Minor League Roundup

Felix Hernandez, 17, has impressed (AquaSox)

All right, All right. Now we can call it a comeback. After several consecutive weeks of mediocrity, the Seattle Mariners farm system has finally broken through with a solid week. Just one team of the six, the short-season single-A Everett club of the Northwest League, had a losing record. The key to the success was again the starting pitching. Read more about how each of the Mariners' affiliates did last week in InsidethePark.com's exclusive Minor League Roundup.

Triple-A Tacoma went 4-3 this week and used the starting pitching of Rett Johnson as the catalyst.

In Johnson's two starts, the Rainiers beat Portland 3-0, and Salt Lake 8-2. Johnson is now 3-1 in his four AAA starts...

The offense continues to be very inconsistent, but there have been some stars among the mediocre.

RF Kenny Kelly has led the offense recently and is doing it with his speed as well as his power. Kelly now leads the Rainiers with 12 homeruns and ranks second with 18 steals...

Kelly might not lead the swipes category for long. CF Jamal Strong is showing off his stellar leadoff skills by putting the bat on the ball and getting on base at a very high clip (.405 OBP). Strong's seven steals in eight attempts are typical of his career's success on the base paths...

The Rainiers lost a player to promotion this week when the Mariners called up closer Aaron Taylor.

Aaron Looper and Giovanni Carrara are sharing the closing duties in Taylor's absence...

Tacoma now stands at 39-52 on the year and remains in the cellar of the Northern Division despite their solid play of late.

A depleted and overworked bullpen could shoulder some of the blame as the Rainers blew late-inning leads in their three losses last week.

Right-hander J.J. Putz stepped up on Sunday with three innings of shutout relief to preserve Johnson's win...

Double-A San Antonio has done it again. After saving the organization's face last week, the Missions went on to better their own output and won six of seven games this week...

When the answer is "UNBELIEVABLE", the question must be "HOW GOOD IS THE MISSIONS STARTING PITCHING"? Led by the usual suspects, the San Antonio rotation continued its relentless assault on the Texas League.

In their seven outings, the Missions allowed more than two runs only twice and more than three runs just once, lowering their league-leading team ERA to an unthinkable 3.09. The second place team is Frisco at 3.90...

Travis Blackley, 20, leads the league in ERA at 2.13 and wins with 11, while ranking fourth in strikeouts with 94. The Australian lefty leads all of AA in wins...

Clint Nageotte, 22, ranks third in the league in wins with 9, third in ERA at 2.76 and second in strikeouts with 105...

Closer Jared Hoerman leads the league in saves with 27.

Hoerman has saved 14 straight games...

First-baseman A.J. Zapp and outfielder Chris Snelling paced the offense.

Zapp hit .360 (9-25) with two homers and five RBIs. He leads the Texas League with 19 home runs.

Snelling hit .316 in 16 at-bats...

The Missions, already first-half champions, are 14-5 and lead the Western Division by five games after the first three weeks of the second half...

Single-A Inland Empire had a stellar week of its own, going 5-2. The 66ers however, did it in their own way.

They didn't dominate seven games with pitching, or score double-figure runs all week. The 66ers went the path of balance.

Ryan Ketchner and Cha Seung Baek led the pitching staff. Ketchner won his ninth game, keeping pace with Angels prospect Ervin Santana for the league lead...

Weekly mentionable Greg Jacobs had another fantastic week from the plate, going 9-21 (.429). He added four RBI, five runs and four doubles.

Jacobs has taken over the league lead in hitting at .351 and remains the leader in doubles with 31.

If San Antonio is so loaded in the outfield that Jacobs is still in A-ball next week, then maybe Tacoma could use him. He clearly doesn't belong in the California league...

Inland sits at 10-6 in the second half, good for second in their division. They are just a game behind first place Lake Elsinore...

The 66ers outscored their opponents 40-26 this week and are starting to show promise of a being very solid club...

Single-A Wisconsin of the Midwest league had a decent week, winning four of seven games and outgunning their counterparts, 41-23...

The pitching is led by left-hander Bobby Livingston, 20, who is simply rolling along in his second season with the organization.

Livingston, who spent 2002 with Everett, is 11th in the pitcher-dominated Midwest League in ERA at 2.42 and is second in wins with 11...

The success of the Timber rattler offense has been the key of late and the clear-cut star of the bunch is another former Everett player from a year ago, first baseman Jon Nelson.

Nelson had one of the best weeks of any minor league hitter in the system all year long. In seven games, Nelson slugged 13 hits in 31 at-bats (.422), with two homeruns, six runs scored, four doubles and ten RBI.

Nelson, now fifth in the league in homeruns with 11, had two four-hit games and seems to be finding a groove that could send him west to San Bernardino by season's end...

Wisconsin is 6-11 and tied for last place in their division, but things are definitely looking up for the Timber Rattlers...

The short-season-A Everett Aqua Sox were the only team without a winning record this week, but the 3-4 output was not as disappointing as it could have been.

The offense woke up somewhat, and the rotation is beginning to fill out nicely.

A lineup change has ignited the offense a little bit. OF Josh Womack has taken over the leadoff spot and OF Josh Ellison has moved down to the third slot in order to take advantage of his clutch hitting.

The change resulted in a 30 run week, the best of the season...

Infielder Nick Orlandos has continued his hot streak and now leads the league in hitting at .386, and is third in on-base percentage at .440...

The pitching has also received a boost.

Left-hander Beau Hintz has found some consistency and had two solid outings this week bringing his ERA to 1.50 - fifth in the league.

Then the Aqua Sox received some help from a fairly unlikely source.

Felix Hernandez, only 17, has been stellar in his 12 innings of work, striking out 17 while walking just five and sporting a stingy 0.75 ERA...

Right-hander Randall Frye is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA and closer Brandon Moorhead is still perfect on the year. He has yet to allow a run in six innings, has struck out seven and walked just two.

Moorhead leads the Northwest League in saves with five...

For the week, the farm has indeed made THE COMEBACK. Altogether, the organization went 22-13 and re-established itself.

As the weeks pass, player movement will continue to shake things up and make the games even more interesting.


Jason resides in North Tacoma, WA, 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.

SeattleClubhouse.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Forums


24 Fans online
Join The Conversation

Tweets