Mariners Prospect Watch: Three Up, Three Down

A couple of usual suspects are joined by some new arrivals in this 12th installment of our weekly peek at the best and worst in the Seattle Mariners farm system that we call Three Up, Three Down.

Every Monday we present a rundown of the best and worst performances from the past week within the Seattle Mariners' organization. The goal is to keep you up to date on your favorite M's prospects while also shining a little brighter light on some of the lesser known standouts in the system, spreading the coverage around and highlighting those that deserve it most.

With all of the recent MLB graduations, Seattle's system isn't nearly as top-heavy in talent as it has been in years past. But that means that there is more to be learned on some of the better prospects in the organization. Three Up, Three Down should help with that learning, covering players in their age-26 or younger season who still have MLB rookie status.

With all of the recent MLB graduations, Seattle's system isn't nearly as top-heavy in talent as it has been in years past. But that means that there is more to be learned on some of the better prospects in the organization. Three Up, Three Down should help with that learning, covering players in their age-26 or younger season who still have MLB rookie status.

A couple of usual suspects are joined by some new arrivals in this twelfth installment of our weekly peek at the best and worst in the Seattle Mariners farm system that we call Three Up, Three Down.

THREE UP

D.J. Peterson - 3B, High Desert Mavericks: .533/.632/1.200 (8-15), 4 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO
I was surprised when Peterson wasn't promoted over the California League All-Star break. I think he's a little bit miffed about it, too. The M's 1st round pick from 2013 has been demolishing Cal League pitching over the last month and a half after a slow start and is on a torrid stretch now that has seen him take over the organization lead in homers (17), doubles (23) and total bases () while taking over the MiLB lead in RBI (71). He's collected multiple hits in 15 of his last 21 contests and has raised his SLG from .381 to .610 over the last 39 games by slugging .756 in that stretch.

Peterson ended last week with a two extra base hit game (double and homer) in the Mavs' comback win and now has at least one extra base hit in his last nine game and 34 in that 39 game stretch. He also has only one error in his last 25 games (including 17 starts at third base and four at first base) and he's walked 14 times in those 25 games, too. Yes, he has still racked up 26 strikeouts in those 25 games, too, including eight multiple strikeout games, but it is clear that he isn't being challenged that much by High-A pitching anymore. Having been named the Cal League Player of the Week for a second time this season this morning, a promotion can't be far off for D.J. now.

Dylan Unsworth - SP, High Desert Mavericks: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO, .130 oAVG A pitcher who has been a sleeper on the prospect front for Seattle for a few seasons now, Unsworth has had a terrible time adjusting to the environment of the California League this season, so it was great to see him put together perhaps his best start as a pro this past week, throwing seven shutout frames and striking out a career-high 12 while allowing just three hits and -- of course -- not walking a batter. Unsworth's control has always been his calling card, but the right-hander pitches smart and touches low-90s with his fastball.

The pitch doesn't have a ton of movement, though, so the biggest key to success for the South African lies in his ability to keep hitters off balance. He possesses a good changeup, but his breaking pitches aren't average on most nights. If Unsworth -- a slightly built right-hander -- could add that to his repertoire, his profile as a prospect would rise considerably, as his command is among the best of any minor leaguer out there right now.

Phillips Castillo - OF, Everett Aquasox: .391/.444/.826 (9-23), 4 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, BB, 4 SO
A former top International FA signing by the M's, Castillo is repeating at Everett after struggling to an ugly .183/.256/.320 slash with the AquaSox a season ago. So far so good for the 20 year old from the Dominican. He has seven extra base hits in the season's first nine games, six of those coming this past week for the Frogs. And after earning a 28.9% strikeout rate last year, he's struck out just eight times in 39 plate appearances so far.

The power is real for Castillo -- he took second in the Northwest League HR Derby last year -- and the physical tools are very apparent. If he can manage the strike zone better and continue to swing at good pitches to hit, the damage he does should continue to pile up. Castillo has been in the system since 2010, but he's still just 20 and there is still time for him to reach his once highly thought of potential.

THREE DOWN

Jabari Blash - OF, Tacoma Rainiers: .000/.182/.000 (0-18), BB, 9 SO, 3 HBP
After struggling initially following his promotion to Triple-A earlier this season, Blash had really picked up the pace over the last month or so and he still is tied for the organization lead in home runs with 17. But he had a very rough week with the Rainiers and managed to wrangle the org lead in strikeouts back away from Corey Simpson with his nine punchouts this week, running his season total to 81. If not for getting hit by three pitches Blash would've posted .000 across the board.

Despite those struggles and the strikeout numbers, Jabari remains one of the organizations strongest combinations of power and patience, and his ability to play solid defense in right field keep him in the discussion for a possible MLB call-up at some point in the second half. But as I've said before, the strikeouts are always going to be a part of the right-handed hitter's game. Not allowing it to engulf his entire game and zap his other tools will be the challenge.

Eddie Campbell - LHP, Clinton Lumber Kings: 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 2.50 WHIP, 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 2 SO, .267 oAVG
Campbell was Seattle's 15th round selection in the 2013 draft and struck out 66 in 48 1/3 for Pulaski last year, using a good fastball and a big swing-and-miss curve from the left side to baffle Appy League hitters. He's shown flashes of being able to do that at the Midwest League level this season, too, but his control has been suspect at best as he's walked 50 hitters in 62 innings on the year, walking six for the second time in his 14 starts this past week. After a strong start to the year Campbell has now walked four or more in five of his last eight starts and because of that has seen his ERA climb from 3.25 to 6.53.

The Midwest League is a pitching league, with a league ERA of 3.95 and a league slash of .255/.328/.372, but Campbell now owns the worst ERA and highest walk rate (7.3/9) in the circuit. He's not going to succeed with numbers like that. The left-hander's ultimate home may be in the bullpen, but he's got a chance to stick as a starter if he can improve the control/command.

Chris Taylor - SS/2B, Tacoma Rainiers: .148/.324/.296 (4-27), 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 8 SO
Taylor missed a month after injuring his left pinky finger sliding into second base in mid-May, and he hasn't really got back on track since returning. Hitting .372/.414/.593 and collecting multiple hits in five of the six games leading up to the injury, he's hit just .167/.333/.333 (8 for 48) since returning and got just four hits this past week, dropping his season numbers down to .321/.392/.528. Still very strong season numbers for Taylor -- a plus defensive middle infielder -- for sure, but he doesn't have the quickest bat and he's struck out 13 times in his 13 games back and 43 times in 48 games overall.

He's the closest hitting prospect to the majors in the organization and would probably be up already if it wasn't for the presence of Robinson Cano and the June resurgence of Brad Miller. That is a good problem for the M's to have, though, and Taylor -- still just 23 -- isn't rotting away in Triple-A or anything. Expect to see him in September in Seattle, but probably not sooner unless the M's pull off a big trade before the deadline. Until then, he has time to work on his weaknesses and make himself an even better prospect.

. . . . . . . . .

There you have what we see as the best and worst from week 12 in the minors for the Mariners. Check back in with us next Monday for more Three Up, Three Down, and stick with SeattleClubhouse throughout the year for reports from all of the Mariners' affiliates.

Looking for more Mariners news, articles and player interviews? Want to keep up with which prospects are hot and cold for the M's? "Like" SeattleClubhouse on Facebook and follow SeattleClubhouse site Editor Rick Randall on Twitter at @randallball.

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