The Seattle Mariners have not exactly started out strong in 2013. Does that mean we will see more prospects right away this season, or fewer?
To be sure, the season is not over, and the Mariners still have the potential to turn things around. However, the room for error will disappear very quickly if Seattle sinks too deep into the depths of the American League West.
As usual, there is some speculation about certain prospects and when they might be invited to join the big club. When particular starters begin to struggle, the call for the youngsters may get a bit louder.
Here is a review of the performances from some of the best prospects in the Seattle system for the week of April 22.
The top prospect in the Seattle Mariners system pitched on April 25, and he did not disappoint. Taijuan Walker went seven innings and gave up only one run and two hits.
He did walk four batters, but he struck out seven. Not bad.
Obviously Seattle is excited to see what this young prospect can do, and he has put together a 2-2 record this season with an impressive 1.55 ERA. Given that the talented Walker is only 20, the Mariners are not going to be in a rush to call him up.
However, could a promotion to Tacoma happen sooner than later? Possibly.
Prior to his latest (attempted) start, Danny Hultzen was having a very solid season at Triple-A Tacoma. In four starts, Hultzen is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 22.2 innings.
Unfortunately, Hultzen did not make his start this week. According to CBS Sports, Hultzen could not get loose and was scratched from his intended start on April 25. The Mariners do not appear to be worried, but if they were, would they tell anyone?
In theory, there is nothing to worry about until there is actually something to worry about. So, when it comes to Danny Hultzen and his missed start, is there something to worry about?
We will see.
Prior to the week of April 22, Nick Franklin had a four-game hitting streak. At the end of the week, he is the proud owner of a nine-game hitting streak.
Franklin has had a very good week, and is now hitting .382 for the season. This week, Franklin played in five games and had 19 at-bats.
In those five games, Franklin had nine hits, one home run and six RBI. He had six walks and only one strikeout. For the year, Franklin now has a .514 on-base percentage.
With the struggles of some hitters in Seattle, could we have a Nick Franklin sighting at some point? We could.
It was a week of ups and downs for catching prospect Mike Zunino. On April 22 he racked up four RBI. On April 25 he finished with four strikeouts.
For the week, Zunino did not get a ton of work, playing in four games and compiling 13 at-bats. He had three hits, no home runs and five RBI. He struck out four times (all in the same game) and walked once in each of the four games.
The walk in each game is a positive sign about plate discipline and is contributing to Zunino’s .354 on-base percentage for the year. He now has 10 walks to go with 22 strikeouts and a .234 batting average.
Zunino is not exactly tearing up Triple-A, but it will be interesting to see when he might get the call to head north.
You could say that Paxton had a mixed week, though it certainly wasn’t particularly great. He had two starts, and one was forgettable at best.
On April 22, Paxton lasted 1.2 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits while issuing three walks. After striking out six, six and five in his previous three starts, Paxton did not register a strikeout in this game. Unsurprisingly, he took the loss.
Paxton pitched better on April 28, as he went 4.2 innings while giving up two runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked two. The young lefty did not get the decision.
Call it a week that ended better than it started. Granted, it started very badly.
How was the week for Stephen Pryor? It wasn’t.
Pryor spent the week on the 15-day disabled list, as the talented prospect tore a muscle in his back and has not pitched since April 14. This is unfortunate, given the fact that Pryor has been virtually perfect this year.
In 7.1 innings of work this season, Pryor has only given up three hits and no runs. He has also struck out seven and only walked one.
Hopefully, Pryor will return soon. The Mariners could certainly use him.
Carter Capps had a couple of rough games on April 10 and 13, but he bounced back and only gave up one run in the next five games. With Stephen Pryor on the disabled list, the Mariners are going to need Capps to help solidify the back end of the bullpen.
According to The Olympian, Capps will serve as the main setup man for closer Tom Wilhelmsen. This will put pressure on the 22-year-old to perform, but he has the arm to make an impact.
Perhaps this will move Capps one more step toward becoming the eventual closer in the future.
It is probably fair to say that Vinnie Catricala did not have a great week playing for the Jackson Generals of the Southern League. Catricala played five games, but did not swing the bat particularly well.
Catricala had 22 at-bats, which includes four hits, no home runs and three RBI. He drew only his second walk of the season and struck out seven times.
After hitting 25 home runs in 2011 and 10 in 2012, Catricala has not gone deep once in 2013. He is now hitting .195 with a .217 OBP. Not a good week for the young prospect.
Miller had what could probably be described as an adequate, but unspectacular week. Sometimes guys are going to play just well enough to stay exactly where they are.
In six games, Miller had 24 at-bats and managed six hits. He hit his second home run of the season while driving in three. Miller walked once and struck out five times.
For the season, Miller is now hitting .286 with four home runs and 12 RBI. This was not one of his better weeks with Double-A Jackson.
Since being promoted to Triple-A Tacoma, Stefen Romero has made the most of his opportunity. In five games during the week, Romero put together an impressive five-game hitting streak.
Romero had 22 at-bats during the week. He pounded out nine hits, five RBI and one home run while striking out five times and walking once.
Needless to say, Romero is seeing the ball very well and may represent a future infield solution for the Mariners.