The Hot Stove League is in full swing with the Winter Meetings being held next week in Nashville. Mariners.com beat writer Greg Johns wrote a feature about what to expect from the Mariners contingent in Nashville.
And we have more good news to pass along about our minor leaguers. The Arizona Fall League recently concluded with the Peoria Javelinas capturing the league championship. Eight Javelinas represented the Mariners organization: Vinnie Catricala, Nick Franklin, Stefen Romero, Mike Zunino, Logan Bawcom, Bobby LaFromboise, James Paxton and Carson Smith.
And here are some interesting notes that have popped up lately on the interent:
- Mike Zunino and Nick Franklin were named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospect Team. The Mariner were one of seven organizations to boast two representatives on the AFL Prospect list.
- Mike Zunino (#3), Nick Franklin (#10) and James Paxton (#25) were touted by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo as top Arizona Fall League prospects.
- Stefen Romero was selected to the Topps Double-A® All-Star team.
- Danny Hultzen did a Q&A with David Laurila on FanGraphs.com.
A full Winter League Report will be posted later today with detailed information on Mariners around the Winter Leagues.
Here is the latest edition of the Mariners Winter League Report.
Below is a recap of Mariners in the winter leagues from last week. You can also keep up-to-date with statistics via MLB.com.
The Mariners announced the 2012 Minor League Awards today, and all players will be honored before the season finale today vs. the Los Angeles Angels.
Infielder Stefen Romero (High Desert/Jackson) was named Player of the Year, while right-hander Carter Capps (Jackson/Tacoma/Seattle) was named the Pitcher of the Year. Infielder Brad Miller (High Desert/Jackson) received the Heart and Soul Award for his exemplary play and leadership and right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer (Jackson) was named the Most Improved Player in the Mariners organization.
Romero, 23, hit .352 (167×474) with 85 runs scored, 64 extra-base (2B – 34, 3B – 7, HR – 23) and 101 RBI in 116 games combined between A High Desert and AA Jackson. In only his second professional season, Romero finished 3rd amongst all full season minor leaguers in average and was named to the Baseball America 2012 Second-Team All-Star team as a second baseman. Romero was one of only 19 players in the minor leagues this season to knock in at least 100 runs. He tied for the organizational lead in average, while ranking 2nd in RBI and 3rd in home runs. Romero became the first Minor League Player in 2012 to hit for the cycle when he accomplished the feat on May 22 at Lancaster. He recorded 50 multi-hit games (25-High Desert, 25-Jackson), including 8 three-hit games and 6 season-high four-hit games. Romero was named to the California League All-Star team before being promoted to Jackson on June 21. With the Generals he hit safely in 47 of 55 games with an at-bat, while batting .347 (75×216). Romero, a native of Tucson, Arizona, attended Oregon State University from 2009-10 and was the Mariners 12th round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
“Stefen had an outstanding offensive season combined between High Desert and Jackson,” Zduriencik said. “He not only led the organization in many offensive categories, but was one of the top players in all of the minor leagues.
Capps, 22, went 2-3 with 19 saves and a 1.23 ERA (7 ER, 51.1 IP) in 39 relief appearances combined between AA Jackson and AAA Tacoma. The 6-5, 220-pound right-hander averaged 13.2 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per 9.0 innings and converted 19 of 21 saves opportunities. He held opponents to a .212 (40×189) batting average, while walking 12 and striking out 75. Capps was selected to Seattle on July 31 and made his Major League debut on August 3 at New York (AL). In 18 relief appearances with the Mariners, Capps is 0-0 with a 3.96 ERA (11 ER, 25.0 IP) with 28 strikeouts. He was the third players from the 2011 draft to make his ML debut. Capps was the Mariners 3rd-round supplemental selection (121st overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Mount Olive College (NC). He was named the 2011 NCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year after going 14-1 with 2 saves and a 1.75 ERA in 20 games/15 starts.
“Carter had a great year which led to him being called up in early August,” Zduriencik said. “He had great command of the ball and was one of the most dominating relief pitchers in the minor leagues.”
