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.
Here we go with this week’s Three Up, Three Down.
Zack Littell - RHP, Clinton LumberKings: 2 G, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 14 IP, 8 H, 0R, 0ER, 2 BB, 17 SO, .174 oAVG
Seattle’s 11th round pick in the 2013 Draft, Littell has performed pretty well in his first three seasons in the system, but the right-hander appears to be taking another step forward in 2016 repeating in Clinton. He turned in two dazzling starts this past week, earning Midwest League Pitcher of the Week honors. Littell leads the system in innings (80) and strikeouts (76), both numbers also being the top mark in the Midwest League, and his 4.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the second best in the system among pitchers with 50 or more innings. He’s walked more than two batters just one time this year and has gone 6+ innings in nine of his 13 starts. An improved changeup is most likely the catalyst behind Littell’s improvement this year, and that shows in the fact that he’s holding lefties to a lower OPS (.677) than righties (.704) to this point.
Joe DeCarlo – 3B, Bakersfield Blaze: .450/.560/.750 (9-for-20), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SO
Seattle’s 2nd round pick in 2012 has had a hard time putting it together at the plate as a pro, but he’s been a different hitter with Bakersfield since a short demotion due to his slow start. DeCarlo is now hitting .325/.436/.627 in 101 plate appearances since his three week stint back in Arizona in extended spring training and has raised his season SLG to an even .500 – easily the best mark of his career to date. That 24 game stretch includes 11 extra base hits (including six home runs), 15 walks and 21 strikeouts, all good signs for the 22 year old right-handed hitter.
Emilio Pagan - RHP, Jackson Generals: 3 G, 1-0, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.38 WHIP, 5 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO, .063 oAVG
Pagan is making a case for himself as Seattle’s top relief prospect with his work in Double-A this year. His efforts this past week earned him Southern League Pitcher of the Week honors (the third Generals’ pitcher to do so this season), and his 2016 body of work has also earned him a nod as an All-Star Selection. Pagan has a 13.2 SO/9 number this season in Double-A and has a 10.6 mark overall in 191 1/3 MiLB innings for the Mariners since making his debut in 2013. The 25 year old 10th round pick from 2013 could see a promotion to Triple-A early in the second half if his string of successful outings continue for the Generals.
Anthony Misiewicz - LHP, Bakersfield Blaze: 1 G, 0-1, 15.75 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 4 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 5 SO, .500 oAVG
Having skipped over Low-A, Misiewicz has been up and down this year for the Blaze, turning in three brilliant outings and six stinkers in his 13 start season to date. His start this past week against Stockton saw him tie his season high by striking out five, but he also allowed the most hits and runs of any outing of his career. The 21 year old lefty didn’t walk anyone, which is good because his walks are up considerably this season. He isn’t overpowering, so limiting self-inflicted damage that walks cause is a big key for him. If he can refine that command without losing effectiveness, he is a sleeper starting pitching prospect.
Dalton Kelly - 1B, Clinton LumberKings: .208/.240/.417 (5-for-24), 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 10 SO
Kelly has been perhaps the biggest surprise in the system for the Mariners so far in 2016, and while he did slug four extra base hits this week, the 10 strikeouts don’t seem like a good trade off. Kelly’s profile has always been as a light-hitting, defense-first first baseman, so perhaps those two stats are tied to one another as he tries to shake that label, but the home run power just isn’t there, and Kelly’s best chance to present value to the organization is to remain a contact-oriented, gap-to-gap bat. His season line is still at .301/.375/.429 even though he’s hit just .205 so far in June, so it isn’t as if all is lost, but the lefty-swinging 21 year old needs to stay within himself.
Chantz Mack - OF, Bakersfield Blaze: .160/.276/.160 (4-for-25), 6 RBI, 4 BB, 9 SO
Mack is second in the organization in RBI on the year and is getting on base and slugging at a higher rate than he ever has, picking up 22 multi-hit games along the way. But the 2013 29th rounder also continues to strike out in more than 22% of his plate appearances, and he went down on strikes a system-high nine times this past week without an extra base hit. Mack is a good defender in the corner, is a good baserunner and can hit the fastball. His power has been playing in the pros, too, and he could play himself into a fourth outfielder role potentially down the line if he continues to develop.
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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