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 is what we have for this week’s Three Up, Three Down.
Drew Jackson - SS, Bakersfield Blaze: .400/.478/.650 (8-for-20), 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO
Jackson had a down month in June, but he has picked up multiple hits in six of his past nine contests and has started to drive the ball with more consistency, too, picking up three extra base hits this past week while hitting .400. He's still nowhere close to where he was in 2015 with the bat, but Jackson is showing an ability to reach the gaps while continuing to play strong defense at shortstop and be a smart, quick baserunner. He's been striking out a bit more of late, but this week had some pop without the whiffs.
The 22 year old has the strongest infield arm in the system and is among the fastest runners, too, but his stolen base success rate has dropped precipitously from a season ago as he's just 10-for-18 in 2016. His defense makes him a likely big leaguer, his bat will end up determining how much he'll play.
Eric Filia - OF, Everett AquaSox: .429/.636/.786 (6-for-14), 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 8 BB, 1 SO, 3-4 SB
Filia has embraced the "C the Z" mentality for Everett, and that was very evident this week when he drew eight walks -- including four in one game -- for the Frogs. He also picked up three extra base hits, stole three bases and drove in three runs. Hitting from a wide open stance with high hands, the UCLA product looks to have all the makings of a draft steal, tied for the club lead in homers and in a second place tie in total bases through his first 26 pro games.
Filia is an interesting case as a guy who had the spotlight early in his college career but had that career take a two year hiatus thanks to academic issues. Once he returned to UCLA, the stats didn't quite come back to the place they were before, but Filia is an all-out player who can defend, run and hit.
Andrew Moore - RHP. Jackson Generals: 2 G, 1-1, 1.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 12 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 10 SO, .273 oAVG
Moore allowed two homers for the first time as a pro in a loss to open the week, but he bounced back with six innings of no walk, seven strikeout ball in his second outing to get his ERA in Double-A back down to 3.23 while picking up his fourth win for the Generals on Sunday. The 22 year old's season numbers are a 2.42 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 4.4 SO:BB ratio in 10 starts.
Seattle's 2nd round pick last year, Moore has now racked up 107 2/3 innings in his first full pro season -- good for third in the system -- and has continued to show plus command and three solid to plus pitches.
Luis Liberato - OF, Clinton LumberKings: .043/.043/.043 (1-for-23), 10 strikeouts
Liberato had hit in 12 of 13 entering the week, closing out June with a sizzling .356/.453/.522 slash in 27 games, but he fell back off in six games this week, striking out ten times and only scratching out one time on the bases to drop his season OPS by more than 40 points. The left-handed hitting outfielder has 78 strikeouts in 74 games on the season for Clinton.
Liberato hasn't flashed a ton of speed or power, with just two each in the steals and homers columns, but his tools remain loud even if they are raw.
Tim Lopes - 2B, Jackson Generals: .115/.207/.192 (3-for-26), 1 3B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SO
Lopes' second half has been a struggle so far, as the Jackson second baseman's OPS is down .150 from a strong first half. This past week he picked up a triple and drove in a couple of runs, but he didn't have hits in back-to-back games at all and the fall off with the bat has also meant that there haven't been many stolen base opportunities, as Lopes has stolen just three bases in more than a month.
The 22 year old who was Seattle's 6th round pick in 2012 continues to post strong plate discipline numbers, play strong defense and work to his strengths on offense as a contact-oriented, line drive hitter, but the hits just aren't falling right now for him.
Kyle Petty - 1B, Jackson Generals: .172/.172/.276 (5-for-29), 3 2B, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 8 SO
Petty did pick up three more doubles this past week, running his season total to 25, just three off the organization lead, but he also extended his struggles in Double-A in the process, as he's now hitting .208/.291/.273 in 22 games since his promotion. The 25 year old has now struck out 92 times, too, and the overall showing with Jackson isn't making the future look so bright for one of the first half stars of the system.
Petty is still hitting a very strong .301/.375/.457 on the year, but his performance in the Australian Baseball League and first half surge made him look like a potential breakout prospect. Now he looks more like a guy who was playing much younger competition early and finding it a tougher guy in the minor's upper levels.
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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