currently putting up a .296/.345/.519 line. Looks like the kid will be ready for 2005. Otherwise, LF Justin Leone (HR, 2 R, .257), DH Wiki Gonzalez (2B, 2 RBI, .277), 2B Mickey Lopez (2B, RBI, E, .276), and SS Ramon Santiago (.190) had a hit each. LHP Travis Blackley tomorrow.

San Antonio 5, Tulsa 3 (COL)
Well, apparently I beat the sports writers. RHP Juan Done (5.89) did get the start and went five innings allowing three runs on six hits (HR) and two walks while he struck out five. RHP Rafael Soriano (1.13, W) followed with two innings in which he gave up a hit and rung up two. RHP Rick Guttormson (1.42) before giving the ninth to RHP Jared Hoerman (3.27, S) who allowed a hit and struck out two. Two unlikely heroes on offense, CF Cristian Guerrero (HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .196) and 3B Hunter Brown (HR, 3 RBI, .196) had two hits each spelling Dustin Delucchi and Greg Dobbs, respectively. Odd that Choo wouldn't see time in CF instead, but they put him in RF with Jacobs in left. 1B John Lindesy (2B, .351), C Luis Oliveros (2 R, .234) and SS Eddie Menchaca (.211) also had hits. LHP Troy Cate tomorrow.

Inland Empire 6, Rancho Cucamonga 3 (ANA)
Kid K, RHP Felix Hernandez (2.70, W) got the start and went six allowing three hits and walk while striking out nine. I'd bold and italicize that, but for him it's not too outrageous. LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (4.63) followed with the three-inning save in which he gave up two earned runs on seven hits while he struck out five. Lots of hits tonight for the Sixers; CF Gary Harris (R, RBI, .262), LF Jon Nelson (2B, R, RBI, .298), DH Fredrico Balet (.283), RF T.J. Bohn (RBI, .346), who also has an eleven-game hitting streak, and C Rene Rivera (2B, HR, 2 RBI, .276) all had two hits each. SS Juan Gonzalez (R, .318), 3B Jesus Guzman (R, .316), and 1B Matt Hagen (R, .242) all had hits. 2B Matt Rogelstad (.281) was the sole Sixer to go hitless. RHP T.A. Fulmer tomorrow.

The Wisconsin game was postponed due to rain tonight. And there was much rejoicing, primarily in the bullpen. LHP Thom Oldham tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 11-10, .524, 2 GB in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 13-8, .619, 2 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 16-7, .696, 1st CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 9-12, .429, 3.5 GB MWL Western
Organizational Record: 49-37, .570

Friday, April 30, 2004
It's been a long, long night...

Tacoma 3, Salt Lake 4 (ANA) (12 innings)
Can't fault the starter tonight, LHP Bobby Madritch (3.25) deserved to win. Mads went six and a third allowing no earned runs on three hits and a walk as he rung up seven (bumping him up to second in the league at 31). RHP Aaron Looper (4.00) followed and allowed an earned run in his two and a third, before giving way to LHP Randy Williams (1.32) who went the same amount without allowing anything. LHP Craig Anderson (4.97, L) got two outs in the 12th before allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases, then giving up another hit to lose the game. 2B Mickey Lopez (2B, .278) and 1B A.J. Zapp (3-run HR, .333) both had two hits. Zapp's homer was apparently a broken bat one. Yeah, you heard me. CF Jamal Strong (.471) went 1-5 in his return. 3B Justin Leone (R, E, .257), DH Jose Lopez (.273), LF Luis Ugueto (.239), and SS Ramon Santiago (E, .187) all had hits. RF Elpidio Guzman (R, .352) went hitless for the first time in a while, as did C Pat Borders (.250). RHP Clint Nageotte tomorrow.

San Antonio's game was rained out. RHP Juan Done tomorrow, still, I would think. Though the newspapers seem to think that RHP Rafael Soriano will make his final START tomorrow, and perhaps I should defer to them.

Inland Empire 11, Rancho Cucamonga 3 (ANA)
LHP Bobby Livingston (1.27, W) had an "off day", which for him, translates to seven and two-thirds with three runs allowed on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts, though I'll add that an error by 2B Hyung Cho (2B, 2 RBI, E, .385) contributed to the last two runs coming to the plate. As did a wild pitch by LHP Cesar Jimenez (2.53) who closed out the game with a hit and a walk allowed. SS Juan Gonzalez (3B, 2 R, 3 RBI, .325) and LF Jon Nelson (HR, 2 R, .288) had three hits a piece. 3B Matt Rogelstad (2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .300) and RF T.J. Bohn (HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, .338), who also pulled off a brilliant 9-5 double play, had two hits each. Sooner or later, the Cal League teams will learn not to run on the gun, but in the meantime, we can sit and laugh. CF Gary Harris (.253) went hitless for the fourth straight game. RHP Felix Hernandez tomorrow.

