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2013 Season in Review

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The following is an in-depth look at the Mariners 2013 season, complete with updated player bios, season review notes, in-depth statistics and a minor league review.

Minor League Spotlight – The Rainiers Big Night

The Mariners Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers, accomplished something last night that not many teams have ever done. The Rainiers recorded 30 hits and scored 25 runs en route to a 25-6 win over Colorado Springs on Wednesday night. The 25 runs scored are the most since the Rainiers became affiliated with the Mariners in 1995. The previous high was 24 runs scored on June 6, 2011 at Tucson. The 30 hits is also a Rainiers-era franchise record, besting the previous hit of 25 on June 28, 2004 at Sacramento.  The Rainiers recorded at least 2 runs in each of the first 7.0 inning and 5-or-more runs in 3 different innings. Tacoma jumped out to an early lead with 6 runs in the first inning and capped off the evening with a 7-run 7th inning. With the win the Rainiers recorded their 33rd win of the season and moved 1.5 games ahead of Colorado Springs  in the Pacific League Northern  Division.  With the win last night, Tacoma moved 12 games over .500 for the first time since August 1, 2010.

The box score from last night's big win over Colorado Springs.

The box score from last night’s big win over Colorado Springs.

Since 2005, the Rainiers are the 5th minor league team to score at least 25 runs and record at least 30 hits in a game.  The Rainiers join the Visalia Rawhide in the California League (5/15/12 at  High Desert, 26 runs, 31 hits), Lake Elsinore in the California League (6/28/09 at High Desert, 33 runs, 32 hits), Vaqueros Laguna  in the Mexican League (7/5/08 at Pericos de Puebla, 30 runs, 30 hits) and Diablos Rojos del Mexico in the Mexican League (4/3/07 vs. Potros de Tijuana, 26 runs, 31 hits) as the only minor league teams to accomplish this feat in the last 8 seasons.

Four Rainiers recorded at least 4 hits, and all 9 players in the starting lineup turned in multi-hit outings. CF Abe Almonte (6×6, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB), who was acquired from the New York Yankees in exchange for RHP Shawn Kelley during Spring Training, recorded 6 singles and became the first Rainiers player to collect 6 hits in a single game since Jerry Owens on August 25, 2009 at Fresno. He is one of only 3 minor league players  to record at 6 hits in a game this season, joining Alan Sanchez of Oaxaca in the Mexican League (6×8, 5 R, 2 RBI, BB – 5/9/13 vs. Carmen)  and Moises Sierra with Buffalo in the International League (6×6, 5 R, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI – 4/18/13 at Syracuse). Almonte is batting .515 (17×33) with 9 runs scored, 2 doubles, 10 RBI, 5 walks and 3 stolen base in his first 12 games with Tacoma since being promoted from AA Jackson on May 13.

2B Dustin Ackley (5×6, 4 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB) reached base in 7 of 8 plate appearances, while LF/RF Eric Thames (4×7, R, 2B, 2 RBI) and 3B Nate Tenbrink (4×6, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB) each recorded 4 hits and reached base safely 5 times. Thames joined SS Brad Miller (3×7, 3 R, 2B, HR, 6 RBI) driving in a team-high 6 runs. Miller hit his first Triple-A home run with a 3-run blast in the 6th inning.

Starter Andrew Carraway (6.0,6,2,2,3,4,HR) recorded his 6th win of the season, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits in 6.0 innings. Carraway is 6-0 with a 2.47 ERA (15 ER, 54.2 IP) with 18 walks and 44 strikeouts in his last 9 starts. He has recorded 7 quality starts this season, including one in 6 of his last 7 starts.

Rainiers starting lineup on 5/29 at Colorado Springs:

  1. Dustin Ackley – 2B (5×6, 4 R, HR, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB)
  2. Franklin Gutierrez –RF (2×6, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI, BB)
  3. Eric Thames – LF/RF (4×7, R, 2B, 6 RBI)
  4. Stefen Romero – DH (2×7, R, 2B, 2 RBI)
  5. Jesus Montero – C (2×5, 3 R, BB)
  6. Nate Tenbrink – 3B (4×6, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB0
  7. Scott Savastano – 1B (2×6, 3 R, 2B, BB)
  8. Brad Miller – SS (3×7, 3 R, 2B, HR, 6 RBI)
  9. Abe Almonte – CF (6×6, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB)

The Rainiers are currently batting .273 (516×1890) with 323 runs scored, 103 doubles, 18 triples, 61 home runs and 302 RBI in 54 games this season. Tacoma currently leads the PCL in runs scored, home runs, RBI, while also ranking 3rd in the league in total bases (838) and 4th in walks (212) and in slugging percentage (.443).

