Once again in 2016, SeattleClubhouse is bringing you a fresh report each Monday highlighting 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 whose performance most deserve it.
The rebuilding in Seattle under the new front office has a clear focus on player development in the minor leagues, and while the talent in the system isn't where it has been in the past, the farm remains a very important piece of the puzzle for the Mariners, and the full-season affiliates have jumped out to a fast start. There is still quite a bit to be learned on some of the fast-rising prospects in the organization, and as with any change in player development philosophy and personnel, unexpected players could rise up. Hopefully our weekly Three Up, Three Down installments help with that learning for our readers while highlighting the special performances each week, covering players in their age-26 or younger season who have not exhausted their MLB rookie status.
This week's look gives you the best and worst on the field from the third week of game action from the M's minor leaguers. Here we go with this week’s Three Up, Three Down.
Nick Wells – LHP, Clinton LumberKings: 2 G, 0-0, 0.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 12 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO, .238 oAVG
Wells' season got off to a rough start for Clinton as he allowed 12 earned runs and 17 baserunners in his first two outings, but the left-hander who the club acquired from Toronto as part of the return in the Mark Lowe trade last season has gone six in three of his four starts since, allowing just one earned run combined in those outings.
Number 24 on this year's Top-50 countdown, Wells (pictured above) is still just 20 and still has a lot of physical development left to go. But his stuff and his understanding of pitching are working in the Midwest League now, and he has a bright future ahead of him.
Andrew Moore – LHP, Bakersfield Blaze: 1 G, 0-0, 2.57 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO, .192 oAVG
Moore has been pitching extremely well ever since joining the organization, but he set a new career high this past week, striking out nine in seven innings of pitching without a walk while allowing two runs. He's now allowed two earned runs or less in 19 of 20 outings as a pro, and his ERA (2nd), WHIP (3rd), BB/9 (3rd) and H/9 (5th) are all among the best in the California League for pitchers with 30 or more innings.
The bullpen coughed this one up for Andrew, and the right-hander has collected just one win so far in 2016, but he's been the best and most consistent starting pitching prospect in the system so far for the Mariners.
Drew Jackson – SS, Bakersfield Blaze: .409/.519/.545 (9-for-22), 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 6 SO, 2-3 SB
Pushed over the Midwest League to open 2016, Jackson has been doing a good job with the bat to prove that the promotion was a deserved one all season. He's picked up 12 multi-hit games and had back-to-back hitless games just once through his first 28 games with the Blaze, batting .317/.361/.423 overall on the year so far and is tied for the most hits (39) in the organization.
A strong defender with the best infield arm in the system, Jackson did make four errors this past week, and he also was caught stealing for the sixth time in ten tries after being successful in 47 of 51 attempts in his debut with Everett last year. Still, the bat was the question mark heading into this year, and so far the answer is looking good for Drew and the M's.
Conner Hale – 1B/3B, Clinton LumberKings: .105/.150/.105 (2-for-19), 2 RBI, 1 BB, 4 SO
Seattle's 9th round pick out of LSU last year, Hale hasn't had much luck as a pro to date, hitting just .163 in 164 PAs for Everett last year, and with his rough week for Clinton this week, the right-handed hitting corner infielder is down to .167 with just one extra base hit in 88 PAs this year.
Hale hit .343 in his junior and senior seasons for LSU after transferring from JC, but so far in 70 pro games he's collected as much as a 3-game hitting streak just twice. A solid defender at third base, the 23 year old has drawn nine walks, but on a team that is lacking offensive firepower, getting nothing out of third or first base from Hale is going to be hard.
Eddie Campbell – LHP, Bakersfield Blaze: 2 G, 0-2, 12.71 ERA, 3.88 WHIP, 5 2/3 IP, 13 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 9 BB, 8 SO, .464 oAVG
Campbell had two starts without much control present, and that led to a couple of ugly boxscores in losses for the Blaze this week. He walked seven of the 23 batters he faced and hit another last Monday versus the Quakes and then allowed seven hits in facing 15 on Saturday versus Inland Empire.
Campbell has good size and a solid frame, shows decent velocity and has a good curveball from his three-quarters release, but his command struggles to get to average and he doesn't have a consistent third offering to keep hitters honest.
Tyler Pike – LHP, Bakersfield Blaze: 1 G, 0-1, 16.20 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 3 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 4 SO, .357 oAVG
As has always been the case for Pike (and as is the case with most pitchers), command determines how well he performs on any given day. And on Saturday, Pike's command was off. That led to five walks, a wild pitch, five hits and six earned runs - just one less than he'd given up in the season's previous five starts.
The five walks were the most discouraging for Pike, now pitching in High-A for the third straight year. He had gone 13 starts without eclipsing three walks in a start before this outing, and for him to move up it will require getting the control in line again and continuing to improve on his command.
That puts a wrap at this week's look at the good and bad standout performances in the Mariners' minors from the past seven days. Check back in every Monday for a fresh look at the hot and not in Three Up, Three Down.
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