The Week in The Minors

The farm is loaded with budding stars

All of the Mariners' minor league affiliates rank second-place or higher in their respective divisions. There's much to be excited about, says InsidethePark.com's Jason A. Churchill.

During a week in which the Seattle Mariners themselves went undefeated in six games, the organization's farm system had a pretty good week as well.

Triple-A affiliate Tacoma had a solid week that saw them beat the Pacific Coast League's top team, the Sacramento Rivercats, two of three this weekend after a sub 500 road-trip. The Rainiers used a consistent bullpen, speed on the basepaths, and timely hitting to finish the week 4-3 and raise their record to 27-31 while holding onto 2nd place in the Northern Division. Chad Meyers was the offensive star, swiping five bases and hitting .333. Top Prospect Rafael Soriano had two impressive starts, going 2-0 to lead the pitching staff.

Double-A San Antonio had a very inconsistent week, going 4-3. The Missions had problems combining solid pitching efforts with offensive execution. When they scored runs, their starting pitchers seemed to struggle. When they got the solid pitching, the bats went silent. The week wasn't a total loss as they managed the four wins in seven games. Usually when a ball club scores 45 runs in a week, you just happen to win five or six of the seven contests. That is unless you also give up 36 in the same span. Left-handed starter Travis Blackley and infielder Jose Lopez starred for San Antonio, which continues to hold onto the best record in the Texas League at 37-19.

The two Single-A affiliates, Inland Empire (San Bernardino) of the California League, and Wisconsin of the Midwest League, did not let their superior minor league brethrens down.

Inland had a great week, winning five of six games. They showed flashes of dominance both offensively and on the hill. Outscoring their opponents 41-27, the 66ers climbed to second in their division behind the hitting of outfield prospect Shin-Soo Choo and the pitching of several youngsters. Infielder Eriberto Menchaca even managed to get a relief appearance in during Sunday's 14-inning, 9-5 win over Rancho Cucamonga. Ryan Ketchner, a 21 year old lefty, came out of the bullpen to start and win two games for Inland, which raised their overall record to 29-25.

Wisconsin finished an average week strong by sweeping a double-header on Sunday, winning both games by a score of 4-1 over West Michigan. Thomas Fulmer was nails in his two starts, including a seven-inning complete-game on Sunday. Bobby Livingston has been magical all year and continued his success this week. The offense was led by 3B Matt Hagen who had two homers and four runs batted in, and Garry Harris, who finished with seven RBI.

As a whole, the M's system went a combined 17-10 for the week ending Sunday June 1st. At each level the organization sits no lower than 2nd place in their division. Life is good down on the farm.


Jason resides in North Tacoma, Wash. where his father is his best friend, his mother has a better fastball than he does, and his nephew is the only person better suited for stardom. Feedback is always welcome at JasonAChurchill@cs.com.

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