Each Monday during the minor league season, I will give our readers a rundown of the best and worst from the minor league week that was within the Seattle Mariners system. The focus will be to concentrate only on true prospects, but if any player has an exceptionally noteworthy good (or bad) week, he could appear here as well. This isn't necessarily an in-depth "stock going up" or "stock going down" on the player, just simply a recap of their week.
The goal is to not only keep you up to date on the goings on, but to try and give you a better look of what talent is in the system by spreading the coverage around.
The loudest week probably came from one of the most recent acquisitions to the organization as he accomplished a rare feat and hit all week. Let's take a look at this week's Mariners minor leagues Three Up, Three Down.
Leon Landry - High Desert Mavericks: .417/.440/.792 (10-24), 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 SO, 3 SB
"Neon Leon" was dealt to the Mariners right before the MLB trade deadline as part of the Brandon League trade with the Dodgers, but switching California League teams hasn't slowed the left-handed hitting center fielder down one bit. 10 hits in his first five games in the organization included him hitting for the cycle, hitting two home runs and stealing three bases.
Landry is an exciting player at the plate, on the bases and in the field, and manager Pedro Grifol did not hesitate to throw the minor league leader in triples (16) right into the middle of the order of the top hitting team in the league. Now with a season slash of .333/.363/.575, Landry has some buzz around him and is aiming to make more of a name for himself and more of a future for himself than the "fourth outfielder" label that some seem to have slapped on the former 3rd round pick out of LSU rather prematurely.
Stefen Romero - Jackson Generals: .348/.400/.870 (8-23), 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, BB, 5 SO
Romero has been hitting since the first bell of the 2012 season, and not even his mid-season promotion from one of the best hitting environments in baseball to a much fairer league have slowed him down. This past week, Romero slid back into the 3-hole in the Generals lineup and showed some muscle, tying for the Southern League high in HR (3) and total bases (20) for the Generals.
Romero now has a .999 OPS in 37 Southern League games and has hit seven home runs among his 22 extra base hits in that time. The former Oregon State Beaver is having arguably the best season of any Mariners' minor league hitter this season and is also playing top-notch defense at second base despite his big, muscular build. Romero will turn 24 shortly after the MLB season and could be ready for a taste of at least Triple-A even before that time if the big club so chooses.
Dan Paolini - Clinton Lumber Kings: .292/.469/.542 (7-24), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 6 SO
Paolini, a 10th round pick by Seattle in '11 out of Siena, showed a lot of power and patience while in college, and some of that combination is coming through in his 2012 season with Clinton. This week saw the 22-year-old slug two homers and draw seven walks for Clinton, who was without some of their bigger hitters due to injury.
Splitting his defensive time between his natural position of second base and first base this year, Paolini now has a season slash of .277/.365/.414 with eight home runs, 18 doubles, 40 walks and just 45 strikeouts on the year for the LumberKings and is hitting .302/.395/.484 with five of those long balls in 35 games in the second half. Continued improvements from Paolini could see him crawl into the conversation as a big league option down the road for the M's.
Denny Almonte - Jackson Generals: .111/.200/.333 (2-18), 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 11 SO, SB
Perhaps no player in the Seattle organization has done more in 2012 to correct the issues that were holding them back more than Almonte. His plate discipline has improved so much that the six-year pro blew past his previous season high in walks on June 16th this year. But some of the old strikeout demons took over Almonte's stat line this week. 11 punchouts in a week isn't good. 11 in a week where you only get 18 at bats is downright ugly.
Almonte did hit his first home run in almost a month on Saturday, a good sign since his power has been almost non-existent since hitting six long balls in April. But three three-strikeout games in four days and only five hits in his last nine games isn't encouraging for Almonte. The Mariners are long on minor league outfield talent and short on 40-man roster spots, so Almonte needs a strong final month to feel more secure in that regard.
Felipe Burin - Pulaski Mariners: .172/.273/.172 (5-29), 4 BB, 6 SO
Burin, a 20-year-old switch-hitter who set the world on fire in the foreign rookie and complex league for Seattle in 2011, hitting .350 at two stops, isn't having such an easy go of things in his first pop at the Appalachian League. This week saw the '09 international signing hit just .172 in six games without an extra base hit and he now has a season line of .221/.330/.256 with just three extra base hits (all doubles) in 26 games for Pulaski.
Burin put up 33 extra base hits in 82 games last season, and did it primarily as a second baseman. This season he has split his time between second base, third base and left field, and the 5-foot-10 Burin -- who doesn't have very good speed -- isn't showing enough with the bat to warrant getting much time at those other positions. He is still young, is showing decent plate discipline numbers still and could turn things around with his line-drive stroke, but the early returns aren't great.
Mauricio Robles - Jackson Generals: 0-0, 11.25 ERA, 3.50 WHIP, .368 oAVG, 4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 3 SO
We've been down this road before with Robles, but it seemed that he had corrected a lot of his issues with wildness and ineffectiveness by not allowing an earned run in 12 appearances between May 27th and July 7th (16 1/3 IP). But this last week -- in which he pitched two games in relief and made a spot start -- looked a lot like his more recent bad outings.
The seven walks, five hits, five runs and wild pitch over these last four innings are just the latest string of less-than-stellar outings that have seen Robles' ERA climb from his Double-A season best 2.42 back to 4.50 in his last 10 appearances. Over that time he has walked 16 while allowing 14 hits and 12 runs in just 12 innings of work. He had an 8.71 ERA in July after having a 0.00 ERA in June, and the complete inability to maintain consistency, maintain control is becoming far too common. Robles' loss of his command yet again is showing that the likelihood of the left-hander ever fulfilling that high promise and becoming a big league option is dwindling.
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