Everett Aquasox (2nd in Northwest League)
The Everett Aquasox had an uneven first-half finishing in the middle of the pack in the Northwest League. Even though the record hovered around the .500 mark (34-32), this team has some exciting talent. Backstop Harry Ford is the unquestioned leader, leading the "dominate the zone" charge with a compelling 18.2% walk rate and an 18% strikeout rate fueling his high one-base approach (.409). While Ford is known for his offensive profile, he's taken giant steps forward defensively.
The former first-round pick is ready to test his mettle in Arkansas. Alberto Rodriguez is another position player who should jump to Double-A soon. With the return in the Tajuan Walker trade with the Blue Jays, Rodriguez garnered two NWL Player of the Week awards this season and continues to torment opposing pitchers spraying extra-base hits from line to line.
Pitchers who could make their way to Arkansas by the season's end include Sam Carlson, Reid VanScooter, and Brandon Schaeffer. Carlson has overcome numerous injuries and becoming a real weapon in the Frog's bullpen. While the two starters are routinely pumping out quality starts.
Modesto Nuts (3rd in California League North)
Frequently running out a top-of-the-order comprised of Cole Young, Michael Arroyo, and Gabriel Gonzales, Modesto has a talented lineup. We could see all three of those youngsters promoted depending on the movement in Everett. We've written about Arroyo and Gonzales in our Prospect Spotlight, but Young is the one to watch.
The numbers are less eye-popping than Gonzales (.350/.401/.901), and Young doesn't have the helium of Arroyo, but this guy is steady. He walks more than he strikes out (48/43), makes a lot of contact, and uses his speed once he gets on base (16 SB). The Mariners are usually aggressive with their promotions if they feel the prospect can handle it. The smooth-fielding shortstop is ready.
Most pitchers will ride the year out in the Cal League unless the organization thinks Shaddon Peavyhouse is promotion worthy. He's the readiest to make the jump, followed by Michael Morales, who has taken a huge step forward this season commanding the baseball.