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.
It was an abbreviated week of action thanks to the All-Star Games at several levels, but here is what we have for this week’s Three Up, Three Down.
As has been the norm for him each season and at each level, Peterson got out of the gate slowly once again to open 2016, but since the first of May, the 24 year old has hit .291/.360/.505 in 222 plate appearances, once again showing the potent bat that made him Seattle's top pick and one of the consensus top bats in the 2013 Draft. And this past week (around the Double-A All-Star break) he continued his hot hitting, launching two more home runs and picking up two more three-hit games for the Generals.
Peterson's last 150 plate appearances have yielded a .326/.380/.600 slash, and after struggling early particularly in the power department, the right-handed hitter now ranks eighth in the Southern League in SLG on the year at .460. He's also getting more and more comfortable around the bag at first base for Jackson.
Bryson Brigman - SS, Everett AquaSox: .440/.533/.520 (11-for-25), 2 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 2 SO, 3-4 SB
Seattle's 3rd round pick out of the University of San Diego, Brigman has started off strongly with the bat for Everett as their every day shortstop. The 21 year old picked up three three-hit games this past week, walked three times and stole three bases, hitting .500 so far at home and playing errorless ball for the week, too.
Brigman doesn't have much power in his game and he likely won't stick at shortstop long term thanks to a fringy arm, but he gets the bat on the ball and has speed on the bases, and that contact-oriented approach paired with speed and range will give him a lot of chances to earn a future role.
Ljay Newsome - RHP, Everett AquaSox: 2 G, 2-0, 0.75 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 12 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 11 SO, .125 oAVG
Newsome, Seattle's 26th round pick out of a Maryland high school last year, shined last week for Everett in his first two pro starts, earning two wins and allowing just two runs (one earned) in the process. The stocky right-hander struck out six, didn't walk a man and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings in his Northwest League debut then followed that up by winning Saturday night allowing one earned run in five innings.
Newsome -- at 5-foot-11, 210 pounds -- has a fastball that can touch the low-90s and a slow overhand curve. He works quickly and confidently, and that confidence is paired with a repeatable delivery, too. He threw just 10 2/3 last year in the AZL, so this is his first real shot to show what he can offer. This quick start for him (and Everett) is a great first impression.
Jordan Pries - RHP, Jackson Generals: 1 G, 0-0, 7.20 ERA, 2.60 WHIP, 5 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 HR, 2 BB, 4 SO, .478 oAVG
After spending most of the past two seasons in Triple-A for Seattle, Jordan has bounced back-and-fourth between Jackson and Tacoma this season. In Jackson for a little over a month now, he's allowed four earned runs in three of his last four starts for the Generals, including his start last week in Chattanooga where the Lookouts really hit him around. His first start of the season was really his only disastrous start on the 2016 ledger (2 1/3, 11 H, 9 ER), but Pries hasn't faired as well in the Southern League as you would expect someone with extensive PCL experience to do.
The 26 year old 2011 30th round pick out of Stanford hasn't been able to duplicate the success that he had in 2014, when he shared the M's MiLB Pitcher of the Year Award with Edwin Diaz, with a 5.56 ERA over 147 1/3 combined between this season and last. And while he's started the last eight times out, Pries has also pitched out of the bullpen for the first time this season (though not particularly well) and is getting more strikeouts than is his norm, but he's also surrendering 12.1 H/9 on the year.
Jake Brentz - LHP, Everett AquaSox: 1 G, 0-0, 9.82 ERA, 2.45 WHIP, 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO, .313 oAVG
Brentz continued a messy string of 2016 appearances this past week, again showing limited command in walking four batters, hitting another and allowing five hits (two doubles) in 21 batters faced. The 21 year old lefty's season line now stands at eight innings, nine hits, 11 runs (seven earned), 13 walks, seven strikeouts, two hit batters and two wild pitches. Toronto's 11th round pick in 2013 who joined the M's organization in the Mark Lowe trade, Brentz's control and command continue to be a huge weakness.
A converted outfielder late in his prep career, Brentz was our No. 47 prospect prior to the season. And while he has a huge arm which landed him on that countdown, until he can command his arsenal, projecting him down the road is a difficult task.
Dario Pizzano - OF, Tacoma Rainiers: .208/.240/.250 (5-for-24), 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO
Pizzano is an all-bat prospect that was affectionately nicknamed "La Maquina de Bateo" ("The Hitting Machine") by his Latin teammates early in his career for what they deemed his non-human ability to hit, but the 25 year old is having his toughest season to date as a pro, slashing just .266/.300/.386 after another tough week for the Rainiers that saw him only pick up five hits. Perhaps the more troubling trend, however, is that Dario -- who came into 2015 with an 11.8% walk rate -- has walked just nine times in his 170 trips to the plate for Tacoma this season; a 5.3% walk rate.
Pizzano hasn't made an error in the outfield for two seasons now, but he isn't fleet of foot and has had to learn how to throw all over again as a pro due to some deficiencies in that part of his game. Bottom line, the bat needs to get going again as special for Pizzano to realistically have a big league future.
That does it for this week's recap of the ups and downs in Seattle's system. Check back in next Monday as we give you another installment of Three Up, Three Down.
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