Do the M’s have more talent ready to come up?
The Seattle Mariners offense was off to a quick start turned inconsistent at best. Mix that in with a bunch of injuries to their starting pitchers, one might think the Mariners have already called up any reserve talent in the minors that might be lurking around down there.
Sorry to disappoint the haters but the M’s minor league system does have some more gems working their way to the surface. Here’s a look at a few of the shiny minor league stars that we might see in the future playing on Safeco Field.
Imagine a Mariners starting rotation that includes ace Felix Hernandez, his alter-ego Larry Bernandez, and a guy you might not know that well yet, Anthony Fernandez. All jokes aside, while Bernandez is a work of fiction, Fernandez is certainly not.
Fernandez has started out the year in Tacoma as a member of the Rainiers starting rotation. The 23 year old, lanky lefty has 4 pitches that he throws and has pretty solid command for a young pitcher. The knock on him might be that he’s not exactly overpowering with his fastball.
Fernandez pitches in the high 80′s with his fastball but also throws a cutter which helps keep guys from taking advantage of his fastball’s velocity.
He has a decent changeup and a curveball that looks really good some days and not so good others. If he can develop that curve a bit more Fernandez has a chance to be a pretty good pitcher for the M’s.
He is left handed so he’s likely going to get his chance more than once to prove he can throw. On his minor league season so far Fernandez has thrown just over 25 innings in 5 starts with a 1-1 record. His ERA is a respectable 3.86 and he’s struck out 27 batters with just 14 walks.
Fernandez is a member of the M’s 40 man roster. That means he’s just a phone call away from a start for the Seattle Mariners.
I anticipate at some point this season he’ll do just that. **Update– Fernandez injured his elbow Monday night. No word on how long he’ll be out but elbows are never good news for pitchers.
Hopefully he can just skip a start and continue where he left off.
When you look at the Mariners stat sheet at batting averages at shortstop it’s hard not to be very disappointed to say the least. 3 players, Nick Franklin, Brad Miller and Willie Bloomquist have taken the field at short for the M’s this season.
All 3 have done next to nothing at the plate while doing so. While playing short, Franklin has thrown up a goose egg. He’s batting .000. Miller has only done marginally better at .174. Bloomquist has done the best, batting .250 but we are only talking about 8 ABs at the position.
Despite the promise that Franklin and Miller showed this spring might the M’s turn another direction at short? If those two do continue to struggle it is conceivable that the M’s will take a look at Chris Taylor.
Taylor is not on the 40 man roster so it would take some doing to get him to Seattle but his numbers say he’s earned a shot if things continue.
In 89 ABs this year in Tacoma, Taylor is batting .371 with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homeruns and 14 RBIs.
His OBP is over .400 and he’s struck out just 15 times all year. What Taylor is doing right now that Franklin and Miller are not is he’s putting the ball in play. That is something the M’s really need to do more of, particularly in front of Robinson Cano and Corey Hart in the batting order.
Taylor just might be able to provide that to the M’s.
Struggles and Injuries
While no one wants to see a player struggle and certainly no one wants to see a guy get hurt, it’s reality that injuries and struggles of others is what leads minor league players to be promoted to the show. Right now, the M’s have both of these conditions happening on their roster.
Opportunity is knocking for the guys in AAA. Who will answer the door down there?
Time will tell.