Minor League Roundup

InsidethePark.com's Jason A. Churchill takes a look down on the farm for the latest on each Mariner affiliate from the Rookie team in the Arizona sun to Triple-A Tacoma and their PCL pennant race.

Peoria Mariners: 10-6, 2.0GB, Arizona League (R)
Peoria DH Jeff Flaig has had a rough time at the plate after being drafted as a top offensive prospect. A shoulder injury has forced the former second-round pick to sit in as the team's DH for the season while his shoulder heals up. Flaig is hitting just .250 in 24 games.

2004 draftee Jermaine Brock has had his own struggles, hitting just .229 in 28 games. The speedy left-handed hitter has just four steals in five attempts while compiling 27 strikeouts in only103 plate appearances.

Draft-and-follow signee Daniel Santin may just slug his way up the organizational depth chart at catcher. The 18-year-old left-handed hitter is third in the league with a .361 average, a .555 slugging percentage and 12 doubles. Santin, a Miami native, also ranks fifth in the league with .430 on-base percentage.

Non-drafted free agent John-Austin Emmons is making the most of his professional debut, hitting .366 with 12 RBI and a team-leading 12 steals in 24 games. The former Texas football star sports a .462 slugging percentage to compliment his speed.

On the hill, left-hander Adam Brandt is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in nine appearances. The 21-year-old has two saves and a sickening 17-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Right-hander Matt Tindell has appeared in four games, covering five innings, and has struck out seven while compiling a 1.80 ERA. Tindell also has two saves and a 1-0 record.

The Rookie Mariners are second in the league with a.296 average and are fourth with 18 home runs. On the other end of the spectrum, they sit last with a 4.98 ERA.


Everett AquaSox: 32-24, 1st in West Division, Northwest League (SS-A)
Outfielder Casey Craig is displaying some solid power potential, boasting a .485 slugging percentage to go with a .301 average and .428 on-base percentage that is third in the league. The 19-year-old has smacked five home runs and stolen 14 bases, a solid sign of his natural athletic ability. Craig also ranks third in the league with 41 runs scored.

Recently promoted shortstop Matt Tuiasosopo has cooled off of late, after a torrid start with the AquaSox. Tui is still hitting .317 with a .572 slugging percentage but the 16-3 strikeouts-to-walks ratio is not a good sign. A steady diet of hard stuff on the inner-half has been tying him up and creating susceptibility to the breaking stuff down and away. The 18-year-old has a few adjustments to make before moving on to the next level. Something tells me he's capable.

Wichita State product Brandon Green is off to a solid pro debut. The former shortstop is splitting time between 1B and 3B and is showing the power potential that the M's saw in him as a Shocker. Green is hitting .285 with six home runs and 44 RBI in 53 games. The 44 RBI are fourth best in the Northwest League.

The latest phenom added to the system is infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. The versatile 18-year-old plays sharp defense at three positions and has the arm, footwork, and range to stick at any of the three. Cabrera's bat is certainly not his weakness, with a solid .280 average and .463 slugging percentage topping the offensive resume. Cabbie has five home runs and 35 RBI, hitting in the middle of the Sox order.

The Sox ace is left-hander Shawn Nottingham. The 19-year-old leads the league with seven wins, 69 innings pitched and 63 strikeouts. Nottingham also ranks fourth with a 3.00 ERA. The most impressive aspect of Nottingham's season is the 63 innings pitched in just 11 starts. Getting into the sixth and seventh frame every five days is an eye-opener at that age.

Right-hander Mumba Rivera picked up his fourth win of the year Monday night, after making his second start of the year, and 15th appearance. Rivera sports a 3.43 ERA in 42 innings and has also served as the club's right-handed setup man. The 23-year-old was the M's 21st-round draft choice this past June.

Infielder Oswaldo Navarro is second in the league with 15 steals as well as 17 doubles. Yung-Chi Chen, who is currently in Athens representing his native Taiwan in the Summer Games, remains the league leader in steals with 22 swipes. Tacoma product Aaron Trolia is second in the circuit with six saves.

Everett leads the Northwest League in hitting with a .276 average. The Sox rank fourth in home runs with 44 but dead last in team ERA at 5.28.


Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 23-26, 7.5GB in Western Division, Midwest League (A)
First baseman Bryan LaHair has had no problems adjusting to the Midwest League since his promotion last month. LaHair is hitting .300 with five home runs and 26 RBI while hitting in the middle of the Rattlers batting order. The 21-year-old's .472 slugging percentage is quite impressive in a league that favors pitchers.

Top prospect Adam Jones is quietly having a solid season with the T-Rats. Look beyond the mild .266 batting average, .321 on-base percentage, and .413 slugging percentage and see the 10 home runs, seven triples, and 36 total extra-base hits, not to mention the 65 RBI. The 19-year-old has made defensive progress as well, progress that would go unnoticed for those that judge by simply scouring the statistics.

Second baseman Nick Orlandos is having a fine second season as a pro. The 24-year-old is hitting .302/.354 with nine steals while playing solid, sure-handed defense.

Left-hander Jason Mackintosh continues his fine first season in the Mariners organization. The 24-year-old is 6-5 with a solid 3.75 ERA on the season. Mackintosh ranks seventh in the league with119 strikeouts in 122.1 innings and has allowed just 32 bases on balls.

