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.
On Mondays throughout this season, we've been taking a look at three players on each side of the spectrum who dream of being on their way towards Seattle. Here is this week's installment of Three Up, Three Down!
Patrick Kivlehan - OF, Tacoma Rainiers: .462/.517/1.038 (12-26), 3 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SO
With where he was coming into 2015, Kivlehan has had what can be considered a disappointing year for the Rainiers. But this past week the former college football player continued to build on his strong second half, picking up seven extra base hits and posting the highest OPS in the organization and racking up 27 total bases - good for the fourth highest total in the minors - while extending his hitting streak to 11 games. That 11-game stretch has raised his average 22 points and his OPS 72, bringing it to its highest mark since the beginning of June.
Kivlehan isn't currently on the 40-man roster, but Seattle has an open slot along with several long-term DL options and the 25 year old has been one of the strongest performers in the upper levels for the franchise this season. That, his versatility - he's played games at first, third, left, center and right - and the club's uncertainty in many of those positions figure to earn Patrick a call-up when rosters expand and the Rainiers' season wraps up.
Alex Jackson - OF, Everett AquaSox: .389/.542/.944 (7-18), 1 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 6 SO
Jackson is another of Seattle's top prospects that has stumbled some in 2015. He opened the year in Clinton, an admittedly aggressive assignment for a teenager, and he struggled there, hitting just .157/.240/.213 in 28 games before shutting down for a bit with a shoulder injury. When he resurfaced in Everett, the bat showed up pretty quickly, as Jackson had an .800 OPS after his first 11 games with the Frogs. But this past week was one of Jackson's best as a pro as he showed power and patience, collecting his first multi-HR game as a professional and reaching base 12 times in six games.
Alex has big time power and easily recognizable bat speed, and those tools have produced a SLG of .600 over his last 20 contests with Everett. And even though he's had periods of struggles, Jackson does lead the NWL overall with a .514 SLG on the season. He's a few seasons away from being a tease to the big league club, but the hype surrounding the 6th overall pick from 2014 that took a hit early this year is again looking legit.
Eddie Campbell - LHP, Clinton LumberKings: 1-0, 1.20 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 15 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO, .188 oAVG
After a strong showing in 2013 for Pulaski, Campbell had a rough go of it in the Midwest League in 2014. After more struggles this season for Bakersfield, Campbell was moved back down to Clinton and the left-hander has found his bearings once again for the LumberKings. He had two strong starts this past week, pitching 8 shutout frames in a win in his first start and striking out six while allowing just two runs in seven innings in his second. The club's 15th rounder from 2013 now has a 2.98 ERA in seven starts for Clinton this season.
A 6-foot native of Massachussetes, Campbell has a good fastball-curve combo and could be an effective relief option down the road, but the club is exhausting the possibility of him as a starter and is getting good returns currently. The 23 year old's showing in Bakersfield (6.52 ERA, 1.78 WHIP in 14 starts) leaves much to be desired, but hopefully he'll be able to fair better when he gets his next shot at the level in 2016 after this strong work for Clinton.
Luiz Gohara - LHP, Everett AquaSox: 0-2, 15.43 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 5 BB, 7 SO, .391 oAVG
Following his disappointing showing in 2014 for Everett, many were excited to see Gohara report to the AquaSox in much better physical condition this time around. But after two strong six inning starts to open the 2015 season there, the results have been much the same as last year for Seattle's top left-handed pitching prospect. This past week Gohara again failed to make it to the fifth in either start, allowing lots of loud contact and compounding his problems with poor command and walks.
Gohara now has turned in just one quality start in last 11 outings and has been lit up to the tune of an 8.05 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 5.2 BB/9 with a .343 AVG allowed over those 11 games. The raw stuff remains plus and has probably even taken a step forward from last year, but his ability to repeat his delivery and command his arsenal is still a problem for the big teenager. Gohara figures to be pushed up to Clinton next year, and the bats there are (obviously) better than they are in the Northwest League, so he still has quite a bit of growing to do.
Erick Mejia - 2B/SS, Everett AquaSox: .059/.200/.059 (1-17), 2 RBI, 3 BB, 6 SO, 2-2 SB
Mejia has bounced around a lot this season thanks to the organizational instability at the middle infield positions. He's been in Everett the longest and has played quite well for the club, impressing with his approach, his quickness and his defense. But this past week was a big struggle for the 20 year old. Mejia picked up just one hit in his five games and had a four strikeout game last Wednesday. He is now in a 2-for-26 stretch following a four-hit game back on 8/21 had raised his AVG with the AquaSox to .341.
A slightly built switch-hitter, Mejia has stolen 15 bases without being caught for Everett and has an 11.0% BB-rate and just a 14.2% K-rate in his 31 games there. And while he's been error-prone at shortstop this year, he's yet to have a miscue at second in 93 chances this year. Following his .283/.361/.425 slash in Arizona last year, the youngster is showing enough progression in all facets of his game to garner a move up another level next year for certain.
Gianfranco Wawoe - IF/OF, Clinton LumberKings: .179/.200/.179 (5-28), 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO
Another versatile defender who has held his own this year, Wawoe also had a very tough week this past week. Even though he put the ball in play a ton, he picked up just five singles and drew only one walk. Wawoe now has only one extra base hit and just nine hits total in his last 53 plate appearances, losing 50 points off of his season OPS for the LumberKings. Wawoe - who has one of the best names in the game - climbed somewhat into Mariner prospect prominence in 2013 with his .328/.415/.512 effort for the M's now defunct Venezuelan affiliate.
Wawoe has put up a solid .761 OPS with five home runs in the second half for Clinton, and he's played well at six different positions defensively while picking up 18 multi-hit games in 2015. The 20 year old should see a move to High-A in 2016 and has a lot to offer as a prospect.
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That does it for this week's installment of Three Up and Three Down in Seattle's system. Check back in with us often as we bring you 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.