Tacoma Rainiers

Mariners get a steal in Ian Miller at Double-A Jackson

Mariners prospect Ian Miller, right, tries to steal second base as Royals shortstop Christian Colon takes the throw during a spring training game in March. Miller is 44 of 45 on steal attempts this season for Double-A Jackson.
Mariners prospect Ian Miller, right, tries to steal second base as Royals shortstop Christian Colon takes the throw during a spring training game in March. Miller is 44 of 45 on steal attempts this season for Double-A Jackson. The Associated Press

The Seattle Mariners have a base stealing machine at Double-A Jackson.

Generals outfielder Ian Miller is stealing bases at a rate which looks like a typo on a page of statistics: He has 44 stolen bases, and he has been caught only one time.

The Mariners selected Miller out of Wagner College in the 14th round of the 2013 draft. In his second season with Jackson, Miller has been working on his on-base skills to try to further maximize his base-stealing talents.

“He’s an explosive runner,” said Jackson manager Daren Brown, who served as the Mariners’ baserunning instructor the past two seasons. “He’s gotten better in his decision making when to go. He’s picking good counts, good pitches, he’s not running haphazard.”

Miller has been successful in 28 consecutive stolen base attempts. Pensacola catcher Kyle Skipworth threw him out on June 8 — an occasion Brown remembers vividly.

“The one time he got thrown out, I aired him out in the dugout because it was dumb,” said Brown, who laughs at the memory of the event. “Can you believe that? He ain’t been thrown out since!”

Miller doesn’t lead the Southern League in steals, mostly because he hasn’t reached base at a high rate. He’s batting .254 with a .325 on-base percentage.

Gianfranco Wa-Who?

It’s starting to look like there is a chance that major league broadcasters might someday get to say “wah-woooo” repeatedly during games.

Class-A Bakersfield second baseman Gianfranco Wawoe is having a good year in his second full professional season.

A 22-year-old native of Willemstad, Curacao, Wawoe is batting .295 with seven home runs and 50 runs batted in. He has posted a .351 on-base percentage.

According to Bakersfield Blaze broadcaster Dan Besbris, his name is pronounced “john-franco wah-WOO.”

The home run calls practically write themselves.

Solid U.S. Debut For Bonus Baby

The Arizona Rookie League is wrapping up play this week, and the Mariners’ affiliate includes one of the organization’s biggest player-development investments.

The Mariners signed outfielder Brayan Hernandez in 2014 for a reported $1.85 million. At the time, the 16-year-old was considered the top position player available in Venezuela.

Now 18 years old and having one season in the Dominican Summer League under his belt, Hernandez is finishing his first season in the United States.

The switch-hitter has played in 31 games in the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .296 with one home run in 125 at-bats. He has eight doubles and two triples and is 9 for 12 stealing bases.

Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.

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