Alex Jackson and Gareth Morgan — the Seattle Mariners’ first two draft picks of 2014 — each made their professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League on Thursday night, but the most talented player on the roster might be a kid who is so young, he’d have just finished his junior year of high school if he was an American.
Seventeen-year-old Brazilian left-hander Luiz Gohara made two starts for the AZL-Mariners this week, and he showed all of the promise the club hoped for when the Mariners signed him for $800,000 as soon as he turned 16 in August, 2012.
Gohara is very physically mature for his age at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, and he can throw 95 mph. He was ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Mariners farm system by Baseball America prior to the season.
In his 2014 debut, Gohara threw 61/3 shutout innings with nine strikeouts and one walk against the White Sox’s affiliate. He followed that with another six-inning start against the Indians’ affiliate on Friday, allowing three runs but racking up seven more strikeouts.
As for Jackson and Morgan, the two 18-year-olds got their careers off well — Jackson went 2-for-8 with a triple in his first two games, and Morgan was 1-for-6 but with three RBIs.
Stanford catcher a hit
The Mariners used their 16th-round pick on Stanford catcher Wayne Taylor and sent him to their Appalachian League affiliate in Pulaski, Virginia.
Taylor has hit everything he has seen in the Appalachians.
Seven games into his pro career, Taylor is batting .520 with three home runs. He has 13 hits in his first 25 at-bats, and he has driven in seven runs.
Not a bad start for the Houston native.
Manny back in PCL
Former Red Sox and Indians great Manny Ramirez reported for duty with the Iowa Cubs on Thursday in his new role as a player-coach.
Ramirez played left field in the second game of a doubleheader at Colorado Springs on Thursday night, going 0-for-4.
Ramirez has played for three different Pacific Coast League teams since making his last major league appearance with Tampa Bay in 2011. He has played with Sacramento (2012), Round Rock (2013) and now Iowa.
Add a rehabilitation assignment with Albuquerque in 2009, and Manny has been Manny in a quarter of the PCL’s uniforms.
Though the Cubs are saying that Ramirez is more of a coach than a player, they still had to make room for him on the active 25-man roster. To do that, they released former Mariners and Rainiers outfielder Casper Wells.