Checking in on the Young ‘uns – Jackson

Last week, I took a look at Tacoma’s top performers and prospects.  I mostly came away disappointed.  Since then, Carlos Triunfel has continued hitting and Andrew Carraway had a good start but otherwise not a lot changed.  In this post, I won’t be very disappointed.  Jackson was heralded as the Mariners’ most talented farm team and the most talented minor league team in all of baseball by many.  They haven’t disappointed much.  They haven’t just blown people away (mostly because of their offense) but they do sport a 23-17 record (as of Wednesday, May 16th).

Since the beginning of the season, Andrew Carraway (SP) and Stephen Pryor (RP) have moved up to Tacoma.  I covered them in my post about the Rainiers but they’ve been pretty awesome.  Chih-Hsien Chiang has also moved up to Tacoma since the beginning of the season, mostly due to injuries and not awesomeness.  Steven Proscia (3B) started out in High Desert as a guy to keep an eye on and he’s made his way up to Jackson.  He obviously excelled at High Desert but has struggled through his first few at-bats in AA.  He’s someone to keep an eye on though.  Otherwise, the other guys I highlighted in my seasoning opening post are still in Jackson.  Again, if there’s any questions about players (or anything else, leave them in the comments).  All stats are updated through Wednesday, lets start with position players (and go by position).

Rich Poythress (1B) – .259/.352/.375, 1 HR, 10 2B’s, 18 RBI’s, 14/16 K/BB, .727 OPS

Rich is currently on the 7-day DL but he should be back soon (it is only the seven-day DL).  Poythress hasn’t hit many home runs but he’s tied for the team lead in doubles.  Maybe he misses High Desert?  He’s a right-handed hitter and his OPS is over .500 points higher against left-handed pitching (although, small sample sizes).  His lone home run and 4 of his 10 doubles have come against left-handed pitching even though he’s only faced them 28 times compared to 84 at-bats against right-handers.  Obviously, his K/BB ratio is very good right now.  Keep that up, Rich!  Poythress had a great year in High Desert in 2010 but hasn’t done much in Jackson last year or this year.  The lefty-righty splits are interesting and could make him an interesting option as a platoon bat going forward.

Nick Franklin (SS) – .318/.373/.467, 2 HR, 10 2B’s, 14 RBI’s, 16/10 K/BB, .840 OPS.

Through the top three levels of the Mariners system there’s one position that is having a great amount of success hitting – shortstop.  That’s weird, now if only they could play defense.  Franklin is probably the best position player prospect in the Mariners system and he hasn’t disappointed thus far.  He’s hitting for a good average, a few more walks and homers would be nice but I won’t complain with these results.  He’s still only 21 and could see Tacoma by seasons end.  The one stat that is a bit scary… 7 errors.  This is a common theme among the systems shortstops.  Franklin has been dealing with a small, nagging foot injury.  That’s annoying but it’s not serious.

Francisco Martinez (3B, CF?) – .245/.317/.311, 0 HR, 8 2B’s, 1 3B, 9 RBI’s, 34/16 K/BB, .629 OPS, 14 SB.

Francisco hasn’t really hit.  Well, that’s not fair.  He’s done okay, just not very well.  He’s got 9 extra base hits which is 5th on the team.  Plus, he’s 14 of 16 in stolen bases.  The organization loves his speed and has been messing around with the idea of him playing center field.  Go for it!  We have terrible outfield prospects, do it!  Anyway, Martinez strikes out a ton, which is bad.  He’s always had a gaudy amount of strikeouts and this year has been no different.  If he could raise his contact rate, I’d be very interested in what Martinez could be.  For now, he just seems like a really fast guy.

Steven Proscia (3B) – .317/.348/.545, 8 HR, 9 2B’s, 25 RBI’s, 30/8 K/BB, .893 OPS.

These are Proscia’s combined numbers between High Desert and Jackson.  He’s had 24 at-bats since being called up to Jackson and only 4 hits.  3 of those hits have been home runs though.  That’s pretty neat.  You know what’s not neat?  Strikeouts.  Maybe our minor league team has been watching our major league team too much.  Proscia definitely has power and can get some extra base hits but he swings and misses too much.  If he could cut that down just a bit he could become a really interesting prospect like a few other third base prospects in the system.  Who would have thought the M’s most interesting position player prospects would be at SS and 3B.  Have the Mariners had a good shortstop since Carlos Guillen?  Have they ever had a good third baseman not named Beltre? Sorry Steve, this paragraph was supposed to be about you.  I forgot.  Strike out less and hit more!

Johermyn Chavez (RF) – .287/.357/.436, 3 HR’s, 6 2B’s, 10 RBI’s, 21/10 K/BB, .793 OPS.

Chavez has been hurt for the past few weeks but otherwise he’s been about what we expected.  He strikes out a lot but otherwise has put average numbers.  He’s another guy who had a great year at High Desert in 2010 but still hasn’t put it together in Jackson.

