Last Thursday, January 10, two hundred and fifty three people arrived for a banquet at Club Árabe Salvadoreño in San Salvador put on by the FESA (La Fundación Educando a un Salvadoreño), quite literally the Foundation to Educate a Salvadorian, to hear about the experiences of a young Nicaraguan.
Erasmo Ramírez, fresh off his rookie campaign with the Seattle Mariners, recounted his goals entering the 2012 season, his success at the Major League level, his path getting to professional baseball (aided by FESA) and his goals for the upcoming season.
Erasmo recounted his reaction to making the Major League roster and at one point was overcome with emotion on stage.
For background, FESA began as a program whose objectives were to contribute to the development of youth baseball and in 2001 added an educational aspect to the program. The program focuses on young males between the ages of 12 and 18.
When asked what he would be doing without the assistance of FESA, Ramirez replied:
“Right now I would be playing in the Nicaraguan professional league because I was always told that my height was not favorable. Then don Jorge Bahaía (president of FESA) extended his hand to help.”
Erasmo became the first player developed by FESA to reach the Major Leagues and aside from sharing his experiences at the banquet, he also took to the fields to share his thoughts and sign autographs for young baseball players from local schools.
Here’s a transcript of some of the topics covered during the event: The Big Leagues Are Another World
Here is the latest installment of the Mariners Winter League Report.
Over the next five games (starting tonight), the Mariners will send to the mound five different starting pitchers, all from different countries. Erasmo Ramirez (Nicaragua) will start things off and will be followed by Jason Vargas (United States) in the Sunday finale against the Boston Red Sox. The three pitchers who will face off against the Baltimore Orioles starting on Monday will be Hisashi Iwakuma (Japan), Felix Hernandez (Venezuela) and Hector Noesi (Dominican Republic).
That 5-day rotation leads us to ask, how many countries have been represented by Mariners pitchers? When you add in the left-hander from the bullpen Oliver Perez (Mexico), and of course the American-born players, the list grows to seven on the active roster.
Since the Mariners began playing in 1977, pitchers from 12 different coutries have toed the rubber for the team including the United States (271 pitchers), Australia (2), Canada (7), Columbia (1), Cuba (2), Dominican Republic (16), Japan (5), Mexico (5), Nicaragua (2), Puerto Rico (7), South Korea (1) and Venezuela (8).
Here’s a complete list of foreign-born Mariners pitchers:
For the third time in four days, a Mariners starting pitcher recorded double-digits in strikeouts last night. Jason Vargas tied his career-high with 10 punchouts, joining rotation-mates Felix Hernandez (10 Saturday at SD) and Erasmo Ramirez (10 Monday vs. OAK).
How long had it been for the Mariners to record the baseball-rarity of back-to-back games with starting pitchers recording 10+ strikeouts? Well, the answer is almost 13 years! You have to go all the way back to Aug. 23-24, 1999 when Paul Abbott and Freddy Garcia notched consecutive starts with 12 strikeouts.
And here is another interesting note to put things in perspective. With Felix, Erasmo and Jason all recording 10 strikeouts in a 4-game stretch, the Mariners became the first team to have a trio of starters each with double-digits in strikeouts over a 4-game stretch since the Arizona Diamondbacks Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2003: Randy Johnson – 11 K, Brandon Webb – 11 K, Curt Schilling – 10 K.
Here is a video look at the three 10-strikeout games:
Felix Dominates San Diego:
Erasmo Strikes Out 10 A’s:
Vargas Ties Career-High with 10 Strikeouts:
Erasmo Ramirez struck out 10 batters last night, while allowing only 3 hits and 1 run in a career-high 8.0 innings. Despite picking up the tough-luck loss, Erasmo became the 8th rookie (17th time) in club history to record a double-digit strikeout performance, and the first since Michael Pineda last season vs. Tampa Bay (7/30/11).
He joins a pretty elite list of Mariners rookies to record a double-digit strikeout game, with the likes of Freddy Garcia (4x), Mark Langston (4x), Randy Johnson (3x), Byron McLaughlin (2x), Erik Hanson, Felix Hernandez (8/15/05 vs. KC) and Pineda already members of the Rookie K Club. He also joins Yu Darvish (3x), Christian Friedrich and Matt Moore as the only rookies in the Majors this season to strike out 10 batters in a game.
