High Desert Mavericks (California League)
We’ve arrived in Adelanto, CA, home to absurd amounts of home runs, terrified pitchers, and the High Desert Mavericks. HD is in the High-A California League, which essentially means it’s the third highest level in the Mariners system, ranking ahead of full season Clinton and short-season Everett and Pulaski. It’s a common landing spot for advanced college draftees and the first spot where you start to see prospects really get a lot of attention, unless they were big name signings or draftees. As I mentioned in the West Tennessee post, it’s also a hard place to guage prospects. Due to some small parks and thin air, the Cal league and High Desert in particular is maybe the best place to hit in all of professional baseball. Every year brings some gaudy numbers, which means that hitters are examined very closely and don’t really get the benefit of the doubt until they’ve shown more at a higher level. Pitchers are kind of given a break if they put up bad results. Just looking at stats, a casual fan often overrates a hitter’s year. Conversely, I think some hitters get underrated by prospect watchers, but that’s easily remedied by playing well once they reach West Tennessee.
After a fairly loaded roster in 2009, 2010’s is a little weaker. Due to that factor and just that these are younger guys or players who haven’t been in the system long, my knowledge is much more limited (and that will only increase further down the system). There are some definite prospects though, so let’s see what we’ve got.
Anthony Vasquez- LHP Vasquez was called up to West Tennessee shortly after I wrote their post. He’s a smallish starter having a very solid year. Sounds like he has decent stuff, but his upside is probably Jason Vargas-ish, solid contributor but not a consistent high-level guy. Here’s a good ProballNW write-up with a lot more info.
The Big Boppers
Rich Poythress- 1B A 2009 second rounder, Poythress was regarded as maybe the best college power bat in the draft. A big right handed hitter, he’s having a solid year with an OPS currently at .918, but again it’s High Desert and his strikeouts are a little high. There’s good hope here, but he hasn’t quite set the world on fire. Continue reading