Wisconsin 6, Fort Wayne 3 (SD) (17 innings)
It's SEVENTEEN innings. How can I do it justice? LHP Eric O'Flaherty (3.22) went six and a third, giving up seven hits and three walks but only one run while he struck out three. RHP Juan Ovalles (7.56) followed with two thirds before RHP Kenly Chang (4.50) started the eighth by giving up a solo HR to tie the game 2-2 without recording an out. LHP Jason Mackintosh (4.22) went innings eight through eleven without allowing a hit, though he punched out three. RHP Mike Hrynio (5.00) got an inning and two-thirds in and LHP Brandon Perry got in a third too. RHP Bryan Stitt (2.19) allowed a run in his two innings, but (un)fortunately that came right after the T-Rats had taken the lead in the top of the 14th. RHP Bryan Heaston (1.46, W) pitched the sixteenth and the seventeenth before this merry-go-round of insanity finally came to a stop, but they'd better pray for a complete game tomorrow. Well, the good news on offense is that there were a lot of guys with two hits. The bad news, of course, is that most of them are 2-8, 2-7... Regardless, 3B Michael Cox (2B, .200), SS Adam Jones (R, RBI, .247), C Chris Collins (2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .232), DH Evel Bastida-Martinez (RBI, .120), 1B Jeremy Dutton (2B, R, .195), and 2B Oswaldo Navarro (2B, R, RBI, .241) all had that honor. LF Josh Womack (.235), formerly the hottest hitter on the team, grabbed a huge 0-6 donut in the game, though he did walk once. The T-Rats bullpen prays that LHP Thom Oldham gets a complete game tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 11-9, .550, 1 GB in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 12-8, .600, 3 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 15-7, .682, T-1st CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 9-12, .429, 3.5 GB MWL Western
Organizational Record: 47-36, .566

Going straight from the M's game to the 66er's game on my computer, I hear from Mike Saeger (radio, this time) that 2B Ismael Castro is going back up to Seattle to have knee surgery and will be out for the season. An absolute shame, he was the top second base prospect in the system. Saeger added that he thinks that Cho will probably stay with the Sixers long-term and continue as their second baseman, which would leave Jesus Guzman to go back to extended spring training when Garciaparra comes off the seven-day DL.

Given that information, I'd say that the Sixers infield from left to right is probably going to look like Gonzalez, Garciaparra, Cho, and Hagen/Balet, with Rogelstad playing everywhere but first. Of course, that is subject to change based on performance. Rogelstad and Balet will probably split DH duties.

That's also likely to affect the infield in Everett. Right now, I'm going say Guzman at third, Jeffery Flaig at shortstop, Yung-Chi Chen at second, and Luis Soto at first, assuming they don't draft a lot of college players. I suppose that would leave 3B Pedro Ozoria and SS Asdrubal Cabrera in Peoria.

Also, RHP Greg Wear is up from the Sixers to the Rainiers temporarily, but he won't be there long enough to warrant bringing another player up.

Well, I'm going to go back to listening to the game. Sixers are leading 4-0 and T.J. Bohn just initiated a 9-5 double play. Gotta love that guy.

I said before I'd fill in some more information on Taiwanese RHP Chia-An Huang and now I'm finally getting around to it.

The key piece really was in the PI notebook, which refers to him as using primarily a 94 mph fastball and a "decent" slider, though he's also been known to use a change-up and a splitter, so I would venture to guess that he probably tries to keep the ball down. Apparently, there was quite a bit of competition to gain the services of the young righty, and negotiation processes continued long after Huang agreed, in principle, to sign with the M's. It's times like these that I wish I had a better insight into the world of international scouting, because almost every guy is listed as having "a lot of potential" and there being "a lot of competition for him."

Huang will graduate from high school in June and will probably start practicing with the Taiwanese National Team around the beginning of August so there's a very small window of time in which Huang could be pitching in the AZL. It's possible that he might not pitch at all.

As an aside, Looper was mentioned as being Nashville. Nashville is Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate. Take that as you will.

The official Mariners press release has a little bit too, with Mariners Pac Rim Scouting Director Ted Heid referring to Huang as " of the top young power right-handed pitchers in all of Asia."

Corey has a subscription to BaseballHQ, and I don't. But I'm sure he wouldn't mind me linking to an article he posted about Wisconsin LHP Ryan Feierabend. The guys at HQ seem pretty high on him.

