Here’s what’s been going on with the Mariners’ farm system.
— Brandon Morrow has now thrown three starts for Triple-A Tacoma. With an increased pitch count each time, he’s gone one and 2/3, two and 2/3 and three and 2/3 innings. He gave up no earned runs the first start, but has given up three and two, respectively, during the last two outings. He also had five strikeouts during his last start to go along with two walks. The Mariners figure to just keep extending Morrow until he’s ready for a September call-up.
— Matt Tuiasosopo had been on a hot streak, but he’s hitting just .184 during his last ten games with two homers and 12 strikeouts. That said, he’s shown some power this year with 12 homers and has the ability to draw some walks (47 so far) and increase his on-base percentage. Slugger Victor Diaz has struck out 18 times in his past 10 games for Tacoma.
–In other news, 2007 first-round pick Phillippe Aumont is finally back on the mound for Class A Wisconsin after a sore right elbow that kept him out a couple months. He has gone a combined 11 innings in his three appearances since returning on August 9. He’s given up four earned runs during that time and struck out seven hitters.
— Dennis Raben, Seattle’s second-round pick from the 2008 draft, hasn’t played a game with Class A-Everett since August 3, apparently because of an injury to the ring finger of his left hand. In the ten games before he left the lineup, Raben had nailed four homers.
Brandon Morrow went down to Tacoma this week to become a starter. Here’s what else is happening in the Seattle farm system:
*Matt Tuiasosopo is certainly hitting his stride with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers as the season starts to wind down. He has hit safely in each of his last six games and has gone 12 for 23 during that time span. That includes 10 runs scored, three homers and eight RBIs. Those statistics were aided by his last game against Albuquerque on Wednesday when he went 2 for 4 with two homers and three RBIs. That gives him a .272 BA, .355 OBP, nine homers and 61 RBIs this year. Seattle fans will remember Tuiasosopo as the talented multi-sport athlete from Woodinville High School. He turned down a chance to come play football at the University of Washington (he was a high school All-American quarterback). His brother Marques starred at UW as a quarterback and is now with the Oakland Raiders.
*And outfielder Victor Diaz is continuing to impress this season. Combining his statistics in Round Rock and Tacoma (both PCL teams), he has 23 homers and 91 RBIs to go along with a .288 average and .373 OBP. He also has 126 strikeouts in 378 at-bats.
*Outfielder Mario Yepez was named the MVP of the Venezuelan Summer League after hitting .345 with 17 doubles, 44 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 67 games. He hit safely in 53 of 66 games with an at-bat, including 19 multi-hit games.
*Tacoma manager Daren Brown will be managing the Peoria Javelinas during the upcoming Arizona Fall League, which goes from Oct. 7-Nov. 22.
*Michael Saunders, an outfielder in Triple-A Tacoma, will be playing on Team Canada at the Summer Olympics in Beijing. He’s not expected to return to Tacoma this season. Saunders has split time between Double-A West Tennessee and Triple-A Tacoma this year, struggling at the latter with a .239 average.
— Jesse Baumgartner
*The path between Triple-A Tacoma and Seattle is harboring plenty of traffic at the moment. Brandon Morrow is coming down to the Rainiers to begin his transition from reliever to starter. That makes two Mariners relievers going through that process down in Tacoma, as Ryan Rowland-Smith has made three starts with the Rainiers while hoping to eventually join the Seattle rotation.
Rowland-Smith pitched on Monday against Albuquerque and gave up two earned runs in six innings. He struck out four and struggled a little bit with his control by allowing three walks. Still, in three starts he has gone 18 2/3 innings, given up six earned runs, 12 hits and seven walks, and struck out 12.
*Meanwhile, Wladimir Balentien was promoted from the Rainiers and is starting tonight as the designated hitter after the Mariners designated Jose Vidro for assignment. Balentien struggled during his time in the big leagues this year from April 30 to June 16. Since being sent back down to the Rainiers, he has hit .270 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs in 44 games.
*In other Tacoma news, local talent Matt Tuiasosopo went 2 for 5 with a grand slam on Monday against Albuquerque and scored two runs. Catcher Rob Johnson has also been on a tear, hitting safely in 17 of his last 19 games. He’s batting .455 with eight doubles and four homers during that time.
Here’s the latest from the Seattle Mariners farm system:
*The Mariners sent Ryan Rowland-Smith down to Tacoma recently to become a starter. He started his first game on Friday and gave up two earned runs in five and 2/3 innings while striking out five.
*The Tacoma Rainiers enjoyed an incredible comeback on Saturday in Memphis when they erased a 6-1 deficit by putting up seven runs in the ninth inning to win, 8-7. That was fueled by homers from Tug Hulett and Michael Saunders. Hulett, who came up to the big club for a brief stint this season, is continuing to have an impressive year by hitting .306 with 12 homers and a .388 on-base percentage. Wladimir Balentien, who struggled during his call-up to the big leagues, has been on a tear recently after some slumps in Tacoma. He’s 15 for 42 (.357) in his last ten games with four homers to bring his season average back up to .260. Local product Matt Tuiasosopo knocked a homer on Friday and is hitting .260 this season for the Rainiers.
*Catcher Adam Moore is hitting .321 with 11 homers and 58 RBIs for the Double-A West Tennessee. Teammate Michael Wilson has shown he has some power, too, with 20 homers and a .551 slugging percentage. Moore recorded a double and a walk on Saturday.
*Mariners second-round draft pick Dennis Raben has cooled down from his initial outburst at the beginning of his professional career, but he’s still impressing in Single-A Everett with a .309 average and a .457 on-base percentage. He has eight doubles, two homers and ten RBIs. His last 10 games have been tough, though, with only five hits in 37 at-bats. Teammate Kevin Reynolds is also enjoying a standout year with a .348 average.
*In Single-A Wisconsin, Phillippe Aumont – Seattle’s first-round pick from 2007 – has not pitched since June 9 after coming down with a sore right elbow. He has a 2.62 ERA in 12 appearances (six of them starts).