AAA is well known to be an… interesting level to evaluate prospects. The leagues are full of guys on crossing paths, both the future and the past as careers rise and fall in this cruel game. All the players at Tacoma on July 12th did something to merit their selection, even if it ends up being a career highlight instead of waypoint to future successes.
Jean Machi has seen some stuff. This year he is Tacoma’s closer with 10 saves and a 2.56 ERA, and was a hometown representative in the Triple-A All-Star game for the Rainiers. He has even pitched in 5 games for the Mariners, though he is not currently on the 40-man. A fine year and achievement, but it must pale in comparison to his 2014, when he won a World Series ring with the Giants, logging 3 1/3 IP in the Series. Still, he’s closing games in Tacoma in 2017.
The other local participant was Dan Vogelbach, who lumbered around the cage during BP and hit the ball hard during his turn. He received a nice ovation from the crowd pinch hitting in the 7th and proceeded to strike out looking on three pitches. I hope he had a good time.
Much to my surprise, Amed Rosario put on a bomb-fest to left during his BP, easily reaching the restaurant beyond the fence multiple times. I think when he finally gets his chance from the Mets he’ll grow into more power than many expect.
The highlight during BP for me was Jorge Alfaro launching bombs to left-center, hitting the parking lot beyond the fence, and his group cracking up at his shots. I don’t speak enough Español to follow, but I’m pretty sure Ozzie Albies was saying ‘you sure hit the *$&&^%% out of that one!’
A few other notes:
The pitching was mostly pedestrian, with Tom Eshelman probably being the best actual prospect present. He was the only hurler to go two innings, with a solo shot by Colin Moran being the only blemish.
Perhaps he was working on something, or had just flown in from his appearance at the Futures Game, but Chance Sisco put on the least impressive BP session I think I have ever seen by a professional. Everything was on the ground or a pop up, nothing square. He left he cage shaking his head. Sisco did line hard to second in his first at bat, and he tripled during the Futures Game, so it is probably nothing but boy was it weird to watch live.
Ozzie Albies is 5′-9″ the same way I am 6′-2″. He had two hits and was the youngest player at the game, so who cares.
Rusney Castillo took all his BP hacks left handed, and actually looked pretty good. Might as well try something.
Willie Calhoun scalded the ball a couple of times, resulting in a pair of doubles. Sign me up, I don’t care where he stands with the glove.
Joe Rush, our Seattle Mariners contributor here on Prospects1500, was also in attendance and will have his wrap-up and somewhat different take on the Triple-A HR Derby and All Star Game posted shortly.
KC Shankland lives in Maple Valley, Washington. His Royals fandom runs from the Royals/Yankees blood feud of the ‘70s to Hosmer’s mad dash home.
‘People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. Obsess over prospects.’