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Undefeated, Baby

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on June 25, 2006

Yes, the Seattle Mariners lack starting pitching depth throughout the organization and have very few impact bats in the system.  But Saturday night was a different story on both accounts.  The entire system won their matchups, from the big club all the way down to the short-season AquaSox.

While the Mariners were downing the Padres 9-5 behind Kenji Johjima and Raul Ibanez's power surges (two homers each) and J.J. Putz's Jekyl and Hyde act in the ninth, Tacoma was pounding Portland 12-2 behind right-hander Rich Dorman and a lineup that is looking awfully strong of late.

Dorman gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings… and fanned seven, but the story was the bats.  The first five batters in the lineup had 10 hits and eight RBI to lead the way.  Choo went 1-for-3 with two more walks and Adam Jones had two hits and a walk.

Chris Snelling went 3-for-5 with three doubles and four RBI – he's on fire –  and Bryan LaHair had two hits and two RBI of his own.  Snelling is 15 for his last 36 during an 8-game hitting streak and has driven in 12 runs in that span.  H e's up to .287 with 25 RBI since returning May 10.

Jones is also 15 for his last 36 during an 8-game hitting streak.  The 20-year-old is hitting .341 in June.

Right-hander and 16th round draft pick Austin Bibens-Dirkx was summoned from Everett to throw the final two frames of the win and fanned five and threw 31 of his 50 pitches for strikes.

Jeff Clement started at DH and went 0-for-3 with a walk and is just 3-for-16 since being activated from the disabled list.

Left-hander Robert Rohrbaugh  went six solid innings in his first start with Double-A San Antonio.  The 22-year-old allowed two runs on eight hits (six singles) while striking out five against just one walk.  

The Missions prevailed 8-2 to hand Rohrbaugh the win as Matt Tuiasosopo went 2-for-4 (.250 at SA) and Thomas Hubbard hit his first Double-A home run.

Notably, Jesus Guzman is playing a lot of second base with Tui playing third base exclusively of late.

Inland Empire kept up their end of the bargain with a 1-0 shutout of Modesto (Rockies) behind Chad Fillinger, who was sent to the Cal League to make the transition to the rotation and went six scoreless in his debut.

Fillinger allowed just three hits and did not walk a batter while striking out four.

The lone run scored when Andy Hargrove grounded into a double play, scoring catcher Brian Schweiger from third.

 Yung-Chi Chen went 3-for-4 and is hitting .342 and recently-promoted outfielder Casey Craig had two hits and is now 3-for-8 in red and blue.

The Timber Rattlers beat Kane County 2-1 behind LHP Paul Fagan's first career 9-inning complete game.  Fagan allowed an earned run on six hits and struck out four, but induced 14 ground ball outs and walked just one.

Wisconsin had no notable bats make contributions – get used to that.

Everett finished off the sweep (Peoria was winning 3-1 in the 7th when milb.com's coverage lost its feed) with a win over  Yakima, 4-2.

RIght-hander Michael Schilling was good again, going  six solid frames and allowing two runs.  He fanned four and walked only one and is now 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

Lefty Jose Suriel went the final three for the save and did not allow a hit.  Suriel struck out five.  There wasn't a lot of offense to speak of, but I think Greg Halman and Kuo-hui Lo should switch spots in the batting order.

Carlos Peguero was 2-for-3 with two doubles for Peoria through seven innings and now has three extra-base hits in two games.  Keep a close eye on him – the M's nearly started him in Everett and he's very projectable.

He's 6-5, 19 years old and bats lefty.

By the way, RHP Brandon Morrow may make his first pro start this week for Peoria, before being re-assigned to Inland Empire. 


25 Responses to “Undefeated, Baby”

  1. Allen Jacobs said

    Jason – I like the M’s challenging their better players with promotions..the players appear to be responding well.

    When do you think Snelling will be called up?

    On another topic, I would be interested on your thoughts about two prospects from my alma mater, Mark Reynolds – SS (Lancaster Hi-A)and Joe Koshansky 1b (Tulsa AA)?

  2. Snelling could be up any day, or they could wait him out.

    I’ll ask around on Reynolds and Koshansky, though I know Trabis Blackley has faced him before and will have a really good, objective opinion.

  3. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    Hey, you forgot to mention that Youngbauer was only a double shy of the cycle (or, maybe you intentionally don’t mention him, because, well, the name of the site is ‘Prospect’ Insider…

    Was that you manning the video camera hanging out of the press box?

  4. willmore2000 said

    Jason, you said that Fillinger was sent down, but I don’t see him playing for SA or Tacoma in his stats at milb.com or in the past.

  5. willmore2000 said

    Nevermind, found his stats on BA. Don’t know where I was looking.

  6. willmore2000 said

    By the way, why was he demoted from a starter last year to a reliever this year ? He seemed to have recovered well from the few first rough outings as a starter. 18 walks in 71 innings with 61 SO is impressive, no matter who you are, or what the record is. So what happend there ?

  7. JH said

    Varvaro made his first appearance in an Ms uni today, holding the AZL Brewers hitless for 2 innings, walking one, and striking out 3. Not a bad debut.

  8. JH said

    By the way, Jason, as soon as you hear any reports coming in about Varvaro’s velocity, it’d be pretty sweet if you’d be so kind as to share the wealth.

