Mariners Minor League Players of the Week

Each season there are hot prospects that are ranked highly and have big expectations played on them. Some rise to the necessary level and meet those expectations, while others sink under the pressure or simply fall to better competition. Rarely does a player come out of nowhere and surprise the organization by outperforming his status. This week's POTW award winners fall into separate categories - one a big prospect, the other a diamond in the rough.

Position Player of the Week: CF Jamal Strong, Tacoma Rainiers

Strong is a player who could help out the Seattle Mariners as early as this September and could very well find himself in a position to make next year's team out of Spring Training.

The speedy leadoff hitter smacked 12 hits in 27 at-bats for a .444 average in seven games. Strong added three RBI, three steals, and eight runs scored to his week's resume and tacked on his fourth multi-hit game on Saturday to extend his hit-streak to seven.

The 25-year-old is now hitting .307 for the year with 22 steals and boasts a .389 on-base percentage. Strong spent the first few months of the year rehabbing a shoulder injury that he sustained early in spring workouts, and he wasn't expected to play until mid-August. In his 48 games with Tacoma, Strong has scored 32 runs and is clearly the catalyst for the team's offense.

Other Notables:

Inland Empire OF Shin-soo Choo went 10-23 (.435) with three RBI, three steals, three multi-hit games and ended the week with a six-game hit-streak. Choo, 21, is hitting .281 with nine homeruns, 52 RBI, 18 steals, 17 doubles, and a league-leading 13 triples.

Inland Empire OF Dustin Delucchi went 10-25 (.400) with six runs scored, two RBI, and three multi-hit games. The 25-year-old is hitting .328 with three homeruns, 27 RBI, 14 steals, and a 35/34 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Everett OF Samuel Bradford Jr. went 7-18 (.389) with a homerun, five RBI, three steals, and eight runs scored. Bradford, a 21-year-old switch hitter, is now showcasing a .250 average with five homeruns, 20 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 48 games.

Inland Empire DH John Castellano went 9-27 (.333) with eight RBI and four multi-hit games including three straight to end the week. The righty slugger is hitting .311 on the season with 11 homeruns and 77 RBI.

Pitcher of the Week: RHP Elvis Perez, Inland Empire.

The 24-year-old went 13 innings this week, giving up just nine hits and a single earned run. In the process, he struck out 13 batters and walked only two. His week was highlighted by an eight-inning outing versus Lancaster in which he yielded just three hits and fanned nine. Perez improved his record to 5-4 on the year with a 3.81 in 56.2 innings.

Pitching on a staff that is loaded with top-notch left-handed starters, Perez takes the ball every fifth day and gives opposing hitters fits as his 57 strikeouts and 13 walks infers.

Other Notables:

Tacoma right-hander Scott Atchison spun out seven scoreless innings by giving up just two hits and striking out five for his sixth victory. The 27-year-old is now 6-9 with a 4.25 ERA in 38 games for the Rainiers.

Inland Empire left-hander Ryan Ketchner went the distance in a complete-game shutout of division-leading Lake Elsinore, 7-0. The 21-year-old southpaw is now 12-7 with a 3.62 ERA for the year.

San Antonio reliever Josue Matos went five scoreless innings in three outings and yielded just three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Matos, 25, is 7-2 on the season with a 2.27 ERA in 47 games and has posted 103 strikeouts in 87.1 innings.

Emiliano Fruto split his week between AAA Tacoma and the Cal League's Inland Empire, and went 5.1 shutout frames. He gave up just two hits, two walks, and struck out four. Fruto, 19, is 8-8 on the year with a combined ERA of 3.80 in 40 games.

Not many weeks have gone by when San Antonio ace Travis Blackley hasn't been mentioned in the running for Pitcher of the Week and this week is no different. Blackley took his one start on the week and went seven strong innings, allowing three hits and an earned run. The 20-year-old picked up his 16th win and leads the Texas League in both wins and ERA (2.47). Blackley is also second in the league strikeouts with 144 to teammate Clint Nageotte's 150.

Jason resides in North Tacoma, Wash., where his father is his best friend, his mother has a better fastball than he does, and his nephew is the only person better suited for stardom. Feedback is always welcome at

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