Those groups were populated by a fair number of holders-on whom we still like, but for whom MLB hopes are fading (Rich Poythress, Leon Landry). The middle-infield group seems to have avoided that type of player.
Brock Hebert | 2014 age: 23 | RH
|2012||21||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A–Rk||SEA||63||277||229||43||61||7||2||1||23||19||6||37||52||.266||.378||.328||.706|
|2013||22||3 Teams||3 Lgs||A-A+-A-||SEA||82||326||278||57||76||17||2||2||28||17||7||33||62||.273||.366||.371||.737|
The Louisiana native has played all over — both on the field and geographically. He’s been on four different teams and played six different positions, including pitcher. Is he the Cajun Bloomquist? Maybe. He doesn’t light up any category, but he’s a little bit good at most things. And that adds up to a fair amount to like.
Martin Peguero | 2014 age: 20 | RH
|2013||19||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-A-||SEA||58||215||199||21||49||8||0||0||27||3||2||8||24||.246||.275||.286||.561|
The whole strange story of Peguero’s huge signing bonus, which was then revoked, is way in the rear-view mirror, and now he’s just a guy. A guy who doesn’t look like a shortstop, and who doesn’t look like he’ll hit enough to play anywhere else. That being said, he was challenged to play at Low-A Clinton as a teen, and he could still mature into something. But 8 extra-base hits and 8 walks for the whole season? At one time some had Peguero (now the only Peguero left in the organization) among the top 10 in the system. It wasn’t me.
Jack Reinheimer | 2014 age: 21 | RH
Zach Shank | 2014 age: 23 | RH
If you’re new, you may not know that Mariners Scouting Director Tom McNamara played college baseball in the Northeast at Dominican College in New York State. And he seems to take special pride in unearthing guys from similar small programs in that part of the country. Daniel Paolini (Siena) and Dario Pizzano (Columbia) are probably the best known, but two undrafted free agents, Kevin Rivers (Franklin Pierce) and Aaron Barbosa (Northeastern), have also made some noise, And pitcher Ryan Horstman (St. John’s) may be next.
Shank, from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, is also on that list. The 28th-round pick played mostly at second, though he had a handful of games at short and third. It’s not clear where he’ll end up defensively, but he was a full-time shortstop in college, so second base seems reasonable.
His hitting stats are better than they look (he had a .256 BABIP [batting average on balls in play]), but his plate skills look solid, and the five triples are cool. And he was 10-0 on stolen base attempts. Shank also got a late-season promotion to Low-A Clinton, so someone in the organization was paying attention.
Tyler Smith | 2014 age: 22 | RH
Smith’s excellent stats make one wonder if he should be higher on the list, but one needs to remain skeptical of guys from major-conference programs going into the low minors. We’ll see the same issue arise with Smith’s Pulaski teammate Eddie Campbell. The ex-Oregon State Beaver did everything you could ask, but the Appalachian League isn’t really a higher level than the Pac-12, so it’s hard to know what to make of it. The 16 doubles and 12 steals in a 52-game season are intriguing, though.