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 offers some good news on the offensive side, as some of the big bats in the system are really starting to perform like big bats. Here we go with this week’s Three Up, Three Down.
Kyle Petty - 1B, Bakersfield Blaze: .545/.577/.818 (12-for-22), 6 2B, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 6 SO
The right-handed hitting first baseman for High-A who joined Seattle's system as a 23rd round pick in 2013, Kyle had a breakout showing in Australia over the winter (.292/.369/.579, 13 HR in 47 G) that led to him being one of the prominent names in our Just Outside the Top-50 piece before the year. And with yet another productive week at the plate, Petty now leads the system in at bats (202) and doubles (18) and ranks second in total base (101), third in AVG (.337) and fourth in OPS (.913) on the year.
The 25 year old's incredible week now gives Petty 15 multi-hit efforts in 27 games in the month of May for Bakersfield and 24 multi-hit games in 49 contests on the year. He enters Memorial Day riding a 10-game hitting streak over which he has hit .462/.562/.692 (18-for-39) while walking six times.
D.J. Peterson - 1B, Jackson Generals: .333/.400/.741 (9-for-27), 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 9 SO
Peterson got off to a woeful start for Jackson this year, hitting .195/.241/.299 through the season's first 20 games, but he's turned on the power of late, slugging .476 since and picking up five extra base hits during this past week's slate of games. He's homered each of the last three times he's been Jackson's designated hitter, and Peterson has finally raised his SLG on the season to .400.
D.J.'s strikeout rate remains high, especially vs right-handed pitching (23.5%), and he punched out another nine times this week. But our No. 3 prospect before the season is putting together a strong month of May (.270/.357/.440) and showing signs that there is still some promise in his bat.
Tyler O'Neill - OF, Jackson Generals: .333/.438/.708 (8-for-24), 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 6 BB, 6 SO
The 20 year old O'Neill has been the best offensive player in the M's system so far in 2016, and this past week saw him continue that trend as he lead the system in RBI and extra base hits (tied with Petty). Tyler also drew an impressive six walks, and he's now walked 20 times in 207 plate appearances on the season (9.7 BB%) after walking 29 times in 449 PA a year ago (6.5 BB%).
The No. 4 prospect on our Top-50 countdown before the year began, O'Neill -- Seattle's 3rd round pick in 2013 -- leads the Southern League in total bases (103), is tied for second in home runs (9) and ranks third in SLG (.560) while hitting .315/.380/.560 overall, making a serious case for a second half promotion to Tacoma
Alex Jackson - OF, Clinton LumberKings: .050/.259/.200 (1-for-20), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 12 SO
After opening 2016 in extended spring training and looking like he'd be back in Everett once the Northwest League opened up, Jackson was moved to Clinton to give the Midwest League a second shot a week and a half ago. He homered in his first game, but the hits have been hard to come by so far.
Jackson's lone hit of this past week was his third HR of the season, and that has helped hold his SLG up at a respectable level thus far (.382), but the M's top prospect is hitting just .118 (4-for-34) through his first 10 games with Clinton this year with 14 strikeouts in 44 plate appearances (31.8%).
Lukas Schiraldi - RHP, Bakersfield Blaze: 2 G, 0-2, 15.88 ERA, 3.18 WHIP, 5 2/3 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 7 BB, 9 SO, .407 oAVG
Schiraldi was moved up in the flurry of moves tied to the club's two top prospects from last year's Draft -- Nick Neidert and Andrew Moore -- but unlike those two, Schiraldi's first two starts at his new stop haven't been kind. The big right-hander has walked seven, bringing his season total to 40 free passes in 49 2/3 innings -- and allowed 11 hits, including six extra base hits, in 5 2/3.
Schiraldi did strike out eight of the 20 batters he faced in his first Cal League outing, and he's set down 49 hitters on strikes on the year, but the command has to improve for him to have a chance to be effective.
Nick Wells - LHP, Clinton LumberKings: 1 G, 0-1, 30.86 ERA, 3.86 WHIP, 2 1/3 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO, .500 oAVG
Wells' yo-yo year continued this past week, as the left-hander was lit up in his only outing, taking it on the chin in Clinton's 9-8 loss to Wisconsin on Wednesday. Wells -- our No. 24 prospect prior to the season -- has now been very good in five of his nine 2016 starts and quite bad in three of them. He has allowed 15 extra base hits through those nine starts, leading to a 5.20 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and a system-high six losses on his resume.
Left-handers are hitting the lefty Wells at a .344/.388/.443 clip, which is a bit surprising considering his ability to change speeds with solid command on his breaking ball. Just 20 years old, Wells had turned in four very good starts before this one, so hopefully he gets back on track when he goes again for Clinton on Memorial Day.
That does it for this week's look at the ups and downs in Seattle's minor leagues. Check back again next Monday, and every Monday, as we give you our best and worst of the week in Three Up, Three Down.
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