It sure feels like any sort of breakdown of the roster of the Jackson Generals should have music. I mean, just the thought of doing this write up has the song "All Hell's Breaking Lose" by Kiss ringing in the background of my mind. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to put music to text based media..
The drool started sometime late last fall when people started to realize that there was a very good chance that Danny Hultzen would start the year at Jackson, and that after just a taste of AA baseball James Paxton would probably return to Jackson in 2012, and that teen phenom Tiajuan Walker would most likely skip High Desert after demolishing the Midwest League in 2011 and land at AA Jackson. Three of the best pitching prospects of not just the Mariners system, but of all minor league baseball all on the same team? Be still my quivering heart!
Ok, I think that that is just about enough preamble for this write up. Let's do dis...
- Taijuan Walker, RHP
- James Paxton, LHP
- Danny Hultzen, LHP
- Steve Garrison, LHP
- Carter Capps, RHP
- Andrew Carraway, RHP
- Steven Hensley, RHP
- Bobby LaFromboise, LHP
- Brandon Maurer, RHP
- Yoervis Medina, RHP
- Brian Moran, LHP
- Stephen Pryor, RHP
What a nice collection of talent we have in Jackson! I mean, if you look beyond the wunderkind's Hultzen, Paxton, and Walker, there is still an amazing bit of talent there. Obviously, some of these guys are going to be starters, and some are going to be relievers. Now, does ANYONE think that the law firm of Hultzen, Paxton, and Walker will relievers? LOL! Ya, right...
- Taijuan Walker
- James Paxton
- Danny Hultzen
- Andrew Carraway
- Brandon Maurer
Steve Garrison, a journeyman minor leaguer who has been in the minors for 7 years and has a grand total of 22 odd innings of AAA experience is the wild card here. Last year he pitched out of the rotation at Trenton of the AA Eastern League for the Yankees, so there may be some thought that he will do so with Jackson. I really, REALLY hope not. I would not move Maurer to the bullpen just so a meat puppet can have a spot in the rotation.
Did that sound a bit strong to you? Ya, me too...
- Jesus Sucre
- Ralph Henriquez
Jesus Sucre is an interesting guy. He's just 23, but he has 7 seasons of minor league experience behind him. Sucre was originally in the Braves organization but was released in 2011 as a just barely 22 year old. I asked around a bit and found out that Sucre was released not because of attitude or anything like that, but because he wasn't progressing fast enough and the Braves had other prospects that they wanted to put in his place. I can't say much about his defense or pitch calling, but on offense he has a career slashline of .249/.282/.345/.627. Ok, that doesn't really excite me, but Sucre still has youth on his side, so growth is always possible.
Ralph Henriquez has, just like Sucre, 7 years of minor league experience. The difference is, Ralphy is 25 years old. I hope Henriquez has one eye on the path behind him because if either Marder or Hicks shows well at A+ High Desert, then his spot at Jackson may become in jeopardy.
- Leury Bonilla
- Eric Campbell
- Nick Franklin
- Francisco Martinez
- Gabriel Noriega
- Rich Poythress
Interesting. This group does not have the potential that the kids down in High Desert do. Leury Bonilla is a career an 8 year veteran of the minor league wars, and after his firts taste of AAA in 2011 is back at AA for 2012.
Rich Poythress, who I keep thinking is like 29 years old, is still just 24, but after a couple of campaigns is once again at AA Jackson. What was once considered the best power hitting prospect in the 2009 draft, has become something of a after thought in 2012.
Who is Eric Campbell? Well, Campbell was a player in the Mets organzation up until this winter when he was released. For what ever reason, the M's signed him and he is now on the Jackson roster. Campbell has been plying his trade in the minor leagues for over 4 seasons now, and is 24 years old. While with the Mets, Campbell put together a career slashline of .265/.355/.383. Campbell is a big guy with a listed height and weight of 6'3" and 220 lbs and he plays 2B.
Much like Rich Poythress, I keep thinking that Gabby Noriega is a lot older than he really is. Gabby is starting his 5th season (all stateside!) with the Mariners and is just 21 years old. Gabby is a surprising kind of guy because just when you think he'll never hit a lick, he'll go on a bender and string together 5-6 good games at the plate. Still though, with that type of performance Gabby is a career .261/.304/.341 type of hitter. For his slight build (6'2", 170 lbs), Gabby is not a speed burner on the basepaths. In fact, Gabby has been more of a detriment on the basepaths than an asset (28 SB, 22 CS in his career). Gabby strikesout a lot (26% career) and doesn't walk much at all (4.7% career)
Ok, so what exactly does Gabby bring to the table that is noteworthy? Well, Gabby is recognized as having the best glove in all of the Mariners system. If he would just make more contact he might slip onto the "prospect list". Until then, he is, unfortunately, defensive filler material.