Ryan Feierabend has been solid all season, despite being one of the league's youngest pitchers. The 18-year-old southpaw ranks sixth in the league with nine wins while carrying an ERA of 3.96 into his next start. Chris Colton ranks third in the league with 10 triples while Right-hander Nibaldo Acosta leads the league with 152 innings pitched. Brandon Moorhead is fourth with 134 strikeouts.

The Rattlers rank 12th in the league with a 4.47 ERA while ranking ninth in batting average at .255 and 11th in home runs with 71.


Inland Empire 66ers: 29-21, 1.5 GB in South Division, California League (A+)
Outfielder Jon Nelson has made solid progress at the plate, raising his average to .304 this season after hitting just .264 last year. Nelson is still having trouble making enough contact to warrant a promotion to Double-A but his 16 home runs show his power potential and his team-leading 82 RBI rank third in the league.

Newcomer Erick Monzon is tearing the cover off the ball to the tune of seven home runs and a .327 average. The 23-year-old also boasts a gaudy .602 slugging percentage and 17 RBI in his short stay with the club.

Outfielder Gary Harris leads the California League with 16 triples. The speedster has stolen 28 bases and has served as the club's leadoff man and three-hole hitter at various points in the season. Harris's 67 RBI aren't too bad for a lead off hitter, eh?

Staff ace Bobby Livingston has maintained his super season and now ranks second in the league with 11 wins, while his 3.48 ERA is fourth best. The 21-year-old leads the league with 165.2 innings pitched and is second with 128 strikeouts. Livingston's stellar control has limited opposing hitters to just 28 bases on balls.

Rett Johnson has returned to the mound after missing most of the season for undisclosed reasons. The 25-year-old has yet to allow a run in his three appearances, covering five innings. Johnson should shoot right up the ladder and end his season with Triple-A Tacoma. Tacoma would welcome the right-hander with open arms as they head into the stretch-drive in the PCL.

Don't look now but left-hander Cesar Jimenez is putting up big time numbers out of the 66ers bullpen. In 75 innings, the 20-year-old has produced a 2.40 ERA while strking out 67 and walking just 17.

Inland Empire ranks third in the league with a .281 batting average, but rank dead last in home runs with 71. The pitching staff has carried the squad, riding a league-best 3.84 ERA and seven shutouts.


San Antonio Missions: 25-23, tied for first in West Division, Texas League (AA)
The Missions may have the league's best player in outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The 22-year-old is hitting .310 with 12 home runs and 72 RBI and ranks second in the league with seven triples, third in hits with 137, and fourth with 28 steals. Choo's progress at the plate this season is markedly better than the organization could have expected.

Right-handers Rich Dorman and Felix Hernandez are supplying plenty of power from the hill these days, winning eight 13 decisions between them with 150 strikeouts in just 126 innings. Dorman's 115 punch-outs rank fourth in the league.

Chris Buglovsky ranks second in the league with a 3.13 ERA and has six wins to show for his solid work. Buglovsky was acquired from the Colorado Rockies for Triple-A right-hander Allan Simpson, and has been a quality addition to the Missions this season.

Closer Rick Guttormson's 21 saves rank third in the Texas League as does Dustin Delucchi's 77 runs scored.

San Antonio's team batting average of .264 ranks eighth in the league and the 71 home runs hit by the Missions also ranks eighth. In case you were wondering, the Texas League has eight teams.

The pitching staff is a little bit better, ranking sixth with a team ERA of 4.64. It's amazing that manager Dave Brundage has this club in contention.


Tacoma Rainiers: 66-53, 1.5 GB in Northern Division, Pacific Coast League (AAA)
While the Rainiers have lost 70 percent of their opening day roster, manager Dan Rohn has his squad hanging tough. With six independent league additions to the pitching staff and eight call-ups filling out the roster, Tacoma has its work cut out for them.

Center fielder Jeremy Reed has turned it up a notch since being traded to the M's organization in late June. The 23-year-old has hit .296 with four home runs and 26 RBI in the 41 games since June 29 while posting an on-base percentage of .350 and a slugging percentage of .457. Reed has hit four triples and six doubles since joining the Rainiers and has also stolen six bases in seven attempts. Before the trade, Reed was hitting .275 with eight home runs and 37 RBI in 73 games for the Chicago White Sox's Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte.

Last season's California League batting champ was current Rainier Greg Jacobs. The 26-year-old is on another one of his hot streaks in the Pacific Coast League. Tacoma's right fielder was hitting .213 on June 27. Thanks to a hot month of July, the lefty-hitting slugger finished the month hitting .291 and continued his hot hitting in August, peaking with a .308 average early in the month. Jacobs is currently hitting .298 on the season with nine homers and 25 RBI.

During the craziest roster shake-up in all of baseball this season, one constant has been left-handed reliever Randy Williams. The 28-year-old has posted a 6-2 record with a solid 3.26 ERA and seven saves. All season long Rohn has given Williams the ball late in games, and all season Williams has come through, time and time again.

A.J. Zapp's 82 RBI are 11 shy of his career-high and rank sixth in the PCL. Despite his recent struggles, Travis Blackley still ranks fourth in the league with a 3.61 ERA and leads the PCL with two shutouts. Luis Ugueto's eight triples ties him for third in the league.

After Monday's offensive eruption, the Rainiers have regained the league lead in home runs with 160. The team average of .275 ranks 13th and the team ERA of 4.62 ranks sixth.


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