  9. willmore2000 said

    With a name like Kafka, you know it is has to be good. Just across him in the box score, we have a pitcher named Kafka in the minors. I wonder if there is any relation. In any case, I’ve got a quick question. With the VSL in progress, who should we be looking at in there ? Marquez ? Olivera ? just judging from the stats, but who are the prospects that don’t show up on the box score ?

  10. Re: Fillinger

    They are just looking for the best role for him right now…

    Re: Varvaro

    I will certainly ask Rice the next time I talk to him. Which will be this coming week.

  11. JH said

    Willmore, I don’t have Jason’s contacts in the organization, but the players in the VSL that got press in Latin-American newspapers upon signing are P Jessie Nava, 2B Jorge Agudelo, CF Dwight Britton, a Nicaraguan whose father was supposedly a well-known player in Nicaragua who decided to work as a fisherman instead of pursue a baseball career. Britton’s 19, though, not 17 as he’s listed at milb.com.

    Jetsy Extrano played a full season with the VSL last year at the age of 16, which is really rare. He’s drawing some walks, but pitchers down there are really, really raw, so that doesn’t tell you much about strike zone judgment (he has 8 HBPs, and Edilio Colina already has 13).

  12. willmore2000 said

    Cool, thanks for the info.

  13. Ron said

    Jason, what’s the chances of Adam Jones being promoted to centerfield after the trading deadline?

  14. Probably not very good.

    Jones has been really streaky at the plate this year and while he’s been pretty impressive in general, he needs more time in AAA.

    He’s made a lot of progress this season, however.

  15. Edman said

    I think Jones has a great future, but agree that he’s not ready. I’ve seen him a couple of times, and he’s been an average player, in the PCL. His power is a bit surprizing, but his average needs to work it’s way up. This may sound discouraging, but it really isn’t. When you look at how old he is, you’d expect him to be completely overmatched. I’ve seen him twice now, and he’s certainly not that. We have to remember, he’s still trying to get comfortable learning a new position. I could see him getting a September call-up, but it would be more to get him familiar with the majors, than to be a contributor.

    I was at the game today, and honestly, didn’t see any hitter stand out. Rob Johnson was quite impressive, defensively, and did OK at the plate. The kid has natural catching instincts. He made a smart throw to second, catching a runner off base.

    Tom Oldham looked sharp. I’ve seen him twice this season, and he’s been pretty sharp both times.

    Was shocked to see Castro on the roster. Haven’t looked, but must have been another infielder injury. Always liked Castro. He’s got ability, just never sure if he’s gonna tap it. He could be one of those guys who puts it all together and figures it out.

    Cruceta had command problems. His line was better than he pitched. He’d get guys to a 1-2 count, then walk them or run the count out of his favor.

    John Huber looked pretty good too. Nothing flashy, but he got the job done.

    Overall, I’d have to say I didn’t see anything to jump for joy over. But, they did play well, considering. I have a few more games to see this year…..so hoping to see more progress at that time.

  16. Jones has been far above average. He’s an athletic, improving center fielder slugging above .450 in AAA as a 20-year-old.

    Castro is up because Garciaparra went to the doctor and wasn’t cleared to come off the DL yet.

    BTW, if yer going to a “few games” and expecting to see someone jump out at you, stop wasting your time.

    This roster is so full of young players that unless Snelling or Choo had a good day, the chances of someone catching an eye is slim.

    You have to come for an entire homestand. Seriously…Cabrera WILL make a ridiculous defensive play AND put together an AB or two that remind you of Carlos Guillen…

    Jones will get a jump on a liner into the gap that will remind you of Mike Cameron and then hit a fastball 430 feet.

    But a game or two here and there isn’t enough.

  17. eknpdx said

    Jason, have you had a chance to watch Moore catch and hit yet?

    Just curious about him. I hear he ain’t small. But I’m wondering how the first hitter drafted by the M’s look – considering Fontaine’s current track record with drafting catchers.

  18. KB said

    I was under the impression that Moore isn’t expected to stick at Catcher.

    He’s first and foremost a hitter.

  19. StandinPat said

    Looks like he’s playing catcher still. He prob will be given a chance to stick, but it may not last long.

  20. Players will play their natural position until it’s loud and clear that they can’t do it anymore. You might see Moore catch until he hits Inland Empire…

    Tui played shortstop until almost halfway through his second full season even though it was very clear he wasn’t going to stick at short.

  21. StandinPat said

    Have you heard how he has looked at third thus far?

  22. He’s looking “okay, for a kid who’s never played there before,” said a Reds scout.

  23. StandinPat said

    That aint too shabby for a kid that should be MLB ready about the time Beltre’s contract is up. It would be great it he could become average with the glove there considering he has a pretty good chance of becomeing well above average with the bat at 3rd.

  24. Personally, I don’t think Tui has much of a chance to be good at third.

  25. StandinPat said

    How many players make a defensive skill jump like they can do at the plate? Is it possible or even likely for a player to come back, maybe from an offseason of hard work, and look completley different in the field? From what I heard when Clement hit USC many people doubted if he was good enough defensivley to stick at catcher, in college let alone the majors.

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