The Rainiers 33 win this season are currently tied for the 4th-most in the minor leagues this season: 1.) Fort Myers (37-14), 2.)  Indianapolis (35-19), 3.) South Bend (34-16) and 4.) Tacoma (33-21), San Jose (33-19), Norfolk (33-20), Birmingham (33-19) and Durham (33-20).

Hitting for the Cycle – Carlos Triunfel

Carlos Triunfel hit for the cycle last night while going 5-for-5. (Richard Trask/Tacoma Rainiers)

Carlos Triunfel hit for the cycle last night while going 5-for-5 against Fresno. (Richard Trask/Tacoma Rainiers)

Shortstop Carlos Triunfel recorded 5 hits, including hitting for the cycle as AAA Tacoma shutout Fresno 8-0 on Wednesday night. Singling on the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning, Triunfel completed Tacoma’s first cycle since Raul Ibañez accomplished the feat on Aug. 19, 1997 vs. Albuquerque. He also is the first player in the Pacific Coast League to cycle since Nashville’s Caleb Gindl on July 10, 2011, also against Albuquerque.

Triunfel achieved the act in his first 4 at-bats of the game. He tripled with one out in the first inning, led off the bottom of the third with a double, then homered in the fourth. He completed the cycle in the fifth inning after lining a single down the right field line. Triunfel snapped an 0-for-20 stretch coming into the game and was the first Rainiers player since Michael Saunders on July 30, 2011 vs. Las Vegas to record 5 hits in a game.

In 2012 the Mariners had two minor league farmhands hit for the cycle. INF Stefen Romero on May 22 vs. Lancaster and OF Gabriel Guerrero hit for the cycle in the Dominican Summer League on June 28 vs. the DSL Royals.

Triunfel, 23, was originally selected as a non-drafted International Free agent on Sept. 23, 2006. He made his Major League debut with Seattle on Sept. 7, 2012 vs. Oakland and was the youngest position player to appear in a game with Seattle last season (22 years, 193 days old). In 7 seasons in the Mariners minor league system, Triunfel hit .275 (653×2375) with 312 runs scored, 116 doubles, 15 triples, 32 home runs and 247 RBI in 621 career games.

Here is a link to with video of Triunfel completing the cycle.

Mariners Minor League Spotlight – Tacoma Rainiers

Mike Zunino is off to a fast start with AAA Tacoma.

Mike Zunino is off to a fast start with AAA Tacoma.

In 2012 the Mariners nine minor league affiliated put together one of the best seasons in club history, combing for a 496-406 (.550) record. The organization led all Major League farm systems in wins (496) and winning percentage (.550), while also setting a new record for most win in a single season my any organization. Various publications have rated the Mariners farm systems as one of the best in baseball.

The Mariners looks to continue their winning ways throughout the minor leagues as well as get players ready to make the jump to the Major League level.  The Mariners triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers roster boasts four of the top five prospects in the Mariners farm system, as ranked by Baseball America. Catcher Mike Zunino (No. 1), pitchers Danny Hultzen (No. 3) and James Paxton (No. 4), and infielder Nick Franklin (No. 5) all sit atop BA’s list entering the 2013 season.

Catcher Mike Zunino is off to a hot start with Tacoma this season. In 6 games with the Rainiers, Zunino is batting .385 (10×26) with 7 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs and 17 RBI. He currently leads the Minor Leagues with 17 RBI, T1st with 8 extra-base hits, while ranking as one of only 6 players in the Minor Leagues to have hit at least 4 home runs this season.  The 2012 first round draft pick ranks 2nd in the PCL in extra-base hits (8) and slugging percentage (1.038), while ranking 3rd with 27 total bases. Zunino became the first Rainiers player since second baseman Dustin Ackley (7/15/10 at Reno) to have his first triple-A hit go for a home run on April 4 at Fresno.