Miller, 22, received the Mariners Heart and Soul Award for his exemplary play and leadership skills both on and off the field. Miller hit .334 (186×557) with 110 runs scored, 40 doubles, 7 triples, 15 home runs and 68 RBI in 137 games combined between A High Desert and AA Jackson. His 186 hits ranked 2nd amongst all minor leaguers this year, while also ranking 4th in runs scored and tied for 10th in doubles. Miller led all Mariners farmhands with 56 multi-hit games, including 12 three-hit games and 2 season-high four-hit games. He reached base safely, via hit or walk, in 123 out of 137 (90%) games he appeared, including 90 of 97 games with the Mavericks. He was named California League All-Star team and named the league’s Player of the Week, April 5-15. Miller was the Mariners 2nd round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the Clemson University. He was named 2011 ACC Player-of-Year his junior season after leading the conference in average (.395) and on-base percentage (.489).
“Brad has been a leader both on and off the field this season,” Zduriencik said. “He has a knack for getting things started when they need to get started and motivating his teammates throughout the game.”
Maurer, 22, was recently named Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher after going 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA (49 ER, 137.2 IP) in 24 starts with AA Jackson. After being limited to only 22 games, 17 starts, over the 2010-11 seasons due to injuries, Maurer rebounded to lead the league with an .818 winning percentage and ranked 5th in ERA, while helping Jackson to the best record in the Southern League in 2012 (79-61). Maurer limited opponents to a .260 (133×512) average, while walking 48 and striking out 117. He finished tied for the Generals lead in wins (9), while leading the team in strikeouts (117) and innings pitched (137.1). In his final 14 starts of the season, from June 1-Aug. 16, Maurer went 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA (24 ER, 86.1 IP) and recorded 10 quality starts. During this stretch has lowered his season ERA from 4.38 to 3.20. After only recording 7 wins in his first four seasons in the Mariners organization, Maurer set a career-high with 9 wins in 2012. He was the Mariners 23rd round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Orange Lutheran (CA) High School. Maurer is 16-17 with a 3.65 ERA (131 ER, 323.0 IP) in 67 games, 58 starts in his four-year minor league career.
“Brandon committed himself to physical fitness in the offseason and the results showed with a successful season,” Zduriencik. “After a slow start to the season he emerged one of the top pitching prospects in the organization.”
Here is a complete rundown of all the Mariners minor leaguers in 2012:
Prior to the 2012 season, the Mariners farm system was ranked by MLB.com as the No. 1 organization based on their prospect points system, with five players rated in the top 100. After a record 496 wins by the Mariners 9 minor league affiliates, and 6 playoff berths, the Mariners remained the top team when MLB.com re-ranked the top 100 and each club’s top 20 prospects.
Here is an article by Mariners.com beat writer Greg Johns detailing the impressive group of prospects:
The updated rankings show the Mariners ranking first among all 30 MLB teams based on point values assigned to each of the top 100 prospects, just ahead of the Pirates, D-backs and Cardinals.
Top Prospect Points 1. Seattle 327 2. Pittsburgh 326 3. Arizona 321 4. St. Louis 320 5. Toronto 281
The following Mariners ranked in the top 100 by MLB.com (prospect ranking):
- RHP Taijuan Walker (#5)
- LHP Danny Hultzen (#9)
- INF Nick Franklin (#31)
- C Mike Zunino (#51)
- LHP James Paxton (#82)
And here are the players included in the Mariners top 20 prospects list by MLB.com:
The Mariners 9 minor league affiliates have wrapped up the 2012 season, putting together one of the best seasons in club history, combining for a 496-406 (.550) record. The organization led all Major League farm systems in wins (496) and winning percentage (.550), and set a record for most wins in a single season by any Major League farm system. Additionally, 6 of the Mariners 9 affiliates qualified for the postseason.
- Jackson leads 1-0 in their Best of 5 series vs. Chattanooga in the Southern League.
- High Desert, who won both the first- and second-half California League South Division, have a bye in the first round and will begin the
Division Finals Sept. 8 at Mavericks Stadium.
