Mariner pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma and Brandon Maurer spent part of their day on Thursday visiting kids at Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital as part of the Holland America Line Get Well Tour.
The kids got the chance to meet Kuma and Maurer – and the Mariner Moose – get photos and autographs, and a Get Well Tour duffle bag, baseball and Moose doll, all courtesy of Holland America Line.
Catching you up on some great photos of the Mariners Winter Caravan through Eastern Washington. Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush and Brandon Maurer, along with broadcasters Mike Blowers and Aaron Goldsmith, and of course the Mariner Moose, have been having a great time visiting with our fans on the East side of the state.
Here are some photos taken by team photographer Ben Van Houten from Whitman College in Walla Walla, the Boys and Girls club of Kootenai county in Post Falls, Idaho and also Bryan Elementary school in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. In this installment Aaron talks to starting pitcher Brandon Maurer about returning to Southern California for the first time as a Major League pitcher and about pitching in front of his family tonight at Angel Stadium.
It was a busy day for several Mariners players prior to tonight’s game vs. the Yankees. Four players (Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Lucas Luetge, Brandon Maurer) took over the MLB Fan Cave, and Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez were guests at the MLB.com headquarters to participate in the Edward Jones Chatting Cage.
We’ll post some video and more photos of the two visits later, but here a few quick pics of the guys from this morning.
Each January, Major League teams send some of their top prospects to Washington, D.C. for a four-day crash course on what life will be like in the big leagues. Former Major Leaguers such as Tony Clark, Jeffrey Hammonds, Michael Barrett and Dave Valle each served as a resource to help mentor the incoming rookie class. Each revealed relevant parts of the games around the game; respect your teammates, learn to work with your beat writers and trust yourself. The Mariners were represented last weekend by pitchers Carter Capps, Anthony Fernandez and Brandon Maurer, and infielder Nick Franklin.
Instituted in 1991, the Rookie Career Development Program was the first project to be jointly funded by Major League Baseball and the Players Union. Current Major Leaguers Derek Jeter, Ryan Braun, Jered Weaver and Bryce Harper each have participated and benefited in the Rookie Development Program in the past.
The players spent four-days being tutored on the physical and mental aspects of playing in the big leagues. There were sessions on dealing with the media, money management, drug prevention programs, umpire relations and other obstacles players may face upon reaching the Major Leagues.
The players were divided into American and National Leagues on each side of the conference room isles and further grouped by division and wear color-coded pullovers (the AL West looked snazzy in the color black). Each division received points for answering or asking a question, participating in skits on stage or offering examples of what they have been through in the past. At the end of the program the division with the most points won a prize. While Nick Franklin may have been one of the most vocal participants, the AL West fell just short of winning the main prize.
To help break up the day the incredibly talented Second City comedy troupe entertained the masses. From trivia contests to acting out real-life situations through improv skits, Second City used comedy to help bring in a lighter side to the program.
The trip was not just all conference rooms and seminars, but the program also took advantage of its proximity to take its students on a field trip to the Capital Building. The players and staff were given a guided tour and were able to sit in the House Chamber before enjoying dinner in a private room inside the building. Getting a chance to sit where their own representative’s vote on the nation’s most pressing issues and to walk in the same halls as the country’s former presidents definitely put things in prospective for many of the young players.
It was echoed over and over all weekend that nearly half the players who have one year of Major League service, never get two years of Major League service. That one small statistic gave each of the players motivation to work even harder once they do reach the Major Leagues. The MLB Rookie Development Program not only provides available tools for each of the player’s lives today, but helps set up a future after their careers are over.
With less than a month before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, we look forward to seeing Carter, Anthony, Brandon and Nick in uniform in Peoria, and hopefully soon playing under the lights at Safeco Field!
The Mariners nine minor league affiliates wrapped up the 2012 season putting together one of the best season in club history, combining for a 496-406 (.550) record. The organization led all Major League farm systems in wins and winning percentage, while setting a new record for most wins in a single season. This has led to optimism in the Mariners pipeline, as Seattle has one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Baseball America unveiled their annual Top 10 Prospects list ranking the top Mariners in the minor leagues.
Baseball America’s Top 10 Mariners Prospects:
1. Mike Zunino, c
2. Taijuan Walker, rhp
3. Danny Hultzen, lhp
4. James Paxton, lhp
5. Nick Franklin, ss/2b
6. Brandon Maurer, rhp
7. Carter Capps, rhp
8. Stefen Romero, 2b
9. Brad Miller, ss
10. Victor Sanchez, rhp
Catcher Mike Zunino, selected by the Mariners with the third overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player draft, quickly established himself as an offensive and defensive force and was ranked by Baseball America as the Mariners No. 1 prospect. In his first professional season, Zunino hit .360 (58×151) with 35 runs scored, 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 44 combined between Short-A Everett and AA Jackson.
The Mariners had six pitchers ranked in the top 10, including five of the top seven prospects. For the second straight year, right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker (#2) was tabbed as the Mariners top pitching prospect. In only his third professional season, Walker, 20, was one of the youngest pitchers in the Southern League and was also named to the North Division All-Star Team. Left-handed pitchers Danny Hultzen (#3) and James Paxton (#4), joined right-handed pitchers Brandon Maurer (#6), Carter Capps (#7) and Victor Sanchez (#10) to round out the Mariners top pitching prospects. After being in the minor leagues less than a year, Capps made his Major League debut on Aug. 3, 2012 and became only the third player from the 2011 First-Year Players draft to make his ML debut. Hultzen, Maurer and Paxton each ranked amongst the Mariners organization leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts, while Sanchez at age 17 was the youngest player in the top 10.
