Mariners Young Talent: Liddi, Delabar, Saunders among Seattle’s 2011 September callups
For a non-contending team like the Seattle Mariners, September has a silver lining: September callups. The MLB rosters expand and that gives the rebuilding franchise a chance to see what they have with some minor-league prospects.
Liddi is arguably the most interesting story among the callups. The 23-year-old will become the first Italian born and developed player ever to reach the majors. He batted .259 with 30 homers, 104 RBI over 138 games with the Rainiers.
Delabar, 28, went 3-5 with a 2.25 ERA and an impressive 68 strikeouts in 56 innings in the minors this year.
Michael Saunders is the familiar name of the bunch. In his first go-round with Seattle this season, he batted .168 with two homers and seven RBI over 45 games. Back at Tacoma, Saunders bounced back to hit .288 with seven homers and 38 RBI over 64 games.
The Mariners also called up catcher Chris Gimenez, lefthander Cesar Jimenez and righthander Shawn Kelley earlier this week.
This isn’t a the most high-impact callup class in recent Mariners memory. No one from the above list is one of Baseball America’s top 10 prospects. But that’s because the top two guys, Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda, got the nod way earlier this year.
The names to watch among the callups are Liddi and Saunders. Liddi will make the Mariners a fun part of baseball history.
Saunders has been a disappointment but, as a native of Victoria, British Columbia, has hometown hero appeal in Seattle.
Even if the September class flops, 2011 will be viewed as a success for Mariners prospects. Ackley and Pineda have made significant contributions as rookies, establishing themselves as franchise pillars.