The Mariners roster is in disarray. There are moves that have happened (Jesus Montero is in Tacoma), moves that might be happening (nobody knows what’s going on with Andino as of 1:50 P.M. today) and moves that should happen (Aaron Harang is still on the roster). There is mass speculation on what the Mariners should do. Some of it is intelligent, some of it isn’t at all. Most people calling into radio stations aren’t, I’ve found in the last two days.
This paragraph should be a separate blog post but I wanted to throw it in anyway. Form your own opinions on these Mariners roster decisions (and all decisions for that matter). When you do, form the opinions after you are informed and read multiple reports. There are plenty of statistics and a fountain of information a few clicks away. Go make informed opinions.
I’m not going to add to the Mariner speculation mainly because there is too much of it right now. Instead, this post is about guys down in the lower minors who may be promoted to a higher level in the next month or so, due to good performance. I’ll start with the low minors and work my way up, picking a few guys from each level.
Clinton Lumberkings (One of the best mascot names)
Dylan Unsworth (SP) – Unsworth has put up great numbers in the minors in the last year and a half. His K/BB ratio is 34/2 right now. He’s pitcher 47 innings and has walked 2 guys. He is right-handed and doesn’t crack 90 MPH so odds are against him but I’m interested in how his 2.49 ERA and one HR given up all year would translate in Jackson (AA) or High-Desert (high-A).
Grady Wood (RP) – Wood is the closer in Clinton. He’s sporting a 2.78 ERA and has a 20/5 K/BB ratio. He’s 23 and was drafted last year where he pitched for Everett. I should state that Clinton usually favors pitchers while High-Desert heavily favors hitters.
Others worth considering:
Tyler Pike (SP) 38 IP, 2.37 ERA, 34/17 K/BB
Dario Pizzano (RF) .327/.396/.483 14 doubles and 3 HR
Ji-Man Choi (1B) – Choi is somewhat of a cult hero in the Mariners minor league system. He has always put up good numbers but never seems to stay healthy. This year he has been on the field and, surprise, he’s put up great numbers. He’s gone through position changes and is at first base right now (although he has played a little bit of third). Choi just had his 21 game hit streak snapped. His slash line is .356/.449/.658 bringing his OPS to 1.107. It’s not all High Desert, either. On the road his OPS is still over 1.000. The downside to Choi, other than the health issues, is that he doesn’t have a lot of home run power. He’s hit 6 home runs (3 on the road, 3 at home) but he does hit a lot of doubles (21) and plays good defense. He has 30 extra base hits in 40 games. Of all of the guys I want called up to the next level, Choi probably tops the list.
Chris Taylor (SS) – So, who’s the Mariners shortstop of the future? Chris Taylor is entering that conversation (along with Nick Franklin, Carlos Triunfel, and Brad Miller). Taylor was drafted last year out of the University of Virginia (he was teammates with Danny Hultzen and John Hicks, also in the Mariners system). Taylor has hit at every level, so far, and is probably the best defensive shortstop in the system. Taylor is hitting .342/.444/.522 with an OPS of .966. His OPS on the road is .860, so he’s not solely benefitting from High Desert. He doesn’t have a ton of power (19 extra base-hits in 46 games) but he has good plate discipline. Brad Miller just got called up to Tacoma, so Taylor may be sent up to Jackson before this post is finished. That seems like it’d be a good move.
Others Worth Considering:
George Mieses (RP) 23.2 IP, 4.94 ERA, 26/10 K/BB (ERA is tough to judge in High Desert).
Taijuan Walker (SP) 52 IP, 2.77 ERA, 57/25 K/BB
Walker is still probably the top prospect in the Mariners system. People say he’s struggling, but these numbers aren’t really showing that. His walks are higher than everyone would like but a little bit of wildness doesn’t put me off as much as it does others. His strikeouts are through the roof and opposing batters are hitting .197 against him. Walker could receive a promotion once Harang is DFA’d or a few Tacoma pitchers are called up.
Julio Morban (OF)
Julio is like Ji-Man Choi or Franklin Gutierrez, if you’d rather. He puts up great numbers while on the field but he can’t stay on the field enough. When Morban is on the field he is easily their best outfield prospect. Morban’s slash line is .344/.394/.563 making his OPS .957. Morban has only played in 27 games this year though and that’s the real problem. Having him healthy would be a big boost for the Mariners system.
Others Worth Considering:
Chance Ruffin (SP) 47 IP, 2.87 ERA, 33/10 K/BB (Yes, he was bad, but he seems to be doing well in the new starting role. He could just be benefitting due to the lower level though.)
Carson Smith (RP) 14.1 IP, 3.14 ERA, 20/5 K/BB (Smith had a rough beginning to the season but has since calmed down and looked very good. I mean, look at those strikeouts.)
As I mentioned, Brad Miller has just been called up to Tacoma to replace Triunfel. As a hitter, think of him as Kyle Seager. A few home runs here and there but more doubles than anything. Although Nick Franklin is a popular target at this point, Miller could become just as popular in a matter of weeks.
Until next time! Believe Big!