Mariners Prospect Watch: Three Up, Three Down

Sanchez was dominant on Saturday

Two of Seattle's top prospects participated in the 2014 Futures Game on Sunday, but we found six other standouts from the week that was to break down in this week's installment of 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.

With so much prospect movement and a handful of key injuries in the system, some less familiar names are getting more of a chance to start and show what they've got. A few of those players are seizing their opportunities as you'll see below. Here now is our 14th installment of Three Up, Three Down.

THREE UP

Victor Sanchez - RHP, Jackson Generals: 1-0, 1.13 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 9 SO, .115 oAVG
Sanchez went eight on Saturday against Birmingham, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out a career high nine. After a somewhat rocky start the stout right-hander has now gone 7+ innings three times in his last six starts, lowering his ERA by more than a run in that time. Right-handed hitters are down to .212/.241/.332 against him now and after being homer-prone early in the year he's allowed just three long balls in his last eight starts.

There has been a lot of discussion out there on Sanchez talking down his prospect status because he isn't a mid- to high-90s arm and he's already fully physically matured (6-foot, 255 pounds), but I've spoken with scouts who rave about his smarts, pitchability, command and fastball/changeup combo. He may not be a top of the rotation arm in the long run, but the fact that he's putting together games like this as a 19-year-old in Double-A despite working in the 90-92 range with his fastball and not really having a plus breaking ball speaks to the quality of his plan on the mound. Sanchez could be ready for the big leagues inside of two years and he could be a very special No. 3 type starter.

Dario Pizzano - OF, Jackson Generals: .467/.526/1.133 (7-15), 2B, 3 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 0 SO
Pizzano has been fighting the BABIP demons since he arrived in Jackson, with a BABIP more than .150 points below his career numbers prior to 2014 entering the weekend. His luck is finally starting to even out, and he extended his hitting streak to seven games this week with more extra base pop included. Over that stretch he's raised his OPS in Double-A from .598 to .740. The average is still uncharacteristically below .200 in 43 games with Jackson at .197, but his work this past week got his walk total above his strikeout total and bumped him up to 16 extra base hits among his 28 hits since joining the Generals back on May 16th.

Pizzano has the fifth most extra base hits in the system over the past month and a half and even though his combined average on the season is just .232, Pizzano's home run this week gave him a new single season high with nine. He's also posting easily the best ISO of his career at .218, good for seventh in the system. Pizzano has little defensive value at this point and has seen a third of his starts at designated hitter this year. The bat is going to be his pushing tool, but despite the low season numbers, there is a lot to like with what he's doing in 2014.

Gianfranco Wawoe - SS, Pulaski Mariners: .500/.577/.591 (11-22), 2 2B, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 2 SO, 1 SB
Outside of having a fantastic name, there wasn't really much to know about Wawoe prior to 2013. But he put together an MVP-quality campaign last year in his third shot at the VSL, hitting .328/.415/.512 with more strikeouts than walks and a solid .184 ISO in his 18-year-old season to get on the radar. This season he's in the Appalachian League and has really turned it on of late. He ended this past week with back-to-back three hit games and already has seven multi-hit contests in 21 starts for Pulaski, playing in the middle infield and being a force at the bottom of their order.

Wawoe, a switch-hitter, is up to .395/.465/.447 in July and up to .333/.400/.426 from the left side of the plate on the year. Three years in the VSL doesn't usually equate to the timetable of a true prospect, but the 5-foot-11 Wawoe is still a few weeks shy of his 20th birthday and is showing that he can handle Rookie League pitching pretty well. The defense at shortstop still needs some work, but you have to like his profile with a very low strikeout rate and some extra base pop sprinkled in.

THREE DOWN

Gareth Morgan - OF, AZL Mariners: .208/.269/.292 (5-24), 3B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 13 SO
Morgan finished the week by picking up three hits in Sunday's win, but he started the week with a Golden Sombrero (0-for-4, 4 strikeouts) and wore the collar with three strikeouts both Friday and Saturday nights, too. There was a lot of talk about Gareth's background and exposure to high-level competition as a prep and the thought that his bat would probably be more advanced than most preps, but Seattle's 2nd round pick has now struck out 25 times through his first 15 pro games, tied for the most in the organization since he started playing.

On the bright side for Morgan, he's drawn the third most walks in the organization since June 26th, too, and he's managed to pick up four extra base hits out of his 11 knocks so far on the year. As a high school draftee, he's definitely still raw in most areas of his game, but his toolset makes him one of the most promising hitting prospects in the system that will be worth following closely in the years ahead.

Andrew Carraway - RHP, Tacoma Rainiers: 0-1, 30.86 ERA, 3.86 WHIP, 2 1/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 2 HR, 0 BB, 1 SO, .600 oAVG
When the M's started shuffling their pre-All-Star break rotation around to line up their top three arms for the Oakland series, there was some thought that someone like Carraway could sneak in and pick up a spot start for the big club. That didn't happen, of course, and with the way that Salt Lake City hit Andrew around last Wednesday, that's probably a good thing. He allowed nine hits -- five for extra bases -- and eight runs in just two and a third innings and 42 pitches, surrendering two home runs and six-plus runs with two or fewer strikeouts for the third straight start. After some early season success, Carraway now has a 7.90 ERA in seven starts since the calendar flipped to June.

Carraway doesn't have big stuff but he's always pitched very smart and been able to enduce soft contact frequently enough to get himself out of any trouble. But he's down to just 4.5 SO/9 over his last seven starts and is allowing 11.7 H/9 on the year. With that many balls being put in play, he simply can't survive -- even in Triple-A. Carraway is a guy that's always reinventing himself and finding new ways to attack hitters, so there is a possibility that he bounces back, but with the M's staff getting healthy again, his shot at the big leagues this year is probably already gone.

Rigoberto Garcia - RHP, Pulaski Mariners: 0-0, 60.75 ERA, 9.00 WHIP, 1 1/3, 6 H, 9 ER, 6 BB, 1 SO, .750 oAVG
Garcia started this season by making a start for Clinton. That didn't go well (2 outs, 6 baserunners, all of whom scored) and he found himself in Everett -- where he made five fine starts in 2013 -- when the AquaSox started their year. That went poorly, too, as he posted an 8.25 ERA in 12 innings of both starting and relieving. So down to Pulaski (where he spent the 2012 season) he went, and...well. More bad news. In his two starts this past week he managed to get just four outs while allowing 12 baserunners and nine earned runs. On the year the big right-hander now has a combined 16.71 ERA and 3.07 WHIP in seven games, five of them starts, in which he's only managed to go 14 innings. The biggest issue has been control for Garcia; 22 walks, five hit batters and three wild pitches in just 87 batters faced.

The 20-year-old right-hander has great size, good fastball velocity and a decent slider that can generate swinging strikes, but his delivery has always been a little choppy and that has led to battles with command throughout his career. He actually resembles a young Michael Pineda quite a bit physically and in terms of issues holding him back. Until he can get those issues ironed out, Garcia remains all potential and very little real value as an arm.

. . . . . . . . .

That wraps up our close look at the top standouts, good and bad, for this week. 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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