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.
The Mariners Winter Caravan continues to roll through Eastern Washington, and today broadcasters Aaron Goldsmith, Mike Blowers, infielder Nick Franklin and the Mariner Moose made a stop at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane. Here are some photos captured by Mariners Team Photographer Ben Van Houten.
Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith is currently on the road in Eastern Washington with the Mariners Winter Caravan. Here is an update from the second day of the caravan’s tour through Eastern Washington…
The theme of Day 2 of the Mariners Eastern Washington Caravan was autographs.
After paying a 45 minute visit to our radio affiliate in Wenatchee (KKRT 900), it was off to two U.S. Bank locations to sign autographs and meet some fans. The quote of the day came from a gentleman at the Moses Lake autograph session who told Nick Franklin, “You look better in person than in photographs…but I’m not saying you’re attractive.”
I had to stop signing for a good couple of minutes before I stopped laughing. I think Nick took the comment pretty well.
The best moment of yesterday’s trip actually came after the day was over. We stopped at a grocery story following our final event in Moses Lake so we could get some snacks for our two hour bus ride to Couer d’Alene. Forgetting that he was still wearing his Mariners jersey from the recent autograph session, Nick casually walked into the Safeway store wearing his “Franklin #6” Mariners white uniform top.
Within a minute, we were stopped by a fan in the produce section wanting to talk baseball. Needless to say, the jersey was then quickly removed.
Day three starts in Couer d’Alene with visits to Spokane and Post Falls. Should be fun!
Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith is currently on the road in Eastern Washington with the Mariners Winter Caravan. Here is an update from his first day where they toured around the Palm Springs of Washington (aka Yakima)…
Day 1 of the Mariners caravan to Eastern Washington was really fun. First it was off to Summitview Elementary in Yakima where Nick Franklin, Dave Valle and myself talked to the entire school about setting goals, staying drug free, and studying hard in school. Of course, no matter what we said, the Moose was the most popular guy in the room.
Then it was off to KTCR 980 where the three of us recorded some liners for our local radio affiliate. Val was a pro, and Franklin was pretty impressive, too.
Our first day wrapped up at the Sun Dome where a few hundred Mariners fans joined us to talk a little baseball. After about 20 minutes of Q&A, it was time to break out the Sharpies. It was close, but I feel like Franklin was slightly more popular than me in the autograph line. He let me know about it on our ride back to the hotel.
Day 2 is in Wenatchee. Should be a fun time!
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. This post covers Nick Franklin batting leadoff for the first time in his MLB career, tonight’s pitching match-up between Hisashi Iwakuma and Derek Holland, and a Clemson connection.
Nick Franklin saw his name at the top of the lineup card for the first time in his Major League career Monday. “I love hitting leadoff,” Franklin said. “I’ve hit all up and down the order in my career, but feel like I’m at my best when I’m fighting off pitches and working counts.”
It will be interesting to see if Nick is leading off again Tuesday against Texas. When Franklin is seeing the ball well, he proved to be one of the more patient and effective hitters on the team. Through his first 35 games, the M’s second baseman hit .290/.350/.473. In his last 36 games Franklin is batting .177/.255/.355.
It will be up to Hisashi Iwakuma to keep the Rangers off the board Tuesday night. He’s coming off his 13th quality start of the season, holding the A’s to three runs over seven innings on August 21. Talking with Iwakuma yesterday after batting practice (through interpreter Antony Suzuki), he said he threw less sliders to the A’s in his last start and more fastballs. When asked what makes his 90 mph fastball to effective, Iwakuma said it was because of how well he hides the ball in his delivery.
Iwakuma will need to be especially stingy Tuesday. Texas starter Derek Holland has made three starts against Seattle this year and has struck out 26 batters over 19 2/3 innings while allowing just two earned runs (0.92 ERA).
There was a Clemson connection Monday night at Safeco Field. Jeff Baker was in left field for the Rangers while Brad Miller was at shortstop for the Mariners. “He was a big reason why I wanted to go to Clemson,” Miller said. With 59 career homers, Baker left Clemson as the school’s all time home run leader and was part of the Tigers 2002 College World Series team with Khalil Greene and Michael Johnson.
“All my friends wanted to play at Florida, but I knew I wanted to play at Clemson,” Brad explained. “What Baker, Khalil, and Johnson did there made me so excited to play for Clemson.”
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
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 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.