Mariners of the month — August

 Each month at Prospect Insider we recognize a pair of Seattle Mariners — one pitcher and one batter — who have put up outstanding performances in the previous month. In July, Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Kyle Seager took home the honors for Mariners of the month. Let’s take a look at if they were able to defend their titles in August.

Dustin Ackley, LF — 115 PA, .280/.325/.533, 142 wRC+, .252 ISO, 5 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 7 BB, 5 SB
It seems as though Ackley is finally becoming the player the M’s thought they were getting when they drafted him with the No. 2 pick in the 2009 amateur draft. After a red-hot July Ackley continued to hit the ball well in August — albeit he did trade some OBP for some power compared to July — and provided some timely hitting during the Mariners’ ten-game winning streak. The 26-year old put together eight multi-hit games in August and finished the month with a five-game hitting streak.

Over at Lookout Landing, Michael Barr has some insight into Ackley’s mechanical changes and the discernible difference between his first-half and second-half performances.

Runner-Up
Robinson Cano, 2B — 110 PA, .205/.400/.516, 154 wRC+, .211 ISO, 5 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 12 BB, 2 SB

Hisashi Iwakuma, SP — 6 GS, 4-1, 37 2/3 IP, 2.39 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 2.92 xFIP, 33 K, 4 BB, 5 HR
During a month when staff ace Felix Hernandez struggled — and for the most part it’s been a rough streak for the entire rotation — the No. 2 starter, Iwakuma, stepped up and continued to fill some big innings. Removing a rough performance against the Boston Red Sox in which the right-hander allowed five earned runs in two and one-third innings of work, it’s been an impressive August for the native of Japan. Iwakuma went at least six innings in his other five starts and allowed more than one run in just one of those starts; the Washington Nationals tagged him for three runs on the weekend.

It was a homer-heavy month, including three solo shots given up to the Nationals, but his totals for the season still read 17 home runs and 13 walks in 155 and 1/3 innings of work. Iwakuma is the only qualified starting pitcher to allow more home runs than walks on the year and the 50 earned runs he’s given up are the ninth fewest.

Runner-Up
Yoervis Medina, RP — 11 G, 0-0, 10 1/3 IP, 0.87 ERA, 1.19 FIP, 2.04 xFIP, 16 K, 3 BB

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

4 Comments

  1. Yeah, Jerry, I also wonder what you think of Lara and, also the Jabari’s, Henry and Blash.

  2. Sorry, also meant to add that I think DJ Peterson had a wrist injury at the end of the season, which I am sure impacted his performance substantially.

    What do you think of Lara? Prospect or Suspect?

  3. I think Landazurri (AA) may yet surprise you. Yes, we graduated upper minor league talent Paxton and Walker, but we also unexpectedly graduated Elias, who by all expectations should have been in AAA for most of the year.

    Graduating 3 quality pitchers to the Major League team in one year would be a major hit to any team’s minor league system. So, yes, there is a small , but very understandable, gap in talent at our upper minor league level as our minor league system catches back up. Hopfully it won’t last long.

  4. Now that the minor league season is over, will we get a 2014 review? I’d love to see an end of season report card.

    In general, it seems like a down year on the farm.

    The biggest successes (IMHO) were Chris Taylor, Patrick Kivlehan, and Ketel Marte. Kivlehan is one guy who I don’t think gets enough attention. Although he’s a bit old for his level, he had very little baseball background coming out of college, and has gotten better each year. This year, he went from A+ to AA and improved across the board. He’s done nothing but hit. Marte also had a very promising performance after his late promotion to AAA. He’s only 20, and gives us another option at SS. Tyler O’Neill also had a good showing in A-. He’s a guy to watch next year.

    After that, its not good. Guys like Gabby Guerrero and DJ Peterson had up and down years. Peterson was looking good, but fell apart late in the season after AA pitching seem to have adjusted to him. He’s a good prospect, but the late season struggles are a disappointment. Guerrero had a good year, but it was in HD and his K rate is troublesome. Austin Wilson had a good year, but had trouble staying on the field and was playing at a low level for a guy coming out of college. Tyler Marlette had decent numbers in A+, but that is an extreme hitters league and there are some questions about whether he’ll stick at C.

    The biggest problem: pitching.

    Out of our best pitching prospects still in the minors – Victor Sanchez, Edwin Diaz, Luiz Gohara, and Tyler Pike – only Diaz had an OK year. And Diaz’s performance was more ‘promising’ than awesome. Gohara just turned 18, and was pitching against much older competition, so his numbers need to be taken with a big grain of salt. But he definitely had ups and downs. Sanchez was also young for his age, but is looking more and more like a solid #3-4 type. Pike’s stock is WAAAY down. And Danny Hultzen just started pitching again.

    The guys listed above aren’t out of the picture by any means, but the M’s have a real lack of depth in the pitching department right now. Only Sanchez is a legit option in the upper levels of the system. Although our system has been loaded with pitching the last few years, its now much deeper in position players.

    One of the main reasons why the farm doesn’t look that awesome now is due to promotions. The M’s have promoted a ton of talent in the past year or so: Taijuan Walker (who might not exhaust rookie status this year), James Paxton, Roenis Elias, Brandon Maurer, James Jones, Chris Taylor, Brad Miller, and Mike Zunino. Thats good.

    We’ve got some good high-upside position player prospects still on the farm. But this has definitely been a mixed year in terms of the farm, and the lack of pitching depth going forward is a big concern.

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