Mariners Prospect Watch: Three Up, Three Down

Getting close to the final month of the minor league regular season at all levels and teams are fighting hard for playoff position, and while the postseason picture isn't great for Mariners' affiliates, the intensity in these games is picking up for them. How have the players been fairing? We break it down in Three Up, Three Down

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.

Many players have experienced ups and downs with a number of them appearing on both sides of the ledger here throughout the year, and this past week saw some swings in that regard once again. Here now is our 17th installment of Three Up, Three Down.


Gabby Guerrero - OF, High Desert Mavericks: .370/.393/.704 (10-27), 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 8 SO
Guerrero hit a funk for a while where he was striking out quite a bit and not hitting for any extra base power, but that was cured during his 15-game hitting streak that was finally snapped on Sunday. The right-handed hitter picked up five extra base hits and drove in an organization-high nine runs over the last week, raising his OPS back up over the .800 mark on the year with those efforts which included his first stateside multi-homer game. His HR rate is now at 3.6% in the second half after being 2.6% in the first half and his extra base hit rate has jumped from 8.1% to 9.5% as well.

Guerrero is still young for his level and has made consistent improvements in his pitch recognition over the course of the past two years, but pitchers can still entice him to chase soft out of the zone. With his game power starting to show more regularly, that part of his game is the last piece of the puzzle for Gabby. Like Dario Pizzano, Patrick Kivlehan, D.J. Peterson and Jordy Lara before him, Guerrero could end up seeing a promotion to Double-A Jackson before the end of the year if he stays hot.

Jordy Lara - OF, High Desert Mavericks: .500/.542/1.227 (11-22), 4 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO
Lara and his 17-game hitting streak crushed his way right out of the California League this past week. After finally seeing his home run streak (5 straight games) and extra base hit streak (7 straight games) come to an end, Lara was promoted to Jackson following Saturday's game. The 23-year-old right-handed hitter has been crushing for the Mavericks all season, but he took it to another level over the last few weeks, culminating in a monster week last week that was enough for him to win Cal League Player of the Week for the second straight week and third time this season. He leaves High Desert with a .353/.413/.609 slash, 141 hits, 53 extra base hits (22 home runs) and 80 RBI in his 102 games with the club in 2014.

With his efforts so far in 2014, the 23-uear-old Lara has already set a number of personal statistical bests, including with hits, runs (77), home runs, RBI and total bases, and he's closing in on a number of others. The move to Jackson means he is entering a cluttered first base/third base/outfield/designated hitter mix, but Lara's bat definitely proved worthy of the move. We'll see how he's utilized with the Generals, but he's certain to be inserted right into the middle of their already potent lineup.

Forrest Snow - RHP, Tacoma Rainiers: 1-1, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO, .188 oAVG
Snow got a late start on the 2014 season thanks to a 50-game suspension for testing positive for recreational drug use, but he's been nails ever since returning to action. After four appearances (2 starts) for Double-A Jackson to get his feet wet, he was promoted to Triple-A Tacoma in mid-June and has made six relief appearances and four starts for the Rainiers, posting a 1.52 ERA and 1.05 WHIP for them in 29 2/3 innings. His two starts this past week actually are what pushed his ERA over 1.00 on the season for Tacoma, but they were still both very strong outings in what was his first two-start week of the season.

Snow had a breakout in the 2011 AFL between two promising but uninspiring regular seasons in 2011 and 2012, but the 36th round pick in 2010 out of the University of Washington has posted a 2.74 ERA and 1.08 WHIP and racked up better than a strikeout an inning in 128 frames since the start of 2013. The right-hander uses his 6-foot-6 frame to get good downhill plane and works with a four-pitch mix that includes a split-finger. He can touch the mid-90s in shorter stints and could be a solid bullpen option at the big league level right now.


Isaiah Yates - OF, Clinton Lumber Kings: .050/.095/.050 (1-20), 1 BB, 8 SO
After turning in a strong second half for Pulaski in 2013, Yates got a late start to the 2014 season after recovering from injury. He blasted his way through the AZL before proving ready for a challenge at Clinton. But the Midwest League has proven to be a huge challenge for the 19-year-old Yates as he's hit just .143/.212/.231 with a 35% strikeout rate so far in 26 games. He struck out eight more times this past week and had two more multi-strikeout games, running his season total to 11 for Clinton in that category. To contrast, the right-handed hitter has tallied just two multi-hit games with the LumberKings so far.

Yates has picked up only two hits with runners in scoring position for Clinton, underscoring a huge issue facing that club since injuries and promotions started dwindling the talent on the roster. That's not to say that Yates -- a 17th round pick out of Clovis East high school in California in 2012 -- isn't talented, but a lot of players are being pushed and not many are responding right now in Clinton.

Luiz Gohara - LHP, Everett Aquasox: 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP, 1 IP, 0 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 2 SO, .000 oAVG
Gohara has a lot of large expectations on his large frame this year, but to date with Everett, he hasn't really shown the ability to shine against the much older competition of the Northwest League. He's made it into the 5th inning in only two of his five starts for the AquaSox and couldn't get past the first this past week, seeing six of the nine Boise batters he faced reach base with four of them crossing home plate. The 17-year-old lefty walked four, hit a batter and threw his sixth wild pitch while seeing his ERA for the Frogs jump to 7.79 in his 17 1/3 innings on the year.

Gohara has been mostly 90-92 with the fastball so far this season, but his command has been spotty at best, evidenced by his 6.8 BB/9 mark. Luiz has also allowed a .388 OBP and two home runs, and as a result, his 6.21 FIP is the 8th worst mark in the Northwest League out of the 123 pitchers with at least 10 innings this season. Gohara has massive talent, but he's got work to do before he will be able to show his dominant ability, even at these lower levels.

Gareth Morgan - OF, AZL Mariners: .125/.176/.250 (2-16), 2 2B, 1 BB, 11 SO
Even though the week ended with Morgan's third multi-hit and first multi-extra base hit game (2-4, 2 doubles Sunday), he continued to struggle to put together consistently good at bats for the M's in Peoria. That game also saw Gareth strike out two more times, running his season total to 45 punch outs in 99 plate appearances. He has only started one game where he hasn't struck out and has fanned multiple times in 14 of the 23 games he's had a plate appearance in.

Even through the struggles with contact, half of Morgan's 14 hits have gone for extra bases and he's running a 12% walk rate, hinting at solid power and discipline abilities in there, but the contact rate is a concern right now. Although Morgan was drafted out of high school and is only 18, his profile was that of an advanced teenager in the draft because of his competition level and experience with travel ball. That hasn't helped him so far, but the big, strong right-handed hitter remains one of the most intriguing prospects in Seattle's system based on potential.

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That will do it for our look at the standouts, good and bad, for this past week. Check back in with us next Monday for more Three Up, Three Down, and stick with SeattleClubhouse throughout the year for reports from all of the Mariners' affiliates.

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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