Kaiea Higa of Maple Valley is representing the Mariners today at the Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals competition at Petco Park in San Diego. Higa was the top finisher in her age category (11/12 Softball) at the Pitch, Hit & Run Team Championships at Safeco Field on June 12, and her scores placed her among the top three in the nation. She’ll match up against competitors from Roseville, California (representing the San Francisco Giants) and Jupiter, Florida (representing the Miami Marlins) in the baseball skills competition. Win, lose or draw, when Higa returns from San Diego, she’ll get to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners meet the Houston Astros at Safeco Field on July 17.
Higa was also chosen by MLB as one of two National Finalists to write a blog post about her experience.
Congratulations and good luck, Kaiea. The Mariners are rooting for you.
We are now less than 40 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to the Mariners Spring Training Complex in Peoria, Arizona and we can’t wait! With that in mind, The Hot Stove show returns tonight from the 710 ESPN Radio studios from 7-9 pm.
Mariners broadcasters Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer & Bill Krueger will co-host the evenings show and will be joined by Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Mariners VP of Marketing Kevin Martinez and from the Caravan; Stefen Romero and Shawn O’Malley. ESPN.com’s Dave Shoenfield will also join the show.
As you’re all well aware, Ken Griffey Jr. was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame last week. Rick Rizzs was able to sit down with The Kid himself for an exclusive one-on-one interview that looks back at his fabulous career. The full interview will air tonight on the Hot Stove Show.
Be sure to tune in on the radio on 710 ESPN Seattle and online at MyNorthwest.com.
It has been a busy time for the Mariners baseball operations department during the last few weeks, as the group has been putting its team together not just on the field, but in the front office. As ESPN’s Jayson Stark noted on twitter, “Jerry Dipoto is the early leader for most hyperactive GM. Already two trades involving nine players, one signing (Gutierrez) and two waiver claims!”
General Manager Jerry Dipoto, VP & Assistant G.M. Jeff Kingston, VP of Player Personnel Tom Allison & Special Assistant to the G.M. Joe Bohringer were in Boca Raton, FL for the G.M. meetings during the early part of this week and at the conclusion of those sessions, they made a trip to the Dominican Republic.
Dipoto, Kingston, Allison and Bohringer were joined at the Mariners Dominican Baseball Academy by Manager Scott Servais and Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz. The group will be there through the weekend checking in with the staff and players and watching games during the instructional league at the academy before they return home to Seattle.
As part of the July 2 International Signing Period, Seattle Mariners Director of International Operations Tim Kissner announced the signing of 16-year-old shortstop Carlos Vargas out of the Dominican Republic.
Vargas, listed at 6-3, 180 pounds, was recently in Seattle to sign his contract and took batting practice and infield with the Everett AquaSox.
Here are some pictures of Vargas and a scouting video from Baseball America.
Here is an excerpt from an article on Vargas’ signing on MLB.com:
Scouts like Vargas’ raw power along with his projectable body, and there’s a belief that he will hit for power in the future.
On defense, the teenager could be athletic enough to stay at shortstop as he matures, but he could also end up at third base because of his size. He could also end up in the outfield.
A veteran of MLB’s Amateur Prospect League, Vargas was one of several top international prospects selected to participate in the inaugural International Prospect Series at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex, a joint venture between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball. Vargas went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in two games against a pair of North Carolina high school teams during the series.
Vargas will train at the Mariners Latin Academy in the Dominican Republic and will make his professional debut starting in 2016.
We’ve all seen Kyle Seager turn into one of the offensive leaders of this Mariners club, but Manager Lloyd McClendon wants to make sure people do not ignore his glove work at the hot corner.
“He’s been great offensively,” McClendon said, “but I’ve been saying all year he should seriously be considered for a Gold Glove as well. What he does on the other side of the ball is just as important.”
The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) has taken notice as well and has been able to quantify his stellar work on the defensive end. The SABR Defensive Index is used to help select the winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award™, presented by SABR.
According to the Index, Seager’s defense ranks not just second amongst American League third basemen, he ranks as the second-best defensive player in the American League.
To read more about the SABR Defensive Index, visit SABR Defensive Index rankings released through September 7, 2014.
Here’s a look at the top defensive players in the American League:
The Mariners organization is pleased to welcome a special player into the fold with the signing of 16-year-old Venezuelan switch-hitting outfielder Brayan Hernandez.
Mariners Director of International Operations Tim Kissner and coordinator Emilio Carrasquel worked very hard to make this signing official and it all culminated yesterday.
Everybody in the organization is happy to have him on board and ready to make contributions on the field. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Hernandez has been followed closely by the team, specifically by Carrasquel and scout Illich Salazar who is the area scout.
“[Hernandez] is a young man with tremendous physical ability and projection,” said Carrasquel. “We had the chance to see him with our International Director Tim Kissner and we always knew he would be a good acquisition.
“I believe he is a player, for his age, that combines all five tools that you need in baseball. He’s still developing and we are very happy that the Seattle Mariners have reached an agreement with the family and agent for Brayan Hernandez.”
Hernandez, for his part, was beaming after realizing that he would be joining the Mariners organization.
“I’m proud to be able to wear a Seattle Mariners uniform and I’m very happy because this is a dream that I’ve always wanted, to wear this uniform,” said Hernandez. “I never thought that I’d be here with them but thanks to God, everything worked out. I worked hard for this and it is a joy to wear this uniform, to be able to represent it and in the future be able to lead it to a World Series.”
Over the weekend, Hernandez visited with the team, met with the staff, worked out with the club and took batting practice.
“[Meeting Felix Hernandez] was a beautiful experience,” said Hernandez. “And it was always a dream to stretch out my hand to Cano and it felt very good to do that.”
Once out on the field, you could see the emerging talent shine. During batting practice, the young switch-hitter sprayed line drives all over the field and also hit a home run into Edgar’s Cantina in left field and hit a few off the wall.
“He’s a very interesting young centerfielder from Venezuela who we like his current ability and there is still the projection left with him” said Kissner. “He’s a plus athlete with plus instincts and tools. He’s an intelligent young man with good instincts for the game and all the tools that we have seen we like and we think that he can continue to grow. That’s probably the most intriguing thing, his ability to play the game but still the upside that he has left.”
Here are a few audio clips from Brayan Hernandez (in Spanish), Tim Kissner and Emilio Carrasquel (in Spanish) about the signing:
Brayan Hernandez on signing with the Mariners:
Brayan Hernandez on choosing Seattle:
Brayan Hernandez on meeting some of his favorite players:
Tim Kissner on Brayan Hernandez:
Emilio Carrasquel on Brayan Hernandez:
Here’s a slideshow from Brayan Hernandez weekend with the Mariners:
Robinson Cano had a very eventful Monday, his first day back in New York since joining the Seattle Mariners.
First, he appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where in addition to a sit-down interview, they taped a bit in Bryant Park in which unsuspecting Yankee fans booed a cardboard cutout of Cano before realizing that Cano was in fact standing behind it.
After taping the Tonight Show, Cano went straight to the MLB Fan Cave, where he was the featured guest and executive producer for this week’s “Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave” on MTV2 (airing tonight at 11pm ET/PT). In addition to an interview with Sway, Cano showed off his dance moves with Melanie Iglesias.
The episode also features a segment shot earlier this month in Seattle, in which Cano learns to throw fish at the famed Pike Place Market: http://atmlb.com/1iw3GVy