Mariners Prospect Watch: Three Up, Three Down

Checking back in with our weekly look at the statistical highlights and lowlights around Mariners minor league baseball. The Rainiers got some much needed fresh pitching talent and the LumberKings had some of their lumber awaken from a slumber. Other standouts and washouts from the week are below, too.

Each Monday during the minor league season, I will give our readers a rundown of the best and worst from the minor league week that was within the Seattle Mariners system. The focus will be to concentrate only on true prospects, but if any player has an exceptionally noteworthy good (or bad) week, he could appear here as well. This isn't necessarily a "stock going up" or "stock going down" on the player, just simply a recap of their week.

The goal is to not only keep you up to date on the goings on, but to try and give you a better look of what talent is in the system by spreading the coverage around.

As we progress through the season, you should be getting a better idea for what players are capable of, but there are a few on the list this week that are close to changing some minds, either good or bad. Here now is Three Up, Three Down.


Andrew Carraway - Tacoma Rainiers: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.27 WHIP, 7 1/3, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
Carraway -- the unlikely answer to the question of who the first starting pitcher to be promoted from Jackson would be -- really couldn't have done much better in his Triple-A debut this past week. He was perfect through six and allowed just two baserunners while throwing 101 pitches in 7 1/3 and winning his organization-high 5th game (four in Jackson and one in Tacoma).

For a Rainiers team that entered the weekend with the worst staff ERA in the Pacific Coast League, Carraway's performance was a welcome relief. His command and maturity made him a bit of a sleeper for me, but I did rank him in the Mariners Top-40 and the Top-15 among the org's starting pitching prospects. The 25-year-old may successfully stave off the need to promote one of the famous three from Jackson and end up saving the Mariners some big league service time.

Carlos Triunfel - Tacoma Rainiers: .346/.452/.577 (9-26), 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO
Everyone seems to forget about Triunfel as a prospect, but the kid just won't go away. Always discounted for not walking enough or hitting for enough extra base power, he raised his OBP .030 points this past week with four walks and raised his SLG .025 with nine hits that included four for extra bases (3 doubles and a HR). He's been hitting in the 2nd slot in the order most of the season for Tacoma, and is making noticeable improvements in his game.

Through the first quarter of the Triple-A season, Triunfel is already approaching career highs in HR with five (8 in '08) and is on pace to easily blow past his previous best in walks, too, as he has 10 (30 in '08). He also hasn't made an error in his last eight games at shortstop. With Brendan Ryan's grasp on the MLB job getting weaker by the day, Triunfel's long awaited big league debut may end up coming this season.

Guillermo Pimentel - Clinton Lumber Kings: .524/.600/.714 (11-21), 4 2B, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 6 SO
At the beginning of this past week Pimentel was about as lost as any player in the minor leagues, stuck in a season long slump with just a .122/.151/.211 slash in his first 26 games in Clinton. But he had hits in all seven games this week, doubling his season hit and walk totals in the process while reinvigorating his year.

The 19-year-old with plus power and a decent hit tool had a great spring but looked overmatched early in the Midwest League. Now he is firmly in his stride and is hitting the ball consistently, and hitting it hard to all fields. The strikeout totals and his numbers against LHP are still pretty ugly, but Pimentel looks like he finally has things moving in the right direction for 2012.


Vinnie Catricala - Tacoma Rainiers: .107/.167/.107 (3-28), 2 BB, 8 SO
I am completely puzzled by Catricala's season, and I hate to keep picking on the guy, but he has been a huge disappointment thus far in 2012 as he's really only had one or two really good games out of the first 36 this season in Tacoma. And this past week was among his worst, as not only did he not hit, but now the strikeouts are starting to pile up, too. Vinnie's .274 OPS for the week was the 4th worst among all 16 PCL teams, and he even hit into three double plays.

For the season now, Catricala is hitting just .203/.258/.259 in a league that is hitting .274/.340/.420 as a whole. He does have 19 RBI and is still hitting over .300 with RISP, but at the one-quarter point of the minor league season, his performance has to be the biggest letdown in the organization for the M's.

John Hicks - High Desert Mavericks: .154/.154/.308 (4-26), 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 7 SO
To be fair to John, he was on an absolute tear prior to this past week, and these things tend to level off. But even with half of his games in the friendly confines of High Desert this past week, Hicks just couldn't get anything going. His plate discipline disappeared and he dropped nearly .040 points off his average (.352 to .313) in pretty quick order.

He's back to switching between catching and DHing now that fellow Mavs backstop Jack Marder is off the DL, and maybe that has something to do with the rough week, but Hicks will needs to focus on himself and not worry about the other things that can affect his PT or his game. The strikeouts (and lack of walks) from the past week are the biggest concern for me, so watch that stat for Hicks going forward.

Yoervis Medina - Jackson Generals: 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 S)
Medina -- who has been a starter for much of his time with the M's in the minors -- was forced into the bullpen this year in Jackson with the presence of The Big Three. He has good stuff and I ranked him in the initial Top-50 for SeattleClubhouse, but the 23-year-old right-hander hasn't exactly taken to the role. He's lost three games in 10 appearances to date and is sporting a pretty unsightly 5.85 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in the process.

This past week was no exception as he struggled through two bad outings that saw his ERA jump almost a full point (4.86 to 5.85). Medina is getting hit hard, period, but left-handers are destroying him thus far, with a .333/.400/.667 line that includes three HR in just 36 at bats. He needs to work on his command and find an off-speed pitch that can keep lefties honest in order to have a chance at the higher levels.

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