After the minor league season ends Monday, the Seattle Mariners will name their farm system’s player of the year and pitcher of the year.
The pitching award is pretty much sewn up. Taijuan Walker posted a 2.93 ERA and led the organization with 160 strikeouts – a total that ranks him among the leaders in all of minor league baseball.
Walker began the season at Double-A Jackson, showed great improvement, was promoted to Triple-A Tacoma in July, then won his major league debut Friday in Houston.
If not for Walker, other candidates for the award would include Class-A Clinton pitchers Tyler Pike (7-4, 2.37 in 110 innings) and Victor Sanchez (6-6, 2.78 in 113 innings).
Double-A Jackson reliever Dominic Leone is another who had an excellent season.
For player of the year, there are several strong candidates for the Mariners’ player development staff to choose from:
Chris Taylor, a shortstop out of Virginia, began the season at Class-A High Desert and did not miss a beat after a midsummer promotion to Double-A Jackson.
Taylor has hit .313 with eight homers and 60 RBI in 131 games, and he leads all of the Mariners’ full-season minor leaguers in batting average.
Patrick Kivlehan, a fourth-round 2012 draft pick out of Rutgers, opened the season at Clinton, then reeled off a 25-game hitting streak after a promotion to High Desert. The third baseman is hitting .304 combined, with 16 homers and 89 RBI.
Tacoma Rainiers outfielder Abraham Almonte ranked seventh in the Pacific Coast League in batting average at the time of his promotion to Seattle on Friday.
He opened the season at Jackson and was in Tacoma by May. All told, Almonte hit .300 with 15 homers and 26 stolen bases in the minors this season.
Another Rainiers player, Ji-Man Choi, made a three-level jump during a highly successful campaign that saw him hit .297 with 18 homers and 85 RBI. The first baseman from South Korea ranks third in the organization in home runs.
Double-A Jackson’s Jabari Blash leads the organization with 25 home runs – no one else had more than 19 entering games Saturday. He hit .275 after a late-season surge that saw him bat .330 after a promotion to Double-A.
None of the Mariners’ four full-season affiliates reached the postseason, but two of their short-season teams did.
The Everett Aqua Sox will play in the Northwest League playoffs starting this week.
Everett won the first half, clinching an early spot in the split-season format. The team leads its division in the second half, too.
The Pulaski (Va.) Mariners of the Appalachian League also qualified for the postseason.
Both teams are primarily made up of players selected in the 2013 draft and recent international signings.Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.