Back in 2013, outfielder Tyler Marincov was the Oakland A's 8th-round draft pick. At that point in the draft, you know each player is a long shot, but you also know that a few guys from the 8th round will probably pan out. Some recent examples from 2009-11: Paul Goldschmidt, Brian Dozier, Kole Calhoun, Corey Dickerson, Carson Smith, and Kyle Hendricks. Kendall Graveman went in the 8th in 2013. There is legit talent available, if you get sorta lucky.
Marincov hit well for Single-A Beloit in his first full pro season in 2014 (132 wRC+), but he stumbled a bit the next year in High-A (97 wRC+). He did hit a homer off Santiago Casilla in spring training this year, but otherwise he was entering his age-24 season without much prospect stock.
Over the last few months, though, Marincov has started to put himself on the radar. He figured out High-A pitching quickly in his second go-round (132 wRC+), and by the time he was promoted to Double-A Midland in mid-May he led the Cal League in homers. And in his first 40 games for the RockHounds, he's gotten even better -- after going 4-for-4 with his fifth homer on Friday, his stats now look like this:
Marincov, AA (40 gms): .308/.370/.466, 5 HR, 8.0% BB, 20.2% Ks, 141 wRC+
The batting average will probably come down a tick, but that's still a promising line, especially considering it's coming against his first taste of upper minors pitching. In particular, I'm encouraged that his strikeout rate has actually gone down so far since his promotion (from 22.8% in Stockton this year, and 24.2% the year before).
So what does it all mean? To me, it changes how I look at him. A few months ago, he was a 24-year-old who hadn't yet graduated from the low minors and he was looking like potential org filler. Now he's a 24-year-old who is arguably his team's best hitter in the upper minors. He's caught back up with what I would consider a promising developmental path for a college draftee, which is moving up at least one level per year. There's still a long way to go before he reaches MLB, if he ever does, and maybe he's just a bench guy or platoon guy when he gets there (big splits the last two years), but for the first time I actually see that future as a possibility. I am officially watching this prospect now.
Apropos of nothing in particular, here is a video of him making a sweet diving catch in that same spring game:
Texas League All-Star Game
The RockHounds sent six players to the Texas League All-Star Game on June 28, which sounds like a lot but really isn't. There are only eight teams in the league, and so each squad is made up of players from only four clubs. Midland's six reps were outnumbered on the South roster by 10 from Corpus Christi (Astros) and eight from Frisco (Rangers).
The All-Stars, including their stats from the game itself:
2B Franklin Barreto: 1-for-2, double, SB, run
3B Matt Chapman: 0-for-2, BB, K, error (missed catch)
2B Wade Kirkland: 0-for-2, K, run
C Beau Taylor: 0-for-2, K
RHP Andres Avila: 1⅓ ip, 3 runs, K, BB, HR
RHP Corey Walter: did not pitch
The South team did win, but not really because of the Hounds' players. Barreto led off the 5th with a double, then stole third and scored on a groundout to make it 4-0. That was Midland's biggest positive contribution. (Barreto played 2B in the game, and he was later pinch-hit for by Kirkland.) Here's a link to the full Gameday box score.
Seddon finally shines
Starting pitcher Joel Seddon has had a rotten year in Double-A, but I've continued faithfully reporting about him because he was one of my favorite sleepers entering the year. That loyalty was finally rewarded, at least for one game.
On June 19 Seddon completed seven innings for the first time all year, but in his next start on June 24 he was dominant. He tossed eight innings of shutout, one-hit ball, with three Ks and two walks. He needed only 94 pitches to do that.
Seddon profiles as an innings-eater, so if he is to succeed then it will look something like that -- lots of efficient innings, low walk total, and an emphasis on groundouts instead of strikeouts. Here's what he had to say about his best outing of the year, via Michael Avallone of MiLB.com:
"I really dug myself an early hole with bad mechanics," [Seddon] said. "During my side sessions, I've been working on keeping my shoulder squarer to the plate and also focusing on my glove-side fastball. If I can locate that, all of my other pitches fall in line and can be really effective."
"I've been working during bullpen sessions with the coaching staff. I've started to get all of the kinks out and tonight was pretty smooth. My fastball and changeup were huge pluses, and my slider and curve were pretty solid. The biggest thing was getting ahead of the hitters and pitching to contact. Just trying to get through each batter in three pitches or less and that seemed to work."
Seddon's ERA now stands at 6.66 entering Saturday, which ... oh c'mon, I'm trying to spin this as good news and that's as ominous as an ERA can be (both high and evil). But he was at 7.98 earlier in June before his last three promising outings, so at least he's finally trending in the right direction.
(And as I write this, Seddon just finished throwing seven more scoreless frames in today's start. His ERA is now down to 6.08, though that won't be reflected yet in the stats table below. Keep it up big guy!)
Hitters (thru 78 games)
We were all starting to get slightly worried about Chapman, as he went through a strikeout-heavy slump in June. Fear not! After knocking his 20th dinger today (not reflected in stats above), he's homered in all three games since the All-Star break. He still leads the league in long balls by a comfortable margin.
Pitchers (thru Friday)
|... Bullpen ...|
Gossett and Walter are still looking great, in their own ways. Wahl is showing his strikeout potential in the bullpen. And the updated Bragg Watch, removing his toxic first two games when the team was trying to make him a starter: 15 games, 3.15 ERA, 25⅔ ip, 32 Ks, 9 BB, 2 HR.
James Naile was sent back down to Single-A Beloit now that reliever Ben Bracewell has settled into the final spot in the rotation. Raul Alcantara and Dylan Covey are still on the disabled list.
All five affiliates are in action, plus a makeup doubleheader for Low-A Vermont.
Triple-A Nashville: LIVE, Jesse Hahn vs. Oklahoma City
Double-A Midland: LIVE, Joel Seddon vs. NW Arkansas
High-A Stockton: LIVE, Heath Fillmyer vs. Rancho Cucamonga
Single-A Beloit: LIVE, James Naile vs. Cedar Rapids
Low-A Vermont, #1: Lost 4-1, Heath Bowers vs. Staten Island
Low-A Vermont, #2: LIVE, Jesus Zambrano vs. Staten Island
Naile was masterful in his game, and I bet he won't be long for Single-A given his success there and his positive early experiences in the upper minors. Hahn was underwhelming again for Nashville, with more walks than strikeouts in his four-inning outing.