Transaction Update (2/19/05)
The Seattle Mariners have agreed to a deal with the Tigres de Angelopolis that gives them the right to negotiate a deal with Mexican RHP Jorge Campillo
. A deal will be finalized and he will be added to the Mariners 40-man roster, if and when they acquire a P1 work visa that would allow him to play in the states.Campillo
, 26, has been referred to many recently as the Mexican Greg Maddux, primarily due to his ability to change speeds and locate his pitches, despite velocity that is only slightly above average (90-91, 92-93 tops). He's been putting up decent numbers between the Mexican League (summer) and the Mexican Pacific League (winter) for the past few years, going to so far as to put up ten consecutive wins with Culiacan this winter. Though there numbers aren't quite as impressive, it's interesting to note that he's had some success in their summer league, despite park factors that range from "more hitter friendly than Coors Field" (Campillo's home park, coincidentally) to "better to pitch in than Safeco".
Campillo should compete for a fifth starter job (we're hoping Madritsch already has fourth) in spring training, or could possibly end up as the long man out of the 'pen. Of course, if the M's can't get the P1 work visa in order, he'll have to go back to the Mexican League. Some of you may remember that those work visas were giving many players grief over the summer, including Mariners 7th round pick Sebastian Boucher, among others.
M's sign Mexican RHP Jorge Campillo (!)
Just checked up on the Culiacan site and it seems as if the M's have actually signed Jorge Campillo, thus winning a bid war that had at least Detroit and the D'backs involved.The link in Spanish
Still waiting for confirmation from an English source. More later, if this turns out to be true.
The article also implies that Campillo is on the 40-man now, though there is no word yet as to who has been removed.Update:
USSM seems to be confirming this as are a few of my other sources, though it hasn't quite hit the AP wire yet. We should see confirmation later in the day. As Dave points out in the comments section, it's likely that Blackley will be placed on the 60-day DL to make room for Campillo on the 40-man.
More as soon as I have time for the write-up.
News Around the Minors (2/16/05)
Bit of a big update today, but it's been a long time since there's been enough to post.
Corey Brock of the Tacoma News Tribune talks in-depth about the possibility of having Felix in the M's rotation
when the camp breaks.
One of the things that keeps on coming up is that it should be easier to regulate his innings with Tacoma than it would be in Seattle, implying that in a perfect world he could be up and throwing all he wanted by the all-star break. While it's certainly possible that they'll come up with something, be it a six-man rotation or just turning things over to the bullpen sooner, I find it interesting to note that the Mariners have eleven off days by the end of June to Tacoma's four. Granted, the major league club should play twenty more games spread over the extra month of play, but it seems as if there is a bit of room to get creative, should the need arise. Perhaps they're more worried about the possibility of overworking the bullpen, should things go wrong.
I've been back and forth on the issue for a while now, even going to so far as to suggest from time to time that he should start in San Antonio where it's warmer. When you look at young, highly-touted pitchers who were put in MLB rotations and flamed out, it seems like they had too much pressure put on them too soon. It seems as if the M's would only end up using Felix as regular if they thought they could contend, and again we don't know how he will respond to that. It appears that he's made the necessary adjustments to each level of play. Compare his April stats in the California League (3.48 ERA, 3.86 K/BB) to his end stats there (2.74 ERA, 4.38 K/BB), or even his first month in double-A (4.05 ERA, 2.18 K/BB, .263 avg) to his final stats (3.30 ERA, 2.76 K/BB, .230 avg), and it's plain to see that he's a capable, intelligent pitcher. But he is still only a teenager, and he might not adjust to the MLB in the same way he has adjusted to previous levels of competition. I don't know.
The Oakland affiliate of Scout.com is running a draft projection feature
that has the M's grabbing Jeff Clement after the D'backs and Royals take Justin Upton and Alex Gordon, respectively. The reasoning behind this projection seems to be the M's lack of depth at catcher and the fact that left-handed bats play well in Safeco even if Clement doesn't stick behind the plate. It seems like an interesting idea, but for the most part, if you're going to spend a high pick on a catcher, you'd better hope that he can catch. Any hitting in addition to being able to handle the pitchers is gravy to me, but looking through the catchers in the higher levels of the system, eh, not so much gravy right now. On the whole, it seems as if the article overlooks the potential of Olivo behind the plate, and a recent article in The Olympian
indicates that may not be such a good idea. I have to wonder, if Olivo struggles, that might push the M's closer to picking Clement. Even if they do pick him, questions at all, he still will have Camp Hansen to deal with.
Rotoworld has posted their top 10 prospect for each AL West team
with the M's list running like this:
1. Felix Hernandez, RHP
2. Jeremy Reed, OF
3. Shin-soo Choo, OF
4. Chris Snelling, OF
5. Travis Blackley, LHP
6. Matt Tuiasosopo, "SS"
7. Adam Jones, SS
8. Cha Seung Baek, RHP
9. Wladimir Balentien, OF
10. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Few surprises here, aside from Betancourt's debut on the list. It should be interesting to watch what he does during spring training, mostly because it will be the first time any of us gets a chance to look at him. All we've had to go on thus far is hearsay and however we choose to interpret the statistics. Based off those, I think the best comparison I've yet seen is Angel Berroa with more speed, which Trent at Lookout Landing
came up with some time ago. We're hoping that's the Rookie of the Year version of Berroa and not last year's version.
