Seattle Mariners Minors: Early Fall League Update Part Two
The Mariners top batting prospects are hoping to make a strong case for themselves this fall. After the grueling summer months in the minors, the cream of the crop now how the Arizona Fall League to continue to shine. Here is how the best batters in Seattle’s system are doing early on in the AFL.
The pitching may not look so hot for the Mariners in the early going of the AFL season, but that isn’t entirely the case for the M’s prospects’ bats so far.
One of the benefits of battling in back-to-back 7-7 draws is that players will get many chances at the plate to make a difference. In the case of some men, it has helped their numbers. For others, not so much.
Here is what we’ve seen in the first two games from Baseball of America’s Player of the Year, Tyler O’Neil, the team’s number three prospect, Drew Jackson, as well as Tyler Marlette and one of the newest big league Mariners, Guillermo Heredia.
In the season debut, it was only the highly touted, Tyler O’Neil who graced the field in a Peoria Javelinas jersey representing the Mariners.
He didn’t wait very long to continue where he left off in his award winning minor league season. In the first inning, in his first plate appearance, O’Neil doubled to left field with two outs. He would be brought home on the very next at-bat, helping to put the Javelinas up 1-0 in the early going.
However, it wouldn’t get any better for the for the star player. He would be completely shut down the rest of the game.
O’Neil would ground out in the second and then strike out four times in a row. Once in the fourth, next in the sixth, then in the eighth, and finally in the eleventh. This earned him a golden sombrero, which is very uncommon for the young star.
It is bizarre to watch a player that is so gifted, struggle so mightily. It definitely doesn’t speak to his outrageously impressive production over the last few years in the minors.
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Because of his lack of offense throughout the game, the Javelinas couldn’t score more than their opponents and would tie 7-7.
The next day, we saw a few more pieces of the Mariners future puzzle come together.
In the first inning, O’Neil strikeout woes became contagious. Drew Jackson swung and missed and was sent back to the dugout. O’Neil himself would also strikeout victim in the same inning, bringing his total to five consecutive strikeouts.
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Tyler Marlette would be the first Mariners representative to reach base. Albeit by a fielding error, but, that’s better than striking out. His presence on base would not effect the game at this point as he would be stranded on base.
In the third, Jackson would ground-out, but O’Neil was ready to end his mini-drought. He would smash a two-run homer. We could’ve expecting some power out of O’Neil who had twenty-four home runs over the summer. The deficit was now just 5-3.
Tyler Marlette would continue to help his case in the next inning as he would double to left. Unfortunately, he would get stranded again.
His good start should not be taken lightly by the Mariners. Marlette has worked his way up the Mariners minors ladder and should soon have a chance to show off his ability at the highest level. Later in the same ballgame, Marlette would draw two walks and add a single to his great AFL season debut.
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The Mariners need a reliable starting and back-up catcher for next season, and there is no indication that they are leaning towards making a decision yet. This is Marlette’s chance to show the organization why he should be considered for one of the spots.
The rest of the night wouldn’t go as well for O’Neil or Jackson who would get one more hit between the two of them. It was a single off the bat of O’Neil.
It would end up being an all around decent day for O’Neil. And, Marlette was a star. The same couldn’t be said for Drew Jackson who went 0-6 with two strikeouts. Adding a RBI to his numbers looks better, but with overall stats that like those, it doesn’t help his case much.
Next: Fall Legue Update Part One
Heredia did not feature at all last night, but you can be sure you’ll see plenty of him throughout the short fall season. He and the rest of the top prospects have many games left to prove their worth for the 2017 season. The first two games have been a mixed bag for three of the four men. It will be exciting to watch the rest of the season play out to see how they all do.