Inside The Park

Baseball\’s Future in the Emerald City

Archive for the ‘M’s Top Prospects’ Category

We’ve Moved…

Posted by JasonAChurchill on March 14, 2006

The pages of Inside The Park have moved.
You can access the new discussions Here at Prospect Insider.


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More Pitching Appearances…

Posted by JasonAChurchill on March 12, 2006

Following Gil Meche on Monday (SS) versus LAA will be LHP Travis Blackley and RHP’s Dave Burba, Jeff Harris, Scott Atchison and Renee Cortez.

Following Jamie Moyer on Monday (SS) against Texas in the “B” game will be LHP Cesar Jimenez and RHP’s Yorman Bazardo, Lindsey Gulin and Marcos Carvajal.

On Tuesday against the Cubs, RHP Jesse Foppert will get the start with LHP’s Bobby Livingston, Luis Gonzalez and George Sherrill following him up.  Francisco Cruceta will also get an inning.

LHP Julio Santiago and RHP Mark Lowe will suit up for today’s main game.

OF Wladimir Balentien has been upgraded from day-to-day status with a hamstring strain and is now available for games.

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Probables, Injury Updates and Asdrubal Cabrera

Posted by JasonAChurchill on March 11, 2006

Cabrera impresses in field and at plate

Cabrera’s Bat is the Only Question Mark (

Looks like RHP Gil Meche will start a “B” game on Monday versus Texas in Surprise, as long as all goes well on Sunday with his oblique.

RHP Felix Hernandez will start today versus Texas, at PSC and LHP Jamie Moyer will go Monday versus LAA. Both starters are expected to go four innings or land in the 50-55 pitch range.

LHP’s Jared Thomas and Jason Mackintosh, and RHP Cibney Bello were in uniform for the game Saturday against Arizona. None fo the three entered the contest, however.

LHP Cesar Jimenez is still limited to bullpen sessions with a mild strain of his left hamstring. He’s expected to continue throwing in the pen until at least Tuesday. He could pitch in a game on Wednesday.

LHP Bobby Livingston continues to recover from a stiff neck suffered earlier in the week. He’s likely to pitch next weekend, probably in a “B” game. No truth to the rumor that Bobby hurt himself on Monday night as he continuously whipped his head around to check out the passing babes at the local bar. Well, maybe there is some truth to that.

2B Fernando Vina’s return was set for Sunday, but the veteran infielder is probably going to be held out until next Friday while he recovers from a hip flexor.

It’s time for Vina to hang it up. He has no chance whatsoever to make the big club…

SS Asdrubal Cabrera is opening eyes, however. He hit his first spring home run on Saturday and, as always, shined in the field impressing everyone from manager Mike Hargrove to Yuniesky Betancourt. Betancourt was overheard saying the spanish equivalent of “wow” after a play Cabrera made early in the contest versus Arizona.

Cabrera began the spring looking like he’d open the year as San Antonio’s starting shortstop, but he may be playing his way into a return to Triple-A Tacoma where he ended his 2005 campaign.

RHP Clint Nageotte’s pulled left hamstring is worse than originally diagnosed and the 25-year-old is taking it day-by-day. He’s throwing but not pitching and isn’t expected to do so until late next week.

The M’s have 11 hitters with a .300 average or better heading into Saturday’s action. Richie Sexson and Roberto Petagine are both 7-for-18 for a .538 average while Raul Ibanez (7-for-16, .438) and Shin-soo Choo (7-for-17, .412) are above the .400 mark. Matt Lawton (5-for-13, .385), T.J. Bohn (5-for-14, .357), Jeremy Reed (5-for-14, .357), Yuniesky Betancourt (5-for-15, .333), Mike Morse (4-for-12, .333), Willie Bloomquist (6-for-19, .316), and Matt Tuiasosopo (3-for-10, .300) round out the elite 11.

Bloomquist is day-to-day after receiving three stitches on his right pinkie finger after injuring the digit in the weight room on Thursday afternoon.

Not sure why Willie feels the need to stack on more plates…

Saturday was the first full-squad workouts for minor leaguers and the feeling has already set in for many. “Tedious, boring, yet necessary,” was the typical response to day one workouts.