CBSSportsline does a fantasy draft preview
of the top 100 rookies. This is mostly based around the idea of who will contribute this year, so certain guys are ranked significantly lower than they would be otherwise. Reed is third, Felix is thirty-ninth, and Choo is ninety-second.
Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Times has finally wrapped up his review of last year's top 50 prospects
. Worth checking out.
John Sickels has resurfaced and is now posting at Minor League Ball
, which is part of the same network as Lookout Landing is. John has recently been going over his own top 20 for each team, and when he gets to the M's, I'll be sure to add some commentary here. Definately worth checking out.
This is a bit of a late note, but remember Tim Auty? Australian OF prospect, signed by the M's, didn't debut this year but was playing in Australia's Claxton Shield Tournament? He was only average the last time we checked, but he ended the seven-game tournament batting .348/.375/.435, the highest average on his team (which was hitting .228/.310/.297 as a whole). I'm looking forward to seeing how he and the other Aussies signed last year will fare this season.
Finally... since I did it last year, I might as well do it again this year and get a few shots in on the Grammy's choice for best alt album, which again, I think was probably the worst of the bunch. I know Wilco is rather popular in baseball circles, but to me they seemed more like dry, uninspired Sonic Youth ripoffs (as opposed to this year's fairly inspired former Sonic Youth ripoffs in Blonde Redhead's Misery is a Butterfly CD). The creativity of the album came from my end when I was trying to figure out what broken gardening utensil they were using to play the guitar at any given moment ("it's a busted metal rake!... no wait..."), but I'll hold off on further criticism lest I start some sort of flame war. Of course, it's not as if this year had much to choose from... Bjork is Bjork and either you love her or are kind of freaked out by her, Modest Mouse had a few inspired moments mixed in with filler, and PJ Harvey just doesn't really do it for me. That leaves me with Franz Ferdinand, who had an album that was, in my opinion, close to the caliber of Interpol's Turn On The Bright Lights release of a few years back, combined with a little bit of The Pixies' attitude and other assorted goodness. But hey, I'm a critic, what do I know? (Still working on top albums of the year, should be done in a week or so, but in response to an earlier comment, yeah, The Killers should be in the top five).
Blackley out for '05
By now, you've probably heard the news either via USSMariner
, Baseball America
, or any number of other sources, but to recap, Travis Blackley has had surgery to repair a torn labrum and will be out for the entire 2005 season.
To those who had been watching Travis pitch before his promotion, or even those who looked closely through his first two starts, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The sudden loss in velocity combined with shoulder soreness was a tell-tale sign. Instead of putting him under the knife immediately, the M's decided to have him rest for a bit, knowing that the tears weren't too severe and figuring that it might respond to some rehab.
It didn't, but now the surgery is over with and it will be 8-10 months before he pitches, which might put him on a rough timetable to be ready by the time the winter leagues are up and going in Australia.
Blackley is still just 22, and was pretty well ahead of pace for his age. Perhaps this isn't as career-threatening as it might have been a few years ago, though no one likes to see this happen. Travis seems fairly upbeat about the whole thing, as Jason has recently published the first post-surgery interview
Local College Baseball, pt. II
Overall, I thought this was a great idea coming into the season, but it ended up taking me a while to nail all the sources down. If I were to do this, it would be 9-12 games per weekend until June, and to be quite honest, by the end of last season I was feeling pretty burnt out by it all. As some of you noted in the comments section, the advertised purpose of this blog is that I’m going to focus on the Mariners system. If I continued the college stuff, it’s likely that I would get lazy with the M’s stuff as the season dragged on, and for the reason I think I’ll leave it at this unless something interesting comes up in the playoffs.
One of the comments also suggested that I should check in with some of the more interesting draft-and-follow candidates from time to time. Since most of them seem to fall off the radar screens until the draft rolls into town again, this seems like a good idea and I’ll try to track the ones that I can find info on, but I’ll save that for the next post.
Without further ado, the first (and perhaps only) recap of this weekend in Huskies baseball…Washington 3, UC Irvine 5
So RHP Tim Lincecum, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, HB, BK, L
Sr LHP David Dowling 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Sr RHP Josh Conover 1.0 IP, 1 BB
Sr RF Taylor Johnson 1-3, HR, BB, SB
Sr 3B Nick Batkowski 3-4, 2 RWashington 3, UC Irvine 8
So RHP Kyle Parker 2.0 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
So RHP Jordan Ponzoha 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 33 B, 1 K, E
Fr RHP Matt Hague 2.0 IP, 2 K
Jr SS Brent Lillibridge 2-4, R, BB
So DH Curt Rindal 2-4, 2 RBIWashington 0, UC Irvine 5
Jr RHP Matt Kasser 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, HB
Sr LHP David Dowling 0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB
Sr RHP Josh Conover 1.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K
Sr 3B Nick Batkowski 2-4
Suffice to say, this wasn’t a good start. In a chat over at Baseball America, Will Kimmey
suggested that the Huskies, as a team that had to practice indoors early on in the season, had trouble catching up Irvine’s pace. As a result, they dropped from 8 to 12 in BA’s rankings. Apparently, they were also waiting out Lincecum’s breaking balls and trying to drive his pitch count up. The only plus out of this weekend is that Batkowski came out of it, 6-for-12.