Tag Archives: Steve Baron

The Mariners of the Future: Catcher

The Mariners are in a weird spot right now.  They’re inconsistent and pretty bad more often than not, but then they run off a hot streak every so often.  They have mostly young talent with promise.  The problem is that few of those guys are performing in a way that cements them as a future Mariner.  Even fewer have the type of elite talent where they should be penciled into future line-ups regardless of current production.  When you add in the minor leaguers, the roster is becoming a logjam of guys with unclear talent levels.

I’d expect we’ll start to see some changes, perhaps as soon as the trading deadline.  It’s possible that any of the few veterans on the team might be traded, but what will be more interesting is if Jack Zduriencik packages a few guys to get more proven performers.  This roster has too many unproven, promising players that need to be made into a cohesive, productive roster.

With all that in mind, this is a good time to look at the players that might figure into the Mariners’ plans over the next few years.  I’m going to take this position-by-position and just run through some names, with my opinion of how I’d lay out the roster, if I have one.

Catcher is first up.  A year or two ago, catcher was the most talent-starved position in the system.  That’s been almost completely reversed now.  In about a year, the Mariners have drafted about seven catchers with promise and traded for Jesus Montero and John Jaso.  That’s a pretty good influx.  Still, there’s no definite catcher for the future due to shortcomings for each of them.  Here’s the rundown: Continue reading


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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. Continue reading

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Down On The Farm

Have you ever thought about the confusion that most come with farmers who follow minor league baseball closely.  They might ask, “What’s going on down on the farm today?”  How does the farmers confused son answer?  It could be, “The cows are milked, the chickens are laying eggs, and the sheep dog is having a good time.”  He could also say, “James Paxton looked awfully good in his debut and Nick Franklin has started the season on fire.”  Both answers are correct, assuming the farmer has kept his farm in good health, but the father’s probably only looking for one answer.  Man, that would get confusing.  Of course you haven’t thought about that.  No one has because that’s stupid.  Well, maybe the select farmers who follow baseball make a good wise crack about it sometimes.

Hultzen, Paxton and Walker - The Big Three

There's our boys!

The Mariners farm has been making a good amount of noise in the last year.  How’s that for a transition?  Say what you want to about Jack Z, but he has truly brought the farm system to one of the highest levels it’s ever been at in organizational history.  Yes, that doesn’t mean definite success but that’s one of the reasons why Matthew, me and many others are big fans of his.

The minor league teams opened the season Thursday and I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of players you might be interested and where they’re at.  I’ll just go team-by-team through the system with the players I find the most interesting.  I will skip over some players because, either, I don’t find them interesting or I just simply miss them on accident.  Leave any player questions in the comments and I’ll get to them.  Also, Jay Yencich from USS Mariner has written a preview for each team that will be much  more detailed than my rundown so I’ll link it by the team name for all those hardcore fans  like the farmer in the first paragraph (ha! You thought I couldn’t tie that back in).

Tacoma Rainiers (AAA) USSM Preview

Triple-A teams often don’t have top prospects in them, at least for long.  It’s thought that AAA teams store all the depth for the big-league club and that includes many AAAA players (what I mean by that is players who have mastered triple-A but can’t quite cut it in the majors for the long haul).  No offense, Mike Wilson.  That holds mostly true this year.  The Mariners double-A team may have more talent on it, but Tacoma still has some very interesting names.  Here are the names that intrigue me the most in Tacoma.

Players to watch:

Maurico Robles and Forrest Snow (SP) – Tacoma’s starting rotation leaves a bit to be desired but these are the two most interesting prospects here.  Robles is a lefty who has a low-90’s fastball.  If he’s going to make the majors, it’ll be as a reliever.  I’m not sure why he isn’t in the bullpen already.  He struggles with control.  Forrest Snow is a UW alum and stands a bit more of a chance to get into the M’s rotation at some point.  He’s basically skipping the double-A level.  He doesn’t have the best stuff (good change-up but everything else is about average) but could be a decent back of the rotation starter.  Anthony Vasquez is in Tacoma too but he should never start a game for the M’s again.  Please.

Charlie Furbush – You know about him.  He’s a lefty and was with the Mariners most of the 2nd half last year.  He is in the bullpen but he could make a spot start here and there.  He has decent stuff and sometimes it’s even pretty good.  If he keeps the home runs down he’ll find his way up soon.

Chance Ruffin – Tacoma’s strength is their bullpen.  Ruffin is a righty with a mid-90’s fastball and good slider.  He was with the M’s at the end of last year and will be again, I imagine.

Shawn Kelley – Another good righty in the bullpen.  He lost a little velocity from Tommy John surgery and maybe they sent him down to try to get it back?  I don’t know, but he’s probably better than some of the guys in the Seattle bullpen.

Cesar Jimenez -Cesar is a lefty specialist and there’s usually a place on big-league clubs for players like this eventually.  He has gotten a little worse with his control and overall numbers the last couple of years.  Still, he’s worth keeping an eye on.  All four of these guys aren’t far from making the Mariners and I bet some of them will be up before the end of the month even.

Vinnie Catricala (3B) – Position players!  Vinnie is probably the best, actual prospect on Tacoma.  He can hit really well.  Vinnie made a push for the 3rd base job in the spring but lost out.  That’s probably good since he’s hardly played in AA, and has not played at all in AAA.  He has improved his strikeout numbers last year and hopefully will do so again this year.  He needs to improve his defense too.  The guy can hit and will find a place on the M’s soon if he can find a true position.

Carlos Triunfel (2B, SS) – Triunfel will probably play shortstop for Tacoma most of the time.  He used to be the prized prospect in the system but a broken leg kind of unhinged him and he hasn’t really regained his top status since.  His hitting numbers went down and his defense at shortstop is questionable.  He’s still pretty young and had a large improvement last year so maybe there’s still hope for him.

Carlos Peguero (LF) – Maybe I shouldn’t put him in here because if you follow what I write you know that I’m not a fan of his at all.  He swings and misses way too much, sucks at defense, and has no plate discipline.  That being said, he hits the ball a country mile and has started off the year on fire.

Trayvon Robinson (CF) – Trayvon strikes out too much but he hits for some power and has a good amount of speed (although his stolen bases have gone down a lot for some reason).  If he could up his contact rate, he’d be a really interesting player that would be fighting to the top of the centerfield pile.  Lets hope for some development.

That’s it for Tacoma, and I’m already over 1000 words.  Check out the most talented team in the minors after the jump!  I’m not kidding, extremely talented!

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Your 2011 Mariners- Catcher

I guess I’ll get this position over with so we can look at some slightly less depressing spots on the roster.


On the Roster

Adam Moore- Not having paid much attention to the last couple of months of the season, I busted out Moore’s monthly splits.  I was under the vague impression that his bat was a little better after he returned to the Mariners.  I was wrong. He did show a little more power, with three homers from August on, but that’s the extent of anything promising.  His best stretch of the season was for about three games right before he got injured.  Lots of rookies struggle, especially if they’re catching, but it’s not looking good for Moore.  I’d be curious as to how his defense looked by the end of the year.  Any thoughts?

Rob Johnson- Just going to move on.

Contract is Up

Josh Bard- Technically, Bard is a free agent, but I’m sure the Mariners could resign him if they want to.  Bard was probably the best catcher on the roster, but that’s not saying a lot.  He’s a decent backup, which is all he should be.  Unfortunately, in 2010 he was frequently the best option to start that the Mariners had. Continue reading

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