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Minor Leaguers of Note, April

The Mariners graduated quite a bit of talent to the major leagues the last few seasons, which means there are few "household" prospect names down on the farm. This makes it a bit of a fun time to tune in and see what happens because the names and numbers feel more fresh and unknown.

Obviously, the season is only a month old. Supposedly the Mariners are much better than they have shown, particularly in Houston so far, so supposedly all of the following minor leaguers could be much better or worse than they have been so far. However, a month is a month, and perhaps some of these great starts are a harbinger of bigger things to come. Here are 14 players of note from the first month of the minor league seasons. Each team name is linked to stats for all players on that roster:

Tacoma Rainiers (AAA)

  • Chris Taylor, SS - Taylor seems to have recovered from his broken wrist in spring training. He is hitting with some authority in AAA and has sprinkled in 6 steals. He is also playing some second base thanks to the presence of Ketel Marte, which shows off his versatility. It is only a matter of time until Taylor gets called up to Seattle.
  • Patrick Kivlehan, LF - Kivlehan has done well his first month in AAA, slugging five home runs and stealing five bases.
  • Justin Germano, RHP - Germano is a journeyman, but his eye-popping start to the season should be noted. 20 innings, 7 hits, 4 walks, 17 strikeouts. He is unlikely to maintain such amazing success, but a tip of the cap to an unheralded minor league signing in the offseason.
  • Mark Lowe, RHP - Lowe isn't recovering his triple-digit velocity from many years ago, but the results are great so far: 8 innings, 7 hits, 0 walks, 11 strikeouts. The lack of walks is particularly promising.
  • Dario Pizzano, LF - Pizzano has flown underneath the radar but hit well in the lower minors in previous years. He has continued to hit in Jackson, to the tune of a .410 batting average to date. He hasn't shown much power, and such a high average is unsustainable, but eventually his hitting might get some more recognition.
  • Stephen Landazuri, RHP - I thought Landazuri might get more of a look in spring training, but he looked solid in his limited opportunities and is off to a nice start in Jackson. He remains on the Brandon Maurer track to success as a late-round high school pick that the Mariners have developed. 
  • Misael Siverio, LHP - Siverio is old for the league at age 25, but this is his first year playing baseball outside of Cuba. So far AA hitters have struggled to make contact against him in his 3 starts. It will be interesting to see how he fares as he settles in and sees some teams multiple times.
  • Tyler Marlette, C - Marlette has been an under-the-radar darling for a few years, and I was a bit disappointed to see him open up in the Cal League instead of in AA with Jackson. He has come out of the gate swinging and seems to be in line for a promotion at some point this season.
  • Edwin Diaz, RHP - There's an argument to be made that Diaz is the M's best starting pitching prospect in the minors at this point, particularly with the tragic and untimely passing of Victor Sanchez this spring. Diaz is straight-up dealing in the Cal League, to the tune of a 1.44 ERA on the strength of a 0.76 WHIP with 27 strikeouts in 25 innings. This could be Diaz's breakout campaign.
  • Trey Cochran-Gill, RHP - Some believe Trey profiles as a reliever who will quickly work his way through the minor leagues. His first month in Bakersfield only strengthens that view of him. 14.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts. That will do. I doubt Cochran-Gill finishes the year in Bakersfield.
  • Joe DeCarlo, 3B - DeCarlo is raw but has flashed above average power from the hot corner so far in pitching friendly Clinton. He is worth watching as the season unfolds. Can he cut down his strikeouts and get his errors on defense under control?
  • Gianfranco Wawoe, 2B - Besides rocking the best name in all the M's organization, Wawoe has hit very well in his first taste of full-season pro ball. Here's hoping he keeps it up so that there are more excuses to say his name.
  • Daniel Missaki, RHP - If you want a comp for Missaki, think Erasmo Ramirez. Missaki isn't huge but largely depends on command to be effective. He has 4 walks and 30 strikeouts in 29.1 innings so far in his first full season of pro ball, and he will become a better known name as he works his way through the minor league system. He might also garner extra attention as a Brazilian, given the novelty of a baseball player hailing from Brazil.
  • Pat Peterson, LHP - While Peterson is a bit old for the league at 23 his phenomenal start can't be denied. It also helps that Peterson is left-handed. I would consider him a strong candidate for an in-season promotion to the California League based on his age and strong start.
Lastly, another reminder of how little spring training stats matter. Remember all the excitement over Alex Jackson's bombs? He remains the M's best hitting prospect, but so far in Clinton he has batted .132 with no home runs. He has some work to do. Gabby Guerrero also has a sub-.600 OPS in Jackson so far. These starts also double as a reminder of how little a month may or may not tell us about a player's true talent.