Danny Hultzen is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 2 starts with Tacoma.

Danny Hultzen is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 2 starts with Tacoma.

LH Danny Hultzen has earned wins in each of his first two starts with the Rainiers, going 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA (3 ER, 11.0 IP). He has limited opponents to a .167 (7×42) average, while walking 3 and striking out 14. His 14 strikeouts currently lead all Mariners farmhands, while ranking 3rd overall in the Pacific Coast League.

OF Eric Thames is one of 6 players in the PCL to hit safely in each of the first 8 games. He is currently batting .424 (14×33) with 5 runs scored, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 1 stolen base and 4 walks. Thames ranks 11th in the league in average, and he is tied for the team lead with 4 multi-hit games.

The Rainiers open the home portion of their schedule tonight with a four-game series against the Salt Lake City Bees at Cheney Stadium. Tonight’s game starts at 7:05 p.m. PT with LH James Paxton (0-0, 4.50) making his 2nd career triple-A start and first at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma is currently 5-3 and trails Salt Lake by one game PCL Northern Division.

Mariners Minor League Report

Mariners prospects Mike Zunino and Danny Hultzen had great 2013 debuts for the Tacoma Rainiers.

Mariners prospects Mike Zunino and Danny Hultzen had great 2013 debuts for the Tacoma Rainiers.

You can track all of our minor league affiliates via our daily minor league report via this blog (on the sidebar). The report highlights the previous days minor league highlights, including box scores and updated team statistics. Here is the report that captured the events from the 2013 Minor League Opening Day, and here is video clip of Mike Zunino’s first Triple-A home run.

Mariners Mini Camp Up And Running

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Mariners Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn was already impressed with the amount of athleticism he was saw with some of the minor league players, and that was just during physicals.

“Everyone came into Mini Camp in great shape and ready to play,” Gwynn said. “It was nice to finally get started today and see everyone in action.”

The Mariners have conducted a winter program for their minor league players for years, but this is the fourth year for a structured mini-camp that features 36 of the organizations top prospects that are not already in Major League camp. The players went through physicals yesterday, with the first workout today and running through March 1 at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Besides the basics on the field, Mini Camp players also focus on off-field instruction. From visiting local elementary schools and hospitals, players will also receive nutrition and etiquette tips.

Mini Camp is designed to take the best and brightest of the farm system, accelerate their Major League arrival and aid acclimation to what they will encounter when they get there.  Mini Camp is similar to instructional league in fall, but in the spring guys are fresh and what they learn can carry on into the season.

Nine players, including pitchers Brandon Maurer, Andrew Carraway, Jonathan Arias, Carson Smith, Carter Capps and Brian Moran, catcher John Hicks and infielders Brad Miller and Stefen Romero, each participated in Mini Camp last year and this year were invited  to Major League camp.

“Last year was my first time in Spring Training, so being able to get here a few weeks early and get accumulated during mini-camp was a huge help,” shortstop Brad Miller said. “The best part was being able to be a backup during the Major League games and getting to see how everyone prepared for a game.”

This year Miller came to camp looking to continue his success from his first full season in the minor leagues in 2012.

“It is awesome to have this opportunity in Major League camp,” Miller said. “Being able to chat with veteran players like Raul Ibañez and players that were in my position just a short time ago like Kyle Seager have been a huge influence on me so far.”

This is one of the youngest groups of prospects that has comprised Mini Camp with 18 of the 36 players either 20-years-old or younger, while 17 players were drafted or signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2012.  At 16-years-old left-handed pitcher Luiz Gohara, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Brazil in 2012 is the youngest player in camp.

Among players taking part in the mini-camp are highly regarded prospects that include pitchers Edwin Diaz and Tyler Pike, catcher Tyler Marlette, infielders Joe DeCarlo and Timmy Lopes and outfielders Gabby Guerrero and Dario Pizzano. After being acquired last week from the New York Yankees in exchange for pitcher Shawn Kelley, outfielder Abraham Almonte has arrived in Peoria and is participating in Mini Camp as well.