Based off of some of my recent comments in Jeff's blog and Corey's blog, I figure I might as well start a Sherrill for Pen "campaign". Jason is with me as well (read #8), though he got to it a little quicker. After last night's stunning three innings, Sherrill is tied for FOURTH (with Bobby Madritch) in the PCL in strikeouts (24). Take that, keeping in mind he's only pitched 14.1 innings (that's tied for 85th in the league). The answer is simple. Why keep Myers and his .667 average against righties in town when you can have Sherrill mowing down guys on both sides of the plate in MULTIPLE innings of work?

Bavasi, you'll have an open roster spot anyway once Jarvis is released, so use it. Free George Sherrill now!

The San Antonio Express-News is reporting that RHP Allen Levrault left last night's Missions game with an undisclosed injury. Though the paper also claims Levrault only worked a third of an inning, when the box scores are showing an entire inning. Take it as you will, but this is no big loss in most minds. If it's bad enough to warrant someone moving up to replace him, I'll make note of it.

Also, Minor League Baseball has an article that says almost 48% of minor leaguers are from outside the U.S.. Interesting numbers there, the game is definately becoming more global.

Thursday, April 29, 2004
Tacoma 5, Salt Lake 2 (ANA)
RHP Cha Seung Baek (4.50, W) went five innings tonight with one earned run on six hits and a walk while he struck out five. Baek was followed by three tremendous innings of LHP George Sherrill (1.88), who allowed two hits and awalk but struck out SIX. RHP Scott Atchison (3.00, S) capped the game with two hits and two strikeouts in the ninth. RF Elpidio Guzman (R, RBI, .373) continues to burn, picking up two hits, as did DH Bucky Jacobsen (RBI, .258), C Wiki Gonzalez (2B, R, .279), and CF Luis Ugueto (2B, 3B, R, RBI, .242). 3B Jose Lopez (.278) went hitless for the first time in a while. LHP Bobby Madritsch tomorrow, or perhaps LHP Craig Anderson? Who knows.

San Antonio 5, Wichita 10 (KC)
Payback's a pain, isn't it? RHP Elvis Perez (L, 8.40) managed three and two-thirds, but allowed four earned runs on four hits (HR), five walks, and a hit batter while only punching out two. RHP Allen Levrault (7.50) one-upped Perez by doing all of his work in a single inning, three earned runs on four hits and a walk. LHP Chris Key (5.29) closed out the game with three and a third in which he gave up a run on four hits but rung up five. Odd offensive stars aligned tonight, 2B Rob Gandolfo (RBI, E, .462) and C Jim Horner (2 2B, R, RBI, .250) had three hits each. LF Greg Jacobs (2B, 2 R, RBI, .462) and 1B Ryan Balfe (RBI, .233) had two hits each. DH John Lindsey (.352) and SS Eddie Menchaca (RBI, .206) went hitless. RHP Juan Done tomorrow.

Inland Empire 7, Visalia 4 (COL)
RHP Juan Sandoval (3.91, W) went his six innings of work allowing three runs on six hits and four walks as he punched out four. He gave way to RHP Tanner Watson (5.00, S) who picked up a three-inning save and allowed a run on four hits while he struck out three in the deal. 2B Hyung Cho (2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .500) is the only real offensive standout tonight, going 3-4. Otherwise, 3B Jesus Guzman (2B, 2 RBI, .333), CF T.J. Bohn (2B, R, .333), LF Jon Nelson (.267), DH Fredrico Balet (R, .267), C Rene Rivera (2B, R, .260), and RF Carlos Arroyo (2B, R, RBI, .324) had a hit each. LHP Bobby Livingston tomorrow! Bobby Livingston!

Wisconsin 5, Fort Wayne 4 (SD)
Finally, RHP Nibaldo Acosta (2.28, W) gets his win. Acosta went six and two-thirds giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks as he rung up two. He was followed by an inning and a third of RHP Bryan Heaston (1.74), before RHP Bryan Stitt (1.74, S) pitched the ninth, but allowed his first two runs on three hits (HR) and a walk. 3B Michael Cox (HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .190), SS Adam Jones (.243) and CF Samuel Bradford (2B, R, .143) got two hits each. C Chris Collins (RBI, .229) and 2B Oswaldo Navarro (R, .234) picked up the only other hits for the team. LHP Eric O'Flaherty tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 11-8, .579, 0.5 GB in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 12-8, .600, 2.5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 14-7, .667, T-1st CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 8-12, .400, 4 GB MWL Western
Organizational Record: 45-35, .563


Transaction Update:

The Mariners have recalled RHP J.J. Putz, optioning LHP Matt Thornton to Triple-A Tacoma. I just report the news, man, I don't try to explain it.

Thornton made no appearances in his time up in the big leagues, but didn't seem to be impressing any in his Triple-A time, three starts with a 7.07 ERA and a 0.92 K/BB ratio (though it is worth noting, that opponents were batting .240 against him). Thornton will start against Salt Lake on Sunday night.

