Mariners Prospect Watch: Three Up, Three Down

In our third regular season weekly look around the minor leagues for the Mariners we check in with a rare feat from a somewhat forgotten prospect and the starter averaging the most innings per appearance in the system among others in Three Up, Three Down.

Each Monday during the 2013 minor league season, I will again give our readers a rundown of the best and worst from the minor league week that was within the Seattle Mariners system. The goal is to concentrate only on true prospects (age 26 and under and not on the big league roster), but if any player has an exceptionally noteworthy good (or bad) week, he could appear here as well. 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.

This past seven days saw more weather difficulties for the minor league Mariners, but it still gave us some noteworthy performances, good and bad. Here now is a look at six of the players who stood out for those performances.

THREE UP

Carlos Triunfel - SS/2B, Tacoma Rainiers: .419/.455/.677 (13-31), 3 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI, BB, 4 SO, SB
Triunfel, who is now 23, is now in his seventh season in the organization and third season in Triple-A, but this past week has to rank among the best he's had as a pro. Four multi-hit games were highlighted by him collecting five knocks while hitting for the cycle Wednesday night. And after hitting just .233/.286/.332 against right-handed pitchers last season, the right-handed hitting Triunfel is off to a hot .323/.358/.403 start in 67 plate appearances this year. He shouldn't be forgotten about as a prospect.

Dylan Unsworth - SP, Clinton Lumber Kings: 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, .233 oAVG
Unsworth first popped up on the lips of Mariners' prospect fanatics back in 2010 when he walked only one hitter in the entire Arizona Rookie League season (10 starts, 50 1/3 IP) and the South African right-hander bested the highly regarded Victor Sanchez in many pitching categories last season when they were the 1-2 starters for Everett. This year in Clinton he has turned in three solid starts with the same method of limiting walks and keeping the damage to a minimum by working down in the zone and getting a lot of ground ball outs. Just 20, Unsworth has some potential as he matures and his body fills out.

Nick Franklin - SS/2B, Tacoma Rainiers: .313/.542/.688 (5-16), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 7 BB, 4 SO, 3 SB
What a microcosmic week for Franklin. He flashed all of his tools, as you can see from that stat line, and he also sat out a couple of games with an injury. Franklin has shown impressive ability when he's been healthy and many think that he could be an answer for the M's at shortstop in the big leagues right now, where his bat would certainly be a huge potential upgrade. But he started the season with the flu and had an ankle issue this week and has been injury bitten frequently enough over his young minor league career that you have to consider that as part of the package. The rest of the package -- including his defense at shortstop or second base -- are very close to big league ready right now.

THREE DOWN

Steven Proscia - 1B, Jackson Generals: .160/.160/.200 (4-25), 2B, 2 RBI, 8 SO, 1 SB
Proscia led the organization in home runs (28) and RBI (103) last year, including some production in a couple of weeks at Double-A. But he hasn't been able to really get going yet this year in Jackson. The right-handed hitting first baseman is only hitting .206/.270/.265 versus right-handed pitching and he's been dropped out of the middle of the order because of his struggles. There were always questions if Proscia had the bat speed to handle higher levels of pitching and it's clear that he could stand to make some adjustments to regain some semblance of success.

Vinnie Catricala - 3B, Jackson Generals: .174/.167/.174 (4-23), 3 RBI, 7 SO, 2 SB
Catricala started 2013 playing down a level after struggling through his first taste of Triple-A in 2012, but the reunion tour to the league where he hit .347/.420/.632 in 62 games in 2011 so far hasn't been pretty, and this week was nothing different. Gone so far are both the power and the plate discipline that Vinnie showed back when he won the organization's Minor League Player of the Year Award, something that never showed up in Tacoma last season. Catricala, who literally hit everywhere he had been before 2012, has to be struggling mentally at this point, but I still believe he can break out of it with a few good games in a row.

Trevor Miller - SP, High Desert Mavericks: 0-2, 6.75 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 8 IP, 6 BB, 6 SO, 2 HR
Miller quietly had one of the best pitching seasons in the whole organization for Seattle in 2012, but his 2013 has gotten off to a bumpy start in High Desert. A pitcher who battles hard with fringe stuff but good control and command, Miller held his own in the Cal League last season with a 2.73 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in five starts, but through four starts there this season the right-hander has been hit hard and been walking a ton of hitters as his 5.8 BB/9 number is more than three times higher than his career number of 1.8 coming into the year. The bad news for Miller is that only one of his four starts so far this season have been in the launching pad of Adelanto.

. . . . . . .

It is worth noting that Taijuan Walker didn't allow an earned run in two starts this week and pitched very well for the most part, but he still has hitters, innings or even games where his command is just completely lost. That is evidenced by the eight walks on the week and 14 on the season. But the 20-year-old right-hander is among the most difficult pitchers at any level to hit (.165 oAVG on the year) and can be downright dominant at times, as his 10.2 SO/9 and 1.64 ERA show. Check back with us next Monday and see if Walker can get his command issues handled and get on the "Up" list.

Looking for more Mariners news, articles and player interviews? Want to keep up with which prospects are hot and cold for the M's? "Like" SeattleClubhouse on Facebook and follow SeattleClubhouse site Editor Rick Randall on Twitter at @randallball.


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