Eyewitness Account on the LumberKings

9418555132_728dd53525_b== Adventures in Low-A baseball from one who was there ==

okdan, a frequent commenter at SeattleSportsInsider.com, traveled to Geneva, IL on Saturday to see the Mariners’ Low-A affiliate, the Clinton LumberKings, take on the Kane County Cougars.  He provided an extensive report, and I thought I’d just add some additional commentary.

Thanks for your efforts, okdan!

Jose Flores was the SP. He had some messy looking mechanics, with a whole lotta head movement going on. Showed spotty command, but from my perspective showed a good level of pitchability. Was frequently missing his spots, but was mixing up his pitches nicely. He’s a big lookin’ kid, but maybe has yet to fill out his frame. Tall but skinny, still boy-ish.

  • Flores got on our Watch List [67-100] after a solid season at rookie-level Pulaski.  Although he’s older than Edwin Diaz, I think jumping him up to Clinton was probably too aggressive, and he’s struggled.  Nevertheless, dan is right that he’s got upside.

 Austin Wilson was in LF. Physically speaking, he looks like a man among boys out there. He “looks” like a big leaguer standing next to some of the other kids who fill out an A-level roster. You could tell he’s very raw still, though. First AB he hit a mortar shot line-drive over the CF’ers head. Just crushed. He got the RBI, but rounded second way too far, and got thrown out on the cutoff throw. You could tell he was trying to be aggressive, but not intelligently. Next inning he made a routine catch in LF, and unleashed his canon arm to throw a guy out, but missed the cutoff guy in the process giving the runner a free base :/

  • “Man among boys” is just right.  Wilson has an NFL body (sometimes I call him “Megatron at the Bat”), and there’s a good chance that eventually he’ll figure out how to use it.  I don’t expect him to fly up the ladder, though, despite coming out of a major-college program.

Jack Reinheimer was at SS, and he’s a kid I saw this year in spring training. Solid looking, but definitely young. Reminds me of Chris Taylor. Didn’t do anything particularly notable.

  • I know we have some Tyler Smith fans out there, and not just because of the Oregon State connection, but Reinheimer shouldn’t be counted out either.  Smith got the higher promotion (to High Desert) even though Reinheimer was drafted higher (5th round vs. 8th round).  Then again, Smith is out of a major-conference program and Reinheimer’s from a mid-major (East Carolina).  Regardless, I’m very impressed with Reinheimer’s speed.  He was 18-of-23 on the bases last year and he’s 16-of-21 on steals just through May this year.  In fact, he’s tied with supposedly lightning-fast Xavier Avery for the organizational lead in steals.  Both Smith and Reinheimer have a chance for that “next Chris Taylor” role — although neither is close to putting up that unexpected ISO.

Another kid who stood out was Christian Carmichael, playing at Catcher. Was batting 2nd too, which is interesting. Dude looked confident in the batters box, and ripped a couple solid hits. Just looked comfortable and patient. Defensively he made a couple of real nice plays. Picked off a guy at 2nd who was sleeping, and made a GREAT throw to nab a guy at 3rd later in the game. Seemed like he knew what he was trying to do out there. Did a nice job showing where he wanted pitches to be spotted, early in the pitcher’s windup. Hadn’t heard his name before, but he looked solid.

  • Carmichael is also on our Watch List, and he’s a very interesting player.  He was drafted out of high school (Hawaii) at 18 in the 6th round, so has always been considered a talented guy.  But injuries and a PED suspension cost him pretty much his entire first two years.  So he was starting over again in rookie ball at 20.  Older, but still raw.  Plus, he’s kind of stuck behind two very good prospects in Tyler Marlette and Marcus Littlewood.  Still, he might be able to break into the conversation because he does show solid skills.

However the kid who stuck out to me most, was Ian Miller. He was leading off and playing CF. I was surprised to see him in CF as he had the build of an infielder. But man, this kid was in the middle of every play. In the first he notched a single, promptly stole second after enticing about 5 pickoff throws, took third on a grounder, and then scored on a shallow popup. Kid created a run purely with his legs there. Next at bat, he laid down a bunt for a base hit. He would have been safe, but the throw was wild and so he took second. Made all the plays in CF, and showed a good arm too. Keep an eye on this kid. Looked like a classic Z/Tom Mac dirt dog type.

  • We know McNamara loves to pluck guys out of smaller baseball programs in the northeast (where he played as a collegian), and Miller — from Wagner College on Staten Island — is another one.  Like Reinheimer with Smith, Miller has a doppelganger who got the higher promotion: Aaron Barbosa.  Miller doesn’t quite have the epic walk rate that Barbosa has, but a guy who can play center field and get on base is always going to get some consideration.  I think Barbosa is rightfully higher on the ladder at this point, but Miller is likely to keep coming.

Thanks again for the great reporting, okdan!

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One thought on “Eyewitness Account on the LumberKings

  1. Sure the eye is nice, but it’s hard to imagine a guy like Barbosa – or anybody – moving up the ladder with a .665 OPS in High Desert. But give him another couple months, and I’d be interested in what the Spectrometer has to say.

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