Starting today, I will take a look back each Monday and give our readers a run down of the best and worst from the minor league week that was within the Seattle Mariners system. I will try and concentrate only on true prospects, but if a player has an exceptionally noteworthy good (or bad) week, he could appear here as well. I will try not to throw in repeat players too often as well—give you a better look of what is in the system by spreading the coverage around.
Without further ado, installment No. 1 of what I hope is an entertaining weekly piece that you look forward to:
Alex Liddi – Tacoma Rainiers: .448/.500/1.000 (13-29), 1 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 12 R
Liddi appears to be what we call a “streaky hitter”. Clearly the Italian born prospect — back to playing primarily third base — is in a hot streak right now. He led the PCL in HR, was 2nd in RBI, 3rd in SLG, tied for 5th in hits and tied for 7th in AVG during the week and drew three walks against just six Ks for good measure.
The swing still gets long at times and his pitch recognition isn’t ideal (139 strikeouts on the season), but there is real power in his bat, he has made significant strides defensively and he leads the minor leagues in runs scored, for whatever that is worth. Already on the 40-man roster, Liddi should get his first cup of coffee this September when rosters expand if not before.
Steven Proscia – High Desert Mavericks: .400/.448/.640 (10-25), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB
Proscia was the Mariners’ 7th round selection in this June’s draft out of Virginia. He tied for 2nd in HR in the California League for the week, tied for 6th in AVG, SLG and hits and tied for 8th in OBP. In his first 14 games for the Mavericks, Proscia had just one walk and 17 strikeouts, but this week he had three walks and only two Ks. He also had three errors through his first eight games, but only one in his last 12. Those are good signs, as are his home/road splits thus far: .279/.326/.512 at home, .286/.295/.452 on the road.
The right-handed hitting third baseman has the same profile as many other minor league sluggers in that contact is going to be his Achilles Heel, but if he can use the whole field like he did in college and show the discipline that he did this past week, he has a shot.
Jonathan Arias – Clinton Lumber Kings: 4 2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 10 SO, 1 SV
At first glance, Arias may appear to be a bit old for his league, but when you consider that he was originally a catcher, then an outfielder and only converted to pitching prior to 2009, the assignment looks right. On the season the right-hander has struck out 79 hitters in just 48 1/3 innings spanning 30 appearances out of the bullpen for Clinton.
Reports I’ve seen say he throws a pretty good breaking ball while his fastball is only about 90-92 with little movement and his command has been less than superb (5.2 BB/9) so temper the enthusiasm a bit, but in only his 3rd season on the hill after a lifetime as a hitter, there is potential here.
Carlos Peguero – Tacoma Rainiers: .500/.500/.781 (16-32), 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI
How can a player that lead his league in hits, hit .500 and posted a 1.281 OPS (good for 4th in the PCL) for the week be on the “down” list, you ask? Well, despite the hot stretch, Peguero still managed to rack up 10 strikeouts and zero walks in his 32 plate appearances for Tacoma, and the big lefty has now fanned 62 times and drawn just 12 unintentional walks in 210 plate appearances in Triple-A.
Fans of the big league club saw first-hand that Peguero offered promise with the bat, but just like his time in the majors, the lack of plate discipline is still the most glaring and frustrating part of his game.
Francisco Martinez – Jackson Generals: .207/.207/.207 (6-29)
Martinez came over in the Doug Fister trade and is the player that many feel made that deal a win for the Mariners. The Carlos Triunfel comp has been thrown around, but according to Jackson’s announcer Chris Harris — a man who has seen both prospects extensively up close and personal—that comp is not an accurate one. They do both handle the bat well, but Harris says, “Martinez almost looks like a basketball player he is so tall and lanky with long arms”.
The right-handed hitting third base prospect had a hit in each of his first five games, but he has a strikeout in each of the last four. The six Ks, zero walks, no extra base hits, two errors (though he is a smooth looking defender by most accounts, including from Harris) … and the fact he is a hot topic for Mariners fans, lands Martinez on the “down” list this week. We all need to remember he is still shy of his 21st birthday and playing in Double-A, however. A lot of potential here.
Alfredo Morales – Pulaski Mariners: .136/.231/.136, (3-22), 3 RBI
Morales, a 2009 International signing by Seattle out of the Dominican Republic, was killing it this season in his second go ‘round in the Arizona League, hitting .405/.452/.608 through 19 games before earning a promotion to Pulaski. In his 17 games since coming to the Rookie Appalachian League however, he is hitting just .197/.315/.262 and has struck out 22 times in 61 at-bats.
The M’s lauded Morales’ hands and approach when they signed him, but the 18-year old outfielder has yet to get those hands and left-handed swing working for him in the APPY. He is still about two years younger than most of his competition there, and with his early promotion, clearly the front office likes what it is seeing.
*All Stats for the week of 8/1 – 8/7