Left-handed pitcher Elias Roenis, catchers Marcus Littlewood and Tyler Marlette, infielders Martin Peguero and Steven Proscia and outfielders Phillips Castillo and Guillermo Pimentel are each participating in their second mini-camp.

Catching Up on Top Prospects

Mike Zunino

Mike Zunino is listed by as the No. 2 catching prospect.

We have already let you know that a trio of Mariners have been named to’s Top Prospects Positional Rankings, as Taijuan Walker was ranked the No. 2 right-handed pitcher, and Danny Hultzen (#2) and James Paxton (#5) were among the top left-handed pitchers.

Additionally, Mike Zunino has been named the No. 2 catching prospect and Nick Franklin the No. 6 shortstop prospect.

Here is what prospect guru Jonathan Mayo had to say about Zunino and Franklin:

2. Mike Zunino, Mariners: After being drafted third overall in 2012, Zunino moved quickly through the Minors as he reached Double-A, where he hit for average and power and also drew a good number of walks in his summer debut. The winner of the 2012 Golden Spikes Award, as well as the Johnny Bench and Dick Howser Awards following his junior season at Florida, Zunino has drawn praise for his defense and his ability to run a pitching staff. Known to be a natural leader, Zunino will be trusted to catch a young and exciting Seattle rotation and work his way toward batting in the middle of the lineup.

6. Nick Franklin, Mariners: A 20-20 season in 2010 set the bar high for this 2009 first-round pick, and while he dealt with injuries that set him back in 2011, he bounced back with a much more solid season in 2012. A two-time Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game participant, Franklin is a very good athlete who has the chance to hit for some power and steal some bases, even if he doesn’t approach the numbers of that first full season again. He’s played both shortstop and second base and some see his long-term future on the right side of the diamond, though the Mariners are committed to him playing shortstop for now.

Top 10 Prospects by Position
• Right-handed pitchers | List 
• Left-handed pitchers | List 
• Catchers | List 
• Shortstops | List 
• Third basemen | List 
• Jan. 26 – Second basemen 
• Jan. 27 – First basemen 
• Jan. 28 – Outfielders 
• Jan. 29 – Top 100 Prospects


Hultzen and Paxton Named Top LHP Prospects by


Mariners pitchers Danny Hultzen and James Paxton have both been named among the top 5 left-handed pitching prospects heading into the 2013 season. Hultzen checked in at No. 2 on the list, while Paxton was No. 5 in the annual Prospect Position Rankings.

Here is what prospect guru Jonathan Mayo had to say about Hultzen and Paxton:

2. Danny Hultzen, Mariners: Hultzen signed an $8.5 million Major League contract after being picked second in the 2011 Draft by Seattle. Thought to be an advanced college pitcher who could move up quickly, he’s done just that, reaching Triple-A in his first season of pro ball. A 2012 Futures Game participant, the lefty out of the University of Virginia dominated in Double-A but then had serious control issues in Triple-A. If he can fix those problems – and he was known as a command guy coming out of college – his three-pitch mix should work nicely in the big leagues.

5. James Paxton, Mariners: Paxton was taken in the fourth round in the 2010 Draft by Seattle, though he didn’t sign until March 2011. He reached Double-A that season and spent all of 2012 at that level. A 2011 Futures Gamer and 2012 Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game participant, there has never been any question about the Canadian’s pure power stuff, especially his fastball and breaking ball. That’s allowed him to strike out more than 10.5 per nine innings in two years in the Minors. Some thought he might eventually end up in the bullpen, but an improved changeup and better command could make him a formidable starter.

Here is a video clip from featuring Hultzen:

Hultzen and Paxton join RHP Taijuan Walker, who was listed as the No. 2 right-handed pitching prospect. The full list of positional prospect rankings and their release dates are below:

Top 10 Prospects by Position
• Right-handed pitchers
• Left-handed pitchers
• Jan. 23 – Catchers
• Jan. 24 – Shortstops
• Jan. 25 – Third Basemen
• Jan. 26 – Second basemen
• Jan. 27 – First basemen
• Jan. 28 – Outfielders
• Jan. 29 – Top 100 Prospects

Taijuan Walker Named No. 2 Right-Handed Pitching Prospect by

Taijuan Walker is listed as the No. 2 right-handed pitching prospect by

Taijuan Walker is listed as the No. 2 right-handed pitching prospect by

Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker has been named the No. 2 right-handed pitching prospect by heading into the 2013 season.

