Mariners Minor League roundup April 23, 2023
SEATTLE -- Early in Spring Training, manager Scott Servais was asked which Mariners hitter would see the most at-bats in Cactus League play, to which he quickly answered: Cade Marlowe.
Part of that forecast was due to everyday players departing for the World Baseball Classic, part due to Marlowe's ability to play all three outfield positions. But just as much, Seattle wanted to see Marlowe up close.
The Mariners’ No. 16 prospect per MLB Pipeline was on that trajectory before a right oblique strain sidelined him in early March. But now recovered six weeks later, Marlowe has picked up where he left off, hitting .316/.458/.632 (1.090 OPS) with four RBIs, four doubles and a triple in 24 plate appearances and playing all three outfield spots over his first five games for Triple-A Tacoma.
At the time of his injury, Marlowe was on the outside looking in for a big league roster spot, particularly after Taylor Trammell suffered a broken right hamate bone just before camp. Cooper Hummel wound up winning the gig, and he probably had the upper hand anyway. But the way the club has spoken about Marlowe shows that it values him.
"He can play defense. He can run. And he hits," Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said late last year. "He's got power. He's a sneaky good prospect. ... He does a little bit of everything."
Marlowe, who was the club's Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Hitter of the Year Award winner in 2021, was on the Mariners’ postseason taxi squad for last year's American League Wild Card Series in Toronto and the AL Division Series in Houston, but he was never added to the roster. He's still seeking his MLB debut, but the fact that he was that strongly considered for such a high-stakes role underscores what the club believes in.
"I don't know [that] you can make more of an impact off the bench than being able to put a plus defender out or someone who can go steal a base, and Cade can do those things," Dipoto said. "He can also hit the ball over the fence. He's a pretty good player. We think he plays a part in our future."
Marlowe turns 26 in June, putting him on the much older end of the prospect spectrum. But there's clear value in his skill set, and the Mariners have typically favored that player type when roster needs arise. It all points to Marlowe being more prominently on the radar.
Triple-A TacomaDespite Marlowe's strong start, he's taken a big back seat this week to Mike Ford, who crushed three homers, including a grand slam, in Tacoma's 10-2 win over El Paso on Friday. Ford's career-high eight RBIs in that contest were the second most for the franchise during the "Rainiers" era and Mariners’ affiliation (since 1995), trailing only nine from A.J. Zapp on Aug. 20, 2004.
On a rehab assignment, Trammell is off to a 5-for-14 start in his first four games. It's unclear how he fits into the big league roster construction in the near term, but he had a very productive offseason reworking his swing at Driveline, and so far it's shined at Tacoma.
Double-A ArkansasPrelander Berroa (No. 14) was the Travelers’ bright spot, racking up six strikeouts while flashing his nasty breaking ball in a 5-2 win over the RoughRiders on Tuesday. It's been a continuation from an eye-opening Spring Training.
Prelander doing Prelander things 🔥 #SeaUsRise pic.twitter.com/jbckrjBW5B
Sign up to receive our daily Morning Lineup to stay in the know about the latest trending topics around Major League Baseball.
Bryce Miller (No. 2) and Emerson Hancock (No. 4) were each hit hard in their starts this week. Miller surrendered a career-high six runs in 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday, while Hancock was tagged for nine -- also a career high -- in three-plus frames on Thursday. Each gave up two homers.
High-A EverettHarry Ford (No. 1) broke out of a 4-for-27 funk with his first homer since his two epic blasts in the World Baseball Classic.
"It felt really good," Ford said. "It was the beginning of the game. We needed some runs, and it was a great feeling off the bat hitting the barrel, so it was really cool."
Single-A ModestoLast week, we profiled the scorching start from No. 3 prospect Cole Young. But Gabriel Gonzalez (No. 7) has been just as productive, with a .368/.422/.526 (.948 OPS) slash line in 57 at-bats. He's still seeking his first homer, but eight of his 21 hits have gone for extra bases.Triple-A Tacoma Double-A Arkansas High-A Everett Single-A Modesto