Francisco Martinez is recognized as the potential answer at 3B for the Mariners in the future, and I don't really know why. Martinez is a borderline butcher on defense (.924 fielding percentage), but he does have decent range. If I was to chose between Martinez and Liddi to play 3rd base just based on defense, I'd pick Liddi any day of the week. Here's another reason why I'm not all that high on Martinez. He hasn't shown much power at all in the 5 years he has been playing minor league baseball. His slashline of .280/.328/.373 tells me a story of a guy who hits well, but racks up a lot of singles. His OBP of .328 tells me that he doesn't walk much (6.2% career). Martinez needs to clean up both areas of his game if he is to be legitimately considered as the 3rd sacker of the future for the M's. Right now, he should be watching what Steven Proscia and maybe Stefen Romero are doing just one level below him...
Nick Franklin... 'Nuff said.
- Denny Almonte
- Danny Carroll
- Johermyn Chavez
- Chih-Hsien Chiang
- Joe Dunigan
Two guys in this group really interest me, and that is Danny Carroll and Chih-Hsien Chang. If Johermyn Chavez shows well early he may become interesting once again.
Would you believe that Danny Carroll is starting his 7th season with the Mariners? Really! I'm not kidding! Would you believe that he is still just barely 23? Carroll has been the recipient of so many fluke injuries over the years that he has spent about 50% or more of his professional time in the training room. He got hit on the wrist in the same spot two times early in the season and both times it broke a bone and he was lost. Daaamn, that is just freaky.
2011 was the first year that Carroll wasn't hurt and played a full season. With High Desert, Carroll appeared in 131 games, playing the majority of those in left field. Carroll had a somewhat typical High Desert type of season as he hit a career high 18 homeruns (10 had been his best up to then). But, Carroll did something in 2011 that many thought he could do, and that is lead the world in stolen bases. In 2011 Carroll swiped 62 in 76 attempts. To steal all of those bases Carroll had to get on base a lot, and he did by hitting well, and working the count and taking walks. Carroll's slashline of .299/.360/.389 isn't as gaudy as some who have gone through the Cal League, but it was a great stride for Carroll.
It wasn't all gum drops and lollipops for Carroll in 2011 though. He struckout an incredible 157 times. Ouch part duex. I think that he was trying to work the count a little too much in 2011 and put himself behind the 8-ball too often, and came up in counts where he had to swing at marginal pitches, or watch them come in for strike three. This is something that I believe that he will improve on now that he is away from HD, where the coaching staff didn't want to be there and did very little to help the players... Did I say that outloud?
If you will recall, we got Chih-Hsien Chang last year in the Erik Bedard trade with the Red Sox. Prior to coming to Seattle, Chiang was in the process of tearing up the AA Eastern League. Such was his season in the Eastern League that he collected these awards:
- 08/25/2011 EAS Post-Season All-Star
- 07/31/2011 Topps EAS Player of the Month
- 07/12/2011 EAS Mid-Season All-Star
- 07/09/2011 Futures Game Selection
- 06/06/2011 EAS Player of the Week
When the season ended he was given this award
- MiLB.com Organization All-Star
Chiang started out slow with the Generals in 2011 but did better towards the end of the season. Still though, he didn't hit for power and he showed little patience at the plate. This can easily be attributed to moving to a new ortganization after spending six years with the Red Sox.
Denny Almonte is intriguing, which is a notch below interesting. He has the potential to be someone, but so far has yet to establish himself as a prospect after 5 years of minor league play. On his side is that he is just 23 and has time to develope, but there are limits to everything.
Almonte brings to the table solid defensive play in the outfield (primarily in his career at CF) and some pop at the plate when on offense. Unfortunately, what he also brings is a poor batting eye (.157 with .500 considered prospect level), huge strikeout numbers (687 in 2000 plate appearances, or, 34% (20% and under is good)), and miniscule walks (108 in 2000 plate appearances, or, 5.4% (10% and up is good)). I can't find the energy to write more about Denny Almonte today...
Johermyn Chavez sizzled in 2010 while playing at High Desert (many fringy prospect do), and fizzled in 2011 at Jackson (many fringy prospects do). Chavez HAS to show something in 2012 at the plate. The defense is already there with many folks saying that he has the strongest arm in the system, but the M's already have a legion or two of all defense and no hit outfielders.
Joey Dunigan, welcome back to Jackson! I realize that you haven't been in the minor leagues as long as some of your team mates, but with 6 years in the book and having not progressed beyond AA kind of tells us a story of a guy who tried, and failed. Ya, I know that you are "only" 26, but dude, I think your ship has already sailed.
Players on the Jackson Generals roster that I plan on keeping an eye on:
- Danny Hultzen (duh)
- James Paxton (duh)
- Taijuan Walker (duh)
- Andrew Carraway
- Brandon Maurer
- Nick Franklin
- Danny Carroll
- Chih-Hsien Chang