Here is what prospect guru Jonathan Mayo had to say about Walker.

Walker looks like one of the biggest steals of the 2010 Draft after being picked 43rd overall and signing for $800,000. He has a plus fastball that stays in the mid to upper 90s throughout games to go along with a plus curveball and an improving changeup. The 2012 Futures Gamer faded a bit in the second half of last season, but he still has all the tools to be a top-of-the-rotation type of starter.

Here is a breakdown of when will list their top prospect lists prior to the start of spring training. Prior to the 2012 season the Mariners have five players listed amongst the Top 100 (Jesus Montero – #12, Danny Hultzen – # 16, Taijuan Walker – #18, Nick Franklin – #52, James Paxton – #77). Walker moved up from his #8 listing to #2 this season as top RHP prospects.

Here is a look at the schedule for prospect rankings by position:

Top 10 Prospects by Position
• Right-handed pitchers
• Jan. 22 – Left-handed pitchers
• Jan. 23 – Catchers
• Jan. 24 – Shortstops
• Jan. 25 – Third Basemen
• Jan. 26 – Second basemen
• Jan. 27 – First basemen
• Jan. 28 – Outfielders
• Jan. 29 – Top 100 Prospects

Baseball America Unveils Mariners Top Prospects

Catcher Mike Zunino is listed as the Mariners No. 1 prospect by Baseball America.

Catcher Mike Zunino is listed as the Mariners No. 1 prospect by Baseball America.

The Mariners nine minor league affiliates wrapped up the 2012 season putting together one of the best season in club history, combining for a 496-406 (.550) record. The organization led all Major League farm systems in wins and winning percentage, while setting a new record for most wins in a single season. This has led to optimism in the Mariners pipeline, as Seattle has one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Baseball America unveiled their annual Top 10 Prospects list ranking the top Mariners in the minor leagues.

Baseball America’s Top 10 Mariners Prospects:

1.            Mike Zunino, c
2.            Taijuan Walker, rhp
3.            Danny Hultzen, lhp
4.            James Paxton, lhp
5.            Nick Franklin, ss/2b
6.            Brandon Maurer, rhp
7.            Carter Capps, rhp
8.            Stefen Romero, 2b
9.            Brad Miller, ss
10.          Victor Sanchez, rhp

Catcher Mike Zunino, selected by the Mariners with the third overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player draft, quickly established himself as an offensive and defensive force and was ranked by Baseball America as the Mariners  No. 1 prospect. In his first professional season, Zunino hit .360 (58×151) with 35 runs scored, 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 44 combined between Short-A Everett and AA Jackson.

The Mariners had six pitchers ranked in the top 10, including five of the top seven prospects. For the second straight year, right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker (#2) was tabbed as the Mariners top pitching prospect. In only his third professional season, Walker, 20, was one of the youngest pitchers in the Southern League and was also named to the North Division All-Star Team.  Left-handed pitchers Danny Hultzen (#3) and James Paxton (#4), joined right-handed pitchers Brandon Maurer (#6), Carter Capps (#7) and Victor Sanchez (#10) to round out the Mariners top pitching prospects. After being in the minor leagues less than a year, Capps made his Major League debut on Aug. 3, 2012 and became only the third player from the 2011 First-Year Players draft to make his ML debut.   Hultzen, Maurer and Paxton each ranked amongst the Mariners organization leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts, while Sanchez at age 17 was the youngest player in the top 10.

While the Mariners are known for their top pitching prospects, it was their offensive numbers that really stood out in 2012. Amongst all full-season minor league clubs, the Mariners affiliates finished in the top 5 in nearly every offensive category, including ranking first in hits, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.  Infielders Nick Franklin (#5), Stefen Romero (#8) and Brad Miller (#9) joined Zunino as the Mariners position players in the organizations top 10 rankings.  Romero was named the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year after batting .352 (167×474) with 85 runs scored, 64 extra-base hits and 101 RBI in 116 games combined between High-A High Desert and AA Jackson.   Franklin was recently named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospect Team, while Miller ranked second amongst all Minor Leaguers with 186 hits.