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.
There have been some fantastic individual performances of late, including some big names in the M's system getting healthy. That and more is covered in our 19th installment of Three Up, Three Down.
Jack Reinheimer - SS, Clinton LumberKings: .357/.500/.536 (10-28), 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 7 BB, 5 SO, 4-5 SB
Reinheimer had been a fairly steady performer since signing as Seattle's 5th round selection in 2013, but he struggled for the LumberKings in June and July, hitting .206/.273/.279 (28-for-136) over a 34 game stretch that was right in the thick of the club losing a number of key contributors to injuries. But he had a very strong week last week and has hits in 18 of his last 21 games, turning in seven multi-hit efforts in that span. He's back to a season slash now that looks very similar to the line that he posted in the Northwest League a year ago and he leads Clinton in hits (115), runs (69), 2B (17, tied), 3B (4, tied), walks (39) and steals (34, good for second overall in the organization) while ranking third on the squad with 46 RBI, thanks in part to a .728 OPS with runners in scoring position.
The 22-year-old has hit .315 (29-for-92) against left-handed pitching and is among the better infield defenders in the Mariners' system. The former East Carolina standout has a lot of similarities to Chris Taylor, who is currently impressing in Seattle for the M's, although the bat for Jack hasn't shown quite the potency that Taylor's did in the lower minors. His combination of baserunning speed and smarts, defense and contact hitting is a profile that figure to keep him as a relevant piece on the farm for Seattle.
Tyler O'Neill - OF, Clinton LumberKings: .231/.259/.692 (6-26), 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 11 SO
O'Neill didn't exactly all out explode this past week, but the M's 3rd round selection from high school in Canada in 2013 is starting to show his game power much more frequently in his second pro season. His four long balls this past week were good enough for a tie for third place across all levels of minor league baseball and gave the 19-year-old six homers over his last 11 games played for Clinton. Granted two of those home runs pre-dated his injury that came from punching the dugout wall in frustration back in early-May, but O'Neill ended the week with a 10.3% extra base hit rate in 2014.
A catcher in high school, Seattle moved Tyler to left field upon drafting him (much like 2014 1st rounder Alex Jackson) and while he isn't a plus defender out there currently, he is making progress at the position and is showing himself to be capable. His bat, particularly the power, remains his pushing tool, however, and the fact that he's tapping into that power in game action at such a young age is encouraging for the road ahead for O'Neill.
Osmel Morales - RHP, AZL Mariners: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, .118 oAVG
Morales spent four year playing in his native Venezuela for Seattle in their Summer League academy program there before coming stateside this season at age 21. And while that age is advanced for the AZL, performances like he had again this past week are making Morales one to watch for Seattle's Peoria affiliate. Working in relief for just the second time this season, the right-hander entered to start the 4th inning against the Dodgers on Thursday and struck out 11 of the 18 batters he faced, working 5 shutout innings and allowing just three baserunners (2 hits, 1 walk). The other two M's pitchers that day combined for just two K's in their four innings of work, so Morales clearly had his stuff working.
After throwing only 26 1/3 innings in his first three seasons in the VSL for Seattle, Morales working in 15 games (3 starts) in 2013 and posted a 1.86 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 11.1 SO/9. He's held pretty close to those numbers so far here in 2014 in the U.S., with a 2.37 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 12.1 SO/9 in his 38 innings thus far. Keep an eye on this 6-foot-3 righty.
Gareth Morgan - OF, AZL Mariners: .056/.105/.056 (1-18), RBI, 11 SO
Morgan's season has been a disappointment so far. The 2nd rounder that played for the same travel ball program as O'Neill and battled against Seattle's Dominican Summer League team as an amateur has been a bit overmatched to this point as a pro, being plagued by strikeouts. He struck out multiple times in four of the five games he played in last week and now has 62 K's and just 18 hits through his first 34 games as a professional baseball player. Morgan has punched out multiple times in 20 of those 34 games and collected multiple hits in just three. He is maintaining a solid walk rate (9.5%), but the strikeouts are through the roof.
The big right-handed hitter has collected hits in back-to-back games just five times this season and has not put together a 3- or more game hitting streak as of yet as he's just never got going. It is quite possible that with a full travel schedule that has taken him all over the U.S. and Canada and even out of North America a number of times in 2014 that the 18-year-old is just worn down this season. He remains a hugely interesting prospect based on his tools.
Gabby Guerrero - OF, High Desert Mavericks: .167/.219/.267 (5-30), HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 4 SO, SB
Guerrero got BABIP'd a bit this week so maybe the struggles can all be chalked up to tough luck, but the 20-year-old has definitely fallen off a bit overall in the second half in terms of picking up hits and avoiding strikeouts. Still, no matter how you slice the data, a 5-for-30 week isn't a strong effort for one of Seattle's top prospects. Guerrero has the fifth highest RBI total in the organization this season at 75, but he left 10 runners on base in seven games for a High Desert team fighting hard to try and work itself into the 2nd half playoff picture.
Despite slacking production in the 2nd half, Guerrero is still out-OPSing the league at the age of 20 and is showing signs of improving his pitch recognition and plate discipline while getting the plus power to play more often in games. He's not uncle Vladdy (at least not yet), but Gabby is among Seattle's top prospects.
Luiz Gohara - LHP, Everett AquaSox: 0-1, 13.50 ERA, 2.40 WHIP, 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, .438 oAVG
Aside from one start, Gohara's outings for Everett have mostly been a nightmare example of what can go wrong with a pitching prospect when control and command are missing. With his rough outing this past week, Gohara now has as many 2014 innings for Everett as he threw for Pulaski a year ago, but the results couldn't be much different. The big left-hander is allowing 11.6 hits-per-nine, walking 6.6-per-nine and has already allowed five home runs -- tied for the fourth most dingers surrendered in the league. His 2.1 HR/9 rate for Everett now is the 13th worst among 3,000+ pitchers throughout MiLB who have thrown 20+ innings this season.
I've heard that Gohara came into 2014 not exactly in the type of shape that was desired and that the added weight could be playing into his struggles, but he still has an electric arm with plus potential on a few of his pitches. But that potential and plus arm speed has been nothing so far without his fastball command. Hope that he can put some things together over the final few weeks of the NWL season as Everett pushes for a playoff spot.
That does it for this week's look at the best and worst performances from the past seven days in Seattle's system. 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.
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