Ask the Diamond Genius 1/9

Jason A. Churchill tackles four more questions from Mariners fans around the globe, including several regarding prospects down on the farm.

Q: Why is Mike Curry never mentioned as a Mariners' prospect?  I know he is in his mid-20's, but I think he hit about .280 with lots of walks and lots and lots of stolen bases on the championship San Antonio team.  He seems as though he might be a good match for Safeco Field, and perhaps he could help the Mariners over the next couple of years at least as a utility outfielder while they wait for players like Shin-Soo Choo to develop.  And, he could develop into another Juan Pierre -- maybe?

Dan Katz, Canberra, Australia


DG:  Curry is going to be 27 when 2004 begins and is at best a marginal prospect because of it.  He has always been a speed guy, three times finishing with 50 or more steals in a season.  Curry was a 6th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1998 and came to the M's via the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, and again the Mets.  As a leadoff hitter, Curry strikes out too much and has not shown the consistency in getting on base that would make him a highly rated prospect.  He does, however, have a lot of speed, defense, and a strong work ethic and could be a team's 25th man sometime soon.  The plain fact that he is 27, and has only played 50 games at Triple-A shows that he hasn't shown the progression it takes to get to the bigs.  In the M's organization, Curry ranks behind Jamal Strong in the speedy outfielder category as Strong does the things Curry doesn't.  I expect Curry to see a lot of Triple-A time in 2004 and is probably 2nd or 3rd in line for a pinch runner call-up.

 

Q:  What would the lineup look like if you were signing the lineup card?

Chris Pietre,  Honolulu, HI


  DG:  The lineups would be different vs. lefties than it would vs. righties and there could be a few platoon situations if certain guys start to struggle. 

Versus right-handers:  1. Ichiro   2.  Aurilia  3.  Boone  4.  Edgar  5. Ibanez  6.  Olerud  7.  Winn  8.  Davis  9.  Spiezio

Winn could hit No. 2 and Aurilia could slide to No. 6 or 7, but Aurilia has a history of hitting well in the No. 2 spot and Winn hit over .300 in the No. 7 spot in 2003.  Aurilia is strong versus righties and lefties equally.

Versus left-handers the lineup could change as far as order goes.  I would move Spiezio OUT of the lineup and start Leone at third and bat him 9th, move Winn to 6th, Ibanez stays at 5th and Olerud to 7th.  Spiezio isn't strong vs. left-handers when he turns around from the right side.

 

  Q:  What is the stragical difference of the personnel decision making styles of Pat Gillick and Bill Bavasi?

Jaren Dalyen,  Snohomish, WA


DG:  Right now it's hard to tell exactly what the philosphical differences really are between the two GMs.  Gillick is a former scout and most scouts from back in the day have excellent talent evaluation skills and tend to make decisions based on what they know will work in lieu of taking chances on players that they aren't sure about even if other personnel executives rate the player highly.  Bavasi is more of a communicator.  He will tend to lean on Roger Jongewaard, Lee Pelekoudas, Benny Looper, and newly hired V.P. of scouting Mike Fontaine for alot of talent evaluation.  Bavasi has convinced the ownership that multi-year contracts are good ideas with arbitration eligible players, as evidenced by the contracts for Randy Winn and Ryan Franklin.  The differences might be minute for now, but my guess is that we will definitely see major differences in style and philosophy throughtout the year.

 

Q:  Where do you think Craig Anderson ends up as a professional baseball player when all is said and done?

Pat Ryan,  Peoria, AZ


DG:  Anderson is one of the Australian finds the M's have come up with in recent times, along with Chris Snelling, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Travis Blackley.  Anderson had a really solid 2003 season at Triple-A Tacoma despite not having the flashy numbers in the strikeout category.  The 23-year-old is alot like Jamie Moyer in style, using change-ups and breaking balls to keep hitters off balance and simply get people out.  He doesn't hold the prospect value that other Mariner minor leaguers do, and won't ever lead any league in strikeouts but he could get a call-up if the M's have an injury and need to fill a few starts here and there.  He wouldn't be first in line for a promotion, as Clint Nageotte, Rett Johnson, and Blackley head that list, but it isn't out of the question that he sees a few innings for Seattle in 2004.  As for what kind of pitcher he ends up as long term, who knows.  His stuff says No. 5 starter or long reliever at best.  His head and work ethic say otherwise.  We'll have to wait and see which one wins out.

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