While the Mariners are known for their top pitching prospects, it was their offensive numbers that really stood out in 2012. Amongst all full-season minor league clubs, the Mariners affiliates finished in the top 5 in nearly every offensive category, including ranking first in hits, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Infielders Nick Franklin (#5), Stefen Romero (#8) and Brad Miller (#9) joined Zunino as the Mariners position players in the organizations top 10 rankings. Romero was named the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year after batting .352 (167×474) with 85 runs scored, 64 extra-base hits and 101 RBI in 116 games combined between High-A High Desert and AA Jackson. Franklin was recently named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospect Team, while Miller ranked second amongst all Minor Leaguers with 186 hits.
The Mariners announced the 2012 Minor League Awards today, and all players will be honored before the season finale today vs. the Los Angeles Angels.
Infielder Stefen Romero (High Desert/Jackson) was named Player of the Year, while right-hander Carter Capps (Jackson/Tacoma/Seattle) was named the Pitcher of the Year. Infielder Brad Miller (High Desert/Jackson) received the Heart and Soul Award for his exemplary play and leadership and right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer (Jackson) was named the Most Improved Player in the Mariners organization.
Romero, 23, hit .352 (167×474) with 85 runs scored, 64 extra-base (2B – 34, 3B – 7, HR – 23) and 101 RBI in 116 games combined between A High Desert and AA Jackson. In only his second professional season, Romero finished 3rd amongst all full season minor leaguers in average and was named to the Baseball America 2012 Second-Team All-Star team as a second baseman. Romero was one of only 19 players in the minor leagues this season to knock in at least 100 runs. He tied for the organizational lead in average, while ranking 2nd in RBI and 3rd in home runs. Romero became the first Minor League Player in 2012 to hit for the cycle when he accomplished the feat on May 22 at Lancaster. He recorded 50 multi-hit games (25-High Desert, 25-Jackson), including 8 three-hit games and 6 season-high four-hit games. Romero was named to the California League All-Star team before being promoted to Jackson on June 21. With the Generals he hit safely in 47 of 55 games with an at-bat, while batting .347 (75×216). Romero, a native of Tucson, Arizona, attended Oregon State University from 2009-10 and was the Mariners 12th round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
“Stefen had an outstanding offensive season combined between High Desert and Jackson,” Zduriencik said. “He not only led the organization in many offensive categories, but was one of the top players in all of the minor leagues.
Capps, 22, went 2-3 with 19 saves and a 1.23 ERA (7 ER, 51.1 IP) in 39 relief appearances combined between AA Jackson and AAA Tacoma. The 6-5, 220-pound right-hander averaged 13.2 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per 9.0 innings and converted 19 of 21 saves opportunities. He held opponents to a .212 (40×189) batting average, while walking 12 and striking out 75. Capps was selected to Seattle on July 31 and made his Major League debut on August 3 at New York (AL). In 18 relief appearances with the Mariners, Capps is 0-0 with a 3.96 ERA (11 ER, 25.0 IP) with 28 strikeouts. He was the third players from the 2011 draft to make his ML debut. Capps was the Mariners 3rd-round supplemental selection (121st overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Mount Olive College (NC). He was named the 2011 NCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year after going 14-1 with 2 saves and a 1.75 ERA in 20 games/15 starts.
“Carter had a great year which led to him being called up in early August,” Zduriencik said. “He had great command of the ball and was one of the most dominating relief pitchers in the minor leagues.”
Miller, 22, received the Mariners Heart and Soul Award for his exemplary play and leadership skills both on and off the field. Miller hit .334 (186×557) with 110 runs scored, 40 doubles, 7 triples, 15 home runs and 68 RBI in 137 games combined between A High Desert and AA Jackson. His 186 hits ranked 2nd amongst all minor leaguers this year, while also ranking 4th in runs scored and tied for 10th in doubles. Miller led all Mariners farmhands with 56 multi-hit games, including 12 three-hit games and 2 season-high four-hit games. He reached base safely, via hit or walk, in 123 out of 137 (90%) games he appeared, including 90 of 97 games with the Mavericks. He was named California League All-Star team and named the league’s Player of the Week, April 5-15. Miller was the Mariners 2nd round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the Clemson University. He was named 2011 ACC Player-of-Year his junior season after leading the conference in average (.395) and on-base percentage (.489).
“Brad has been a leader both on and off the field this season,” Zduriencik said. “He has a knack for getting things started when they need to get started and motivating his teammates throughout the game.”
Maurer, 22, was recently named Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher after going 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA (49 ER, 137.2 IP) in 24 starts with AA Jackson. After being limited to only 22 games, 17 starts, over the 2010-11 seasons due to injuries, Maurer rebounded to lead the league with an .818 winning percentage and ranked 5th in ERA, while helping Jackson to the best record in the Southern League in 2012 (79-61). Maurer limited opponents to a .260 (133×512) average, while walking 48 and striking out 117. He finished tied for the Generals lead in wins (9), while leading the team in strikeouts (117) and innings pitched (137.1). In his final 14 starts of the season, from June 1-Aug. 16, Maurer went 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA (24 ER, 86.1 IP) and recorded 10 quality starts. During this stretch has lowered his season ERA from 4.38 to 3.20. After only recording 7 wins in his first four seasons in the Mariners organization, Maurer set a career-high with 9 wins in 2012. He was the Mariners 23rd round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Orange Lutheran (CA) High School. Maurer is 16-17 with a 3.65 ERA (131 ER, 323.0 IP) in 67 games, 58 starts in his four-year minor league career.
“Brandon committed himself to physical fitness in the offseason and the results showed with a successful season,” Zduriencik. “After a slow start to the season he emerged one of the top pitching prospects in the organization.”
Here is a complete rundown of all the Mariners minor leaguers in 2012: