Results tagged ‘ Kyle Seager ’

Retro Interview: Kyle Seager

A disappointing 4-3 loss in the ninth inning to the Cedar Rapids Kernels combined with more exciting pre-game news coming from Seattle means another “retro interview” segment today.

Infielder Kyle Seager, a LumberKing just three seasons ago, is joining the Seattle Mariners today after hitting .455 in 12 games with triple-A Tacoma.  Once he debuts, he’ll be the sixth former Clinton player to make an MLB debut this season and the 230th in the history of the franchise dating back to 1937.  For the full press release on Seager, visit this link from LumberKings.com.

As I mentioned in my “Retro Interview” post on right-hander Blake Beavan (who debuted for the Mariners just last Sunday and won with a run over 7.0 innings against San Diego), my old audio links from the pre-WordPress days are inactive.  So, here’s a re-visit of my 2009 interviews with Seager and a couple of his LumberKings’ highlights:

Seager, wearing #15, will be available for Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge tonight as they take on the LA Angels.  Meanwhile, we here in Clinton prepare for game two of a three-game series against the Angels’ Midwest League affiliate, the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  7.7.11 kingsnotes

Tonight’s Starting Lineup:  7.7.11 lineup

Right-hander Taijuan Walker dominated the Kernels with five innings of scoreless, two-hit ball back on May 26.  That’s the last time the 18-year-old earned a win, as he’s gone 0-2 with four no-decisions since then.  He’ll take the baseball starting at 7:00 PM tonight, listen to the broadcast on 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Kings in Spring (March 28)

Well, as you can see, The LumberBlog looks slightly different with the recent conversion of all the Pro Blogs to WordPress.  I’m still getting used to the features, but it looks like there’s a lot more flexibility here.  Moving on to more important things.

Seattle Mariners’ camp is winding down out in Peoria, but there’s been a lot of noise made lately by former LumberKings.  On Sunday, it was Kyle Seager (not identified as Mario Martinez this time) making the most of a call-up to the Major League game as he launched a  solo home run in the eighth inning off Texas Rangers’ hopeful Dave Bush.  Ultimately, the Mariners still fell, 5-4.

Today, it’s Steven Baron (’10) re-appearing in the box score.  Recently sent back to Minor League camp, the Mariners brought him back up today to play against the Colorado Rockies in Seattle’s last home Cactus League game.  After a Justin Smoak single (’08) and RBI knock by Michael Saunders, Baron calmly stepped up and delivered a walk-off single to right.  Final score, Mariners 7, Rockies 6.  Baron, by the way, is now 7-for-13 (.538) with three RBI in big-league camp.

The Mariners selected the contracts of right-handers Jamey Wright and Chris Ray today, releasing infielder Josh Wilson to clear space.  What does that mean for right-handers Josh Lueke (’07-’08) and Tom Wilhelmsen (’10)?  We might know that soon, but both remain on the Spring Training roster with only a few days left.  One of those two — if not both — will be Mariners sooner than later.

The 2011 LumberKings Gameday Program is nearing completion and will feature some of the 75th anniverary content you’ve already been seeing on LumberKings.com.  Also, just completed today, a brief essay I did about Nick Franklin’s chase to break Dick Kenworthy’s franchise home run record last year.  I’m pretty proud of it.  I may post it here once the program is finished.

Less than 10 days remain until the opener against Burlington.

-DL

Kings in Spring (March 25)

Well, it was nice to finally catch the Mariners in Cactus League action, even though it was from the dusty office TV as they played the Chicago Cubs on WGN rather than from my favorite seat down the left-field line at the Peoria Sports Complex.  Still, it was nice to get a look at right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (’10) in the #73 uni…aside for a minor hiccup in the way of a Blake DeWitt solo homer, he looked pretty comfortable in two innings of relief work.  Wilhelmsen and Justin Smoak (’08), who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, look like locks to make the Opening Day roster to me.

Another funny note from the game, former LumberKings infielder Kyle Seager (’09) got into the action at third base, wearing #92 with no nameplate.  The 90’s numbers are normally given to the Minor League players called up to the big-league game for the day, but apparently that number was originally intended for Mario Martinez.  As a result, Cubs’ broadcaster Len Kasper referred to Seager as Martinez for a couple defensive plays and a full at-bat.  I doubt anyone aside from me, the Seager family and a few other Clintonites noticed or cared.

I didn’t catch the entire game, but Denny Almonte (’09) also made a cameo appearance, grounding out on one pitch in his lone at-bat.

