The Everett AquaSox finished the first half of the Northwest League season six games under .500, eight games out of first. But the team won their final three games of the first half, and in the second half the team seems to be performing better in all aspects of the game and the Frogs are currently leading the pack in the second half standings with a 10-6 mark.
The defending Northwest League Champions boast a roster that is stacked with some potential future big leaguers such as shortstop-turned-second baseman-turned-soon-to-be-catcher Marcus Littlewood, outfielders Jabari Blash, Mario Yepez and Nathan Melendres, third baseman Ramon Morla and Jharmidy De Jesus, and pitchers Jordan Shipers and Jose Campos to name a few. The roster includes several 2011 draftees, and the quality of the players assigned to the team that plays about 25 miles north of it's big league club is certainly worth the price of admission.
Campos--a 19-year old and 2009 International signing in his first season stateside--owns the best ERA of any starting pitcher in the Mariners' minor league system with a 2.82 mark that places him 9th in the NWL. He also is just two off the league lead in strikeouts with 56 and has only walked nine hitters in his 10 starts. Yepez is third in the league in doubles (14), fourth in average (.331) and fifth in hits (57) while Blash ranks third in homeruns (8). As a team, the AquaSox have the second best hitting and are tied for the league lead with 42 team homeruns.
Blash, Morla and James Wood are all posting OPS of .850 or better in the team's 16 second half games, and the club has outscored their opponents by 15 runs in those 16 games, which is especially impressive when you consider that they were blown out by Tri-Cities by an ugly 18-7 score on Wednesday night. The split season setup in the Northwest League means that Everett still has a great chance to get into the postseason to defend its title if this second half surge continues, and with the 2011 draft signing deadline right around the corner, more reinforcements are likely on their way.
SeattleHardball will be publishing an in-depth review of the top prospects in the Mariners organization soon and the list will certainly have some Everett players on it, but you can get to Everett yourself while the weather is nice to see some of these promising players first-hand.