Here is a video of his performance last night…
Mariners Rookies with 10+ Strikeouts:
|Erasmo Ramirez||2012-06-25||SEA||OAK||L 0-1||GS-8 ,L||8.0||3||1||1||1||10|
|Michael Pineda||2011-07-30||SEA||TBR||W 3-2||GS-7 ,W||6.1||1||2||1||4||10|
|Felix Hernandez||2005-08-15||SEA||KCR||W 11-3||GS-8 ,W||8.0||3||1||1||1||11|
|Freddy Garcia||1999-08-24||SEA||DET||W 5-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||6||0||0||1||12|
|Freddy Garcia||1999-08-07||SEA||NYY||L 0-1||CG 9 ,L||9.0||3||1||1||3||10|
|Freddy Garcia||1999-08-02||SEA||TBD||W 4-0||GS-8 ,W||7.2||6||0||0||1||10|
|Freddy Garcia||1999-07-09||SEA||LAD||L 0-5||GS-5 ,L||5.0||6||4||4||4||10|
|Randy Johnson||1989-09-27||SEA||CLE||L 1-4||GS-8 ,L||7.1||5||4||4||2||11|
|Randy Johnson||1989-09-21||SEA||TEX||W 8-3||GS-8 ,W||8.0||7||3||3||2||10|
|Randy Johnson||1989-07-23||SEA||TOR||W 5-2||CG 9 ,W||9.0||5||2||1||3||12|
|Erik Hanson||1988-09-16||SEA||MIL||L 1-5||GS-8 ,L||8.0||8||5||5||1||11|
|Mark Langston||1984-08-29||SEA||DET||W 5-1||CG 9 ,W||9.0||2||1||1||4||12|
|Mark Langston||1984-08-19||SEA||DET||W 4-1||GS-9 ,W||8.1||4||1||1||4||11|
|Mark Langston||1984-07-17||SEA||MIL||W 3-1||GS-8 ,W||8.0||2||1||1||5||12|
|Mark Langston||1984-06-15||SEA||TEX||W 4-3||GS-8||8.0||4||3||3||4||12|
|Byron McLaughlin||1978-09-17||SEA||CHW||W 3-1||CG 9 ,W||9.0||3||1||0||4||10|
|Byron McLaughlin||1978-04-25||SEA||CAL||L 0-3||GS-7 ,L||6.0||6||3||3||4||10|
Day 5 / Thursday, February 16, 2012 / 40 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo / 56 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle
Weather: Not a cloud in the sky during workouts as the temperatures hovered in the lower to mid-60’s.
Quote of the Day: “Heads Up!” – Players and coaches yelled to General Manager Jack Zduriencik warning him after infielder Vinnie Catricala hit a scorching line drive that nearly hit the golf cart Jack was riding in. This following a shot down the line that almost took out a group of photographers.
The Day: Day 5 was very similar to day 4, with pitchers taking PFP (Pitcher’s Fielding Practice), while half the pitchers had a throwing session in the bullpen. Starters Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas and Blake Beavan threw their third bullpen session, while a crowd of coaches and media stayed and watched pitchers Stephen Pryor, Erasmo Ramirez, Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton throw in the bullpen as well.
So far 60 of the 66 players invited to Major League camp have been spotted around the complex. The position players will officially report tomorrow for physicals, while the first full squad workout is on Saturday.
Infielder Vinnie Catricala impressed many of the coaches during his BP session this afternoon. Besides nearly taking of the GM and half the photographers watching, he was hitting the ball all over field. Looks like he is picking up exactly where he left off at the end of last year. Catricala was named the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year in 2011, after hitting .349 (182×521) with 101 runs scored, 77 extra-base (2B – 48, 3B – 4, HR – 25) and 106 RBI in 133 games combined between A High Desert and AA Jackson. Among full season minor leaguers he ranked 2nd in extra-base hits, 3rd in hits, T3rd in doubles, T4th in batting average and T9th in RBI.
Tweet of the Day:
— Vinnie Catricala (@VinnieCatricala) February 15, 2012
Carlos Peguero wins the award for longest drive of the day. He launched a mammoth shot that hit the 32-foot-high batter’s eye in center field 410-feet away to highlight BP. Not sure if the ball bounced back to the field or got stuck in the chain-link fence.
A group of 35 of the Mariners top Minor League players are in camp today for physicals to take part in the team’s annual mini camp for many of top lower-level prospects. The first workout for mini-camp players is tomorrow and workouts will run through March 1. Mini-camp is an opportunity for players to receive one-on-one instruction from the coaching staff and work on improvement plans for Spring Training and the rest of the 2012 season. Among players taking part in the mini camp are highly regarded prospects right-handed pitchers Victor Sanchez and Carter Capps, catcher Marcus Littlewood, infielders Brad Miller and Cavan Cohoes and outfielders Guillermo Pimentel, Phillips Castillo and Jabari Blash.
Today, we announced that 9 organizational players have been invited to Major League Spring Training. These players are in addition to the 16 players the Mariners have signed as minor league free agents. So, as of right now, the spring training roster consists of 65 players. Here is the Mariners current 40-Man Roster with spring training invites.
