Down on the Farm: Mariners Minor League Check-in
By Trevor Pedro
Tacoma Rainiers Offense Continues to Pummel PCL
14 – 12 (4th overall)
The Rainiers are still swinging some thunderous bats a month into the season. The telling statistic is their Pacific Coast League-leading run differential (+28). The whole lineup is clicking, even with Jose Caballero and Taylor Trammell taking their bat to the Mariners clubhouse. Standouts include organizational Top 10 prospect Cade Marlowe and veteran first baseman Mike Ford.
Marlowe flashed this week, putting all five tools on display. The 25-year-old prospect hit .370 in his past seven games while spraying the ball from line to line (2 3B, 2B, HR). Keep an eye on the walks and strikeouts. We could see Marlowe in Seattle at midseason if he can continue to run a career-low strikeout rate (23.2%) while walking at an acceptable pace (10.7%). Imagine an outfield defense of Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, and Cade Marlowe tracking down anything and everything in the gaps.
As for Mike Ford, he continues to rake, and a trip to the launching pad in Las Vegas just created more helium for the former Yankee farmhand. He's pacing the circuit in numerous categories, including OPS (1.210), RBI (39), and SLG (.730). Ford's April performance is the stuff of Softball Beer League legends.
Brian O'Keefe, Jake Scheiner, Mason McCoy, and Zach Deloach continue to provide some outstanding depth to the lineup combining for an astounding 46 extra-base hits over the Rainiers' first 25 games.
The pitching isn't anything to write home about. The Mariners called up the Rainiers' most dependable starter for a spot start in Toronto, and Easton McGee absolutely shoved (6 2/3 1 hit 0 ER), and the team promptly moved him to the 15-day injured list with a forearm strain. Relievers Matthew Festa and Riley O'Brien are providing lockdown innings at the end of games, though, so that's a start.