Tacoma Rainiers

Rainiers preview: Tacoma’s 2015 roster

2014 record: 74-70, third place in the Pacific Coast League Northern Division

Manager: No. 4 Pat Listach (first season in Tacoma; eighth overall as a minor league manager)

STARTING PITCHERS

The skinny: Taijuan Walker won the battle for the fifth spot in the Mariners’ starting rotation. So after jumping straight to the big leagues last year – and starting 29 games with a 3.85 ERA and 143 strikeouts – Elias will start this season atop the Rainiers rotation. Injuries and rest should volley Elias between Seattle and Tacoma, effectively making him the sixth pitcher in the M’s rotation. Hultzen, the second pick in the 2011 draft, isn’t actually injured, but keeping him on the disabled list allows him to pitch in warmer weather at extended spring training in Arizona.

 NO  NAME  T-B  HT  WT  AGE 2014 CLUB(S)
29 Roenis Elias L-L 6-1 190 26 Tacoma (AAA)/Mariners
15 Jordan Pries R-R 6-0 190 25 Jackson (AA)/Tacoma (AAA)
22 Mike Kickham L-L 6-4 220 26 Fresno (AAA)/Giants
32 Sam Gaviglio R-R 6-2 195 24 Springfield (AA)
23 Mike Montgomery L-L 6-4 200 25 Durham (AAA)
Anthony Fernandez* L-L 6-4 215 24 Tacoma (AAA)
Danny Hultzen* L-L 6-3 210 25 Did not play

*Disabled list

RELIEF PITCHERS

The skinny: Leone was a key piece to the Mariners’ MLB-best bullpen ERA (2.60) last season. He posted a 2.17 ERA in 66 1/3 innings and struck out 70, but had a rough spring training, allowing 10 earned runs in seven innings. He should still see plenty of time in the big leagues this season. Saunders was a starter in the Mariners rotation two years ago, but manager Lloyd McClendon made clear this spring that the 33-year-old is being remade into a reliever. Saunders had started in all 221 games he appeared in before last year.

 NO  NAME  T-B  HT  WT  AGE 2014 CLUB(S)
11 Logan Bawcom R-R 6-2 200 26 Everett (A)/Tacoma (AAA)
19 Justin Germano R-R 6-2 210 32 Round Rock (AAA)/Albuquerque (AAA)/ Rangers
50 Mayckol Guaipe R-R 6-4 235 24 Jackson (AA)
10 Dominic Leone R-R 5-11 210 23 Mariners
14 Mark Lowe R-L 6-3 210 31 Indians/Columbus (AAA)
8 Lucas Luetge L-L 6-4 205 28 Mariners/Tacoma (AAA)
35 Joe Saunders L-L 6-3 215 33 Frisco (AA)/ Omaha (AAA)/Norfolk (AAA)/Round Rock (AAA)/Orioles/Rangers
39 Forrest Snow R-R 6-6 220 26 Jackson (AA)/Tacoma (AAA)
Brian Moran* L-L 6-3 210 26 Did not play

*Disabled list

CATCHERS

The skinny: If need be, Baker can even pitch. The Chicago Cubs had exhausted their bullpen, so Baker came out and pitched a scoreless top of the 16th inning against the Colorado Rockies last year. And he earned the win. Baker struggled at the plate last season, hitting .192, but he’s a veteran catcher who spent all of last season in the majors. He hit .331 his sophomore year at Cal in 2001. Hicks played 28 games with the Rainiers after starting the season in Jackson and hit .277 with a pair of home runs and 20 RBIs.

 NO  NAME  T-B  HT  WT  AGE 2014 CLUB(S)
24 John Baker R-L 6-1 215 34 Cubs
6 John Hicks R-R 6-2 210 25 Jackson (AA)/Tacoma (AAA)

INFIELDERS

The skinny: Marte, the No. 3 prospect in the Mariners’ organization according to Baseball America, only played 19 games in Tacoma – all at shortstop – after playing 109 in Jackson. But he was good for both, hitting .302 for Jackson and .313 for the Rainiers. He’s behind Alex Jackson (in Class A Clinton) and D.J. Peterson (in Jackson, but that could quickly change) on the Mariners’ top prospects list. Marte figures to slide over to second base when Chris Taylor returns from a broken right wrist suffered in spring training and likely heads to Tacoma.

 NO  NAME  T-B  HT  WT  AGE 2014 CLUB(S)
3 Leury Bonilla R-R 6-1 215 30 Tacoma (AAA)
7 Ketel Marte R-S 6-1 165 21 Jackson (AA)/Tacoma (AAA)
20 Jesus Montero R-R 6-3 235 25 Tacoma (AAA)/Mariners
18 Shawn O’Malley R-S 5-11 175 27 Arkansas (AA)/Salt Lake (AAA)
13 Carlos Rivero R-R 6-3 200 26 Portland (AA)/Pawtucket (AAA)

OUTFIELDERS

The skinny: Jones and Romero will anchor the Rainier batting order. Both, especially Jones if only for his speed threat, should find themselves back in Seattle throughout the season. Remember when Gutierrez won a Gold Glove with the Mariners in 2010? He took all of last season off after a relapse of the gastrointestinal problem that’s nearly derailed his career. He was signed on a minor league deal in January. Kivlehan will make his Triple-A debut after batting .295 with 20 home runs and 103 RBIs between High-A High Desert and Double-A Jackson last year.

 NO  NAME  T-B  HT  WT  AGE 2014 CLUB(S)
16 Jabari Blash R-R 6-5 224 25 Jackson (AA)/Tacoma (AAA)
21 Franklin Gutierrez R-R 6-2 200 32 Did not play
9 James Jones L-L 6-4 200 26 Tacoma (AAA)/Mariners
27 Patrick Kivlehan R-R 6-2 215 25 High Desert (A)/Jackson (AA)
17 Stefen Romero R-R 6-2 220 26 Tacoma (AAA)/Mariners
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