Mariners Minor League Players of the Week

The first edition of the Mariners Minor League Players of the Week will cover the performances from opening day on Thursday, April 7, through Monday, April 18. Beginning on April 25, the winners will be based on the performances from the previous seven days – Monday through Sunday of the prior week. <br><hr><br>

InsidethePark.com's Position Player of the Week

Matt Tuiasosopo, SS – Wisconson
The M's third round pick in last June's draft is off to a huge start in his first full season in pro baseball. The 18-year-old has strung together six multi-hit games, including a four-hit game at Peoria on April 17, and has a hit in all nine games in which he has played. Tui has three doubles, a homer and 10 runs batted in and has only struck out four times in 39 plate appearances.

Tuiasosopo's .472 batting average is just the beginning, however. The plate skills being displayed by one of the youngest players in the Midwest League is phenomenal and if the Woodinville, Wash. native continues to develop his strike zone judgement, the M's could have a true blue chip talent on their hands – just as the Mariners brass suspected when they gave the local kid a third-round record $2.29 million signing bonus.


Honorable Mention

Yung-Chi Chen, 2B – Wisconsin
In most other weeks, Chen would have won the award after putting up such offensive numbers. The Taiwan native leads the the Timber Rattlers in hits (17), runs batted in (13) and runs (10). The 21-year-old has played second and third base in his 11 starts and has produced a .364 batting average with three steals and four extra-base hits.

Matt Rogelstad, UT – Inland Empire
What Matt Rogelstad has done early this season is remarkable. The 22-year-old has 21 hits in 40 at-bats to lead all of minor league baseball, and has driven in a team-best 11 runs. Rogelstad has only struck out twice and has at least two hits in seven of nine games he has played -including a five-hit, five-RBI game at High Desert on April 13. Rogelstad was an undrafted free agent coming out of Arkansas State in 2003 and wasn't even a member of the 66ers starting lineup to begin the year.

Wladimir Balentien, OF – Inland Empire
Balentien leads the 66ers, the California League and Mariners organization in home runs with five. Clearly, the Aruban-born 20-year-old's power has translated nicely to the Advanced-A level and if he can learn to cut down the strikeouts he'd would become a premium prospect. Balentien is hitting .295 with a .636 slugging percentage to go with his big power numbers.


Keep An Eye On...

Michael Garciaparra, 2B – Inland Empire
Garciaparra's .300/.432/.467 line is a very encouraging sign that the former first round pick is possibly turning the corner at the plate. Staying healthy and gaining early season confidence could be the crucial start that Garciaparra has needed.

Chris Snelling, DH – Tacoma
Snelling joined the Rainiers on April 16, and has already made his presence felt in the lineup. The 23-year-old is hitting .364/.563/.455 in four games since his return from the disabled list. Snelling has drawn five walks and struck out just once, displaying the advanced plate discipline the M's have wanted to toss in their lineup for three seasons. Snelling added a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth on Monday versus Fresno to his 2005 resume.


InsidethePark.com's Pitcher of the Week

Jorge Campillo, RHP – Tacoma
Campillo's first three starts have been nothing short of fantastic, as the "Mexican Maddux" has gone 6-plus innings in each outing. The 26-year-old is 1-1 with 19 strikeouts in 19.2 innings of work, including a 10-strikeout effort at Sacramento. Campillo has issued just four walks and has had great success mixing in his curveball with a plus change and a well-located fastball.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is using his fastball to get ahead in the count, setting up his out pitches, the curve and change, which both rate as better-than-average to plus pitches. Campillo could earn his way to Safeco with more starts like his first three.


Honorabe Mention

Cha Seung Baek, RHP – Tacoma
Baek started the season on the short list to head to Seattle should the need arise for an arm on the big club, and has done nothing to change his position on that list. In two starts, Baek has allowed just five hits in 11 innings and took a perfect game into the sixth inning of his second start in Sacramento. The 24-year-old has struck out eight and walked just two.

Bobby Livingston, LHP – San Antonio
Livingston has picked up right where he left off a year ago in the California League, baffling hitters with his great location and plus change. In 18 innings, the 22-year-old has issues just three bases on balls while striking out 14. Livingston is proving to be well-deserving of the nod to start on opening night in his home state of Texas.

Felix Hernandez, RHP – Tacoma
The King continues to impress all that see him perform, allowing just an unearned run in 11 innings pitched, covering two starts. Hernandez has yielded 10 hits and struck out nine, while limiting the free passes to four in his first taste of Triple-A baseball. The 19-year-old is showing no signs of being in over his head and his stuff seems to be getting better every time out. Hey, did ya hear that screaming sound? Yeah, that was the collective cry of Pacific Coast League foes, after reading that his stuff is getting better each time out.


Keep An Eye On...

Thomas Oldham, LHP – San Antonio
Oldham is off to a fine start to the 2005 season, allowing just 13 baserunners in 12.2 innings. The 23-year-old is 0-1 on the season, but sports a stingy 1.42 ERA and has not allowed a home run to any of the 49 batters he has faced. Oldham and the others in the rotation have been the victims of very little run support thus far. If the Missions can muster some consistent offense, Oldham has a chance to win a lot of games this year.

Aaron Trolia, RHP – Inland Empire
Trolia has pitched just 8.2 innings this season in his two starts, but not because he hasn't pitched well. On a pitch count early in the year, the right-hander has held opponents to a .226 average while striking out 11 batters. The 23-year-old heads to his third start of the year with no record but a 2.08 ERA and mucho confidence.

Chris Buglovsky, RHP – Tacoma
Buglovsky was acquired prior to the 2004 season from the Colorado Rockies and began this season in Triple-A Tacoma as a middle reliever. After four appearances, Buglovsky has gone 7.1 innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits. The right-hander has struck out six and walked just two en route to posting a 1.23 ERA.


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