Every Monday for the past four seasons SeattleClubhouse has presented a rundown of the best and worst performances from the past week within the Seattle Mariners' organization. The goal with this piece 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. Hopefully Three Up, Three Down has helped with that learning, covering players in their age-26 or younger season who still have MLB rookie status.
In this final regular installment of the 2014 season, we cover three of the most popular prospect names in the system and three others who have been discussed regularly throughout the season. Here we go, Three Up, Three Down.
Jack Reinheimer - SS, High Desert Mavericks: .520/.556/.800 (13-25), 5 2B, 3B, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO, SB
After leading the "Down" side of this report seven days ago, picking up just four singles in a full slate of games, Reinheimer came roaring back this week, leading the organization in hits, doubles, extra base hits (6) and total bases (20) in six games for the Mavericks, getting multiple hits in four of those contests. Surely having all six games at home this week helped, as Reinheimer is now hitting .390/.432/.634 in his 45 home plate appearances, and in fact all seven of his extra base hits have come in his 10 home games, with zero in 10 road games, but Seattle's 5th round pick from 2013 is finishing out his first full minor league season with a bang.
Reinheimer's 144 hits rank 5th among Seattle's minor leaguers this season and his 39 steals (in 50 attempts) rank 2nd. He's also picked up 30 extra base hits, giving him 185 total bases on the season, which is good for 10th in the organization. Add to that his solid defense at shortstop, and Reinheimer is a solid Top-50 prospect for Seattle here at the end of the 2014 season. He'll likely start 2015 back with the Mavericks in High-A.
Gabby Guerrero - OF, High Desert Mavericks: .360/.407/.640 (9-25), 2 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB
Guerrero hit a bit of a lull early in the 2nd half of the season, but the 20-year-old is closing out the season with a serious power push. After ending his first year in full season ball with just four home runs, Guerrero hit his sixth in August for High Desert and now has 18 on the year for the Mavs. And his five RBI ran his season total to 96, which is good for 4th in the organization. Gabby had three two-hit games this week, giving him nine multi-hit games in August, a month that saw the right-handed hitter drive in 24 -- his personal best for a month as a pro.
Guerrero has struck out 131 times (2nd most in the system) in 131 games while drawing just 34 walks, which speaks to the work he still has to do in plate discipline and pitch recognition, but the offensive season that he put up at age 20 in the Cal League is impressive. While he hit half of his 18 home runs on the road, Double-A in 2015 should be a great barometer to see where Guerrero is in his development.
Edwin Diaz - RHP, Clinton LumberKings: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO, .000 oAVG
Diaz ends his first year in full season ball with just six wins, but he closed out strong in August, picking up three of those wins while posting a 1.55 ERA and 0.62 WHIP while striking out a batter an inning and walking only four in five starts where he went 5+ innings in all of them. While he started the month with his first complete game shutout, his final start of the year which came this week may have been even more impressive. After walking the first three batters (one erased on a caught stealing), Diaz got out of the opening frame unharmed, striking out two swinging. He wouldn't allow a hit or another baserunner the rest of the way, and Diaz got eight of his nine strikeouts with swinging strikes.
The 20-year-old finished the year with a 3.33 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 8.6 SO/9 while adding almost 50 innings on to his previous career high. He made 24 starts and went 5+ in 16 of those, despite being on a pretty strict pitch limit all year. Diaz only allowed five home runs all season and held opposing batters to a .316 SLG collectively. Those figures will certainly face a challenge in 2015, when Diaz figures to be hit with the challenging assignment of pitching in High Desert.
Tyler O'Neill - OF, Clinton LumberKings: .100/.250/.100 (2-20), 3 RBI, 3 BB, 12 SO
O'Neill started August like a man possessed, homering three times in his first two games back after missing nearly three months with a broken hand. And while he hit the third most home runs in the M's organization during the month with seven, contact of any sort has become more and more of an issue as the month went on. He struck out 12 times in six games this past week and picked up only two singles and now has multiple strikeouts in 9 of his last 14 games. He got up to 42 Ks in 25 games in August and owns the 5th highest strikeout rate in the league on the season at 32.8% and now has 79 punchouts in 56 games in all on the season.
That's the downside of things for O'Neill, but the upside is that he owns the 25th best OPS in the league at .802 and managed to hit 13 home runs in just 56 games in the Midwest League, tied for 16th in the league but the most for any teenager in the circuit. Also speaking to his power, O'Neill's .223 ISO was the 3rd best out of the 175 players who accumulated 200 or more plate appearances in the Midwest League this season. The powerful right-handed hitter could do some real damage as a 20-year-old in the California League next season if he makes that jump.
Trevor Miller - RHP, Tacoma Rainiers: 0-0, 24.30 ERA, 3.60 WHIP, 2 G, 3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 9 ER, HR, 2 BB, 4 SO, .526 oAVG
Miller shifted to the bullpen towards the end of June for the Generals and posted a 1.40 ERA in 18 appearances covering 45 innings of relief before earning his promotion to Tacoma. But Triple-A hitters didn't give him a warm welcome, as they torched Miller in his first two appearances at the level, both this week. He allowed five of ten batters he faced to reach base in his first appearance on Thursday, yielding four earned runs in the process, then seven of 11 reached in his second appearance on Saturday, with five of those scoring. The result is that his season ERA jumped from 3.81 to 4.41 in just 3 1/3 innings.
The 23-year-old right-hander has made 99 appearances for M's affiliates since being the club's 40th round pick in the 2011 draft and earns loads of compliments for his bulldog attitude and workmanlike approach while pitching at five different levels, but the jump to Triple-A next season will certainly be a challenge for him. After allowing five or more earned runs in five of 13 starts this season, Miller's future most likely lies in long relief.
Gabriel Noriega - 2B, Tacoma Rainiers: .115/.115/.115 (3-26), 2 RBI, 5 SO
Noriega had about as punchless of an impact as could possibly be managed this past week, picking up just three singles to continue a trend of his struggles over the past few months. After missing roughly two weeks with a strained quadriceps, he's hit just .213 in 17 games and hasn't been nearly the impact at the plate that he was early in the season for the Rainiers.
Noriega was hitting .350 at the end of May and .310 at the All-Star break, when he started in the All-Star game, but he's hit just .196 since the break and his season average is all the way down to a season low of .281 now. He hit under .200 in July and is hitting just .203 over his last 40 games. He hasn't made an error in his last 23 games -- which include starts at third base, shortstop and second base -- and he's still one of the most gifted defenders in the system.
That does it for this week's look at the best and worst performances in Seattle's system, the 22nd time we've recapped this season in this way. Check back in with us as the postseason gets underway and we'll incorporate the Three Up, Three Down format for the season, too. And make sure to stick with SeattleClubhouse throughout the entire calendar year for reports from all of the Mariners' affiliates.
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