Farm Notes – 4.20.06
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on April 20, 2006
To prove that the Seattle Mariners farm system isn't completely void of young arms that could make an impact at the big-league level, I decided to go panning for numbers.
Not that any of the pitchers south of Tacoma are blue-chip material, but I did find some pretty encouraging, if not promising numbers to mention.
Here's what I discovered – (stats thru games of 4.19.06)
Wisconsin RHP Jason Snyder has produced a 16-3 K/BB ratio in his three starts and 15 2/3 innings of work. In year's past, Snyder's control has been a concern.
Left-handed reliever Harold Williams has pitched in five games for the Rattlers covering 6 2/3 innings. Williams has already struck out 14 batters. I sense a loogy coming on…
Inland Empire right-handers Stephen Kahn and Mark Lowe have put on a clinic. Kahn, the team's closer and saves leader, has fanned 17 batters, to just one walk, in only 7 2/3 innings of work. Operating with a 91-94 mph fastball and a big hook, Kahn has been nothing shy of dominating thus far in 2006. Those 17 K's rank him fourth best in the circuit.
Lowe began the year in the bullpen and due to injury he may get a full-time shot at starting again. But the 2004 5th round draft pick has performed well enough to earn the promotion on his own. The 22-year-old has allowed just three hits in 12 innings, including five no-hit frames last week in which he fanned eight. He's sporting a nice 18-4 K/BB ratio, too.
Wisconsin southpaw Justin Thomas has a nice 13-2 K/BB ratio in his three outings and his 1.00 ERA is the league's best for pitchers with at least three games started.
There were also a couple of surprise numbers from a few bats that deserve mention…
Casey Craig, 21, is hitting .353 (7th in the league) with a .450 OBP (5th in the league) for a 1.038 OPS (4th in the league. See? With regular play, Craig produces.
The over-aggressive, never-patient Wladimir Balentien may have learned something over the past two seasons. He does have 16 K's, but he doesn't lead the league. Angels' super prospect Brandon Wood's 18 takes that cake.
But Balentien ranks second in the Texas League in… make sure you are sitting down for this… WALKS. Yeah, seriously. The Aruban-born Balentien has nine walks and sits behind only Oakland A's catching prospect Kurt Suzuki, who amazingly has 10 walks against ZERO strikeouts in 52 plate appearances.
I can see it now… The Aruban God of Walks.
Sixty-Sixers outfielder Josh Womack, a former second rounder, has posted some gaudy numbers thus far in 2006. The 22-year-old leads the California League in average (.444), OBP (.559) and OPS (1.225). He's also fourth in slugging at .667.
LHP Thomas Oldham was placed on the DL on 4/13 with an undisclosed injury. I'm trying to get a hold of him to find out what the deal is. He's well conditioned, so this is probably a minor injury.