Putz had a 4.32 ERA in seven appearances for Tacoma. His K/BB is better than Thornton's by a considerable margin at 4.33, though opponents are batting a little better against him at .278. Putz has already been up with the Mariners once this season and pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout.

Regarding Juan Gonzalez leaving the game, bad hop on the ball, it hit him on the side of the head, but he's otherwise fine and left the field on his own, with mild dizziness. Also, T.J. Bohn has an eight-game hitting streak (11-29, .379) and Jon Nelson has a five game streak (10-22, .455) after they went 0-20 and 2-26, respectively.

Both of those pieces of information come via Mike Saeger. Again, big thanks Mike. I didn't even have to wait until I could check for news updates this time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
San Antonio 10, Wichita 5 (KC)
RHP Gustavo Martinez (2.29) didn't last that long, going three and third innings while giving up three earned runs on seven hits (HR) and three walks while striking out only two. LHP Tim Rall followed and played the role of the good Dr. Jekyll this time out, three and a third with two hits allowed and six strikeouts. RHP Rick Guttormson (1.54, W) followed with one and a third, giving up a run, before RHP Jared Hoerman (3.60) gave a scoreless ninth. CF Dustin Delucchi (3B, 2 RBI, .355) went 3-5 in the day's game. 1B Ryan Balfe (R, RBI, .218), DH John Lindsey (HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, .373), and SS Eddie Menchaca (R, 2 RBI, .215) had two hits each. 3B Greg Dobbs (.313) and C Luis Oliveros (R, RBI, .227) went hitless. RHP Elvis Perez tomorrow, most likely.

Inland Empire 9, Visalia 6 (COL)
Ah, the Inland Empire starting rotation. Practically a highlight reel in and of themselves. Well, actually, RHP Rich Dorman (2.79, W) was a little below typical standard tonight, going six innings and alloweding two runs on five hits and four walks as he struck out three. He was followed by two innings of LHP Melvin Pizarro (0.00), before Pizarro gave way to closer RHP Darwin Soto (8.44). If you couldn't tell from the ERA, Soto got nailed this time out, giving up FOUR runs on three hits and two walks, though it wasn't entirely his fault, as there was an error involved as well as a hit allowed by RHP David Viane (1.69). Viane went two-thirds of an inning without allowing a run of his own before LHP Miguel Martinez (7.36) came in for the final out and the save. LF Jon Nelson (2B, 2 R, RBI, .268) seems to be hot right now, getting three hits in the night. SS Juan Gonzalez (2 R, .319) and DH Carlos Arroyo (R, 2 RBI, .333) had two hits each. Though, in scary news, Gonzalez was lifted after a groundball to him in the ninth, and was replaced by 2B/SS Matt Rogelstad (R, .286) as 2B Hyung Cho (.250) took over second. No word yet on the cause for Gonzalez leaving, but if it is another serious injury, then I have no idea how they're going to handle the roster from there. 3B Jesus Guzman (2B, RBI, .400) picked up another hit, as did RF T.J. Bohn (R, .333), as did 1B Matt Hagen (three-run HR). C Brian Lentz (R, .263) and CF Gary Harris (E, .267) went hitless. RHP Juan Sandoval tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 10-8, .556, 1.5 GB in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 12-7, .632, 2 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 13-7, .650, T-1st CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 7-12, .368, 4 GB MWL Western
Organizational Record: 42-34, .553

Mike Saeger, broadcaster for the Inland Empire 66ers, e-mailed me to help fill in the blanks that the news coverage has been leaving. He confirms that 2B Hyung Cho was moved up as an injury replacement for IF Michael Garciaparra, who is having wrist problems. 3B Jesus Guzman was brought up to replace IF Ismael Castro, who suffered a knee injury on Sunday night which is bad enough to have him wearing a brace and walking on crutches. He'll have in MRI done in the coming days to find out the extent of the injury.

This leaves the Sixers with Guzman at third, Gonzalez at shortstop, and Cho at second, for the most part. It's possible that IF/DH Matt Rogelstad will take over one of those spots in any given game, shifting around the infield even further. There's not enough of a sample size to be able to tell exactly how manager Darren Brown will set the lineup just yet.

Again, huge thanks to Mike for the info.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Transaction Update:

3B Jesus Guzman has been moved up to the Inland Empire 66ers, due to an injury to IF Ismael Castro. This may mean that Hyung Cho was brought up to replace Michael Garciaparra, but I can't confirm anything yet, the news out of San Bernadino has been non-existant for the past few days.

