For the fifth season, SeattleClubhouse is checking in each Monday with a rundown of the best and worst performances in the minor leagues from the past week within the Seattle Mariners' organization. The goal with this weekly 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.
While the roster in Seattle doesn't have a lot of soft spots, the talent in the system still is a very important part of the ability for the Mariners to sustain success. And there is still quite a bit to be learned on some of the better prospects in the organization. Hopefully Three Up, Three Down helps with that learning, covering players in their age-26 or younger season who have not exhausted their MLB rookie status.
Let's get to our third look of the season at six players who hope to make some positive strides in their game on their way towards Seattle in 2015. Here we go, Three Up, Three Down.
Ryan Yarbrough - LHP, Bakersfield Blaze: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 12 IP, 10 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO, .233 oAVG Yarbrough, who snuck into many top prospect lists for the Mariners following an unexpected dominating debut season as a pro after signing on the cheap as a senior draftee, was pushed from Short Season ball to the tough California League, but he has handled the challenge well to date. I put him at No. 14 on my Top-50 list heading into the year, and while he's being stretched out much further this season than last, the results are similar. This week the big lefty made two starts without allowing a run, picking up wins in both games for the Blaze.
Ryan has gone six innings in each of his last three starts and currently has the second most innings among MiLB starters for the club. He's also allowed one earned run total over those last three starts and just three on the season. The strikeout numbers are down early, but he continues to dominate left-handers, who have reached base via hit or walk just 14 times in 67 trips to the plate against him as a pro. Yarbrough truly looks to be a legitimate prospect that will get ample opportunity to make it as a starter, but his floor at this point already looks like he could be a promising lefty option out of the pen.
Patrick Kivlehan - OF, Tacoma Rainiers: .350/.480/.700 (7-20), 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO, 3 SB
Kivlehan has been solid at the plate since the opening bell for Tacoma, and he continued to hit well this past week, hitting two more home runs -- to give him an organization-best five on the year -- stealing three more bases and walking more than he struck out. And he did it while playing five different defensive positions for the Rainiers: a start at each outfield spot, one at first base and two at third base. He's made just one error in 53 total chances on defense, and while he doesn't look like a plus defender at any spot, he does look like he could hold down all four corners defensively when his bat is on.
He isn't a true home run hitter, but Kivlehan's home run total and extra base hit total lead all M's minor leaguers. But he also ranks fifth in the organization in steals so far with four, and he's swiped double-digit bags in each of his pro seasons to date, showing that he has the speed you'd expect to find in a former collegiate defensive back. The name Hunter Pence comes up a lot when you talk to scouts and PD people about Kivlehan -- I'm sure every fan of the club would be ecstatic about that kind of eventual outcome. For now, he waits in Triple-A for a chance.
Misael Siverio - LHP, Jackson Generals: 0-1, 1.59 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 11 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 HR, 4 BB, 10 SO, .103 oAVG
Siverio made this list with his pro debut last week and he has continued to pitch well for the Generals, turning in two more very strong starts this past week for Jackson. Although he came away winless in his efforts and was actually saddled with the loss on Sunday, Siverio gave up just two hits in each of his starts the past seven days and has allowed just 7 hits (for a .123 oAVG) in his 16 1/3 innings so far. He is doing it with a lot of fly balls and has given up two home runs (accounting for both of his earned runs on the young season), but he's also been getting consistent swinging strikes and has held both lefties and righties down so far.
Already 25 and with six years in Cuba and a year in Mexico under his belt, Siverio could make an early push for a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma if he continues to succeed with such little resistance for the Generals. But the club probably wants to have teams get a second look at him before the make the determination as to whether or not his repertoire is as good as his results are showing.
Tyler Pike - LHP, Jackson Generals: 0-1, 7.36 ERA, 2.73 WHIP, 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 2 SO, .286 oAVG
Pike had yet another start where he couldn't command his fastball and couldn't limit the damage that came out of the trouble that he got himself into, and it ultimately led to him being sent back down to High-A. There seems to be a lot wrong with Pike right now, but one person I communicated with about him over the weekend summed it up best when he said, "he just isn't throwing strikes." He tied his career high with six walks in this week's start and has issued 12 free passes in his 11 Double-A innings this season after walking 80 -- the fourth most in the minor leagues -- in 110 1/3 innings overall last year.
Pike was a Top-5 prospect for me not too long ago, but I had him at 27th on this year's Top-50, taking into account the inconsistencies that he had during 2014. Although he looks like a mess and has for over a year now, Pike does still have plenty of talent to succeed in the minor leagues and to rank as a legitimate prospect. He just has a few issues to overcome. Hopefully that can start happening down in Bakersfield.
Sam Gaviglio - RHP, Tacoma Rainiers: 0-2, 9.00 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 10 IP, 12 H, 10 ER, 4 HR, 5 BB, 9 SO, .300 oAVG
Gaviglio occupied the other side of the ledger on last week's recap after a brilliant 6-inning effort followed up his 5-inning shutout debut. But this week's two-start effort was a much different story for the 24 year old. Gaviglio surrendered a pair of homers in each start while allowing five earned in each start, picking up two losses. Left-handers have accounted for almost all of the damage to date against him, slashing .424/.525/.848 while right-handed hitters are managing just a .114/.149 line with no extra base hits yet.
Lefties slashed almost .100 higher against him in 2014 and his strikeout rate was less than one-third as high against left-handed hitters, too, speaking to his need for a better offspeed offering to keep off-hand batters from getting too comfortable against his sinker/slider. This is his first time pitching at Triple-A and we expect there to be some ups and downs, but Gaviglio's future success and future ceiling depends a lot on being able to limit the damage lefties do against him.
Jabari Henry - OF, Jackson Generals: .071/.071/.071 (1-14), 8 strikeouts
It was an abbreviated week for Henry, who only appeared in four games for the Generals, but the results were bad enough that he lands a spot on this week's down ledger. Jabari posted a four-strikeout game and a three-strikeout game, picking up just one single in 14 trips to the plate. He also managed to make two errors in left field in Jackson's ugly 13-4 loss to the Smokies on Wednesday. Jabari has struck out in 21 of his 46 plate appearances (45.7%) on the season while walking only twice and generally hasn't looked anything like the player who hit 30 home runs and drew 69 walks for High Desert a season ago.
The 30-homer power isn't likely to be a standard thing for Henry, so limiting his punchouts and giving himself more opportunities to help the team by hitting for a decent average and drawing walks is the route that will give him the best chance for continued success. It's early, and Henry has some skills that could allow him to be at least an extra outfielder at the next level, but having multiple strikeouts in half of the games he's played so far in 2015 and getting dominated by right-handed arms isn't the start that Henry was hoping for.
That will put a wrap on our third weekly installment of the hot and not-so-hot in on-field performances in Seattle's system. We have a lot more coverage to come as the year goes on, so check back in with us as each week as we incorporate "Three Up, Three Down" into our regular reports. And make sure to stick with SeattleClubhouse throughout the entire calendar year for reports from all of the Mariners' affiliates and prospects.
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.