It's officially June, which means two things. I will more than likely forget my parents anniversary until the afternoon of, AND we are two months into the Minor League Baseball season. The Class-A Advanced affiliate to the Seattle Mariners, High Desert Mavericks, had a May similar to their April, ups and downs, right at that .500 mark, sitting pretty par with the rest of the league. Stars have slowly rose from this team, and potential future big leaguers are starting to come out of the wood work. This team still isn't filled with prospects, but they still find ways to stay competitive, and stay a serious threat in the California League.
CLASS A-ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS
27-27 record, 3rd place in the California League Southern Division
Cal League ranks (10 teams)
Hitting: 2nd in R/G (6.16), 2nd in OPS (.827), 2nd in HR (61), 2nd in BB (222), 4th in Ks (412)
Pitching: 9th in ERA (5.11), 8th in WHIP (1.51), t-5th in HR (53), 4th in BB (171), last in Ks (395)
The Mavericks are still full of scrappers and grinders. When you think they're falling off, they pick right back up, as shown with consistent, inconsistencies. They'll be swept by a team, and then sweep the next team they face. If they can get out of the rut of inconsistencies and find a little bit better of a winning style, this team could be dangerous at the end of the first half of the season, and even more dangerous in the second half of the season. One of the biggest oddities for me with this team is that the offense struggles are at home, and they do well on the road, and pitching excels at home, and is challenged on the road. The chemistry of this team is fantastic though as Manager, Jim Horner, has been able to keep composure of this team in the clubhouse even after losing streaks, and it seems that all players and coaches come out with smiles and look to enjoy playing the game every time they take the field.
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER(S): Ji-Man Choi - 1B and Chris Taylor - SS
I honestly couldn't just pick one of these guys. Both are incredible to watch play the game, and not just that, but the statistics say it too. Choi is simply proving day after day to be one of the best all around hitters in the Cal League. He has great vision and hits the ball HARD every time he makes contact, which is incredibly consistent. Choi is hitting .335 (2nd best in Cal League) and enjoyed a 21-game hit streak during the month of May. Choi is currently reaching base 42.8% of his plate appearances and has 55.1% of his hits going for extra base (Choi is leading league in 2B (22) and XBH (32)) which is helping him lead the Mavericks in RBIs with 40. Choi is by far my favorite player on this team -- although it sounds like he won't be on the team for long -- but you can never ignore what Taylor has does also. Taylor was leading the Cal League in batting all but the last day of May, batting .333 and reaching base in 43.2% of his plate appearances. Taylor plays great defense at short and flashes all of the defensive tools you want in a shortstop, with one of the better statistical defensive years a shortstop has had in the High Desert. I would like to see Taylor cut down on his strikeouts as he's striking out around the 20% mark, which isn't awful, but could be improved on, and has been as the season has progressed. Chris leads the Mavericks with 49 runs, coming home nearly 45% of the time he reaches base. While choosing, I decided I'd see who was more consistent away from the offensive Mavericks Stadium but both Choi and Taylor as Choi is actually better on the road (.337) than he is at home (.333), and Taylor is batting a consistent .320 on the road.
TOP PITCHER: David Colvin - RHP
The Mariners might have a hidden gem in this 2011, 27th round, Division III pick. I might have a little biased to him since I broadcast for his old college, but his statistics speak for themselves. His 3.00 ERA is good for second best on the team with pitchers who have pitched over 7.0 innings. He has a WHIP of 1.33 which may not be "great" but you have to remember, he is pitching in the High Desert. Colvin is striking out 9.6 per 9, and only walking 2.1 per 9. Colvin has great control, seems to hit to strike zone fairly often, which in High Desert may be a small issue, but he has limited batters to only hit .275 off of him this season. Colvin could work his way into a good mid-reliever in the Mariners system. He has started one game out of the seventeen he's pitched this year which shows he has good stamina, but maybe not enough to be a full time starter at any point of his career.
TOUGH STRETCH: Steven Baron - C and Trevor Miller - RHP
Many Mavericks pitchers love having Baron behind the plate, but his offense definitely needs some work. Baron is only batting .222 with a .250 on base percentage. Not much more to note about him, other than he needs to start making more contact with the ball. Trevor Miller hasn't improved much over the season, when he was expected to be a star in the Desert. His 5.83 ERA is par with the rest of the starters on the team, but his WHIP of 1.61 is a big standout to me. Miller has allowed 9 home runs, which is near the top of the Cal League, and also leads the Mavs in walks with 23.
TRAINING ROOM: Nathan Melendres, Ramon Morla, Jordan Shipers
Melendres has had troubles this season, and is currently on the disabled list. Not exactly what you'd like to hear about a kid who plays with so much heart, but I'm sure Melendres will come back strong and ready to play to his best abilities once again. Morla was injured for the first part of the month (5/3 - 5/17), which was a big loss for the Mavericks over those two weeks as he's been a steady offensive performer. Jordan Shipers might not be having the best season so far, but it's never a good thing to lose a prospect. Especially not a left-handed pitcher with stuff like Shipers'.
While they are hanging around in the standings, it's getting to be that time where the Mavericks need to pick up their overall game and start becoming a bigger threat in the California League, and start making names for themselves individually, too.
Stay tuned to SeattleClubhouse for updates from me throughout the season on the Mavs!
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