In Texas Rangers news, and certainly a note not to be lost in the mix, it appears that former LumberKings’ third-baseman and one-time Futures Game hero John Whittleman (’06-’07) has been shipped to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for a player to be named later.  That’s according to multiple sources, cited in an email I received from The Newberg Report.  Whittleman, a second-round pick in ’05, struggled in ’06 but was an All-Star with the Kings in ’07.  He remains the only active LumberKing ever to participate in an MLB All-Star Futures Game, something I covered earlier this offseason in an edition of The Interview Vault.  If the reports are true, it’s a fresh start for Whit in the deepest Minor League system in baseball.  He’s always been a favorite of mine, I hope this works out well for him.

As you can tell, I’m working late on a Friday night yet again.  Such is life this close to the baseball season.  We’re about 13 days and 15 minutes away from the first pitch.

-DL

Kings in Spring (March 25)

Well, it was nice to finally catch the Mariners in Cactus League action, even though it was from the dusty office TV as they played the Chicago Cubs on WGN rather than from my favorite seat down the left-field line at the Peoria Sports Complex.  Still, it was nice to get a look at right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (’10) in the #73 uni…aside for a minor hiccup in the way of a Blake DeWitt solo homer, he looked pretty comfortable in two innings of relief work.  Wilhelmsen and Justin Smoak (’08), who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, look like locks to make the Opening Day roster to me.

Another funny note from the game, former LumberKings infielder Kyle Seager (’09) got into the action at third base, wearing #92 with no nameplate.  The 90’s numbers are normally given to the Minor League players called up to the big-league game for the day, but apparently that number was originally intended for Mario Martinez.  As a result, Cubs’ broadcaster Len Kasper referred to Seager as Martinez for a couple defensive plays and a full at-bat.  I doubt anyone aside from me, the Seager family and a few other Clintonites noticed or cared.

I didn’t catch the entire game, but Denny Almonte (’09) also made a cameo appearance, grounding out on one pitch in his lone at-bat.

In Texas Rangers news, and certainly a note not to be lost in the mix, it appears that former LumberKings’ third-baseman and one-time Futures Game hero John Whittleman (’06-’07) has been shipped to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for a player to be named later.  That’s according to multiple sources, cited in an email I received from The Newberg Report.  Whittleman, a second-round pick in ’05, struggled in ’06 but was an All-Star with the Kings in ’07.  He remains the only active LumberKing ever to participate in an MLB All-Star Futures Game, something I covered earlier this offseason in an edition of The Interview Vault.  If the reports are true, it’s a fresh start for Whit in the deepest Minor League system in baseball.  He’s always been a favorite of mine, I hope this works out well for him.

As you can tell, I’m working late on a Friday night yet again.  Such is life this close to the baseball season.  We’re about 13 days and 15 minutes away from the first pitch.

-DL

All-Stars, Cleto and More

A few things of note regarding former and future LumberKings and this blog:

  • The Seattle Mariners’ Organizational All-Stars list came out last week, and it’s finally up on LumberKings.com.  Nick Franklin (’10) was a natural choice as the All-Star shortstop after hitting .281 with a Midwest League-best 23 homers last year.  Kyle Seager (’09) makes the list at second base, while left-handers Anthony Vasquez (’09-’10) and Brian Moran (’09-’10) also show up as the top left-handed starter and top reliever, respectively.  Potential future King Kevin Rivers is amongst the three outfielders after posting a .332 average in Everett last year.

 

 

  • Last Friday’s post on the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings was my 500th on The LumberBlog.  That’s a lot of posts.  It appears that you’re still reading, as I finished #41 out of the Top 50 ProBlogs in November.  Thank you again!

-DL

Seager Named a Topps Single-A All-Star

Seager.Kyle (strip7).jpgFormer LumberKings infielder Kyle Seager (’09) was named to the Topps Class-A All-Star Team in an announcement that crossed my inbox this afternoon.

Seager hit a Cal League-best .345 with 14 home runs and 74 RBI with the High Desert Mavericks this year, also qualifying for the league lead in hits (192) and runs scored (126).  A third-round pick by the Mariners in 2009 out of the University of North Carolina, Seager started his career with Clinton last season and hit .275 with a home run and 22 RBI in 41 games.

He is joined by fellow Mavericks Johermyn Chavez (outfield) and Rich Poythress (designated hitter) on the list.  Apparently, Topps made no distinction between high-A and low-A, so the Cal League, Florida State League, Midwest League and South Atlantic League are all represented here.  The only low-A qualifiers were Fort Wayne catcher Jason Hagerty and Lexington outfielder J.D. Martinez.  Topps Minor League Player of the Year and former Cedar Rapids Kernel Mike Trout is on the list as well, though he spent half the season with Rancho Cucamonga.