Joseph Dunigan (OF) – .303/.357/.568, 7 HR’s, 10 2B’s, 2 3B’s, 21 RBI’s, 38/9 K/BB, .925 OPS, 6 SB.

Power! Strikeouts…. Power!  I wouldn’t have guessed before the season that Dunigan would be the M’s outfield prospect who’s having the best season.  He’s 26, in AA, and was pretty crappy last year.  But, he has 19 extra base hits.  Double that and you have his strikeouts.  The strikeouts are the only thing that keep me from taking Dunigan very seriously.  He’s always had decent power, a bad average and a lot of strikeouts.  The average has improved but will it stay that way.  With 38 of his 133 at-bats ending in K’s I would guess no, but hopefully I’m wrong.  Thus far, he may be the biggest surprise of the season.  You go, Joe!  By the way, Dunigan has 19 extra base hits and only 21 RBI’s.  Is this normal?  It seems like that’s a lack of RBI’s or maybe I’m way off.

We get to the pitchers after the jump.  It’s all good news after the jump (well, mostly). Brandon Maurer (SP) – 2-0, 8 GS, 4.39 ERA, 41 IP, 47 H, 20 ER, 24/15 K/BB

Maurer had been the least successful pitcher in the Jackson rotation (which isn’t a burn at all) until Maurico Robles came down from Tacoma.  Maurer has always had trouble staying healthy, so it’s awesome that he’s already through 41 IP.  His strikeout numbers are pretty low, which is interesting because he has pretty good stuff (or did, I haven’t read anything that says his velocity is down or anything along those lines).  These numbers aren’t too bad or anything but they won’t move him up to Tacoma.  His last start he gave up 5 runs in 2 innings, but his 2 starts before that were his most successful so maybe he’s starting to get it going.

James Paxton (SP) – 3-2, 8 GS, 3.58 ERA, 37.2 IP, 28 H, 15 ER, 45/25 K/BB

The other day I was asked which one of the “Big 3” was most major-league ready.  Before the start of the year, my answer would have been Paxton.  In fact, I was a bit surprised that Paxton wasn’t given more of a chance to earn a spot in the big league rotation.  Now, my answer would be Hultzen because of the amount of walks Paxton has given up.  25 BB in 37.2 innings is not going to fly in the majors no matter how good his stuff is.  His stuff is really good, by the way.  Disregarding the walks, everything is where M’s fans should want it to be.  He gives up less than a hit per inning and has more than one strikeout every inning.  The guy is good, he just needs to improve his control.

Danny Hultzen (SP) – 3-3, 7 GS, 1.91 ERA, 37.2 IP, 17 H, 8 ER, 36/23 K/BB

I did bag on Paxton for having control problems but Hultzen has had them this year as well.  He never struggled with this in college, where as Paxton has struggled with the walks, so I don’t foresee this being a huge problem going forward.  The reason why I’m a bit more confident in Hultzen at the moment is that he’s only given up 17 hits thus far.  That’s 11 less than Paxton in the same amount of innings.  He’s only given up 1 home run in his 7 starts (Paxton has given up 3) and he’s almost striking out a guy per inning.  Thursday he faces off against Trevor Bauer.  How would you like to be at that game?  Anyway, Hultzen looks good but could use a few less walks.

Taijuan Walker (SP) – 3-1, 7 GS, 1.83 ERA, 34.1 IP, 28 H, 7 ER, 35/11 K/BB

Taijuan is my favorite among the ‘Big 3’.  He’s the youngest, he may have the most electric arsenal, and is Jack Z’s current crowning achievement.  He hurt his foot or ankle in a start recently but it doesn’t appear to be serious and he should make his next start.  He’s given up quite a few more hits than Hultzen but makes up for it because he’s not walking many guys.  He strikes out more than 1 guys per inning and has only given up one home run in his 28 hits.  You would think the guy who is raw and was drafted out of high school would have more control problems but Walker throws strikes.  Maybe he is the most big league ready out of these 3, even at the age of 19.  He’ll be a top-10 (maybe 5) prospect in all of baseball over the winter if he keeps this up and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t pitch in Seattle next year.

Carter Capps (RP) – 1-2, 14 G, 2.45 ERA, 18.1 IP, 17 H, 5 ER, 25/4 K/BB

Once Pryor was called up to Tacoma Capps took over the closing job in Jackson.  They might need to start looking for another guy soon because there’s not a lot of reason to keep Capps in Jackson.  He touches 100 with his fastball and has just blown people away.  25 K’s in 18 innings shows that you may be a little too good for the league.  He’s kept his walk numbers down.  He’s given up 2 home runs if you’re looking for something to be picky about but don’t bother worrying about that.  Get used to hearing “Pryor and Capps” because they’ll be coming out of the Mariners bullpen soon and often.

We’ll move on to High Desert in a couple of days (or maybe next week, if I don’t get to it before I leave town this weekend).  Enjoy the sunshine and go M’s!



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One response to “Checking in on the Young ‘uns – Jackson

  1. Pingback: Checking in on the Young ‘Uns – Clinton | The Good Guys Sports Blog

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