Checking in on the Young ‘Uns – Clinton

The Mariners are currently ahead by two touchdowns in Texas, Justin Smoak seems like a new man, and Kyle Seager could be the Mariners new 3 hitter for the rest of the season but this good guy is still talking about a minor league team.  Why?  Because it’s the last one in a series and I promised myself I’d finish this before I’d write anything else.  There’s nothing worse than breaking promises to yourself.

I’ve covered Tacoma, Jackson, and High Desert in the last couple of weeks (read them by clicking on the location that you’re interested in).  Today, I’m going to check in on some of the guys from the Clinton Lumberkings (low-A ball).  Aside from the awesome nickname, Clinton doesn’t have the most exciting club.  They are 18-33 and haven’t had anybody completely surprise us like Taijuan Walker did last year (although, that’s not completely fair to say because Walker is a first round draft pick who pitches with that kind of talent).  One thing to consider is that high draft picks from Monday’s draft (especially college guys) who sign quickly could be sent to Clinton.  That’s one thing to look for.  Anyway, I’ll highlight some guys, starting with position players.  If you have any questions let me know in the comments.

Steve Baron (C) – .226/.271/.351, 2 HR, 1 3B, 13 2B, 17 RBI, 36/9 K/BB, .622 OPS.

I include Baron because he was 1st-round draft pick and people usually like to follow along with those.  The truth is, Baron probably isn’t a serious prospect and most people don’t see him reaching the majors.  On the plus side, he’s very young still and he has improved some.  He’s hit a good amount of doubles this season and that’s great to see.  He’s also hit 2 home runs in the last 3 days.  You go, Steve!  Otherwise, his hitting is really lacking.  People say he’s good defensively but I can’t really speak to that.  More doubles and more walks, Steve!

Mike Dowd (C) – .244/.320/.267, 2 2B, 12 RBI, 8/11 K/BB, .587 OPS.

Dowd has only played in 25 games this year, so this is a pretty small sample size.  Dowd obviously isn’t hitting for much power but the walks are nice.  Dowd is another defense first catcher who is just a few months older than Baron.  Maybe one of these guys will work out but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Dan Paolino (2B) – .258/.329/.386, 3 HR, 8 2B, 20 RBI, 15/12 K/BB, .715 OPS. 

Paolino was a 10th round pick in last years draft and has been doing alright in Clinton.  There’s not a lot of power coming out of him.  He’s splitting time at 2nd with Dillon Hazlett who is basically hitting the exact same as him.  Anyway, Paolino isn’t striking out much and is walking some.  His OPS is acceptable for a middle infielder but he’s not blowing anyone away.

Guillermo Pimental (LF) – .206/.255/.301, 2 HR, 7 2B, 18 RBI, 49/7 K/BB, .557 OPS.

This is disappointing.  We had a discussion on this blog before the season about Pimental being the number 2 prospect in the system by the start of next season.  That seems like a long ways off at that moment.  Pimental has struck out in over a 1/3 of his at-bats.  His power hasn’t quite come either.  He has been abysmal against southpaws, sporting a .065 batting average.  Pimental did seem like he was getting going but then got injured and was out for about 2 weeks.  He has come back recently and we’ll see if he continues to heat up.  The hope is still high on him, but this season shows that he may have a long ways to come.

Jabari Blash (RF) – .220/.342/.421, 8 HR, 2 3B, 5 2B, 23 RBI, 53/29 K/BB, .763 OPS.

Blash is a 3 outcome hitter – a strikeout, walk or extra base hit.  Having an OBP that’s .122 points higher than his batting average speaks to his abilities in taking a walk.  Like Pimental, Blash has struck out in about a 1/3 of his at-bats.  Blash is really pretty interesting although I don’t know if he’ll ever make it up to the bigs.  I’d like to see the crazy stats he could put up in High-Desert because of his power.

Ji-Man Choi (C?/1B/DH) has just joined the club recently.  Choi was an intriguing prospect but spent most of last year injured.  He has played catcher but it looks like that might be over with after his injuries.  The guy can hit but I don’t know if he can hit enough to be a major league first baseman.

Pitchers (all 2 of them) after the jump. Jordan Shipers (SP) – 2-0, 10 GS, 2.45 ERA, 58.2 IP, 53 H, 16 ER, 32/18 K/BB.

Shipers has been one of the most successful Mariners’ pitching prospects this season (probably behind the big 3 and Carraway).  He’s not even 21 years old yet and seems to be doing pretty well in Clinton.  His strikeouts are a bit worrisome but there aren’t many walks there either so, credit where credit’s due?  He’s a fastball-changeup guy.  His high-school didn’t have a baseball team and he has a very interesting story.  Anyway, I don’t know whether or not to expect some regression in his ERA because of the lack of strikeouts but as for now, we’ll take the results.

Steve Landazuri (SP) – 3-2, 8 G, 7 GS, 3.27 ERA, 44 IP, 1 SV, 36 H, 16 ER, 36/11 K/BB.

Landazuri is currently on the disabled list for Clinton but before that happened he’d been very successful.  While Shipers throws in the low-90’s from the left side, Landazuri does it from the right side.  His K’s and BB’s are in good shape and he’s been successful starting.  His save came in a game where he pitched the last 4 innings of.  I don’t know what was going on there, minor league baseball can be weird.  Landazuri was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2010 draft.  Both of these guys could show up in High-Desert or even Jackson after some guys get moved up or around.

That’s it for now.  I’ll try to do one of these mid-season and at the end of the season as well.  I’m also going to preview the Everett team once their lineup is out.  As Matthew recently wrote, the MLB draft is less than 5 days away!  We’ll both be giving you coverage on that as it goes on.  I’d suggest that you just watch the Mariners score more touchdowns over the weekend though!

Thanks for reading!



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