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 MLB graduations for 2014, 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.
Some players have been very hot as the respective affiliates make their push towards the postseason, but there is also a lot of movement within the organization due to injuries and positional need. Check out the best and worst from week 20 with the latest Three Up, Three Down.
Tyler Marlette - C, High Desert Mavericks: .409/.409/1.000 (9-22), 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 0 BB, 6 SO
Marlette was a 5th round pick out of high school in 2011 for Seattle. New to catching at that point, he's established himself well as a solid defender with a plus bat. He showed that there is a lot of ability in that bat over his first three seasons, but he's stepped the offense up big time in 2014 with High Desert. He was a monster this past week, knocking out seven extra base hits in six games including tying for the organization lead with three home runs. Marlette has homered exactly three times in each month so far in 2014, giving him a career high 15 on the season. He also has already tallied career highs in doubles (23), RBI (49) and hits (94) among other categories during his fourth pro campaign.
The right-handed hitting Marlette has 11 extra base hits in 14 games in August, already the most he's had in any single month in 2014, and he appears to be on the move to Double-A now, too. While the defense is definitely not progressing as fast as the bat, the 21-year-old continues to cut down would be basestealers at a strong rate (34 of 101) this year. Marlette reaching Double-A this year has to put him ahead of schedule on his path, and that is likely where he'll spend a majority of 2015.
Arby Fields - OF, Pulaski Mariners: .400/.500/.840 (10-25), 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 10 SO, 3 SB
Fields was drafted in 2009 and 2011 but did not sign and came to the Mariners as an undrafted free agent after playing in the White Sox organization for a bit in 2013. The 23-year-old switch-hitting outfielder has been at three levels this year for Seattle but has settled into a role in Pulaski, where he had a monster week this past week. The 5-foot-9 Fields hit two homers to bring his season total to three and tallied an extra base hit in five of the eight games he played, reaching base 15 times altogether in those games.
He is much older than most of the competition in the Appy League, but much of that can be attributed to non-baseball factors, as Fields got a bit of a late start to his baseball career after being a two-sport standout at Northwestern, where he rushed for a team best 302 yards and five TDs as a freshman. Fields has the third highest OPS in the M's system for the month of August so far; 1.014 in 13 games. Fields has good speed and strength in his compact frame and has been patrolling center field for Pulaski, where he leads the club with 16 stolen bases and 25 walks.
Rohn Pierce - RHP, Pulaski Mariners: 3-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 3 G, 8 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 SO, .172 oAVG
Pierce has thrown more relief innings than any other pitcher on Pulaski's roster, and he's been rewarded for that by leading the club in wins with five. He picked up three of those wins this week as he hurled 8 1/3 shutout innings, striking out 10 in the process. In doing so the right-hander lowered his ERA on the season to 3.08 and his WHIP to 1.03. A starter in college with Canisius, Pierce's low three-quarters delivery and three pitch mix (fastball up to 91, slider, changeup) has proven very difficult in relief for Appalachian League hitters so far in 2014.
Pierce's three wins this week moved him into a tie for the most wins in the organization for the month -- during which he has thrown 12 2/3 shutout innings -- and the right-hander who was Seattle's 19th round pick in June now has a 5-and-1 record overall for the M's. He's held left-handed hitters to a .170/.241/.283 slash so far in 58 plate appearances and has struck out 49 of the 155 batters he's faced total while walking just 10 on the year.
Yordi Calderon - 1B, Pulaski Mariners: .087/.192/.217 (2-23), 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SO
Calderon's struggles defensively have permanently moved him off of third base but his struggles at the plate for Pulaski aren't getting any better as the year rolls on. After three seasons in the VSL, the last of which saw a 19-year-old Calderon hit .343/.448/.590, the right-handed hitter came over to finish up 2013 with the M's Rookie League affiliate in the AZL. But through 45 games this season for Pulaski, he hasn't been able to get his bat going at all. His slow week dropped his season average under .200 (down to .191) and Yordi has only three hits in 11 games so far this month.
Calderon has stepped up his plate discipline a bit recently with five walks and just nine strikeouts over his last 48 plate appearances, but there haven't been hardly any hits in there to where it can really be seen as improvement. After knocking out 36 extra base hits which included 11 homers in 2013, the 6-foot-2, 185 pounder has just eight extra base hits and one homer in 187 plate appearances in 2014.
Jake Zokan - LHP, High Desert Mavericks: 0-1, 33.75 ERA, 4.50 WHIP, 2 2/3 IP, 12 H, 10 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 2 SO, .632 oAVG
Zokan started this season with Clinton but he's pitched at four levels already in 2014 after throwing for two in his debut season in 2013. The left-hander has been with High Desert for most of the year and he's made six starts for the Mavs. While only one of those has been a start that anyone would probably label as 'good', the bad start this past week was easily his worst outing. The 23-year-old allowed 14 of the 19 batters he faced to reach base with 10 of them scoring in Lancaster's 12-0 blowout of High Desert on Thursday. Zokan allowed home runs to the No. 8, 9 and 1 hitters in the lineup and was tagged for six extra base hits in his shortest start for the Mavericks.
Zokan, who was Seattle's 9th round pick in 2013, was very good early this season for Clinton, going at least five innings and not allowing more than two runs in each of his four starts, but the Cal League have proven to be a puzzle he can't quite figure out so far. Left-handers have tagged him for a .356/.431/.667 slash in High-A.
Stephen Landazuri - RHP, Jackson Generals: 0-0, 11.25 ERA, 2.50 WHIP, 4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 3 BB, 3 SO, .389 oAVG
Landazuri has allowed more than three runs only four times this season in what has been a very strong showing at Double-A Jackson, but three of those outings for the 22-year-old right-hander have come in his last three starts, unfortunately. After allowing just four home runs through his first 13 starts, he's allowed six in those last three starts, including three in his start this past week. He also walked three, marking just the fourth time on the year that he's allowed at least that many free passes. So while it was an unusual outing, it is part of a trend on Stephen that may mean he's starting to tire a bit, even though he's only at 82 1/3 innings on the year after throwing a career high 128 2/3 last year.
Even with the recent slump for Stephen, his 3.83 ERA is in the top-20 in the Southern League while his 1.12 WHIP is second among starters with 80+ innings in the circuit. And the 6-footer is also third in the league among starters with a 20.4% strikeout rate. The team's 22nd round selection in 2010, Landazuri was on a fantastic stretch of eight starts before this latest downturn. He also has posted a 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in seven road starts this season. Despite some of the inconsistencies, Stephen is set up well to pitch for Tacoma next year in what will be his 6th pro season.
That does it for this twentieth weekly look at the best and worst performances 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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