Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Winter League Wrapup

posted by Jon

We've been writing so much about non-Mariner Erik Bedard lately that I thought you might appreciate an update on current Mariners players. Winter league baseball seasons have reached their conclusions and, besides those involved in playoffs, players will be returning home to get some much needed R&R before Spring Training.

(These stats do not include the playoffs.)

Wlad Balentien, OF - 110 AB, .191 BA, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 27 K, 21 BB - It's tough to make a case for him to be Jones' replacement in Seattle after a poor showing in Venezuela, and he would definitely benefit from another half year or so in Tacoma. It is encouraging that his slump didn't effect his walk totals much, as it is always an asset to have a player that can get on base without hitting.

Cesar Jimenez, LHP - 21 G, 23.1 IP, 0.77 ERA, 18 K, 3 BB - Jimenez wasn't able to get it done during his first stint with Seattle in 2006, but could be getting closer to becoming a Mariner mainstay now that he is a full time reliever. He had a solid, albeit injury shortened season last year, posting a 3.51 ERA with Tacoma over 25.2 innings. He averaged over 10 K's per nine against lefties, and could be a viable option should George Sherrill be traded.

Adam Jones, OF - 69 AB, .304 BA, 10 RBI, 16 K - Jones has had a strong showing in limited action this Winter, though he has shown no power whatsoever (0 HR, 3 2B, 2 3B). What effects his trade value more, the .304 batting average or the lack of power?

Jose Lopez, 2B - 117 AB, .316 BA, 5 HR, 17 RBI - These stats are encouraging, but he only drew 5 walks. The Seattle lineup lacks on-base percentage, and most of the players don't seem to be improving much. In regards to the other stats, we know all to well that Lopez' struggles come late in the year, so do we even put any stock in these?

Brandon Morrow, RHP - 7 starts, 36.1 IP, 2.72 ERA, 31 K, 8 BB - I've touched on this line before, and the most important stat to notice is the K/BB ratio. Control was Morrow's main weakness during his rookie year, and if this is any indication as to what may come he could be a standout member of the Seattle (or Baltimore) pitching staff. He also averaged more than 5 innings pitched per start, so he seems to be well on his way to stretching that arm out.

Sean White, RHP - 8 starts, 46 IP, 2.54 ERA, 20 K, 8 BB - Had the Mariners decided to go with young guys in the 4 and 5 spots of the rotation White would have been a leading candidate, especially after putting up solid numbers this Winter. White should have a real shot at the long relief role, but I don't know how much of a chance he'll be given to compete as a middle reliever.

Michael Wilson, OF - 119 AB, .303 BA, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 41 Ks - Wilson has some outstanding raw power, but strikeouts continue to be his worst enemy. The Hawaiian Winter League isn't the most talented, and 41 whiffs in 35 games won't get him any closer to the bigs. He should start the year in AA.

Besides Balentien, some other notables who didn't help their stock include Charlton Jimerson (31 Ks in 25 games), Brian LaHair (.200 BA) and Ryan Rowland-Smith (5.34 ERA).

Please visit Mariners Minors for more players.

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