Minor League Analysis with the Radio Announcers

InsidethePark.com caught up with radio announcers from each of the Mariners minor league affiliates, asking each six questions regarding their respective team. For a better idea on the top players in the M's farm system, see what those in the announcer's booth had to say.

TACOMA RAINIERS– Mike Curto

The Biggest Surprises: George Sherrill, Luis Ugueto

Top Candidates to Rebound in the Second Half: Ramon Santiago, Greg Jacobs

First Half Offensive MVP: Bucky Jacobsen, clearly.

First Half Defensive MVP: Santiago

Biggest Upside: Jeremy Reed – he's got a great natural stroke, hits line drives to all fields, and is young.

Keys to the Second Half: Fielding a team of nine players playing their natural positions, not getting caught up in the transactions, and not committing suicide if they lose 20-straight.


SAN ANTONIO MISSIONS – Roy Acuff

The Biggest Surprises: Hunter Brown – He is so versatile and equally effective at 3rd, 2nd, and 1st base. He's having a break-out year offensively. Dustin Delucchi - has been the consummate leadoff hitter and makes all the plays defensively. Rick Guttormson - has 16 saves since Jared Hoerman went up. Also, Tim Rall has been a surprise.

Top Candidates to Rebound in the Second Half: Juan Done – he's starting to learn to roll with the punches, and has better command of late.

First Half Offensive MVP: Clearly Shin-Soo Choo, who is the best player right now in the Texas league. He will finish here with close to 95 RBI, a .300 hitter with 15-18 HR's and 35 stolen bases. He's amazing!

First Half Defensive MVP: Close between Choo and Hunter Brown. Choo has that great arm and gets to the gaps to quickly. Brown is the best all-around infielder to come along in my 17 years in the booth, a real gamer!

Biggest upside: Choo - no limits, a 5-star player who will be in the big leagues some day. Brown is going to surprise some people and look out for newcomer T. J. Bohn. He has tremendous tools for a young player (a 30th rounder).

Keys to the Second Half: We're gonna let Choo take us to the promised land along with Bohn, Brown Michael Morse, John Lindsey and the big right-hander Felix Hernandez, who has just arrived here. And we've got one of the best young managers in baseball, Dave Brundage, making out that lineup card!


INLAND EMPIRE 66ERS– Mike Saeger

The Biggest Surprise: Jesus Guzman, because of his age and what he's produced.

Top Candidates to Rebound in the Second Half: I'd like to see Matt Hagen be the guy because he's such a hard worker and a really good person but I don't know if that will happen. Gary Harris is another one. He had a pretty good April and May but has been in a big decline. If he can get more selective at the plate and not get himself out so much he could be a factor in the second half.

First Half Offensive MVP: It's a toss up between Guzman and Jon Nelson. Nelson is the team leader in HR and RBI and has been at or near .300 for quite some time. Guzman's numbers speak for themself.

First Half Defensive MVP: I would have said T.J. Bohn before he got promoted. Among those currently on the team, either Rene Rivera at catcher or Matt Hagen at first base. Rivera's solid behind the dish and calls a good game. Hagen's been outstanding at 1B, especially considering he had been a 3B.

Biggest Upside: Probably Jesus Guzman. He's young but hardly overmatched and has surprising power that will only continue to develop.

Keys to the Second Half: Hit, hit, hit. The bats have gone stone cold since the start of June. The pitching's been decent, especially considering the promotions that cost the team Felix and Rich Dorman and caused a shakeup in the bullpen. Too many guys are going through slumps now and that's been the biggest factor.


WISCONSIN TIMBER RATTLERS– Chris Mehring

The Biggest Surprises: Good Surprise: Jason Mackintosh. He was a reliever who has turned himself into a very solid starting pitcher. Bad Surprise: Evel Bastida. I really thought that he would be able to dominate at this level, but he just never has got on track.

Top Candidates to Rebound in the Second Half: Chris Collins, Michael Cox, Justin Ruchti

First Half Offensive MVP: Wladimir Balentien. He is a threat to hit the ball out of the park at any time. When he is concentrating, he can also hit for average, hit-and-run, bunt, and steal a base. He has been able to concentrate a great deal of late.

First Half Defensive MVP: Adam Jones. The shortstop makes all of the routine plays and has cut down on the errors from the start of the season. Plus, he makes the tough plays and the plays that few other shortstops can make. He is an exciting player to watch.

Biggest Upside: Jones. Once he has his first full season under the belt and develops a bit more at the plate, he has the biggest upside of the position players. Balentien and Chris Colton both have speed, power, and defensive abilities that should carry them far. Thomas Oldham has shown a willingness to learn and make adjustments this season and is more of a pitcher than a thrower. Ryan Feierabend is advanced for his age and has learned a lot this season that will help him move up the ladder quickly.

Keys to the Second Half: The bullpen must protect the leads and the offense needs to get better with their situational hitting (Getting the runner home from third with less than two out, moving the runner along, etc.). The new additions: Austin Bilke, Hyung Cho, Bryan LaHair, Michael Nesbit, and Nick Orlandos have already helped.


EVERETT AQUASOX– Pat Dillon

The Biggest Surprise: Asdrubal Cabrera. The guy does everything at least very well and he's the youngest player on the team.

Top Candidates to Rebound in the Second Half: Omar Falcon, just because he's one of the only guys who hasn't torn the cover off the ball this year. He's only been switch hitting for a little over a year and he's a very hard worker. Good power, good catch-and-throw skills, good leadership abilities, good guy.

First Half Offensive MVP: Close call between Cabrera and Yung-Chi Chen. I'll call it a tie. The numbers pretty much tell the story. Chen has more speed, while Cabrera has more plate discipline and owns lefthanders.

First Half Defensive MVP: Close call again, this time between Cabrera and Navarro. Both can play second or short with equal aplomb. Both have great instincts that have been described as 'off the charts.' Both have made a handful of plays that have made me want to stand and cheer. Both are VERY confident.

The Biggest Upside: If I could place a futures bet I'd tell you that Cabrera, given his age, could be every bit as good or perhaps better than Carlos Guillen.

Keys to the Second Half: No complaints offensively. The four/five starters and bullpen need to pitch better. The staff needs to stop being so tater-iffic (28 HR in 14 home games).

InsidethePark.com would like to thanks each of the Mariners' minor league announcers for their input in this story. Each team's games can be heard live over the internet, and links to the daily broadcasts can be found on the left-hand toolbar at InsidethePark.com.

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