13 GS, 8-4, 2.32 ERA, 73.2 IP, 54 H, 8 K, 40 BB, .205 BAA
Hernandez picked up his eighth win of the year last week, going six shutout innings versus division-rival Portland. The outing extended the Venezuelan's scoreless innings streak to 15.1 over two-plus starts. Hernandez missed his scheduled start this week due to bursitis in his right shoulder after the 19-year-old didn't experience the usual relief in soreness two days after a start.
2. Chris Snelling, OF - Tacoma
49 G, .361/.447/.552, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 29 BB, 34 K
Snelling had a tough week at the plate with one bigtime exception. A ninth-inning grand slam to erase a 5-1 Portland lead and allow the Rainiers to win in 14 innings when Abraham Nunez hit a two-run shot of his own. Snelling has been playing regularly in right field for Tacoma.
3. Shin-soo Choo, OF - Tacoma
51 G, .286/.411/.408, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 14 SB, 41 BB, 48 K
Turning it up a notch, Choo added 13 points to his batting average while displaying gold glove defense in left field for Tacoma last week. Choo has made numerous diving catches in left field over the past few weeks and is always a threat to throw out runners trying to advance – just ask former Mariners infielder Wilson Valdez who tried to stretch a single into a double after he hit one off the wall in left center field. Should have been a double – but it wasn't.
4. Bobby Livingston, LHP – San Antonio
14 GS, 6-3, 2.59 ERA, 90.1 IP, 71 H, 63 K, 19 BB, .217 BAA
Livingston jumps into the top five after another stellar outing last week. The left-hander spun eight scoreless innings at division-leading Midland (A's). The 22-year-old allowed just four hit, struck out nine and walked three, picking up his sixth win of the year.
5. Adam Jones, SS – Inland Empire
67 G, .293/.376/.498, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 29 BB, 62 K
Jones tallied just three extra-base hits last week but his season is still a major success at the halfway mark. A strong finish offensively could force a position switch for 2006, to allow his bat to carry him to the big leagues.
6. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS - Wisconsin
51 G, .318/.407/.474, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 30 BB, 32 K
Cabrera drove in eight runs last week and added his fourth home run of the season to equal the number of errors he has made. The 19-year-old glove master now has 19 extra-base hits and continues to show that he has skills beyond his years.
7. Wladimir Balentien, OF – Inland Empire
58 G, .272/.318/.549, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 13 BB, 74 K
Balentien drops two spots, mostly due to his issues making contact. Now up to 74 whiffs on the year, the 20-year-old sports a disappointing 74-13 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
8. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS - Tacoma
16 G, .308/.319/.369, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 SB
The slick-fielding shortstop swung a hot bat last week, raising his average over .300 and proving he could hold his own offensively in the PCL. Betancourt's defense will always be his forte, but opponents that dismiss him offensively will learn not to. If the 23-year-old stays somewhat consistent, Mariners fans may see him march out to shortstop this September for a cup of coffee in the bigs.
9. Matt Tuiasosopo, SS - Wisconsin
54 G, .296/.376/.435, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 23 BB, 53 K
The Midwest League All-Star has dipped below 300 at .296 but has been steady at the plate, if nothing else. The 19-year-old Woodinville native hit his fifth home run of the year last week and has five long balls on the season. Still waiting to see Tui play the outfield.
10. Robert Johnson, C - Wisconsin
45 G, .288/.345/.508, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 15 BB, 19 K
Johnson continues his impressive campaign anchoring the middle of the Timber Rattlers lineup. It will be interesting to see the timetables for the current top backstop prospect in the system and 2005 draftee Jeff Clement.
11. Jamal Strong, OF - Tacoma
51 G, .311/.395, 35 R, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 16 SB, 25 BB, 32 K
I'm almost tired of preaching this but... Strong belongs on the bench in Seattle, providing speed, defense and on-base abilities for the Mariners. Strong is red-hot at the plate, hitting .338 in June and ranking third in the PCl with 16 steals. What else is there for Strong to do in Triple-A?
12. Cha Seung Baek, RHP - Tacoma
11 G, 10 GS, 5-2, 3.88 ERA, 45.2 IP, 59 H, 41 K, 11 BB, .273 BAA
Baek is getting beaten up lately, serving up fastballs over the middle of the plate to the tune of a .347 opponents batting average over his past 12.2 innings. Better command might get the right-hander to Safeco in September. Otherwise, the oft-injured 24-year-old may turn into minor league fodder.
13. Jorge Campillo, RHP - Tacoma
11 GS, 3-1, 2.98 ERA, 60.1 IP, 61 H, 38 K, 16 BB, .271 BAA
Now on the DL, Campillo will likely drop out of the top 20 next week without a trip to the mound. The elbow injury is not expected to sideline the 26-year-old for more than a few weeks worth of rest.
14. Yung-Chi Chen, 2B - Wisconsin
65 G, .292/.329, 4 HR, 44 RBI, 9 SB, 15 BB, 46 K
Chen will likely challenge for player of the week honors afterraiusing his average to .292 with a scorching streak that began last Monday. The multi-talented defender has played second and third for Wisconsin, producing with the bat all over the lineup, driving in eight runs in seven games.
15. Jason Snyder, RHP - Wisconsin
14 GS, 8-5, 3.53 ERA, 86.2 IP, 90 H, 58K, 19 BB, .268 BAA
Snyder put forth two quality starts last week, covering 15 innings. The 22-year-old struck out 15 and walked just three batters. The right-hander is the ace of the Rattlers staff and clearly the top right-handed pitching prospect in the system behind Felix Hernandez.
16. Marshall Hubbard, 1B – Wisconsin
.329/.423/.533, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 26 BB, 40 K
Hubbard added his second five-hit effort of the year on June 19, raising his average to .329 and may serve as an eye-opener. The North carolina product could be challenged with a promotion to the California League sometime after the all-star break.
17. Jesus Guzman, 3B – San Antonio
.268/.333/.429, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 18 BB, 35 K
Guzman has cooled off since a torrid start in mid-April. The 20-year-old's bat may play better at second base, a position he may see time at in the second half.
18. Ryan Christianson, C - Tacoma
34 G, .275/.346/.411, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 15 BB, 48 K
The M's 1999 first round draft pick has been solid all season at the plate and Tacoma skipper Dan Rohn has a dilemma at hand. With Wiki Gonzalez on rehab and the Miguel Olivo refurbishing project underway, Christianson's time behidn the dish might be limited. The 24-year-old started at first base on Sunday.
19. Hunter Brown, 3B – Tacoma
.259/.338/.402, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 16 BB, 38 K
Brown will likely sit while Justin Leone and Greg Dobbs rob him of playing time – at no fault of their own. Brown is simply the better player of the three. Ahem, Mr. Bavasi, are you listening?
20. Sebastien Boucher, OF – Wisconsin
.338/.424/.464, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 11 SB, 23 BB, 28 K
Boucher started his season late but is making up for time lost since joining the Wisconsin club. The Canadian-born speedster leads the Rattlers in hitting at .338 and has shown polished leadoff skills, drawing walks and stealing bases.
The Fallen - RHP C Rene Rivera (15), RHP Mumba Rivera (18)
New Additions - 3B Jesus Guzman (17), OF Sebastien Boucher (20)
NOTE: First round pick Jeff Clement will not be considered for the power rankings until signed to a professional contract.
Jason A Churchill is the Executive Editor at InsidethePark.com and can be reached via e-mail at JasonAChurchill@InsideThePark.com