Here are the 9 Mariners minor league players that will participate in Major League Spring Training:
- RHP Taijuan Walker
- LHP James Paxton
- INF Nick Franklin
- OF Vinnie Catricala
- RHP Erasmo Ramirez
- RHP Stephen Pryor
- RHP Forrest Snow
- C Jesus Sucre
- C Ralph Henriquez
There are a few names on here that fans will be very excited to see roaming the upper fields in Peoria.
The list includes seven of the Mariners top 20 prospects for the 2012 season as listed by Baseball America, including Taijuan Walker (#2), James Paxton (#4), Nick Franklin (#5), Vinnie Catricala (#9), Erasmo Ramirez (#13), Stephen Pryor (#15) and Forrest Snow (#19). Additional top 30 prospects C Jesus Montero (#1), LHP Danny Hultzen (#3), RHP Chance Ruffin (#7), RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (#8), INF Alex Liddi (#14), OF Chih-Hsien Chiang (#24), INF Carlos Triunfel (#25), LHP Mauricio Robles (#26) and OF Johermyn Chavez (#28) are on the 40-man roster.
Additionally, the Mariners had five players named among MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects:
- C Jesus Montero (#12)
- LHP Danny Hultzen (#16)
- RHP Taijuan Walker (#18)
- INF Nick Franklin (#52)
- LHP James Paxton (#77)
The Mariners were one of five organizations to place at least 5 prospects on this year’s Top 100 list, and ranked highest with 329 Prospect Points (100 points to the team with the No. 1 prospect, 99 to the team with No. 2 and on down).
Walker, 19, was named the Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011 going 6-5 with a 2.89 ERA (31 ER, 96.2 IP) with A Clinton. He was recently named the No. 8 right-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com. Walker was originally selected by Seattle in the supplemental first round (43rd overall) in the 2010 June Draft.
Paxton, 23, was recently named the No. 8 left-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com (Hultzen was No. 3). He made his debut in 2011 combining to go 6-3 with a 2.37 ERA (25 ER, 95.0 IP) in 17 starts with A Clinton and AA Jackson. Overall, he ranked 2nd in the minors with 12.41 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (131 SO). Paxton signed with the Mariners last March after being selected in the 4th round of the 2010 June Draft.
Franklin, 20, also garnered attention from MLB.com as the No. 6 shortstop prospect. Despite missing an extended period of time in 2011 with a concussion, Franklin still hit .281 (99×352) with 64 runs scored, 13 doubles, 7 triples, 7 home runs and 26 RBI with the AZL Mariners, High Desert and Jackson. He capped his 2011 season being named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game. In 2010 he was one of only three minor leaguers to turn in a 20 HR-20 SB season (23 HR, 25 SB). Franklin was selected by Seattle in the first round (27th overall) in the 2009 June Draft.
Catricala, 23, was named the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year in 2011 combining to bat .349 (182×521) with 101 runs, 48 doubles, 4 triples, 25 home runs and 106 RBI in 133 games with A High Desert and AA Jackson. Among full season minor leaguers he ranked 2nd in extra base hits (77), 3rd in hits, T3rd in doubles, T4th in batting average and T9th in RBI. Catricala was selected by the Mariners in the 10th round of the 2009 June Draft out of the University of Hawai’i.
Ramirez, 21, combined to go 10-8 with a 4.83 ERA (82 ER, 152.2 IP) in 26 starts with Jackson and Tacoma. Ramirez is 35-14, 3.10 in his minor league career (79 G/73 GS), including being named the 2009 Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 11-1, 0.51 as a 19-year-old with the Venezuelan Summer League Mariners.
Pryor, 22, combined for 10 saves with High Desert and Jackson last season. The hard-throwing right-hander averaged 11.05 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in 39 relief appearances. He was originally selected by Seattle in the 5th round of the 2010 June Draft out of Tennessee Tech University.
Snow, 23, went 5-12 with a 5.09 ERA (81 ER, 143.1 IP) in 28 appearances (21 GS) split between Clinton, High Desert and Tacoma. The University of Washington product led the Arizona Fall League with a 1.10 ERA (2 ER, 16.1 IP). Snow was originally selected in the 36th round of the 2010 June Draft.
Sucre, 23, split time between AA affiliates with Atlanta (Mississippi) and Seattle (Jackson) organizations last season. He combined to throw out 31 of 60 attempted base stealers (51.7%).
Henriquez, 24, saw action in 80 games last season with High Desert, Jackson and Tacoma. He was originally selected by Houston in the 2nd round of the 2005 June Draft and signed with Seattle as a minor league free agent on Dec. 11, 2009.