Prospects Report For Mini-Camp
Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn, in his first season with the Mariners, will lead the mini-camp and it will also be one of the first opportunities for him to evaluate players in the system. The Mariners have conducted a winter program for their minor league players for years, but this is the third year for a structured mini-camp that features 35 of the organizations top prospects that are not already in Major League camp. The players went through physicals yesterday, with the first workout today at the Peoria Sports Complex. The mini-camp runs through March 1.
“Mini-camp is comprised of players in our organization (that are nominated by our Minor League Coordinators) that have potential to play at a higher level, said Gywnn. “Each player goes through extensive performance tests to determine their strength and fitness level. Players will then meet with individual coordinators and coaches to determine their plan for the upcoming season.”
The goal is to get players a head start through instruction. Mini-camp is similar to instructional league in fall, but in the spring guys are fresh and what you teach them can carry on into the season.
“Each player will have something different to focus on during camp, Gwynn said. “It is an opportunity for one-on-one instruction to help players iron out deficiencies they might have as well as keeping their strengths growing. “
The camp is not only about hitting and throwing, but also focuses on off-field instruction. Players will be involved in community events, such as talking to local elementary students and visiting children at area hospitals. There are English classes for players who don’t speak it and tips on nutrition and etiquette.
“Many of the players are players from Latin American countries and have never been to the states or players who are entering their first year in professional baseball, Gwynn said. “They will be able to rely on our staff to answer any questions they may have on or off the field. “
Infielder Kyle Seager went through mini-camp in 2010 and remembered how important that camp was for him.
“Being able to come into camp early and learn all the drills ahead of the time helps a ton,” Seager said. “Having all the one-on-one instruction with the coaches helped a lot with my development heading into the 2010 season.”
Right-hander Forrest Snow went through mini-camp last season and was able to continue what he learned in mini-camp throughout the 2011 season.
“For pitchers mini-camp is continuation of our throwing program that we received at the end of the previous season,” Snow said. “Showing up to Peoria in early February allowed me to work with the pitching coaches to figure what I needed to improve on for the season. “
Among players taking part in the mini-camp are highly regarded prospects that include right-handed pitchers Victor Sanchez and Carter Capps, catcher Marcus Littlewood, infielders Brad Miller and Cavan Cohoes and outfielders Guillermo Pimentel, Phillips Castillo and Jabari Blash.
Littlewood is continuing to make the transition from shortstop to catcher, which began during Instructional League in September. He hopes to continue his development, while taking advantage of the one-on-one instruction with the catching coordinators.
“It is still a work in progress, but Roger Hansen, Jose Moreno and Scott Steinnmann have worked with me a lot in the offseason to help make the transition as smooth as possible,” Littlewood said. “I had to work a lot on my flexibility long before I started taking balls behind the plate.”
Littlewood looks forward to viewing the game from a different point of view.
“I am looking forward to being the captain and controlling the game behind the plate,” Littlewood said. “It is my job to help set the defenses as well as working with the pitcher on pitch selection and location.”
Infielder Brad Miller, the Mariners second round selection in the 2011 June draft, played in just a few games with the Clinton LumberKings at the end of last season and is looking forward to 2012.
“I am excited to get here early and to start working with all the coaches,” Miller said. “Darren Garner and Eddie Menchaca have worked with us a lot on all aspects of the game, including baserunning.”
Miller spent the last three seasons playing shortstop at the Clemson University. He received the 2011 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award, after hitting .395 (77×195) with 53 runs scored, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs and 50 RBI in 56 games during his junior season. Miller has already noticed big differences between the collegiate and professional levels.
“There is a lot of emphasis on details and focusing on improving the little things,” Miller said. “When Major League coach Mike Brumley came over and worked with us on baserunning it really set in how important everything was. I really look forward to getting more time to talk and ask questions to all the coaches. “
The Mariners signed 9 of their first 10 picks in the 2011 June Draft and currently have 7 players participating in mini-camp, including right-handed pitchers Carter Capps and Carson Smith, catchers John Hicks and Tyler Marlette and infielders Brad Miller, Steven Proscia and Cavan Cohoes. The Mariners first-round selection in the 2011 draft, LHP Danny Hultzen is currently participating in Major League camp this year.
Ten players that have participated in the Mariners mini-camp are in Major League camp this spring, including right-handed Erasmo Ramirez, infielders Alex Liddi and Nick Franklin and outfielders Johermyn Chavez and Carlos Peguero. Of the 30 players listed as the Mariners top prospects by Baseball America in 2012, 19 will have participated in mini-camp.