Each Monday during the minor league season we give our readers a rundown of the best and worst from the minor league week that was within the Seattle Mariners system. The focus is aimed to be on true prospects, but if any organizational player has an exceptionally noteworthy good (or bad) week, he could appear here as well. This isn't necessarily a season long "stock going up" or "stock going down" on the player, just simply a snapshot and 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.
In this week's Three Up, Three Down, we catch up with several players that will be key for their teams as they begin getting ready for the playoffs.
Steven Proscia - High Desert Mavericks: .667/.636/1.381 (14-21), 4 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 3 SO, 2 SB
Proscia only played in five games over the past seven days, but he still led the California League in several offensive categories, including extra base hits (8), total bases (29) and RBI (12). He had multi-hit games in each of those five contests and has multiple hits in 14 of his last 23 games this year. He's hitting .440 and slugging .747 with 24 RBI in 18 August games and the 22-year-old right-handed hitting infielder now is leading the organization in home runs (26) and RBI (99).
With 10 of his last 12 starts coming at second base, Proscia is adding a bit of defensive flexibility to his resume, though his long-term fit figures to be at one of the corners. The 2011 7th round pick out of Virginia was a college teammate of Danny Hultzen and John Hicks and now owns a two year batting line of .313/.344/.550 with 209 hits, 38 HR and 141 RBI in 163 career minor league games.
D.J. Mitchell - Tacoma Rainiers: 2-0, 2.19 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 12 1/3 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 S), .186 oAVG
Mitchell has been pitching well ever since he arrived in Seattle as part of the Ichiro trade with the Yankees, but this past week represented his first two wins as a member of the Mariners' organization. He did so with the same approach he always succeeds with -- keeping the ball down, getting ground balls and not getting himself into any trouble with walks.
He has a 2.95 ERA and five quality starts (and one other good start) in seven outings with the Rainiers, and while none of his peripherals are eye-popping, Mitchell has big league stuff, knows how to pitch to his strengths with his heavy sinking, low-90s fastball and could see some time in Seattle in September.
Logan Bawcom - Jackson Generals: 0-0, 4 SV, 4 G, 4 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 SO
Bawcom -- who was part of the Brandon League trade with the Dodgers -- wasn't sharp in his first few outings in the organization, but he lowered his ERA nearly a full run this past week and saved every game he pitched in for the playoff-bound Generals. He is tied for 4th in the Southern League in saves, even though he wasn't Jackson's primary closer when he first joined the club.
His command -- 15 walks in just 12 2/3 IP after just 16 BB in 34 2/3 prior to the trade -- has been his one black mark so far, but he only walked two in four appearances this week after walking two or more in five of his first seven appearances with the club. Even with the command troubles, he's allowed only one hit in his last 7 IP. Bawcom could turn into a big league relief option very quickly for Seattle if his command stays sharp.
Julio Morban - High Desert Mavericks: .200/.238/.250 (4-20), 2B, BB, 7 SO, 2 errors
Morban got off to a hot start with the bat and hit 10 home runs in 28 games in May and June for the Mavs, but a few injuries and a bunch of strikeouts have limited his production in what has become a very crowded outfield in the 2nd half for High Desert.
Morban is hitting just .273/.319/.398 in the 2nd half of the Cal League season after hitting .343/.389/.651 in the 1st half. Morban doesn't walk much and bulked up considerably between 2011 and 2012, so a lot of the surprise early in the year this season had to do with his power. With that power not showing itself nearly as much in the 2nd half -- and with his health still being a concern as he's played in just 74 games -- Morban has taken a small step back from his huge leap forward he made earlier this year.
Ramon Morla - Clinton LumberKings: .185/.185/.296 (5-27), HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 9 SO
Back in June and July, it was looking like Morla may have turned the corner in his career, as he was hitting the ball with authority, drawing a few walks and playing fairly decent defense. But he has seen his average dip, his power decrease and his strikeouts climb in the 2nd half with Clinton, and this past week -- with a home run and a string of bad strikeouts -- was a decent snapshot of what Ramon Morla is as a player right now. The strikeouts have long been a problem for the 22-year-old Morla, and this past week moved him to more than one K a game on the year (96 in 94 games).
Another regression in Morla has happened on the other side of the ball; after a strong showing in the late first half at third base, his defense has fallen off again of late, too, and he now has 33 errors on the year. He's still young enough to make some improvements, and the career-best 41 extra base hits are a start, but the plate discipline and fielding have to improve quicker for Morla, who is now finishing up his 4th season stateside for the M's.
Danny Hultzen - Tacoma Rainiers: 0-1, 54.00 ERA, 9.00 WHIP, 2/3, 2 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO, .500 oAVG
In a year that began with so much hype, so much promise and so much in the terms of results, Hultzen's time with the Rainiers has been pretty unspectacular. This past week was Hultzen's 3rd start on normal rest following a 17-day layoff to try and get him right, and it counts as his least effective appearance as a pro. 40 pitches (just 16 strikes) to get two outs in the first before he was pulled, with his fastball command and command of his secondary stuff just nowhere to be found.
The club did say that Hultzen will make one more start in Triple-A this year, and there is still a small chance that he is brought up to join the big league club after rosters expand, but following his latest outing, the likelihood of seeing Hultzen step into the MLB rotation as the season winds down for Seattle is not high at all. Following a 1.19 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 13 starts at Double-A Jackson, Danny's 5.14 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 10 starts since joining Tacoma rank among the 10 worst in the PCL over that time.
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