Double-A Arkansas was off Wednesday but the other three affiliates were in action, incouding Gerson Bautista beginning a rehab assignment in Modesto.

Tacoma Rainiers (AAA)– Pacific Coast League

No. 1 Justus Sheffield, LHS
2019: 27.1 IP, 19 H, 11 ER, 23 BB, 20 SO, 3.76 ERA

No. 8 Shed Long, 2B/3B/OF
WED: 2-4, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, SO
2019: .277/.353/.487, 5-2B, 4-3B, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 14 BB, 31 SO

Long hit a two-out grand slam off lefty Marc Rzepczynski on a 2-2 pitch to give Tacoma a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Up to that point, Rzep had allowed just one homer in 14 appearances, covering 15 2/3 innings and batters were hitting just .211 off him.

At this stage, all Long has yet to do is to stave off the strikeout, but 31 in 134 plate appearances (22.4%) is far from worrisome.

No. 22 David McKay, RHR
2019: 11 G, 5.50 ERA, 18 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 30 SO

No. 31 Matt Festa, RHR
2019: 6 G, 8.22 ERA, 7.2 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 10 SO

No. 35 Tim Lopes, 2B
WED: 2-4
2019: .280/.340/.398, 6-2B, 3B, HR, 9 BB, 22 SO, 5 SB

No. 40 Nick Rumbelow, RHR
WED: 2 IP, BB, 3 SO
2019: 11 G, 10.54 ERA, 13.2 IP, 22 H, 10 BB, 10 SO

J.P. Crawford, SS — DNP

5/6/2019: Been asked a bit about WHY he’s in the minors still. Service time is not the reason. He’s already surpassed the point where he’d end the season with two years of service because he needed 152 days of service this season to get there and there are only 146 days remaining.

What could be a reason or some reasons?

First off, results can’t be the driving force here. He’s performing, but it’s not like he’s embarrassing the Pacific Coast League. It’s a hitter’s league, a down year for arms in the circuit and the ball is of MLB caliber, unlike previous years in Triple-A, which is to say it likes bats.

But he is hitting.

Clubs often wait to see a hitter handle same-handed pitching to a certain level before making the move. Crawford is doing that in 2019, but it’s been just a month of baseball, so small sample.

Clubs sometimes want to see a hitter handle plus changeups from off-handed pitchers or same-handed sliders or big velocity or simply show a long-enough string of high-quality PAs, so they can say “yeah, we can trust now that the same quality PA is going to come in the majors.”

But the club does have to consider the most likely results of those PAs. You don’t set up a player to fail. Is he covering the plate? Is he swining at strikes and not chasing out of the zone? Is he hitting the ball hard consistently?

And then sometimes clubs ask hitters to do certain things for an extended period of time, such as a new timing mechanisim or a swing adjustment or to hit a breaking ball away to the opposite field or to drive fastballs more to the pull side, things like that.

Once the club checks off all the boxes — and it’s for a long enough period to buy into beyond small-sample streaking — the conversation is had and move is made. These convos are being had constantly, however. Jerry Dipoto, his assistants, and his player development staff are always talking about their players in the minors. It’s one of the most critical parts of building a good team and sustaining success once the club gets there.

I can’t imagine Crawford making consistent hard contact with a little pop and regular high-quality plate appearances for another month and not getting the call to the big leagues.

MLB Mallex Smith, CF — Smith went 0-for-5 but reached on a fielder’s choice and stole his fifth base in five games with the Rainiers.

Arkansas Travelers (AA) — Texas League

No. 3 Justin Dunn, RHS
2019: 25.1 IP, 21 H, 9 ER, 8 BB, 33 SO, 3.20 ERA

No. 6 Kyle Lewis, OF
2019: .242/.364/.404, 5-2B, 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 18 BB, 32 SO, SB

No. 7 Evan White, 1B
2019: .273/.359/.400, 4-2B, HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 13 SO

No. 14 Ricardo Sanchez, LHS
2019: 36 IP, 33 H, 7 ER, 7 BB, 26 SO, 1.75 ERA

No. 15 Dom Thompson-Williams, OF
2019: .316/.404/.520, 3-2B, 3B, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 13 BB, 25 SO, 7 SB

No. 16 Jake Fraley, OF
2019: .301/.379/.534, 5-2B, 2-3B, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 11 BB, 27 SO, 7 SB

No. 24 Wyatt Mills, RHR
12.2 IP, 19 H, 11 ER, 6 BB, 10 SO, 2 SVS

No. 23 Art Warren, RHP
2019: 1-0, 5 SV, 1.04 ERA, 8.2 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 10 SO, 5 SVS