Guzman, 19, hit .353/.454/.525 in Aguirre last season, and was named the Aguirre team's player of the year by the Mariners organization. A switch-hitter in training, Guzman hit fourteen doubles, two triples, and five home runs in 204 at-bats. While not having Balentien's level of power, his five homers did lead the team and was tied for second in the league. He also walked twenty-nine times, struck out only twenty-seven, and stole eight bases.

Guzman will stay in Inland for as long as needed (again, the severity of the injuries is not yet known). Following that, he will probably be sent back to Peoria and should end up being the starting third baseman for Everett this season. Seems reasonable, at least.

The Tacoma-Edmonton game today was postponed. Weather, I imagine. LHP Craig Anderson on Thursday.

San Antonio 2, Witchita 13 (KC)
Wow, what a way to start a road trip; I bet San Antonio wishes their game was postponed. RHP Chris Buglovsky (4.66) got hammered, in four and third innings he allowed seven runs on nine hits (2 HR!) and a walk as he struck out four. LHP Chris Key (5.93) fared a little better by allowing only one run on a homer in his inning and two-thirds, but then RHP (6.97) Emiliano Fruto gave up five runs on three hits and two walks. Most of the runs were allowed by LHP Jose Nunez (6.48), who would allow three hits, but no runs in his final inning and a third. The one bright spot was DH Greg Jacobs (R, .488) going 4-4, though his hits didn't amount to much. LF Shin Soo Choo (3B, .268), 1B John Lindsey (.359), and RF Cristian Guerrero (.167) picked up a hit each for the Missions. RHP Gustavo Martinez tomorrow.

Inland Empire 10, Visalia 0 (COL)
Quite a diverse scorebaord we have going here. RHP T.A. Fulmer (0.75, W) went six innings and allowed two hits and two walks as he struck out five. LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (4.15) had a strikeout in the seventh, RHP Greg Wear (6.00) had a hit and a strikeout in the eighth, and LHP Miguel Martinez (7.71) had two strikeouts in the ninth. Good to see those last three guys go scoreless innings. 3B Jesus Guzman (R, .600), making his Cal League AND U.S. debut, went 3-5. I expect we'll be hearing a lot about this kid in the coming years, but I'll put up a transaction update after this to get you acquainted. C/1B Brian Lentz (3B, R, 4 RBI, .333) also picked up three hits on the night. SS Juan Gonzalez (R, RBI, 2 E, .309), CF T.J. Bohn (3B, 2 R, RBI, .339), RF Carlos Arroyo (2 R, RBI, .310), and 1B/C Matt Hagen (2B, R, .255) all had two hits each. DH Gary Harris (R, RBI, .286) and 2B Matt Rogelstad (RBI, .308) were the only Sixers to go hitless. RHP Rich Dorman tomorrow.

Wisconsin 7, Beloit 3 (MIL)
LHP Ryan Feierabend (3.74, E, W) was finally the one to shake the monkey off the T-Rats' backs. Oddly enough, he was the last pitcher to get a win before that. Feierabend went six innings and allowed the three runs on five hits and three walks as he struck out five. RHP Bryan Heaston (2.00) went a scoreless two before RHP Bryan Stitt (0.00) took the ninth. LF Josh Womack (3B, 3 R, RBI, .270) is heating up as he went 2-4, again. 3B Michael Cox (3-run HR, E, .167), SS Adam Jones (RBI, .231), C Chris Collins (R, .233), RF Chris Colton (R, .209), 1B Jeremy Dutton (2B, 2 RBI, .197), and 2B Oswaldo Navarro (R, .233) got the other T-Rats hits. RHP Nibaldo Acosta on Thursday.

Tacoma Rainiers: 10-8, .556, 1.5 GB in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 11-7, .611, 2.5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 12-7, .632, T-1st CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 7-12, .368, 4 GB MWL Western
Organizational Record: 40-34, .541


Transaction Update:

The Mariners have signed Taiwanese RHP Chia-An Huang to a minor league contract. Huang is the third Taiwanese prospect signed by the Mariners, in addition to SS/2B Yung Chi-Chen and C Chao Kuan Wu. Huang, 18, will join the Mariners camp in Peoria as soon as he graduates from high school.

I haven't been able to find much information on Huang, primarily because the archives for the Taiwanese newspapers only go back a week, but I did find a forum post where they were discussing Taiwanese prospects and which ones might make an impact in the future. Apparently, Huang has a fastball in the 92-95 mph range and a good sinker.

More as it becomes available.

Oh, and thanks to the guys at Top Forums for making me aware of this, indirectly.

John Sickels at has a profile on RHP Felix Hernandez, citing, among other things, the temptation for the Mariners to promote him to Double-A if he continues this pace, as well as comparisons (prospect wise) to other pitching phenoms such as Zack Grienke and Edwin Jackson. Check it out.

