Greetings from Havre, Montana, where the land is flat, the weather is cold and the wind never stops blowing. I've been meaning to get people caught up on what's going on in the winter leagues.
The Mariners have players in the Arizona Fall League and in the Caribbean League, playing in Venezuela.
Down in Arizona, the Peoria Javelinas, who are managed by Rainiers manager Daren Brown, are 5-7 with a handful of players of Mariners players on the team along with players from the Yankees and Reds.
Here's the team's individual stats ...
If you look closely, outfield prospect Greg Halman (below) is off to a good start. In nine games, he's got 11 hits in 35 at-bats, including three doubles, two triples, a home run and 7 RBI. He's hitting .319 with a .333 on-base percentage and a .600 slugging percentage. The only negative is the that Halman as 12 strikeouts and hasn't drawn a walk.
Infielder Carlos Triunfel is also having a good showing, playing in nine games and picking up 11 hits in 39 at-bats, scoring 11 runs, with four doubles, a homer and six RBI. Triunfel has an OPS of .787.
ESPN.com's Keith Law was down taking in some games and had this blog post. Here's what he had to say about Triunfel and reliever Stephen Kahn in that post.
&bull Seattle second baseman Carlos Triunfel is one of the best hitting prospects in the league, perhaps the best if we exclude recent college products like Matt Wieters and Justin Smoak. Triunfel, who won't turn 19 until after he reports to spring training in February, has gotten stronger since the start of the season, so the ball comes off his bat even better than before. He still concentrates mostly on hitting line drives to all fields, although he just missed pulling an 88 mph fastball in toward his hands out of the park Saturday night, just barely hooking it foul. He's an average runner and has had no trouble moving to second base. Mariners right-hander Stephen Kahn, who hasn't pitched in two years because of two separate ACL tears (one in each knee), was at 93-95 with a good curveball and a solid changeup, although his arm action is terrible and he might never have even average command or control.
Catcher Rob Johnson is also in Arizona, he's played in seven games and has five hits in 25 at-bats with a homer and a double. Pitching wise the Mariners players haven't been great, Gaby Hernandez, who was acquired from the Marlins in the Arthur Rhodes, posting a 7.71 ERA in two games. Pitchers Joe Woerman and Doug Fister are also down there.
Down in Venezuela, the Mariners have eight players currently playing for the Lara de Cardenales. And will have more than a few more as the season goes on.
Here's the Lara stats ...
Right now, they are only five games into the league so there isn't a huge sample size. Second baseman Luis Valbuena, who surprised several people with his play during his September call up, hit a pair of doubles on Sunday to help Lara get a win. Valbuena has four hits in 18 at-bats. Third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo has just two hits in 18 at-bats. Pitching-wise, most of the pitchers there are relievers. However, Andy Baldwin, who was in Tacoma this season, and came to the M's in the Jamie Moyer trade, put together a decent outing, going five innings and allowing just one run on five hits while striking out five.
Left-handed pitcher Justin Thomas is writing a blog for MLB.com and here's his first entry.