For the fifth consecutive 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.
Every Monday, we look at three players on each side of the spectrum who dream of being on their way towards Seattle in 2015. Here is this week's installment of Three Up, Three Down!
Timmy Lopes - 2B, Bakersfield Blaze: .684/.727/1.000 (13-19), 4 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1-3 SB
Lopes only played in five games this past week for the Blaze, but he picked up 13 hits and 19 total bases in those five games, raising his OPS more than .050 in just 21 plate appearances. That stretch continued a tear that Lopes has been on for a while now, as he's collected multiple hits in seven of his last nine games and nine of his past 14 while raising his batting average from .251 to .277 for Bakersfield. Lopes now ranks third in the system in hits with 110 and third in steals with 29, which is leading the California Leage. The fourth year pro has also knocked out a career high 29 extra base hits, including 24 doubles, for the Blaze.
Seattle's 6th round pick in 2012 out of Edison High School in California, Lopes has continued to play well defensively at second base this season, too, and is now hitting .319/.368/.434 since the All-Star break. His brother Christian is in Double-A with the Blue Jays, but Timmy may end up being a better overall ballplayer than his older sibling.
Jabari Blash - OF, Tacoma Rainiers: .321/.387/.750 (9-28), 4 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO
Blash continued to solidify his spot in Tacoma's lineup this past week, bashing four home runs -- including his third two-plus homer game at the Triple-A level -- to give him 10 long balls in the 24 games since he returned to the Rainiers from an extended stay in Double-A. With the hot week, Jabari -- now 26 -- ranks second in home runs (22), fourth in RBI (61) and sixth in walks (47) in Seattle's system.
There are still contact issues and he's proven to be a very streaky hitter over his six minor league seasons, but when he is hot, Blash has big time power that can punish the ball out to all fields. Jabari is also 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts this year and he has trimmed his strikeout rate down to an even 20.0% in this latest turn with Tacoma. He's far from perfect, but he does have intriguing tools.
Nick Wells - LHP, Everett AquaSox: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.20 WHIP, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, .063 oAVG
Wells, picked up in the Mark Lowe trade from Toronto, had started each of his first seven appearances in 2015 down in the Appalachian League prior to the trade, but his long relief debut in the Northwest League for Seattle following 10 days of rest was fantastic. The 19 year old lefty K'd the first two hitters he faced and ended up throwing five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out half of the 16 batters he faced. The Blue Jays' 3rd round pick in 2014, Wells has fanned 39 in 37 innings on the year across two levels now.
Wells can get his fastball up to 93 and flashes a plus curve, too, and at 6-foot-5 with wide shoulders, he has the ability to create good angle for downward plane on his pitches and a frame that could pick up more pounds and more velocity as he matures. Wells should see some starts for Everett down the stretch in the NWL.
Austin Cousino - OF, Clinton LumberKings: .045/.045/.091 (1-22), 1 2B, 1 RBI, 6 SO
Cousino, Seattle's 3rd round pick in 2014, had a solid debut for the AquaSox last year, doing exactly what the M's wanted him to at the plate while playing elite-level defense in center field. He started 2015 on the disabled list and just got onto a full-season roster about a month ago, but this past week was yet another here in the early going for Austin that he struggled mightily. He picked up just one hit and saw his season average dip to .199 while his strikeout-to-walk ratio climbed back up over 5:1. The 22 year old left-handed hitter hasn't put together two straight games with a hit in nearly two weeks now.
While he struggles at the plate, going hitless in 16 of the 39 games he's played in this season, Cousino continues to shine defensively in center field. If he can turn things around and get back on the path at the plate that he was on with Everett in 2014, Austin has a chance to become a long-time big leaguer because of his speed and defense.
Jabari Henry - OF, Jackson Generals: .105/.370/.211 (2-19), 2 2B, 2 RBI, 7BB, 6 SO, 1-1 SB
Another week of struggles for Henry -- a 30 homer hitter in 2014 -- saw him rack up more strikeouts and barely get any hits in what is quickly becoming a lost season for the 24 year old outfielder. Henry has 277 hits and 49 home runs in 275 minor league games coming into 2015, but he's picked up just 37 hits and four homers in 69 games this year. Henry's strikeout rate has climbed to 26.7% in his first year of Double-A and after slugging .584 a year ago, he was at just .296 when the day began.
Henry's best month of 2015 so far produced a .563 OPS while his worst month in 2014 was a .912 mark in August. Seattle 16th round pick in 2012 and our No. 21 prospect on the pre-season Top-50 countdown, Henry is looking like a player who could be fighting to stay on the roster at the end of this year.
Trey Cochran-Gill - RHP, Jackson Generals: 2 G, 0-1, 15.00 ERA, 3.33 WHIP, 3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO, .438 oAVG
Coachran-Gill had an outing to forget on Tuesday against Chattanooga, entering the game to start the 7th with a 3-2 lead of a game that Jackson would lose 10-3. The normally reliable reliever allowed all six batters he faced to reach while throwing just eight strikes with his 22 pitches. It was the seventh time in 37 games this season that the 2014 17th rounder allowed multiple runs in an appearance and it bumped his ERA with Jackson in 26 games up more than a run.
Trey did pitch three scoreless innings on Friday in his second appearance of the week, and that was the third time in the past month that he's worked three scoreless, but the earlier appearance was the fourth straight outing in which he allowed a run. The 5-foot-10 right-hander is a ground ball machine with a good sinking fastball and a good swing-and-miss slider that was only in Short Season ball last year, so the fact that he's having any success at the upper levels as a 22 year old is still encouraging..
That does it for this week's installment of Three Up and Three Down in Seattle's system. Check back in with us as each week as we incorporate more ups and downs 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.