Mariners Minor League Players of the Week

Each week InsidethePark.com takes a peak at how the minor leaguers are doing individually. And each week a couple of them are lucky enough to be named as one of the Mariner Minor League Players of the Week. This week, the winners are not only top prospects, but possbly two of the most promising players in the entire organization.

Every week choosing a Mariners minor leaguer as the pitcher and player of the week is a bit of a challenge, usually due to the necessity of sifting through the box scores, stat sheets, and even my own score books. This season with the minor league squads being as loaded as the organization has seen in years, it becomes a difficult task for a different reason. There are so many players putting up huge numbers at the plate as well as on the mound.

Check out the winners of the InsidethePark.com Player and Pitcher of the Week in edition No.2.

Player of the Week
Shin-soo Choo, OF, San Antonio Missions:
The Mariners No.5 prospect in the latest InsidethePark.com Prospect Rankings, tallied seven hits in five games this past week, including three extra-base hits, and four RBI. Choo launched his 2nd home run of the season in a 5-2 win versus Midland. Three of Choo's five games resulted in two or more hits and the 21-year-old reached base in all five contests. The left-handed hitting blue-chipper finished the week hitting .317 with two home runs and eight RBI on the young season.

Shin-soo Choo is expected to continue his quick move up the M's system and give the Mariners another multi-tooled option in the very near future. Armed with great speed, solid power, and a cannon of a throwing arm, Choo offers the M's the skills to play anywhere in the outfield, and hit anywhere near the top of the batting order.

Notables:
Inland Empire 2B Ismael Castro went 5-18, scoring five runs and driving in four. The 20-year-old added three doubles, while hitting in all five games he played. Castro is hitting .289 with five RBI on the year.

Sixty-Sixers Catcher Rene Rivera finished second in the POTW running by going 6-14, with six RBI and four runs scored. Rivera made the most of his starts, ripping multiple hits in half of the four, and driving in two in each of three games. Rivera ended the week hitting .293 with one home run and eight RBI for the season.

San Antonio 1B/DH John Lindsey slugged out seven hits, including two home runs, four RBI, and four runs scored in just three games played. Lindsey ended the week hitting .353 with three home runs and five RBI.

Tacoma Rainiers 1B A.J. Zapp received strong consideration for player of the week as the left-handed hitting former Atlanta Braves prospect piled up eleven hits in six games. Zapp victimized the Las Vegas 51's for seven hits, including his second home run, and four RBI in the first two games of the four game set. The 25-year-old topped out the week with his fourth multi-hit game, going 2-5 versus Tucson. Zapp raised his average to .383, ranking him tenth in the PCL.

Pitcher of the Week
Felix Hernandez, RHP, Inland Empire :
The phenomenon continues in the California League as Hernandez has picked up where he left off in 2003. The 18-year-old picked up his second win of the year this past week, but was forced to do it in relief. The Seattle Mariners sent down right-hander Rafael Soriano to get some innings under his belt, and the 24-year-old went the first four innings of a 7-1 win over Bakersfield. Hernandez took over in the fifth-inning with the game tied at 1. Five innings later, the Venezuelan had shut down the Bakersfield Blaze hitters on just two hits and two walks while striking out a season-high ten. The shutout victory was Hernandez's second on the young season, lowering his ERA to 1.74.

Notables:
Tacoma Rainiers RHP Cha Seung Baek made two starts, covering 12.1 innings for the week. The 23-year-old allowed eleven hits and four earned runs combined in the two outings, striking out nine and walking just one. The Korean-born Baek took a tough-luck loss Saturday night against Tucson while allowing a single run in 6.1 innings. The M's No. 6 prospect on InsidethePark.com's latest prospect rankings, won his first career start in Triple-A going six strong innings in a 6-4 win over Las Vegas.

Rainiers RHP Clint Nageotte followed up his solid 2004 debut with an even better outing in a 2-1 victory in Las Vegas. The blue-chip right-hander went 6.2 innings allowing just one earned run on six hits. Nageotte struck out five and walked only one as he picked up his second win of the year and lowered his ERA to an even 3.00.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers LHP Thomas Oldham continued his stellar season going five scoreless innings allowing just three hits. The T-Rats ace struck out four, earned his first win of the year, and has yet to be scored upon.

InsidethePark.com's own and Inland Empire LHP Bobby Livingston stretched his scoreless innings streak, adding 6.2 more shutout innings. The streak sits at 14.2 after the 21-year-old allowed just four hits and two walks while sitting down five with the strikeout. Livingston is 1-0 in two starts on the season.


Jason resides in Tacoma, Wash., where his father is his best friend and his nephew continues to develop the fastball-splitter combo that he hopes to have mastered by age 3. Jason enjoys the failures of the New York Yankees and despises the slider speed bat. Feedback is always welcome at JasonAChurchill@InsidethePark.com

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