It was a full slate of games down on the farm for the Seattle Mariners Sunday. Here’s how the prospects fared:
2019 Top 25: Justus Sheffield is No. 1
Class-A West Virginia — South Atlantic League
No. 2 — Jarred Kelenic, OF
SUN: 1-5, 2B, SO
2019: .143/.400/.214, 2B, 6 BB, 3 SO, SB
Kelenic continues to force pitchers to throw strikes, and a lot of them. The 19-year-old ruins a lot of two-strike offerings and did it again Sunday. He’s yet to barrel up, but we’ll see that soon.
No. 4 — Julio Rodriguez, OF
SUN: 3-5, 2 RBI, SO
2019: .417/.375/.500, 2B, RBI, 2 SO, BB
It’s early, but Rodriguez has done nothing but prove the club correct in assigning the 18-year-old to West Virginia to make his stateside debut.
Rodriguez’s third hit Sunday, his second double of the game, came on a slider after two strong takes to work the count to 2-0. He stayed back and unleashed a swing that drove the ball deep to left-center field.
Rodriguez at times can remind of Moise Alou in how simple he keeps it at the plate. But the swing has plenty of pop.
Also, that double in the ninth represented the tying run. Rodriguez scored on a Joseph Rosa single with two outs.
Rodriguez is an excitable kid, too. He will visibly show how much fun he’s having. For example, when Nolan Hoffman induced a flyball out to end the bottom of the ninth and force extra innings, Rodriguez made the one-handed catch in center and pumped his fist.
UR Nolan Hoffman, RHR
SUN: 2 IP, H, BB, 2 SO
2019: 2G, 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 S0
Hoffman’s low three-quarters delivery generates big-time sink on his 91-94 mph fastball and a 76-79 mph slurve. When he locates, the fastball is very difficult to lift. Legit multi-inning middle relief prospect.
High-A Modesto — California League
No. 11 Cal Raleigh, C
SUN: 1-3, RBI, 2 BB, SO
2019: .308/.438/.538 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SO
No. 23 Joey Gerber, RHP
SUN: 1 IP, H, 2 SO
2019: 2.0 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO
Gerber threw strikes again and painted a fastball for a swinging strike three for the first out after allowing a leadoff single in a one-run game. The heater sat 94-95 mph with life to the arm side.
Gerber’s slider is above average and he does a good job setting it up with the fastball. The right-hander induced five swinging strikes Sunday, four in the fastball.
UR Jake Haberer, RHR
SUN: 2 IP, H, 2 SO
2019: 4 IP, H, BB, 5 SO
I’m noting Haberer here because after two appearances he’s held nearly perfect; no hits, one walk, five strikeouts in four innings. In his first outing he sat 95-97 mph, touched 98. In Sunday’s game he hit 99. So far he’s thrown a ton of strikes, too.
He’s 24 and a pure reliever, but that kind of arm strength can help a reliever move quickly.
Double-A Arkansas — Texas League
No. 5 Kyle Lewis, OF
SUN: 1-4, HR (1), SO
2019: .267/.421/.533, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO
Lewis’ first homer of 2019 came in the eighth inning of a 3-0 deficit and cut the lead to 3-2 (it should have tied it but Evan White was called out trying to advance to second on a wild pitch, should have been safe, was clear as day). But more importantly, Lewis worked the count to 3-1 and got a 94 mph fastball middle-middle and hit it a long way.
No. 6 Evan White, 1B
SUN: 0-2, BB, SO
2019: .267/.368/.267, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO
White has yet to collect an extra-base hit four games into the season, but the peripherals are there.
No. 14 Dom Thompson-Williams, OF
2019: .364/.429/.909, 2 HR, 6 RBI, BB
DTW has yet to strikeout in four games and has just one walk. That aggression has paid off so far.
No. 22 Art Warren, RHP
2019: 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 2.0 IP, 2 H, SO
No. 24 Jake Fraley, OF
2019: .286/.333/.429, 3B, RBI, 4 SO
Triple-A Tacoma — Pacific Coast League
No. 1 Justus Sheffield, LHP
SUN: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, SO, 2 HR
2019: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, SO, 2 HR
Sheffield struggled with fastball command throughout and created far too many hitter’s counts. He did regroup some in the third and fourth and threw strikes in the fifth before being removed, but caught too much plate to Stephen Vogt on the two-run homer.
The slider was just OK although there were a few really good ones.
No. 8 Shed Long, 2B/3B/OF
SUN: 0-4, BB
2019: .333/.400/.389, 2B, 2 BB, 2 SO
No. 16 Braden Bishop, OF
SUN: 3-5, 2B, SO
2019: .471/.571/.647, 3-2B, RBI, 4 BB