The Mariners answered a challenge (by the Orioles) and are now challenging the Rays in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Nelson Cruz, Brad Miller and Mike Zunino were showered with ice cold water to help raise awareness for Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
A special guest joined the Mariners players for the Ice Bucket Challenge, as Spokane native John Oakley helped count them down to the ice bath. Oakley is a middle school coach and has been diagnosed with ALS. He is on a mission to to visit every Major League Baseball stadium with his kids.
The Mariners and Major League Baseball are participating in the second year of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. Throughout the month of August, each club will host its own challenge and will then challenge another franchise, along with two other local personalities or organizations, to partake.
As a part of the initiative, MLB is donating $100,000 to The ALS Association. The funds will be used to further collaborative efforts between several organizations. Fans can join MLB by donating at ALSIceBucketChallenge.org and to make donations to an ALS organization of their choosing.
Cactus League play is underway and, with that, our regular Tuesday night show makes its transition from the Hot Stove League to the Cactus League Report. Tonight’s two-hour program is hosted by Rick Rizzs, Aaron Goldsmith and Shannon Drayer, and we have quite the lineup in store. Tune in to hear from skipper Lloyd McClendon, catcher Mike Zunino, LHP Charlie Furbush, RHP Blake Beavan, OF James Jones, minor league catching coordinator and Mariners legend Dan Wilson, and MLB.com’s Greg Johns.
You can listen to tonight’s show from 7-9 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle or stream online on Mariners.com.
We’re just a few weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training (February 12) and the Hot Stove League continues to heat up. Mike Zunino will join tonight’s show along with Kevin Mather, the new Mariners President and COO beginning February 1st. Third base coach John Stearns and former Mariners pitcher Mark Langston are also scheduled to join Rick Rizzs, Dave Valle and Shannon Drayer.
It should be a great show so be sure to tune in from 7-9 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle or stream the show for free online here.
Today Mike Zunino got the call everyone knew he would eventually get, the call to the Major Leagues. The Mariners top prospect joined the Major League club for the first time in his career, catching a flight from Las Vegas (where the AAA Tacoma Rainiers were set to open their road trip) and arrived at Safeco Field just in time hit in the last group of batting practice.
At this time last year, Zunino was preparing for the College World Series, putting the finishing touches on a storybook career at the University of Florida.
Zunino hit .238 (44×185) with 34 runs scored, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 11 home runs, 43 RBI and a .808 OPS in 47 games for the Rainiers. Among Pacific Coast League leaders, he ranked 5th in RBI (43), T6th in home runs (11) and T14th in extra base hits (25).
Zunino was the Mariners first round selection (3rd overall) in the 2012 June Draft out of the University of Florida. In 91 minor league games during his rapid rise to the Majors, Zunino has combined to hit .295 (102×346) with 26 doubles, 24 home runs and 86 RBI. He made his professional debut last season, combining to bat .360 (58×161) with 13 home runs in 44 games split between A Everett and AA Jackson.
Five other players from the 2012 Draft have reached the Majors, but all are pitchers. Zunino will be the first position player from the 2012 Amateur Draft, sixth player overall.
Zunino entered the season as the top prospect in the organization, and the No. 17 (Baseball America) and No. 23 (MLB.com) prospect in baseball. The Cape Coral, FL native was the 2012 Golden Spikes Award winner and Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year during his junior season with the Gators. When he makes his MLB debut (wearing his old college jersey #3), Zunino will become the second Golden Spikes Award winner to play for the Mariners, joining Dave Magadan (71 games for Seattle in 1993, 1983 Golden Spikes Award winner from University of Alabama).
In 2012 the Mariners nine minor league affiliated put together one of the best seasons in club history, combing for a 496-406 (.550) record. The organization led all Major League farm systems in wins (496) and winning percentage (.550), while also setting a new record for most win in a single season my any organization. Various publications have rated the Mariners farm systems as one of the best in baseball.
The Mariners looks to continue their winning ways throughout the minor leagues as well as get players ready to make the jump to the Major League level. The Mariners triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers roster boasts four of the top five prospects in the Mariners farm system, as ranked by Baseball America. Catcher Mike Zunino (No. 1), pitchers Danny Hultzen (No. 3) and James Paxton (No. 4), and infielder Nick Franklin (No. 5) all sit atop BA’s list entering the 2013 season.
Catcher Mike Zunino is off to a hot start with Tacoma this season. In 6 games with the Rainiers, Zunino is batting .385 (10×26) with 7 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs and 17 RBI. He currently leads the Minor Leagues with 17 RBI, T1st with 8 extra-base hits, while ranking as one of only 6 players in the Minor Leagues to have hit at least 4 home runs this season. The 2012 first round draft pick ranks 2nd in the PCL in extra-base hits (8) and slugging percentage (1.038), while ranking 3rd with 27 total bases. Zunino became the first Rainiers player since second baseman Dustin Ackley (7/15/10 at Reno) to have his first triple-A hit go for a home run on April 4 at Fresno.