- Clinton is tied 1-1 with Beloit in the Best of 3 Midwest League playoffs.
- Everett lost to Vancouver in the opening round of the Northwest League playoffs.
- The Mariners Dominican and Venezuelan academies both qualified for the playoffs.
All season, the Mariners Double-A affiliate Jackson Generals have were considered one of the top teams in minor league baseball. They had a banner season, clinching a spot in the playoffs winning the first half of the North Division. There were numerous articles written about the pitching staff, with Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton getting much of the publicity. The entire pitching staff had a great season, posting a league-leading 3.37 ERA.
Maurer went 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 24 starts. The 6-foot-5 righthander led the league with an .818 winning percentage and ranked 5th in ERA, helping Jackson record the best record in the Southern League (79-61).
With an injury to Paxton in late May and the promotion of Hultzen to Triple A at the conclusion of the first half, Maurer emerged as the Generals most dependable starter over the final three months of the season. Beginning with a complete-game, 6-1 win against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on June 1, Maurer went 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA in his final 14 starts.
Maurer was particularly dominant in July, going 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. He limited the opposition to a .198 batting average that month without surrendering a home run in five starts. Overall, Maurer gave up only four homers in 137 2/3 innings in 2012.
The 22-year-old Maurer concluded his regular season with six scoreless innings in a 5-2 win against the Mississippi Braves on August 16. It was Maurer’s 14th quality start of the season.
Maurer was originally selected by the Mariners in the 23rd round of the 2008 draft out of Orange Lutheran High School in Costa Mesa, CA.
- RHP Logan Bawcom
- LHP Bobby LaFromboise
- LHP James Paxton
- RHP Carson Smith
- C Mike Zunino
- INF Vinnie Catricala
- INF Nick Franklin
- INF Stefen Romero (taxi squad – active on Wednesday & Saturday)
“We are extremely proud with the seasons each of these players have had this year and look forward to seeing all of them compete in the Arizona Fall League,” said Mariners Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn. ” The Arizona Fall League allows each player to set goals and work on individual areas of their game, while competing against some the top prospect in the minor leagues.”
In addition to the eight Mariners players, Jackson (AA) pitching coach Lance Painter will serve on the Javelinas coaching staff.
Opening Day for the 20th Anniversary season of the AFL is set for Tuesday, Oct. 9. The six-team league, owned and operated by Major League Baseball, plays six days per week (Monday-Saturday) in six Cactus League stadiums in the Phoenix area — Mesa Hohokam Stadium (Solar Sox), Peoria Sports Complex (Javelinas), Phoenix Municipal Stadium (Desert Dogs), Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (Rafters), Scottsdale Stadium (Scorpions) and Surprise Stadium (Saguaros). Daily start times are 12:35 p.m. and 6:35 p.m., and games can be followed online at MLB.com.
You can follow the Arizona Fall League on twitter via @MLBazFallLeague.
The big news out of the Mariners Player Development Department today was that right-handed pitcher Carter Capps was promoted from AA Jackson to AAA Tacoma. The hard-throwing right-hander was a dominating force in the Southern League, and will make the jump to the Pacific Coast League.
Here is an excerpt from today’s minor league report that shows how dominating Capps has been:
Capps, 21 turns 22 on Aug. 7, has allowed only 2 earned runs (3 R) over his last 29 relief appearances (37.1 IP) for a 0.48 ERA…overall with Jackson went 2-3 with 19 saves and a 1.26 ERA (7 ER, 50.0 IP), and pitched over an inning in 10 of his 19 saves…has limited opponents to a .212 (40×189) average, while walking 12 and striking out 72…held opponents scoreless in 34 of 38 relief appearances…led all Mariners farmhands and the Southern League with 19 saves, and was tops among Southern League relievers in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (12.96/72 K, 50.0 IP), 3rd in games finished (31) and 5th-lowest in walks per 9.0 innings (2.16/12 BB, 50.0 IP).
Capps was the Mariners 3rd-round supplemental selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Mount Olive College (NC). He went 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA (12 ER, 18.0 IP) in 4 starts with Single-A Clinton in 2011.