Congrats to Kyle and his fellow HD Mavs.  Revisit an interview I did with Seager last season: 
Kyle Seager Interview 8.18.09.mp3

-DL

Predicting the 2010 Roster (Part 1)

As promised, it’s the second annual “Predict the Roster” segment here on the LumberBlog.  With this being the second season as a Seattle Mariners affiliate, I can now talk about players that might return from last year’s club in addition to new faces from the Everett, Pulaski and Peoria rosters.

09anthem.jpg

Part 1 starts with a look at who might be returning from the 2009 squad.  The LumberKings suited up 57 players last year, many of whom saw limited action in black and green.  Twelve position players appeared in less than 20 games, while 12 pitchers appeared in less than 10 games.

There’s also some regulars from last year’s club that might get a re-visit.  We’ll start there.

Last year’s Opening Day roster featured a pair of highly-touted 2007 draft picks in Denny Almonte (2nd round) and Daniel Carroll (3rd round).  Both have had a measure of success in the Midwest League, but both have also had their struggles. 

After hitting .262 with 12 HR in the first half, Almonte suffered through a dismal second half.  He hit just .183 following an All-Star appearance and hit just one more homer over his final 153 at-bats.  Amongst league leaders in RBI at one point, Almonte finished with 58 (only 14 in the second half).  Is he dominant when he’s on?  Absolutely.  He practically carried the team through May with 8 HR and 21 RBI.  Still, it’s hard to ignore his .091 month of August and his 148 strikeouts in 409 at-bats. 

Carroll’s season was derailed by a pair of injuries.  He missed two weeks with a groin issue suffered on Opening Night in Burlington and then spent nearly all of May and June coming back from a broken thumb.  Once he got truly healthy, Carroll started to hit.  Following the All-Star break, he hit .240, scored 29 runs and stole 15 bases.  He’s been at High Desert before and should get a chance to make that roster with a good Spring.

Bottom line, I believe both Almonte and Carroll will be in High Desert to start 2010.  Almonte’s key to staying there is making consistent contact, while Carroll’s I believe is simply staying healthy.  Only time will tell.

martinez.jpgIf Almonte is gone, who will step in to be the primary power threat?  I think we see the return of ultra-talented third-baseman Mario Martinez (pictured left).  At age 19 last year, Martinez hit .214 with 2 HR and 24 RBI in 61 games with Clinton.  He was getting hot down the stretch of the first half, but was then sent to short-A Pulaski at the All-Star break.  There, he hit .308 with 20 doubles, 3 HR and 33 RBI in 71 games.   Yes, he hasn’t hit for consistent power yet in his career, but the Mariners have high hopes for him and this could be the breakout year.  Defensively, he looked great at both third and first base.  Where he plays next year will likely be determined by whether or not Jharmidy DeJesus makes the roster.

Other position players who could return include Travis Howell (.205, 8 HR, 29 RBI in 66 games), Maximo Mendez (.213, 8 triples, 38 runs scored, 20 steals in 64 games) and Terry Serrano (.236, 40 runs scored, 18 steals).  All three should go to High Desert, but very well could see time back with Clinton next year following injury-plagued 2009 seasons.

Pitching-wise, there shouldn’t be too many returners from the staff that led the Midwest League in ERA.  Starters like Kenn Kasparek (10-6, 2.41), Andrew Carraway (4-0, 2.50) and Bobby LaFromboise (8-9, 4.03) will certainly move up.  Relievers like Cheyne Hann (2-2, 1.32, 12 saves), Blake Nation (3-5, 3.16), Matt Renfree (3-2, 2.60), Jose Jimenez (4-2, 3.38), Brandon Josselyn (0-1, 0.75, 3 saves) and others should all move as well.

Now that we’ve covered some of the more familiar faces, let’s move on to the guys who had brief stints in Clinton last year.

When talking about position players, I’m excited to see what a guy like Ryan Royster can do with a full season in the Midwest League.  In eight games last year, Royster hit .333 with 3 doubles, 2 HR and 7 RBI.  He spent most of his year at Everett and performed there, hitting .325 with 7 HR and 27 RBI in 41 games.

Another intriguing hitter is Welington Dotel.  He exhibited tons of raw power in batting practice, but belted just one homer in 19 games.  Dotel did hit a solid .286 and drove in 11 runs in 49 at-bats.  I believe we’ll see him in the Clinton outfield this season.

We won’t see 2009 third-rounder Kyle Seager back, but we might see the return of sixth-rounder Shaver Hansen if for no other reason than shoring up his defense (13 errors in 36 games, primarily at third base).  Hansen hit .205 with 7 RBI and could probably use another year against Midwest League pitching as well.