No. 27 Darren McCaughan, RHS
2019: 6 GS, 4.28 ERA, 33.2 IP, 36 H, 2 BB, 30 SO

Modesto Nuts (A+) — California League

No. 5 Logan Gilbert, RHS
2019: 24 IP, 14 H, 7 ER, 7 BB, 37 SO, 2.63 ERA

No. 9 Cal Raleigh, C
2019: .213/.286/.380, 6-2B, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 10 BB, 28 SO

5/7/2019: Raleigh is 2-for-20 as a right-handed batter so far in 2019, dragging his numbers down from… let’s call it more respectable than they actually are. It’s a small sample overall and a smaller one using the split, but it’s something worth monitoring.

Last year’s 3rd-round pick is batting .239/.302/.398 as a left-handed batter.

Scouts have been relatively impressed with Raleigh’s throwing and improvement blocking. There’s a chance he’s a fringe-average defender in time, suggesting if the bat develops he’s a No. 1 backstop.

No. 13 Ljay Newsome, RHS
2019: 7 GS, 39.2 IP, 32 H, 11 ER, 4 BB, 59 SO, 2.50 ERA

No. 18 Jake Haberer, RHR
WED: 2 IP, BB, 3 SO
2019: 11 G, 16 IP, 7 H, 7 BB, 26 SO, 2.81 ERA

No. 19 Joey Gerber, RHP
2019: 11 G, 10.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 16 SO, 3.18 ERA, 4 SV

No. 21 Gerson Bautista, RHR (rehab)
WED: 1 IP, H, 2 ER, BB, SO, 2 WP
2019:  1 IP, H, 2 ER, BB, SO, 2 WP

No. 25 Luis Liberato, CF
WED: 3-5, RBI, SO
2019: .280/.346/.483, 3-2B, 7 HR, 4 SB, 12 BB, 30 SO

No. 34 Joe Rizzo, 3B
WED: 1-4, RBI, SO
2019: .347/.422/.441, 8-2B, HR, 17 RBI, 15 BB, 23 SO

Rizzo played second base for the first time in 2019, but did play seven games and 53 2/3 innings there a year ago. His bat plays there and the arm strength fits but the feet, lateral range and actions don’t.

No. 39 Connor Kopach
WED: 0-4
2019: .248/.328/.386, 6-2B, 3B, 2 HR, 10 BB, 26 SO, 9 SB

UR Sam Delaplane, RHR
2019: 20.1 IP, 11 H, 10 BB, 41 SO, 3.10 ERA

5/7/2019: Delaplane, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound right-hander the Mariners selected in Round 23 out of Eastern Michigan two years ago, has now struck out 51.3% of the batters he’s faced this season. He’s also induced more than 25% swinging strikes. If it weren’t for 10 walks, Delaplane’s stat line would be insane.

As-is, the 24-year-old reliever is an arm to keep an eye on in 2019. He doesn’t throw 98 mph but he does touch 94 with life all over the zone and offers a plus curveball. He throws from a high arm slot and the fastball doesn’t have a lot of horizontal movement, but he creates some plane and commands it well to both sides of the plate.

West Virginia Power (A) — South Atlantic League

No. 2 — Jarred Kelenic, OF
WED: 2-5. 3B. SO
2019: .330/.427/.607, 11-2B, 3B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 18 BB, 30 SO, 6 SB

No. 4 — Julio Rodriguez, OF
WED: (IL, wrist)
2019: .355/.429/.452, 3-2B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO

No. 12 Damon Casetta-Stubbs, RHS
2019: 15.1 IP, 16 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO, 4.15 ERA

No. 20 Ryne Inman, RHS
2019: 6 GS, 27 IP, 17 H, 9 ER, 10 BB, 44 SO, 3.00 ERA

No. 29 Nolan Hoffman, RHR
2019: 9 G, 1.08 ERA, 4 SVS, 8.1 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 7 SO

No. 32 Joseph Rosa, 2B
WED: 0-5. 2 SO
2019: .258/.387/.351, 3-2B, 2 HR, 16 BB, 21 SO, 5 SB

No. 33 Dean Nevarez, C
2019: .242/.286/.606, 3-2B, 3 HR, BB, 11 SO

No. 36 Elias Espino, RHR
2019: 5 G, 2.77 ERA, 13 IP, 7 H, 9 BB, 17 SO

Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at 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.