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 for our readers, covering players in their age-26 or younger season who have not exhausted their MLB rookie status.
Let's get to this week's look at three players on each side of the spectrum on their way towards Seattle in 2015. Here we go -- Three Up, Three Down.
Leon Landry - OF, Tacoma Rainiers: .391/.462/.783 (9-23), 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 0 SO
Landry has been hitting since he showed up in Tacoma, which followed a stint back at extended spring training to try and get a dehydration issue under control. He picked up the first two-homer game of his career on Saturday for Tacoma and followed that up with another homer Sunday. Landry -- who has hit 33 home runs in his 2,290 career MiLB plate appearances -- now has four homers in 15 Triple-A games and a robust 1.085 OPS in his 53 trips to the plate at the level. He has hits in each of his last 11 starts, picking up two knocks in four of those contests and earning two walks in two other games during the stretch.
The LSU product has good speed and the defensive chops to handle all three outfield positions, but his bat, which showed a ton of promise a few seasons ago but was suspect in 2013 and just slightly above average in 2014, has been a revelation again here so far in 2015. The 25 year old left-handed hitting former football standout has shown increased patience at the plate and a more consistent line drive approach this year, re-energizing his prospect status. Keep on eye on Neon Leon.
Lukas Schiraldi - RHP, Clinton LumberKings: 2 G, 1-0, 1.38 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 13 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO, .222 oAVG
Schiraldi, a 15th round pick out of Texas by the M's last year, had a great two-start week for Clinton, allowing one earned run in each outing and picking up a win to build on what has been a strong first season of full-season ball so far. The son of an MLB pitcher (dad Calvin pitched eight years in the majors, pitching in the World Series for the Red Sox in '86), Schiraldi has shown a lot of promise so far in the low minors for Seattle, allowing three earned runs or less in 14 of his 18 starts in Seattle's system.
The tall right-hander can touch 94 with his fastball, which has great movement, and also flashes plus offerings with both his breaking ball and changeup. When he commands down in the zone, he can be tough to get to. Schiraldi has been commanding decently so far this season for Clinton, and has also been getting a lot of ground balls (46.5% in 2015) while holding right-handed hitters to a sub-.600 OPS so far in his pro career.
Nelson Ward - 2B/SS, Clinton LumberKings: .333/.391/.810 (7-21), 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB
Ward picked up an extra base hit in five of his six starts this past week, pacing the organization in that category and checking in at second in total bases and RBI for the week while checking in with two multi-hit games. Seattle's 12th round selection in last June's draft, he played primarily shortstop for three affiliates (including Clinton) last season but has spent most of his time as the LumberKings' second baseman and No. 2 hitter here in 2015.
The left-handed hitter is slashing .281/.367/.445 against right-handed pitching and has made only one error in 205 chances at second while pacing the organization with seven triples. The University of Georgia product does have a high strikeout total (41 in 163 at bats) for a middle infielder, but he has shown the ability to put the ball in play hard and also sports a 13.5% walk rate.
Guillermo Pimentel - OF, Bakersfield Blaze: .200/.238/.200 (4-20), 1 BB, 8 SO
Pimentel was once one of the prized prospects in Seattle's system, but even though the now-22 year old still has time on his side, the time he's lost to injury over the past three seasons has dimmed his star a bit. Only a couple of weeks into playing in 2015, he fell into some familiar challenges this past week as he struggled getting the bat on the ball, striking out eight times in 21 trips to the plate. The left-handed slugger has punched out 21 times in 67 trips overall this season and has a 30.0% strikeout rate dating back to the start of 2013.
After playing just nine games in 2014, Pimentel had a homer in his seventh game and a 3-RBI, 4-hit effort the following game, but he's now just 6-for-31 in the nine games since that brief show of life. He has some of the biggest power in the system, but injuries and contact issues have limited the progress he's made since a strong 2011-2012 run. The corner outfielder doesn't have good range or a plus arm, so he gets all of his value with his bat, putting more pressure on the contact issues. After getting stateside as a 17 year old, Pimentel has yet to reach Double-A here in his sixth pro season.
Edwin Diaz - RHP, Jackson Generals: 1 G, 0-1, 11.25 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, .389 oAVG
After tearing through the California League and earning a promotion to Double-A, Diaz has been a completely different pitcher. At least in terms of results. The slim right-hander got hit around the park again this past week, allowing five extra base hits in his four innings of work while seeing his ERA go back up to 9.88 for the Generals. He's now given up more than twice as many runs in less than half as many starts since his move up the ladder.
Diaz is allowing a .561 SLG against him which includes a .654 clip being turned in by right-handed hitters and he's allowed the leadoff batter to reach in eight of his 14 innings for Jackson. He's one of the youngest arms in the Southern League and remains one of the top prospects for the Mariners, but there are adjustments to be made which include working off his secondary pitches a bit more.
Mayckol Guaipe - RHP, Tacoma Rainiers: 2 G, 0-1, 22.50 ERA, 5.00 WHIP, 2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 2 HR, 0 BB, 0 SO, .588 oAVG
Guaipe was added to Seattle's 40-man roster following a breakout season in 2014, his first spent full-time in the bullpen, but this last week in 2015 -- in Triple-A for the first time -- was a rough spot for the right-hander. He faced 17 hitters, surrendering 10 hits and two home runs without retiring a single batter by strikeout, allowing enough runs to raise his season ERA by two full runs. Dating back three appearances, Guaipe's ERA has more than doubled while his oAVG has gone up .080.
Guaipe continues to show fine control (just three walks in 19 2/3 on the year) and he's struck out 18 with his fastball/slider combo, but left-handers now have an .891 OPS against him and his extreme fly ball tendencies (0.31 groundout-to-airout rate) caught up with him via those home runs this week. With the big league bullpen in need of another arm soon and Yoervis Medina no longer in the picture, Guaipe is on the short list for a promotion, so this is an unfortunate time to struggle for the 24 year old.
That will put a wrap on this week's 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.