One M’s minor league left-hander, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims, “I just get sick and tired of throwing perfect games against my own teammates. I don’t want them to hate me and they aren’t getting good batting practice that way, so, get on with it already.”

Posted in M's Top Prospects, Seattle Mariners, Spring Training | 3 Comments »

Spring Training Update: 3.10

Posted by JasonAChurchill on March 10, 2006

Pitching Probables

Today’s pitchers will include LHP George Sherrill and right-handers Marcos Carvajal and Francisco Cruceta. Southpaw Jarrod Washburn will get the start against colorado’s Aaron Cook, who, coincidentally, is the pitcher Bill Bavasi originally asked for in the Yorvit Torrealba trade.

On Saturday, Seattle will send LHP’s Matt Thornton, Luis Gonzalez and Jake Woods, and RHP’s Emiliano Fruto and Jeff Heaverlo versus Arizona in Scottsdale for one split squad game.

Five right-handers will take on Kansas City in the other at home in Peoria.  Kevin Appier, Rafael Soriano, Julio Mateo, J.J. Putz and Sean Green will take the mound.
Our friend LHP Thomas Oldham is in uniform for today’s home game, as is 2004 draftee RHP Mark Lowe.

Injuries and Other Stuff…

Ichiro went 2-for-4 for Team Japan against Texas yesterday… 2B Willie Bloomquist suffered a cut on his right pinkie and is day to day… RHP Gil Meche (oblique) threw a bullpen session Thursday and is improving… LHP Bobby Livingston (stiff neck) is improving and should be throwing this weekend… OF Wladimir Balentien is still unavailable for games with a strained right hamstring… 2B Fernando Vina’s right hip flexor is still a burden, though he is taking BP and infield every day… OF Chris Snelling’s official status is ‘limited’ due to the ACL surgery on his left knee… LHP Cesar Jimenez (hamstring) threw in the bullpen Thursday and should pitch again Monday… RHP Clint Nageotte (hamstring) is expected to pitch Monday after being scratched from his start on Wednesday.

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Spring Training Update: 3.09

Posted by JasonAChurchill on March 9, 2006

Blackley on the mend in Peoria

Another day another dollar…

RHP Gil Meche experienced no pain in his oblique after playing catch on Wednesday and is slated to start on Monday versus LAA if his Thursday catch session and a bullpen on Saturday afternoon.RHP Jesse Foppert starts TODAY versus the defending world champion Chicago White Sox. He’ll face a lot of right-handed batters so today should be a good indicator of his velocity at this point in the spring. If he can maintain 90-93 consistently, it’s a great sign. He’ll be tested this afternoon and should be going three innings.Right-handers Scott Atchison, Renee Cortez and Yorman Bazardo will follow Foppert.

Even after a sub par outing against Team Japan, LHP Travis Blackley is still feeling strong and very optimistic about the season ahead. Everything is on schedule and he may get a start in a ‘B’ game on Monday and again on Saturday the 18th.Blackley sat 84-86 with his fastball, hit 87 once, and 83 a few times, according to one scout at the game. His offspeed pitches are a month away, but that’s to be expected with feel pitches and arm slotting.

Chris Snelling is expected to take BP five days a week until the end of the month and then have his knee re-evaluated. If all is well, he’ll likely start taking fly balls in the outfield and running the bases some.

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Seattle Mariners Prospects 31-40

Posted by JasonAChurchill on March 8, 2006

I have had requests to go further than 40 in order to profile specific players, so 41-50 will go up tomorrow night.

31. Francisco Cruceta, RHP –
Cruceta was claimed off waivers last summer fromt he Cleveland Indians and played a role in the Tacoma Rainiers’ division title run. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander has pretty solid stuff, headlined by a solid splitter and a 91-94 mph fastball. Command and consistency has been Cruceta’s problems but at 24, the Dominican native has the arsenal to become at least an average starter. He does have the power pitches to be effective in the bullpen as well and could see time in either role with the Rainiers

32. Scott Atchison, RHP – Atchison needs to stay healthy in order to stay on the M’s radar, but his time in the bigs has been fruitful, despite a high ERA last season. If the 28-year-old former 49th rounder can stay off the DL, he may find himself in the M’s bullpen by midseason. Atchison sits 89-92 with his fastball and possesses a pretty good curve ball. His 45 strikeouts in just 37 career MLB innings are very encouraging.

