Every Monday we present a rundown of the best and worst performances from the past week within the Seattle Mariners' organization. The goal is to keep you up to date on your favorite M's prospects while also shining a little brighter light on some of the lesser known standouts in the system, spreading the coverage around and highlighting those that deserve it most.
With all of the recent MLB graduations, Seattle's system isn't nearly as top-heavy in talent as it has been in years past. But that means that there is more to be learned on some of the better prospects in the organization. Three Up, Three Down should help with that learning, covering players in their age-26 or younger season who still have MLB rookie status.
Let's get into this week's look at those six players who stood out for their performances in the minor leagues' for the Mariners.
Chris Taylor - SS, Tacoma Rainiers: .478/.500/.826 (11-23), 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, 2 SO
The reigning Minor League Player of the Year for Seattle, Taylor hasn't let the challenge of Triple-A slow down his still somewhat surprising bat. The middle infielder is leading the organization in hits (32) and doubles (9) among other categories after another strong week at the plate which saw him reach his streak to five straight multi-hit games on Saturday. Taylor is now OPSing 1.011 after 21 games, including hitting .394/.430/.648 in 79 plate appearances against right-handed pitching.
Taylor had his second career multi-homer game last Monday against Sacramento at home and with his extra base hit rate of 14.4%, the "glove first" reputation is quietly fading. That's not to say that Taylor can't play defense, as he's shown to be more than capable at both shortstop and second base. The 2012 5th round pick out of Virginia is clearly one of the best players in Seattle's system.
Jordy Lara - 1B, High Desert Mavericks: .417/.516/.792 (10-24), 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 6 BB, 2 SO
Lara isn't quite as highly regarded as Taylor or others in the system, but the 2008 signee out of the Dominican has been playing well the past few seasons. And his start to 2014 for High Desert -- and this past week in particular -- have shown some encouraging signs. Lara has a 9.4% BB rate so far this season and is hitting better on the road (1.100 OPS) than at home (.887 OPS) for the Mavs.
The right-handed hitting former third baseman has been playing mostly first base for the Mavs this season, but he's also seen his first action in the outfield. That versatility bodes well for the future for Lara, as does the uptick in his plate discipline numbers. While he's been around for a while, he'll turn just 23 next month, so the competition level he's at now is age appropriate. Don't pencil Jordy into any top prospect lists just yet, but he's definitely worth keeping an eye on for High Desert this season.
Mayckol Guiape - RHP, Jackson Generals: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 3 G, 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 SO, .150 oAVG
Guiape quietly had a strong year once shifted to the bullpen in High-A last year, posting a 4.08 ERA and striking out better than a batter per inning for the Mavs in 32 appearances. Back in the bullpen again in 2014 for Double-A Jackson, the hard throwing righty is off to an incredible start as he's the only pitcher in the system yet to allow an earned run on the year, now in 15 innings following another strong week. The 15 strikeouts to one walk on the year are an incredibly encouraging sign for Mayckol, too, as he walked 4.4/9 last year and was at 3.3/9 for his career entering 2014.
The 23-year-old right-hander is throwing more than 70% strikes so far and has gone multiple shutout innings in six of his eight appearances on the season. The only number that gives hesitation on Guiape's performance so far is that he's running an unusually high fly ball rate, with more than 70% of balls in play being in the air -- not a good recipe for continued success.
Jack Reinheimer - SS, Clinton LumberKings: .143/.143/.143 (3-25), 6 SO, SB
Seemingly every player on the Clinton roster is in the midst of a pretty bad stretch, but Reinheimer is one of the guys that was actually off to a strong start before this latest skid. Jack experienced his first career four strikeout game as a pro on Friday when Kohl Stewart shut the L'Kings down and his OPS dropped more than .120 this week as those struggles slipped his average all the way down to .263.
Still a smooth defender and smart, speedy baserunner, Reinheimer is tied for the organization lead in stolen bases (8) after swiping 18 (in 23 tries) for Everett a season ago. With most of the team struggling in Clinton, it will be hard for Jack to put together many stats, but he's a good player not too dissimilar from Taylor, and he was also a 5th round pick (2013) for Seattle.
Edwin Diaz - RHP, Clinton LumberKings: 0-1, 5.63 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 8 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, HBP, 7 BB, 7 SO, .324 oAVG
Diaz's overall numbers haven't been terrible, but I hear that he has been totally lacking fastball command lately. His stuff is still so good that he's wiggled out of some tough situations, but the results from his last two starts -- a 4 1/3 inning outing and a 3 2/3 inning outing -- have not been good. He's still striking out plenty of batters (25 in 22 2/3) and preventing hits (.235 oAVG), but he's walked 13 already on the year after issuing just 18 walks in 69 innings last season.
Diaz -- Seattle's 3rd round pick out of Puerto Rico in 2012 -- just turned 20, so he's still young for the Midwest League, but you'd like to see that better fastball command return. His pitch count limit is still in the mid-80s early in the season meaning he's yet to go more than five in any start, but he went six or more in three of his final five starts for 2013, posting a 3.00 ERA, 9.0 SO/9 and a 6:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those innings, so the potential for him to go deeper is there.
Scott DeCecco - LHP, High Desert Mavericks: 0-1, 15.75 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 HR, 1 HBP, 3 BB, 1 SO, .529 oAVG
DeCecco's first start -- five shutout innings during the previous week -- was very good for High Desert, but his start Thursday was basically a disaster. The 22-year-old left-hander allowed 13 of the 24 batters he faced to reach base and allowed four extra base hits (three home runs) in the process. Granted the wind was blowing out, but not a good start.
Scott made three very strong starts for High Desert in 2013 and has been quite good in three of his five outings for the Mavs this year, but the lefty doesn't really have strikeout stuff and relies on his defense. Those 14 walks in 14 1/3 innings on the year aren't going to allow any success to happen -- not in Adelanto.
There is a lot of baseball left to be played, and many, many more installments of Three Up, Three Down to get to, so make sure and check back at SeattleClubhouse often for the highs and lows being experienced by the prospects in Seattle's system.
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