Monday, April 26, 2004
Tacoma 8, Edmonton 3 (MON)
Now that's the LHP Travis Blackley (4.76, W) we know and love. Blackley went seven innings tonight allowing a run on five hits and three walks and he struck out four. One can hope things will continue to go well for him. LHP Randy Williams (1.59) followed with two innings and allowed an earned run on a homer. On offense, wow, RF Elpidio Guzman (R, RBI, .371) went 4-6 and is starting to prove why the M's resigned him in the offseason. LF Justin Leone (R, 3 RBI, .258) went 3-6 on the night, so all in all, the Texas League Pitcher and Player of the Year in 2003 are finally starting to look it. DH Bucky Jacobsen (2B, RBI, .242), 3B Jose Lopez (2B, HR, .294), 2B Mickey Lopez (3B, 2 R, .261), CF Luis Ugueto (2 R, .220), and SS Ramon Santiago (RBI, .194) all had two hits each. 1B A.J. Zapp (.329), oddly enough, was the only Rainier to go hitless, though he did have two walks. Great night for the Rainiers. LHP Craig Anderson tomorrow.

The San Antonio Missions had the day off. RHP Chris Buglovsky tomorrow.

Lancaster 6 (ARI), Inland Empire 2
And now the bad news, RHP Felix Hernandez (3.48, L) is actually human. He went five innings tonight and allowed three runs on six hits, two walks, and three hit batters as he struck out five. Damage control, again, but it's still not something you like to see. LHP Cesar Jimenez (2.89) followed with three scoreless innings, which is always good to see. RHP Tanner Watson (6.00) closed out the game by allowing three runs in a his single inning of work. No multi-hit guys for the Sixers tonight. LF Carlos Arroyo (RBI, .292), DH Jon Nelson (R, .246), 3B Matt Rogelstad (RBI, .327), RF T.J. Bohn (2B, .328), and 2B Hyung Cho (2B, R, .250) got the hits in the game. RHP T.A. Fulmer tomorrow.

Wisconsin 6, Beloit 7 (MIL)
The T-Rats just can't catch any breaks, and have now lost five in a row. RHP Brandon Moorhead (2.31, L) got hit hard for the first time this season, going five in which he allowed six runs on eight hits (HR) and a walk while he struck out seven. RHP Kenly Chang (3.75) followed with three innings in which he allowed one run on a homer. DH Josh Womack (2B, HR, 2 R, .257), 2B Oswaldo Navarro (.225), SS Adam Jones (R, RBI, .233), and RF Chris Colton (3B, HR, 4 RBI, .206) all had two hits each. CF Wladimir Balentien (R, .207) had a hit and a walk too, despite striking out twice. 3B Evel Bastida-Martinez (.083), returning from a stint in San Antonio, went 0-5. LHP Ryan Feierabend tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 10-8, .556, 1.5 GB in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 11-6, .647, 1.5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 11-7, .611, 1 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 6-12, .333, 5 GB MWL Western
Organizational Record: 38-33, .535

The new Ask BA has a segment on OF Greg Jacobs, which sort of echos some things said before, but it a valid perspective nonetheless...

Outfielder Greg Jacobs has absolutely destroyed high Class A California League and Double-A Texas League pitching during the past two seasons, but he never gets any mention as a Mariners prospect. Why is this? What are the holes in his game that don't show up on the stat sheet?
Eric Denson
Edmonds, Wash.

The biggest concern about Jacobs does show up in his vital statistics—his birthdate of October 9, 1976. While he led the Cal League in batting (.357), on-base percentage (.433) and slugging (.576) last year, he was extremely old for high Class A at age 26. He has continued to produce in Double-A, hitting .339/.377/.491 with four homers and 24 RBIs in 44 games over the last two years.

Why is he only just getting to Double-A at his age? Because he began his pro career as a lefthanded pitcher. A two-way player who led Cal State Fullerton with a .389 average in 1998—when his teammates included Reed Johnson and Aaron Rowand—Jacobs went in the 13th round to the Angels that June. In four years as a pitcher in the Anaheim and Arizona systems, he went 10-13, 5.49 and topped out in high Class A before being released after the 2001 season.

Jacobs hooked up with the Astros for 2002, but they released him at the end of spring training. That led him to Long Beach in the independent Western League, where he became a full-time outfielder and hit from the start. He led the Western League in batting (.380) and RBIs (91) while slugging 18 homers in 85 games. The Mariners signed him in September 2002 and he hasn't stopped mashing.

Jacobs has a good arm and can play a decent corner outfield, but it keeps coming back to his age. He's 27 now and should dominate Double-A. If he can put up another huge year, it will be a lot easier to believe in him. But he leveled off after his promotion last year, hitting for average but not power in the Texas League, and I wanted to see more before I put him on our Seattle Top 30 list.

