LHP Bobby Madritsch (Photo: Getty Images)
From former Independent Leaguers to teenage sensations, the M’s farm system continues to impress. Needless to say, it doesn’t take a Bill James disciple to gather the necessary data to put together a group of worthy candidates for players of the week. But after putting the secret formula to work, I believe I may have earned some sort of prestigious degree. In fact, from now on you can call me Doctor Diamond Genius. Read on for this week's Mariners Minor League Players of the Week.
Position Player of the Week Candidates:
5. Elpidio Guzman, OF, Tacoma Rainiers
The Rainiers RF pounded out 10 hits in 22 (.455) at-bats, mostly hitting in the leadoff spot. Guzman had a four-hit game among three multi-hit performances and added four runs scored for the week. The 27-year-old is hitting .346 with two home runs and nine RBI on the season.
4. Justin Leone, 3B, Tacoma Rainiers
Last week’s winner continued his hot hitting by going 6-18 (.311) with four RBI in six games. Leone scored five runs while playing both 3B and LF, and raised his season average to .256 to go with five home runs and 11 RBI.
3. Wiki Gonzalez, C, Tacoma Rainiers
Gonzalez had his best stretch as a Rainier, hitting safely in all four starts and extending his hitting streak to eight games. The former San Diego Padre belted two home runs, drove in five, and scored four for the week. The 29-year-old had six hits in 19 at-bats, including two doubles. Gonzalez is now hitting .294 with five home runs and 14 RBI.
2. Jose Lopez, 2B/3B, Tacoma Rainiers
The Rainiers infielder seems to enjoy hitting away from home, just looking at his .313 road average compared to .227 at Cheney Stadium. The M’s top positional prospect has hit four of his team-leading five home runs in opponents’ parks. Lopez went 7-19 (.368) with two home runs during the week, raising his season totals to .291, 5 HR, and 11 RBI.
InsidethePark.com Position Player of the Week:
1. T.J. Bohn, OF, Inland Empire 66ers
The Mariners’ 30th round pick in the 2002 draft sure isn’t playing like the 910th best player available two summers ago. Bohn went 10-24 (.417) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored, while leading the Inland Empire to a 5-2 week. The 24-year-old had four multi-hit games for the week and extended his career best hitting streak to eleven.
Bohn now ranks third in the California League in hitting with a .354 average and leads the league with a .443 on-base percentage. Capable of playing all three outfield positions, Bohn is dangerous with his throwing arm as well, leading the California League in outfield assists with four. The right-handed hitting outfielder has three home runs and 11 RBI for the season.
Pitcher of the Week Candidates:
5. Bobby Livingston, LHP, Inland Empire 66ers
The southpaw continued a stellar 2004 season with another solid start. Getting into the eighth inning for the third time this season, Livingston allowed just three earned runs on six hits. The 21-year-old walked one and struck out five in his third victory of the year. The Inland Empire ace is now 3-0 on the year with a sparkling 1.27 ERA, ranking him second in the California League.
4. George Sherrill, LHP, Tacoma Rainiers
Sherrill is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing Mariner minor leaguers and is dominating in his relief role with the Rainiers. The 27-year-old left-hander added another 3.2 scoreless innings to his season long dominance and extended his scoreless innings streak to six innings. Sherrill picked up his first win of the season as well as his second save. The most impressive numbers for Sherrill don’t end with his microscopic 1.80 ERA; the former Independent League standout struck out seven this past week and has tallied up 25 strikeouts in just 15 innings pitched this season, the fourth-highest total in the PCL.
3. Travis Blackley, LHP, Tacoma Rainiers
After struggling in his first few starts, Blackley seems to have found a groove and his lone start last week was possibly his best yet. The 21-year-old pitched seven strong innings, giving up just one earned run on five hits. Blackley walked three and struck out four to pick up his first win of the year in an 8-3 win over Edmonton. The lefty is now 1-2 on the season with a 4.76 ERA in five starts.
2. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Inland Empire 66ers
Coming off of his roughest week with Inland Empire, Hernandez made two starts this past week, re-establishing his dominance in both outings. The 18-year-old flame-thrower went five solid innings versus Lancaster but picked up the loss, 6-2, after allowing three earned runs on six hits. The Sixers right-hander struck out five and walked two.
In his second start, the Venezuelan tossed a six-inning gem, striking out nine and allowing just four base runners in a 6-3 win over Rancho Cucamonga. The victory was the third of the season for Hernandez, who is now 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA. His 36 strikeouts rank him second in the California League.
InsidethePark.com Pitcher of the Week
1. Bobby Madritsch, LHP, Tacoma Rainiers
Madritsch had been nothing short of spectacular this season, leading the rotation in ERA, strikeouts and ranking second in innings pitched. The Rainiers ace allowed one unearned run in 6.1 innings in a 4-3, 12-inning loss to Salt Lake City. The 27-year-old walked one and struck out seven before giving way to the Tacoma bullpen with a 3-1 lead.
Madritsch ranks second in the PCL with 31 strikeouts, and has gone five or more innings in four of his five starts this season. A former Winnipeg Goldeye, Mads has etched his name among the better pitchers in the Mariner organization, and is probably the first starter in line to get a call to the big leagues if the M’s make any changes in the rotation. The left-hander has proven he can consistently get deep into games while limiting the number of base runners. His 31-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio is proof that hitters have to earn their way on base versus Madritsch, which isn’t easy in its own right.
Switch-hitting Inland Empire 3B Jesus Guzman went 7-22 (.318) with three doubles and three RBI in his first official week as a Seattle Mariner minor leaguer
Sixty-Sixers 2B Hyung Cho made a solid debut of his own. going 5-13 (.385) with four RBI
San Antonio infielder Hunter Brown had six hits in 14 at-bats with a home run and three RBI
Wisconsin lefthander Jason Mackintosh tossed 4.0 perfect innings, striking out three
Inland Empire left-hander Cesar Jimenez threw 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits
Timber Rattlers righty Bryan Heaston tossed 5.1 shutout innings, allowing just one hit. Heaston has extended his scoreless innings streak to nine innings over six appearances
Melvin Pizarro’s streak without allowing an earned run has reached nine. The 66ers southpaw went two more shutout frames this past week
Wisconsin OF Chris Colton and 3B Mike Cox each blasted two home runs and drove in five runs.
T-Rats SS Adam Jones hit safely in all six games (.290)
Inland Empire 1B/OF Jon Nelson went 8-21 with a home run and three RBI
Juan Gonzalez had nine hits in 29 at-bats for Inland Empire this past week. The SS/3B scored eight runs and drove in four
Missions OF Greg Jacobs continued his torrid hitting by going 7-17 in four games last week
Jason resides in Tacoma, Wash., where the UP Tides were victorious in their first game of the season. Jason continues his hatred for all things Yankee and despises the slider-speed bat. He does, however, ask one question of anyone who might know; How big is Kevin Mench’s head anyways? Whoa! And by the way, what in the heck was that on Sunday? Ya know, that thing that had the Mariners NOT losing two or more games in a series? If anyone knows the answers to these questions or has questions of their own, feel free to contact Jason at JasonAChurchill@InsidethePark.com.