Mariners Prospect Watch: Three Up, Three Down

Diaz has turned it up of late

Seattle had some great pitching and some disastrous pitching this week in the minor leagues. We highlight a few of the arms from both sides in this 16th edition of this season's 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.

This past week had more standout pitching performances -- good and bad -- than could be covered here. In the interest of continuing to spread the coverage around, I included some hitting, too. Here now is our 16th installment of Three Up, Three Down.

THREE UP

Edwin Diaz - RHP, Clinton Lumber Kings: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, .150 oAVG
After an outstanding campaign with Pulaski in 2013 that earned him recognition as the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year, Diaz has been solid but hasn't been consistently great for Clinton so far in 2014. But he was every bit of that in last week's start. He worked six shutout innings facing just two over the minimum, striking out eight without walking a batter and allowing just three hits in Clinton's shutout win over Great Lakes. The eights K's tied a season high for Edwin and it marked the first time all year that he didn't walk a batter. It was also the second straight time and third time in five starts that the right-hander allowed just three hits, and the 20-year-old has now given up just 75 hits in 84 innings on the year.

Diaz was consistently working in the mid-90s in this start and hit 97 with his very last pitch. He didn't make it past six for just the second time in 2014 although he threw just 74 pitches. Having been removed from a recent stat due to a blister on his right middle finger, the club is undoubtedly being careful with him. Diaz has improved his control as the season has gone along and hasn't walked more than three in a game since May 3rd. Everything is looking good for Diaz to remain firmly in Seattle's top-20 prospects moving forward.

Jordy Lara - 1B, High Desert Mavericks: .417/.483/.958 (10-24), 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO
Lara was named the California League Player of the Week after leading the league in homers and total bases (23) for the week, the eighth time that a Mavericks' player has been recognized this season and the second time for Lara. This was a week full of home games for the 23-year-old, but he's posted a .950 OPS away from Adelanto here in 2014. Lara is batting over .400 (.413 to be exact) in 30 games since the Cal League All-Star game and he's hit at least .318 with at least a .888 OPS in each month of the season so far.

The right-handed hitting Lara has been enjoying a very strong season for High Desert and ranks third in home runs (17) and RBI (67) on the year while slashing a very strong .345/.401/.567, placing him third in the league in AVG. He's played seven games in right field for the Mavs lately, too, marking the first time in his pro career he's seen game action in the outfield. That positional versatility is something that we've seen the Mariners seek out for their strong hitting prospects over the past few seasons and it bodes well for Lara going forward.

Stephen Landazuri - RHP, Jackson Generals: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, .160 oAVG
Landazuri started the 2014 season very well for Jackson before hitting the disabled list and missing about a month and a half with an oblique strain. His first start back was among the worst he's had as a pro (1 2/3, 6 H, 7 ER), but he's been pretty good since then. This past week was his longest and strongest outing of 2014 as he allowed just four singles and a walk in a 6-0 win over Montgomery. The 22-year-old right-hander from California struck out five and lowered his season ERA to 3.38 with the effort, working through those seven shutout frames on just 86 pitches.

Landazuri has a good pitcher's build and works with stuff that's been steadily improving over the past few years to where he's regularly 91-93 with the fastball now. But he really sets himself apart in that he understands how to set up hitters and works to his own strengths and batter's weaknesses extremely well. Drafted out of high school in Rialto, CA in the 22nd round in 2010, Landazuri has bumped his strikeout rate the last two years and has a 4-pitch mix headlined by the fastball with plus command of the offspeed pitches as well. He's definitely an arm to watch going forward.

THREE DOWN

Matt Anderson - RHP, Jackson Generals: 0-1, 17.18 ERA, 2.73 WHIP, 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 3 SO, .500 oAVG
Anderson has had a lot of up and down this season, earning a promotion to Jackson earlier this season with his solid work for High Desert then having two terrible outings before allowing three or fewer earned runs in eight straight starts following that. This week he was back to being "Bad Matt" as he allowed two home runs and seven earned, allowing 10 of the 19 men he faced reach base in a 7-0 loss last Wednesday. Montgomery is one of the teams who beat him up earlier in the season (even though they were under .500 in between those matchups) and they touched Anderson up this time for four extra base hits, forcing him to throw 72 pitches in just 3 2/3.

Anderson's biggest issue since arriving in Jackson has been left-handed hitters. They've torched him to the tune of .346/.382/.580, with a better than 12% extra base hit rate in 90 plate appearances at the Double-A level. The 22-year-old right-hander has really struggled to a noticeable degree with runners on this season, allowing an OPS nearly .400 higher than when the bases are empty. He's allowing 11.1 H/9 since moving up to Jackson while his strikeout rate has dropped from 7.7 in High Desert earlier this season to 6.5 with the Generals. He has a good arm, but Anderson still has some work to do as a pitcher.

Jordan Cowan - IF, Everett Aquasox: .182/.182/.182 (4-22), 5 SO
Cowan is a local kid, born in Covington and drafted in the 37th round in 2013 out of Kentlake HS in Kent. He spent most of 2013 in the Arizona League and has been in Everett since they kicked off play for 2014 in June. He hasn't really ever torn the cover off the ball, but this last week was a particularly rough one as he garnered just four singles in 23 plate appearances, striking out five times without drawing a walk. He's hitting .262/.329/.309 as a pro while playing solid defense up the middle, so he's about what you'd expect out of a 19-year-old drafted in the later rounds.

Cowan's 160 lb frame doesn't offer a lot of power, so the defense/speed/contact profile is one that he leans on heavily. He's been doing all of those things relatively well as a pro so far and, as I hear, the kid has a great work ethic. The left-handed hitter should become a more challenging out capable of doing more damage as his frame matures, and until then, his profile should buy him time in the organization as he learns the pro game more.

Leoncio Munoz - LHP, Everett AquaSox: 0-1, 18.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2 G, 4 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 3 SO, .389 oAVG
Munoz got into two games this week for the struggling AquaSox and only helped to fan the flames in those contests, surrendering eight runs in four innings of relief while facing just 21 batters. The big left-hander started this season with Clinton and was hit around pretty hard, allowing runs in six of his eight games with a 9.00 ERA and only one 1-2-3 inning to his name before getting a demotion to Everett. After allowing only three earned runs in his first 14 innings Munoz has surrendered 13 earned runs over his last 8 2/3 on 13 hits and five walks.

Munoz now has a 6.35 ERA in 10 games with the Frogs, having allowed four home runs -- tied for the fourth most in the league -- in his 22 2/3 relief innings. Munoz is 6-foot-4 and throws hard, but he hasn't been having much success of utilizing that size and power to work down in the zone as he's given up 54 fly balls to just 14 ground balls so far in his time with Everett. He's been good against left-handed hitters, holding them to a combined .607 OPS on the year in 42 PA, but right-handed hitters have done big damage against the 23-year-old Dominican. Munoz pitched great out of the bullpen for Pulaski last year after three seasons of back-and-forth in the DSL for Seattle. Opponents are hitting just .247 off of him and he's running a seemingly unsustainably low strand rate of just 57.4% so maybe his luck will turn soon.

. . . . . . . . .

That will do it for our look at the standouts, good and bad, for this past 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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