I'll attack the day's box scores next, but let's take a moment to rejoice in the departure of RHP Kevin Jarvis.

Also, ITP has the players of the week! Kudos to Leone, Livingston and Moorhead.


Transaction Update:

If you believe this article, then LHP Matt Thornton has made the big leagues. A first-round pick in 1998, Thornton was 1-1 in three starts with Tacoma, putting up a 7.07 ERA, as he allowed twelve hits, twelve walks, and struck out eleven. Yikes. Regardless, he's coming, and if he can live up to his usual reputation, he will certainly be an asset. No word yet on who he might be replacing. Maybe Kevin Jarvis is taking the Jeff Cirillo "injury" route. Or maybe they're sending a position player down temporarily. Please be Bloomquist. LHP Craig Anderson will replace Thornton in the rotation.

Meanwhile, in San Antonio, the Missions notebook indactes three moves. OF Greg Jacobs has left the team for "personal reasons." Those who have read the article at ITP will probably have a good idea what those are. 2B Rob Gandolfo is expected to be activated soon, sending 2B Evel Bastida-Martinez back to Wisconsin. RHP Rafael Soriano is going to get one more start in the rotation before he meets up with the big club. It seems logical that Soriano would replace Done in the rotation, for now at least, though the rotation is out of its original order now.

I can't find an article confirming it, but I've heard mixed reports that 66ers 2B Ismael Castro suffered an injury late in the game last night. Since 2B Hyung Cho had just been moved up to Inland Empire anyway, for whatever reason, it's hard to tell who will take over 2B.

Sunday, April 25, 2004
The feature over at ITP today is on Wisconsin co-aces LHP Thom Oldham and RHP Brandon Moorhead. Both are a little old for their level at 22 and 24, respectively, but they're proving themselves to be way ahead of their competition, as they should be. Ordinarily, I would have expected at least Oldham to make the jump to Inland as LHP Troy Cate did following his Everett campaign, but the rotation at Inland is already incredibly solid, a testament to our pitching depth. The only pitching staff that I have serious questions about is the San Antonio staff in general, which took big hits losing Ketchner and Bott and has a scary bullpen. But I digress, go read the article.


Transaction Update:

2B Hyung Cho has been called up to the Inland Empire 66ers from the extended spring training camp in Peoria. No word yet on who he's replacing, if anyone, but that will come as soon as the press details what's going on. Cho, 21, was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Houston last season. While he put up rather unimpressive numbers in 2001 and 2002, a .280/.330/.376 combined line, he exploded last season and hit fourteen homeruns despite only hitting seven for his career prior to that. He ended the season hitting .360/.403/.594. Cho will probably stay in Inland for however long he is needed before moving back down to either Everett or Peoria once their camps break.

Elsewhere in the minor leagues, OF Matthew Ware was selected in the NFL draft. It is commonly believed that Ware will leave the system for football. Ware hit .533/.563/.667 with Peoria last season (in only 15 AB) before suffering an injury and remaining out for the rest of the season. He hit .105/.105/.150 the previous season in 19 AB.

Tacoma 3, Edmonton 8 (MON)
RHP Clint Nageotte (3.60, L) just couldn't keep up his earlier pace tonight, going only two innings in which he allowed four runs on one hit and SEVEN walks against only two strikeouts. Nags also had a hit batter and four wild pitches. On one hand, his command was bordering on non-existant, but the fact that he only allowed the four runs is rather impressive. RHP Scott Atchison (3.21) followed with a superb four and two-thirds innings in which he allowed only two unearned runs on four hits while he struck out six. RHP Aaron Looper (4.05) pitched the final inning and a third and gave up two runs on three hits and struck out one. On offense, C Pat Borders (2B, 2 R) was the star for the second straight night, going 3-4. 3B Jose Lopez (.286), 1B A.J. Zapp (.348), 2B Mickey Lopez (2 2B, RBI, .244), and RF Elpidio Guzman (2B, HR, 2 RBI, .339) had two hits each. PH Michael Nesbitt made his Rainiers debut tonight and grounded back to the pitcher. LHP Travis Blackley tomorrow.

El Paso 1 (ARI), San Antonio 3
RHP Rafael Soriano (1.50) was pretty brilliant in his six innings, allowing three hits while striking out eight. His only run came on a home run which just barely got out of the park (I was listening to the broadcast). Otherwise, his velocity topped out around 95 mph, from what the broadcasters mentioned, his slider had movement, and his change-up was consistantly around 85 mph. RHP Allen Levrault (3.60) followed with two-thirds before giving way to LHP Tim Rall (5.19) who went an inning. RHP Ricky Guttormsen (0.87, W) went the final inning and a third to pick up the win. Dave Brundage seems to handle his bullpen pretty well, considering what he has to work with. No multi-hit players for the Missions tonight; CF Dustin Delucchi (2B, R, .353), 1B John Lindsey (2B, .367), 2B Evel Bastida-Martinez (R, .216), and SS Eriberto Menchaca (R, RBI, .211) got a hit each. Also, C Luis Olveros (.256) threw out two guys stealing. RHP Chris Buglovsky on Tuesday.

