Snelling Walked Tall and Carried a Big Stick (AP)
With the minor league postseason under way, it's time to hand out the hardware. With dozens of notable performances this season, only a select few will take home the trophy.
Pitching Prospect of the Year: RHP - Felix Hernandez
19 G/14 GS, 9-4, 2.25 ERA, 88.0 IP, 100 K, 48 BB
Hernandez was sensational in Tacoma, with the only hang-up being a few too many free passes handed out by the 19-year-old. So what did the M’s do to help his slight control problems? They promoted him, of course. Problem solved.
Offensive Prospect of the Year: Chris Snelling
.370/.452/.553, 8 HR, 46 RBI, 36 BB, 43 K
Snelling’s season was cut short by promotion and injury but the 23-year-old was far and away the best hitter in the system this season. Snelling could probably hit .300 in his sleep... right-handed... with a napkin as a bat.
Defensive Infield Prospect of the Year: Yuniesky Betancourt
This was as easy a pick as the pitching prospect of the year. Betancourt has been tagged the “best defensive minor league shortstop I have ever seen” by many observers of the 23-year-old. If you hit it, he will get it.
Defensive Outfield Prospect of the Year: T.J. Bohn
Bohn has the arm to play right field and the range and instincts to play center. His defense with Tacoma was a large part of the Rainiers drive to the postseason. Bohn is more than solid with the glove.
Breakthrough Offensive Prospect of the Year: Bryan LaHair
.310/.373/.503, 22 HR, 113 RBI
LaHair’s 113 RBI led the entire system and his 22 home runs ranked second to Inland's Wladimir Balentien. LaHair also hit .310 for Inland Empire.
Breakthrough Pitching Prospect of the Year: Ryan Feierabend
29 GS, 8-7, 3.88 ERA, 150.2 IP, 122 K, 51 BB
Feierabend spent the entire summer with Inland Empire as one of the youngest (19) starters in the circuit – and he finished second in the league in ERA.
Rookie Prospect of the Year: Luis Valbuena
73 G, .263/.334/.448, 12 HR, 51 RBI
Valbuena led the Northwest League in homers (12) and RBI (51) at 19-years-old. The Venezuelan can hit.
Rookie Pitching Prospect of the Year: Robert Rohrbaugh
14 G/12 GS, 5-2, 3.84 ERA, 68 IP, 71 K, 18 BB
Rohrbaugh was the M’s 7th rounder this past June and posted solid numbers in Everett before being sent to Wisconsin to help the Timber Rattlers with their playoff drive. Rohrbaugh’s 71-18 k/bb ratio bodes well for his future.
Relief Prospect of the Year: Craig James
49 G, 2-3, 1.59 ERA, 56.2 IP, 55 K, 13 BB, 19 S
James was nasty in Wisconsin, posting a 0.88 ERA and nine saves in 26 games. With the 66ers, James was just as sick, going 0-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 10 saves in 23 games.
2005 All-Mariners Team
1B - Bryan LaHair – LaHair anchored a solid 66ers offense with his left-handed power and run production
2B - Luis Valbuena – The second baseman showed power in his first season in the U.S.
3B - Hunter Brown – Brown was the most consistent bat on the Rainiers roster
SS - Adam Jones – Jones’ .297 average and 53 extra-base hits are promising
C - Rob Johnson – A defensive-minded catcher that can hit. What a concept
OF - T.J. Bohn – If more of Bohn’s doubles (33) turn into home runs...
OF - Wladimir Balentien – If more of Balentien’s strikeouts turn into... non-strikeouts...
OF - Chris Snelling – Another if... if Snelling could stay healthy...
UT - Brent Johnson – After a terrible first half, Johnson hit .363 after June 25 to finish at .310
SP - Felix Hernandez – Might be the best pitcher in the American League already.
SP - Bobby Livingston – Left-hander has been solid in Tacoma in 10 starts.
SP - Ryan Feierabend – Southpaw will likely be a 20-year-old starter in Double-A in 2006
SP - Thomas Oldham – Turned a mediocre season into a solid one with consistency in second half
RP - Stephen Grasley - 9-0 record in 44 games of relief
RP - Craig James – Could become San Antonio’s closer in ’06
RP - Jon Lockwood – 5-0, 1.38 ERA, 62 K, 15 BB in 45.2 IP