Mariners Minor League Players of the Week

There were plenty of candidates for both Pitcher of the Week and Position Player of the Week over the last seven days. InsidethePark.com's Jason A. Churchill scoured through the stats, and came up with three winners for this week's awards. Included is a repeat winner from week one.

While the Mariner farm system continues to boast one of the deepest pitching crops in the major leagues, the organization is beginning to reap the benefits of the solid decisions made by the club's scouting and player development departments. Since opening day earlier this month, a group of the better offensive prospects who were signed and drafted over the past three years has been backing up their pitching counterparts as they drive opposing pitchers batty; pun very much intended, in case you were wondering.

InsidethePark.com's Position Player of the Week:
Justin Leone, 3B, Tacoma Rainiers:


Leone broke out of a season-long slump, gathering eight hits (.364) and blasting three home runs this past week. The 27-year old St. Martin's College product laced out four multi-hit games and totaled seven extra-base hits in 22 at-bats.

Leone began his week in fine fashion, collecting two hits, both of the long home run variety, versus the Las Vegas 51's. The Mariners 13th round draft pick in 1999 added five RBI and seven runs scored in six games played. Leone is hitting .232 with four homers and six RBI on the year, and leads the Rainiers in round-trippers, extra-base hits, triples, and steals.

Leone, Tacoma's regular 3B, has been playing left field due to the injury bug biting two of the team's starting outfielders. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound slugger has taken very well to his new but temporary position , showing off the athleticism that has allowed him to play shortstop and third base as well. Leone is slugging over .800 since being moved into the two slot in the order by manager Dan Rohn.

Notables:
San Antonio Missions infielder Greg Dobbs made the most of each of his plate appearances, pounding out nine hits in 19 at-bats (.474). Dobbs hit his first home run of the season and hit safely in all five games played, including three multi-hit performances. The 25-year-old third baseman raised his average to .364 to go with eight RBI, while slowly but surely returning to full strength after Achilles surgery last season.

Missions' slugger Greg Jacobs resumed his hot hitting after missing a few games with a sore heel. The 27-year-old went 8-24 (.333) with two RBI and four runs scored. Jacobs added three more multi-hit games to his team-leading total, and began the week by getting a hit in eight of his first 16 at-bats. The lefty-hitting outfielder could end up leading his league in hitting for the second straight year after pacing the California League with a robust .357 mark last year. The season is young but there's no denying that hitting .436 through the first 17 games of the year is a good start at winning another batting championship.

Inland Empire 66ers 2B Ismael Castro had a strong week, raising his average to .303 on the season after going 9-28 (.321) with six RBI. The 20-year-old blasted his first two home runs of the year and added five runs scored to his weeks' resume. On the darker side of things, Castro twisted a knee Sunday afternoon and could miss extended time.

Sixty-sixers outfielder Gary Harris went 9-23 (.391) with four RBI. The 24-year-old had three multi-hit games for the week and is now hitting .323 with a home run. Harris leads Inland with 12 RBI..

Inland Empire utility man Matt Rogelstad took his 12 at-bats and laced out seven hits with them, including a home run. Rogelstad is hitting .333 with a homer and five RBI in limited duty.

T.J. Bohn went 8-23 (.348) and put up a .464 on-base percentage over the seven-game week. The 24-year-old hit safely in six of the seven contests, including back-to-back multi-hit outings to end the week.

Missions 1B/DH John Lindsey followed up a solid week No. 2 with an even better week three. Nine hits in 23 at-bats (.391) elevated Lindsey's average to .367 to go with four home runs and 10 RBI. Lindsey's fourth dinger came last Wednesday against El Paso.


InsidethePark.com's Pitcher of the Week:
Bobby Livingston, LHP, Inland Empire 66ers
Brandon Moorhead, RHP, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers:


Livingston is making his presence among the week's top pitchers a regularly scheduled appearance so far this season. The 21-year-old made two starts this past week, doing nothing but continuing his early-season dominance. After allowing his first earned runs of the season early in the week, the left-hander went seven scoreless innings and allowed just one hit in a 5-4 win over Lancaster on Sunday. Livingston struck out 11 batters and walked just three over his 13 innings pitched for the week. The Inland ace is now 2-0 with a stingy 0.65 ERA on the season.

Brandon Moorhead. Talk about under the radar. Serving as the closer for the Everett Aqua Sox a year ago, the 24-year-old Moorhead is making the transition to the starting rotation look easier than Sunday morning. For all the attention being given to several other Mariner pitching prospects, Moorhead has battled each of them pitch for pitch en route to two victories in three starts. The right-hander has yet to allow an earned run in 18.1 innings this season and padded his season numbers with a stellar outing in a 5-0 win at home versus Burlington. Moorhead went 7.1 shutout innings and allowed just four hits, striking out nine and walking just one batter. Now 2-0, the T-Rats hurler is still sporting an ERA of 0.00. Not bad.

Notables:
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers starting pitcher Ryan Feierabend is quietly becoming one of the most promising pitchers in the Mariner organization. The 6-foot-3 southpaw went the distance in the opening game of a double-header versus Burlington on Thursday, completing his seven-inning masterpiece without yielding a run and scattering four hits. The 18-year-old did not walk a batter and struck out three. Feierabend is now 2-1 with a 3.45 ERA on the season.

San Antonio Missions' ace Troy Cate spun together 12 strong innings over two starts this week, allowing just three earned runs on nine hits. Cate, 23, struck out 10 while walking three as he picked up his first win of the year. The left-hander sports a 2.45 ERA in four starts to open the season.

Missions closer Jared Hoerman is picking up right where he left off last season when he led the Texas League in saves. The right-hander notched a save in all three of his appearances this past week while not allowing a run in 3.2 innings. Hoerman, who turned 27 on Sunday, struck out three and gave up just two hits. The Oklahoma native currently ranks second in the Texas League in saves with six.

Tacoma reliever J.J. Putz returned from his short stay in a Mariner uniform, and began dominating in the closer's role for the Rainiers. The right-handed Putz tossed 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out three. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Michigan University product picked up two saves during the week and now has three for the season.

Jason resides in Tacoma, Wash., where the UP Tides are heavy Vegas favorites to beat the Seattle Mariners in a three-game series this week. Jason continues his hatred for all things Yankee and despises the slider-speed bat. He does, however, ask one question of anyone who might know; How big is Kevin Mench's head anyways? Whoa! ---- Feedback is always encouraged at JasonAChurchill@InsidethePark.com.

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