Lancaster 4 (ARI), Inland Empire 5
It's times like these, I have to wonder how LHP Bobby Livingston (0.65, W) is still under the radar in some circles. He went seven innings today and allowed only one hit and one walk as he struck out seven. LHP Miguel Martinez (9.00)continued his struggles in the two-thirds that followed by allowing all four of Lancaster's runs before giving way to closer RHP Darwin Soto (1.69, S). CF Gary Harris (R, 2 RBI, .323), LF Jon Nelson (RBI, .241), and RF T.J. Bohn (2B, 2 R, .333) got two hits each in the game. Bohn is putting up a .333/.422/.426 line right now and could probably be in San Antonio right now and not embaress himself. On the other side of things, 3B Matt Rogelstad (.333) went hitless again. PR/2B Hyung Cho made his debut tonight for the 66ers and the Mariners organization as a whole. More on that later. RHP Felix Hernandez tomorrow.

Wisconsin 6, Beloit 8 (MIL)
LHP Thom Oldham (1.42) wasn't good, but controlled the damage tonight as he went four innings and allowed two earned runs on eight hits and a walk as he struck out four. RHP Juan Ovalles (8.22, L) followed and allowed two earned runs, both on homers, in his two innings of work. Ovalles and LHP Brandon Perry are two guys who have really struggled coming out of the first month of the season, and I really didn't anticipate that sort of thing for either of them. Hopefully, this sort of thing will be the exception and not the rule. LHP Jason Mackintosh (6.75) and RHP Mike Hrynio (6.14) ended the game with an inning each. LF Josh Womack (HR, 2 RBI, .241) and 1B Chris Collins (RBI, .237) both went 3-5. CF Wladimir Balentien (.204) went 0-4 again, but without any strikeouts this time. Mehring was commenting on the radio about how Balentien will try to hit it out of the park a lot, but in the MWL that sort of thing just isn't going to work in your favor as often, so hopefully he'll be allowed to stay there and come out of the whole experience a better hitter. It's not like the M's regularly demote guys anyway. RHP Brandon Moorhead tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 9-8, .529, 1.5 GB in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 11-6, .647, 1.5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 11-6, .647, T-1st in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 6-11, .353, 4 GB in MWL Western
Organizational Record: 37-31, .544

Those looking for some form of hope for the major leagues should tune into RHP Rafael Soriano's start for San Antonio, which should start up in a few minutes.

I'd insert a gripe about Melvin's bullpen usage here, but I have tens of other bloggers to do that to me so I'll be brief and to the point: You don't stick Jarvis in after you've just come back three runs.

OnDeckBaseball has uploaded its new rankings for the California League. There are a lot of familiar names in the pitching section, I'll give you that much. RHP Felix Hernandez made the first team as a starting pitcher; LHP Miguel Martinez was on the second team; 2B Ismael Castro, 3B Matt Rogelstad, C Rene Rivera, LHP Bobby Livingston (why so late?), RHP T.A. Fulmer, RHP Juan Sandoval, and LHP Cesar Jimenez were on the third team; SS Juan Gonzalez and LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith on the fourth; and SS Michael Garciaparra on the fifth. In other words, the entire 66ers starting staff was on teams one and three, which is rather impressive. In terms of overall prospect ranking, RHP Felix Hernandez was 1st, LHP Bobby Livingston was 19th, 3B Matt Rogelstad was 24th (though he's been primarily the DH, he can play any of the IF positions), LHP Miguel Martinez was 33rd, LHP Cesar Jimenez was 34th, and C Rene Rivera was 40th.
Also, to recap the rankings for the Texas League from earlier: OFs Shin Soo Choo and Greg Jacobs were on the first team; C Luis Olveros and RHP Emiliano Fruto were on the third team; 3B Greg Dobbs, OF Dustin Delucchi, LHP Troy Cate, and RHP Chris Buglovsky were on the fourth team; and SS Eddie Menchaca was on the fifth team. The overall rankings had OF Shin Soo Choo as 7th, C Luis Olveros as 18th, and OF Greg Jacobs as 20th. The rankings for the Texas League only went up to thirty, while in the Cal League they went up to fourty.

In the San Antonio Express-News today they have a feature story on 1B/DH John Lindsey, who has returned to the Missions this season and is basically tearing up the league.

A closer look at the minor league system of the Seattle Mariners baseball club.

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