LH Danny Hultzen has earned wins in each of his first two starts with the Rainiers, going 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA (3 ER, 11.0 IP). He has limited opponents to a .167 (7×42) average, while walking 3 and striking out 14. His 14 strikeouts currently lead all Mariners farmhands, while ranking 3rd overall in the Pacific Coast League.
OF Eric Thames is one of 6 players in the PCL to hit safely in each of the first 8 games. He is currently batting .424 (14×33) with 5 runs scored, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 1 stolen base and 4 walks. Thames ranks 11th in the league in average, and he is tied for the team lead with 4 multi-hit games.
The Rainiers open the home portion of their schedule tonight with a four-game series against the Salt Lake City Bees at Cheney Stadium. Tonight’s game starts at 7:05 p.m. PT with LH James Paxton (0-0, 4.50) making his 2nd career triple-A start and first at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma is currently 5-3 and trails Salt Lake by one game PCL Northern Division.
Well, the votes are in, and five Mariners have been named to the MLB.com Top 100 Prospects List. The impressive haul of Mariners includes three players listed in the top 25 and four in the top 50. Here are the Mariners named to the Top 100 list:
- RHP Taijuan Walker (#5)
- LHP Danny Hultzen (#18)
- C Mike Zunino (#23)
- INF Nick Franklin (#47)
- LHP James Paxton (#61)
And for the second consecutive season the Mariners organization received the most “Prospect Points”
We have already let you know that a trio of Mariners have been named to MLB.com’s Top Prospects Positional Rankings, as Taijuan Walker was ranked the No. 2 right-handed pitcher, and Danny Hultzen (#2) and James Paxton (#5) were among the top left-handed pitchers.
Here is what MLB.com prospect guru Jonathan Mayo had to say about Zunino and Franklin:
2. Mike Zunino, Mariners: After being drafted third overall in 2012, Zunino moved quickly through the Minors as he reached Double-A, where he hit for average and power and also drew a good number of walks in his summer debut. The winner of the 2012 Golden Spikes Award, as well as the Johnny Bench and Dick Howser Awards following his junior season at Florida, Zunino has drawn praise for his defense and his ability to run a pitching staff. Known to be a natural leader, Zunino will be trusted to catch a young and exciting Seattle rotation and work his way toward batting in the middle of the lineup.
6. Nick Franklin, Mariners: A 20-20 season in 2010 set the bar high for this 2009 first-round pick, and while he dealt with injuries that set him back in 2011, he bounced back with a much more solid season in 2012. A two-time Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game participant, Franklin is a very good athlete who has the chance to hit for some power and steal some bases, even if he doesn’t approach the numbers of that first full season again. He’s played both shortstop and second base and some see his long-term future on the right side of the diamond, though the Mariners are committed to him playing shortstop for now.
• Right-handed pitchers | List
• Left-handed pitchers | List
• Catchers | List
• Shortstops | List
• Third basemen | List
• Jan. 26 – Second basemen
• Jan. 27 – First basemen
• Jan. 28 – Outfielders
• Jan. 29 – Top 100 Prospects
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 Hot Stove League is in full swing with the Winter Meetings being held next week in Nashville. Mariners.com beat writer Greg Johns wrote a feature about what to expect from the Mariners contingent in Nashville.
And we have more good news to pass along about our minor leaguers. The Arizona Fall League recently concluded with the Peoria Javelinas capturing the league championship. Eight Javelinas represented the Mariners organization: Vinnie Catricala, Nick Franklin, Stefen Romero, Mike Zunino, Logan Bawcom, Bobby LaFromboise, James Paxton and Carson Smith.
And here are some interesting notes that have popped up lately on the interent:
- Mike Zunino and Nick Franklin were named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospect Team. The Mariner were one of seven organizations to boast two representatives on the AFL Prospect list.
- Mike Zunino (#3), Nick Franklin (#10) and James Paxton (#25) were touted by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo as top Arizona Fall League prospects.
- Stefen Romero was selected to the Topps Double-A® All-Star team.
- Danny Hultzen did a Q&A with David Laurila on FanGraphs.com.
A full Winter League Report will be posted later today with detailed information on Mariners around the Winter Leagues.
The Peoria Javelinas were crowned the Arizona Fall League champions after defeating the Salt River Rafters 4-3 Saturday. C Mike Zunino led the Javlinas with 2 RBI, going 3-for-5. He had RBI singles in both the first and second innings to give Peoria 3-0 lead. 2B Nick Franklin (0x5) and RHP Carson Smith (1.0,1,0,1,2) also appeared in the game.
Here is the latest installment of the Mariners Winter League Report.