Others we might see back include outfielder Dwight Britton (.192 in 11 games), infielder Jetsy Extrano (.045 in 6 games) and catchers Henry Contreras (.167, 2 RBI in 4 games) and Tommy Johnson (.167 in 5 games).

Back to pitching, there’s several 2010 rotation candidates that spent brief time with the LumberKings last year. 

At the top of the list is hard-throwing righty Maikel Cleto (pictured right), who arrived in latecleto.JPG June after some visa issues.  Two stints on the disabled list and a very strict pitch count allowed us a very brief look at Cleto, and it was hard to determine if he was the 0-3, 5.33 guy we saw over eight starts or the guy who struck out six over 3.0 innings in a matchup against Carlos Zambrano and the Peoria Chiefs on August 20.  Hopefully we’ll get a chance to see Cleto mature in the rotation.

Another potential starter coming back could be Anthony Vasquez.  Seattle’s 18th round pick out of USC went 3-3 with a 5.66 ERA in 7 games, all starts.  The numbers aren’t overly impressive, but Vasquez did win each of his last two starts, lowering his ERA from 7.71 to 5.66 in the process.  He also shut down a volatile Great Lakes Loons’ offense to a run on eight hits over 5.2 innings in his LumberKings’ debut on August 1.  The left-handed Vasquez could be a top-flight starter next season. 

Right-handers Andres Esquibel (1-1, 4.91 in 8 games) and Chris Kirkland (0-1, 5.00 in 4 games), and left-hander Jon Hesketh (1-1, 12.60 in 3 games) could all potentially be starters next year as well. 

Esquibel was 2-4 with a 5.00 ERA in Everett, but flashed dominance with a three-hit complete-game shutout win over Boise on August 6.  Kirkland, meanwhile, led the Northwest League with 85 strikeouts.  He went 4-5 with a 4.83 ERA in 15 starts.  Hesketh didn’t fare well in Clinton, but did limit opponents to a .188 average while going 0-1 with a 1.67 ERA in seven outings with the Aqua Sox.

The 2010 bullpen is less clear.  Daniel Cooper, a teammate of Vasquez at USC and Seattle’s 21st round pick, went 0-1 with a 9.28 ERA in eight relief appearances with the LumberKings last year.  Ogui Diaz spent most of 2009 as an infielder, but converted to right-handed reliever and went 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in four games with Pulaski.  The rest of the pen is a guessing game.

That’s just the first part of my two-part “Predict the Roster” segment.  Next week, I’ll look at potential LumberKings coming from Everett, Pulaski and Peoria.  Feel free to add your comments on my predictions below, especially if any of the players I’ve mentioned have changed organizations without my knowledge.  Hey, I’m human.

-DL  

Kasparek, Seager Jerseys on Auction Block

09 jersey auction.jpg

Official game-used jerseys of 2009 Clinton LumberKings right-hander Kenn Kasparek and infielder Kyle Seager are now available at Ebay.com.

Kasparek captured the Midwest League ERA title in 2009, going 10-6 with a 2.41 mark.  He became the first Clinton pitcher to lead the league in ERA since Salomon Torres did it for the MWL Champion Clinton Giants in 1991.  Seattle’s 12th-round pick in 2008 out of the University of Texas, Kasparek was named Clinton’s Pitcher of the Year following the season.  His road and batting practice jerseys are available.

Seager arrived in Clinton after being drafted in the third round in 2009.  A star alongside Mariners’ first-round pick Dustin Ackley at the University of North Carolina, Seager hit .275 with a home run and 22 RBI over 41 games with the LumberKings.  His batting practice jersey is available.

Visit this link to see all three auctions:  http://shop.ebay.com/clinton563/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=25

-DL

Former Kings in the Cal League Playoffs

While I’ve obviously been following the Midwest League Playoffs in depth (Fort Wayne is currently up 2-0 on Burlington in the best-of-five Championship Series), I haven’t given any coverage so far to what has been a thrilling Cal League Playoffs.

That changes today.  Mention needs to be made of what several former LumberKings have done out West.


Thumbnail image for Gomez Gac.JPG

Mauro Gomez (left) and Ian Gac drove in 16 runs combined for the Blaze in eight playoff games.

Ian Gac (’06-’08), Mauro Gomez (’07), Matt Lawson (’08), Kennil Gomez (’08) and others helped power Bakersfield to the post season, and the Blaze didn’t settle with a first-round letdown.  They came back from a 1-0 deficit to oust Modesto with 13-6 and 6-1 wins. 