33. Natanael Mateo, RHP – Mateo’s stuff rivals the ’05 version of Julio Mateo, no relation, but without the control and consistency. Natanael, 25, may begin the year in Triple-A with a chance for a late-season callup. But he must remain consistent and avoid stretches of mediocrity – see: Mateo’s stint with San Antonio post trade. Mateo has a 90-92 mph fastball, an average curve and a change up that can be effective at times.

34. Jeff Flaig, OF – Flaig was a shortstop in high school, moved to third in his first taste of pro ball, slid to first base last season to help his surgically repaired right arm heal and will likely begin 2006 in left field with Wisconsin where his bat may play better. Flaig has solid plate skills but average power potential that does not project well for a corner infielder. Better plate discipline is necessary but Flaig has it in him to be a decent prospect and go year to year.

35. Jason Snyder, RHP – Snyder features a 90-93 mph fastball, a plus curve ball and continues to work on his changeup, but had his ’05 season cut short due to a shoulder injury. At 6-foot-6, Snyder has the physical makeup of an innings eater and may be the late bloomer that sneaks up on the big leagues and has a productive career. The 23-year-old may begin the year with Class AA San Antonio – if he’s healthy enough to compete for the spot. Otherwise, he’ll start in the Cal League and work his way up. Snyder has two big-league pitches and just needs health and consistency to advance.

36. Greg Halman, OF – Halman is a big, strong Dutchman with advanced plate discipline for a kid that didn’t turn 18 until August of last year. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Halman has the raw tools to develop some good power and move consistently through the system. His .449 slugging percentage was the highest in the Rookie League for a qualifying player under 18. Halman should get a chance for some time in Everett. Look for him in either corner outfield spot, though his throwing arm is erratic and his instincts are currently below average.

37. Cesar Jimenez, LHP – Jimenez, as a starter, would be ranked higher. In relief, his 85-87 mph fastball and plus changeup aren’t enough to stay effective in the long term versus experienced bats. The Venezuelan is Felix Hernandez’s best friend in the organization and should follow his buddy’s footsteps in the ways of working hard and not taking anything for granted. Jimenez could develop into a back-end starter but he doesn’t currently hold much value as a relief arm. At 21, he still has time to start fresh as a starting pitcher.

38. Sean Green, RHP – Green, 26, is a short reliever with strong groundball abilities. With the growing appreciation for groundball pitchers, Green could gain some attention from other clubs. He finished 2005 with a combined G/F ratio of 2.92 after posting a 3.12 mark in Class AAA Tacoma. Green will re-join the Rainiers pen to start the ’06 season.

39. Yung-Chi Chen, 2B – Chen is intriguing talent but has yet to maximize his offensive skills. The 22-year-old has major league skills to play second, short and third defensively, but his bat has yet to follow. The Taiwanese import played for Chinese Taipei in the World Baseball Cup and hit a grand slam home run versus China and had four hits in the game. He appeared overmatched against Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Japanese ace with big-league talent. Chen profiles best as a second baseman and has the speed to swipe 25+ bags a season to go with his solid defense. Look for him to play a lot of third base at Inland Empire this season, while the M’s stick with Tuiasosopo at short and Navarro at second. Though they are better off playing Navarro at short and Chen at second with Tui at third or in the outfield.

40. Shawn Nottingham, LHP – Nottingham had a stellar first year as a pro in 2004 at shortseason Everett but ran into the injury big last summer. The southpaw shares a lot of similar qualities as Travis Blackley, Nottingham’s closest friend in the system. When he’s healthy, the Ohio native reaches 86-88 with his fastball and uses a pretty solid change to get outs. His breaking ball needs work but he’s only 21 and should begin his ’06 season with Inland Empire.

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