In the second round, they fell behind 2-0 to Cal League powerhouse San Jose (league-best 93-47 during the regular season) as Ryan Tatusko (’08) yielded just a run and lost to Clayton Tanner in game one and the bullpen failed for a disastrous eight-run eighth inning in an 8-3 loss in game two.  Tim Murphy (’08) turned in 7.0 scoreless innings, but Justin Miller and Glenn Swanson (’06-’07) were beat up in relief. 

That’s when the Blaze turned it on.  The Gomez’s teamed up for a 7-3 win in Bakersfield as Kennil Gomez stifled the Giants to a run over 6.2 innings while Mauro Gomez homered and drove in three.  They evened the series with an 11-4 win in game four thanks to Gac’s season-best six-RBI night, including a three-run blast that cleared the famed Sam Lynn Ballpark batter’s eye.  Michael Main (’08) tossed 2.0 scoreless relief innings to help Tanner Roark get the win.

Unfortunately, that’s where the dream ended.  San Jose erased an early 2-0 Blaze lead and won going away, 12-3.  The Gomez/Gac combo went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts combined as Bakersfield fell short of meeting High Desert in the Cal Leage Championship Series.

As you well know, Bakersfield was our old High A affiliate and High Desert is our new High A affiliate.  It would have been great to see the two match up in the finals, but it’s still exciting to see the Mavericks enjoy continued success.

 
Seager Hensley.JPG

Kyle Seager (left) and Steven Hensley will attempt to lead the Mavs to the title.

Three former LumberKings are with the Mavs, including Steven Hensley (’09), Travis Howell (’09), Kyle Seager (’09) and Stephen Penney (’09).

The Mavs had a first round bye thanks to a South Division-best 83-57 record.  Their second-round matchup pitted them against the Angels-affiliated Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.  That means a ton of former Cedar Rapids Kernels.

High Desert took game one behind Hensley’s outstanding complete-game, three hitter.  He struck out 10 Quakes and Jamie McOwen continued his dream season with a two-run blast to finish off a 5-0 victory.

The Mavs still wouldn’t let the Quakes on the board in game two as their second ace, former West Michigan Whitecap Mauricio Robles did his best to match Hensley with 7.0 scoreless frames in a 4-0 win.  Carlos Peguero was the man with the two-run clout this time around.

Rancho outlasted High Desert and staved off elimination with a 7-6 walk-off win in the 10th in game three.  Joe Dunigan was the offensive highlight thanks to yet another two-run homer in a 3-for-4, three RBI game.  The Quakes forced the deciding game five with an uneventful 2-1 win behind former Kernel Ryan Brasier’s 8.0 scoreless innings.

The series returned to Adelanto for the deciding game, and a 3-2 pitcher’s duel favored the Mavs through the first four innings.  Then, the bats took over.  Juan Diaz, Dunigan and Peguero all homered after the fifth and the bullpen was stellar in an 11-6 lashing to end the series.  The stiff-armed Penney was the man on the mound in a non-save ninth, and he turned in a scoreless frame to send the Mavs onward.

That sets up the best-of-five Cal League Championship Series, your High Desert Mavericks against the San Jose Giants.  The two best teams from their respective divisions rightfully meet up.  The series begins tonight in Adelanto with Hensley on the mound.

If you’re looking for more baseball to listen to, check out the Mavs tonight at 9:05 central time.  The link to the audio is here:  http://v3.player.abacast.com/player/player.php?pid=eldorado_kixw&stream=bb

-DL

Sunday, Twinbill Sunday

To say the LumberKings were well-rested for last night’s game against Quad Cities is an understatement.  Prior to the first pitch at 6:37 PM, the Kings hadn’t set foot on a dry diamond since around 9:00 PM on Tuesday night in Cedar Rapids.  Turns out the time off was beneficial…Clinton pounded out 10 runs in a 10-3 win over the Bandits and improved to 12-0 when scoring in double-digits.

More on last night’s win in the game notes:  8.30.09 kingsnotes.pdf

Kyle Seager became just the fourth Clinton hitter to drive in four this season, doing it with a pair of bases-loaded two-run singles.  Scott Savastano also belted a two-run homer to left, his first since 7/31 and just the second by a LumberKing in the last 12 games.  Higlights below:

Today, it’s doubleheader action with Quad Cities starting at 1:00 PM.  With the Kings 3.0 games back of Burlington and the Bees themselves playing two today in Beloit, both these games are crucial.  Clinton has not fared well in twinbill action this season, going 1-5 with five-straight losses.  That’ll have to change today.

-DL

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