First-month minor league review – Pacific Coast League

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OPS leaders
1. Jay Gibbons (Dodgers) – .400/.405/.757 – 1163
2. John Lindsey (Dodgers) – .410/.465/.654 – 1119
3. Joe Borchard (Giants) – .366/.464/.646 – 1110
4. Kila Ka’aihue (Royals) – .304/.466/.620 – 1086
5. Chris Lubanski (Blue Jays) – .307/.357/.693 – 1050
6. Brandon Boggs (Rangers) – .333/.437/.600 – 1037
7. Mike Baxter (Padres) – .338/.463/.554 – 1016
8. Brett Wallace (Blue Jays) – .289/.364/.629 – 993
9. Prentice Redman (Dodgers) – .311/.370/.622 – 992
10. Xavier Paul (Dodgers) – .361/.409/.574 – 983
– This list simply isn’t as interesting as the top 10 from the International League. Wallace is a top prospect and Paul, who is currently helping to fill in for Manny Ramirez in L.A., should be pretty useful, but most of the guys are vets taking advantage of big offensive environments.
– Of course, I do like Ka’aihue, who was promoted to the majors Tuesday thanks to Rick Ankiel’s injury. But I doubt he’ll get much of a look now. He has to hope that Jose Guillen continues to hit and turns himself into a desired commodity in trade talks.
Notable hitters
Mark Trumbo (Angels) – .311/.347/.556 – 903
Jack Cust (Athletics) – .267/.433/.467 – 900
Buster Posey (Giants) – .319/.420/.457 – 877
Chris Carter (Athletics) – .261/.364/.500 – 864


Hank Conger (Angels) – .282/.346/.479 – 825
J.P. Arencibia (Blue Jays) – .264/.329/.444 – 774
Brandon Allen (Diamondbacks) – .216/.352/.405 – 757
Peter Bourjos (Angels) – .276/.316/.425 – 741
Michael Taylor (Athletics) – .235/.297/.441 – 738
Jay Payton (Rockies) – .284/.322/.395 – 717
Mike Carp (Mariners) – .203/.301/.405 – 706
Aaron Cunningham (Padres) – .250/.290/.398 – 688
Ivan DeJesus (Dodgers) – .261/.298/.352 – 650
Jason Castro (Astros) – .221/.369/.250 – 619
Michael Saunders (Mariners) – .195/.276/.208 – 484
– DeJesus missed all of last season with a broken leg, so his slow start is understandable. The Dodgers have mostly used him at second base this season, with Chin-Lung Hu playing shortstop for the Isotopes.
– Disastrous is the word that best describes Saunders’ April. He’d already be in prime position to push Milton Bradley to the DH spot and Ken Griffey Jr. off Seattle’s roster if he were playing up to his ability. But he’s been dreadful.
ERA leaders
1. Derek Holland (Rangers) – 0.93 ERA, 37/7 K/BB in 38 2/3 IP
2. Luke French (Mariners) – 1.41 ERA, 19/9 K/BB in 32 IP
3. Bryan Bullington (Royals) – 1.63 ERA, 19/8 K/BB in 27 2/3 IP
3. Eric Hacker (Giants) – 1.63 ERA, 31/5 K/BB in 27 2/3 IP
5. Thomas Diamond (Cubs) – 1.65 ERA, 23/11 K/BB in 27 1/3 IP
6. Jhoulys Chacin (Rockies) – 1.69 ERA, 21/11 K/BB in 21 1/3 IP
7. Michael Kirkman (Rangers) – 2.12 ERA, 24/13 K/BB in 29 2/3 IP
8. Radhames Liz (Padres) – 2.14 ERA, 30/9 K/BB in 21 IP
9. Marco Estrada (Nationals) – 2.48 ERA, 25/8 K/BB in 29 IP
9. Jay Jackson (Cubs) – 2.48 ERA, 20/7 K/BB in 29 IP
– Last year, Holland made just one start in Triple-A before the Rangers called him up and added him to their pen. The team has handled him much better this year, and it looks like he’s about ready to fulfill his potential. He could well be the team’s best pitcher by this time next year.
Notable pitchers
Brandon McCarthy (Rangers) – 2.51 ERA, 18/5 K/BB in 28 2/3 IP
Will Inman (Padres) – 2.57 ERA, 16/13 K/BB in 21 IP
Vin Mazzaro (Athletics) – 2.59 ERA, 27/12 K/BB in 24 1/3 IP
Cesar Carrillo (Padres) – 3.24 ERA, 13/12 K/BB in 25 IP
Ryan Tucker (Marlins) – 3.57 ERA, 14/6 K/BB in 22 2/3 IP
Cesar Valdez (Diamondbacks) – 3.80 ERA, 25/5 K/BB in 23 2/3 IP
James McDonald (Dodgers) – 3.97 ERA, 21/11 K/BB in 22 2/3 IP
Clay Mortensen (Athletics) – 3.98 ERA, 24/9 K/BB in 31 2/3 IP
Guillermo Moscoso (Rangers) – 4.30 ERA, 18/9 K/BB in 23 IP
Robert Ray (Blue Jays) – 4.55 ERA, 20/15 K/BB in 27 2/3 IP
Lance Lynn (Cardinals) – 4.56 ERA, 17/17 K/BB in 25 2/3 IP
Trevor Reckling (Angels) – 4.85 ERA, 16/17 K/BB in 26 IP
Madison Bumgarner (Giants) – 5.25 ERA, 16/8 K/BB in 24 IP
Rick VandenHurk (Marlins) – 5.33 ERA, 19/9 K/BB in 27 IP
Josh Lindblom (Dodgers) – 6.23 ERA, 25/6 K/BB in 26 IP
Scott Elbert (Dodgers) – 8.00 ERA, 22/14 K/BB in 18 IP
– McCarthy figured to be next in line for a spot in the Texas rotation at the beginning of the year and he got off to a promising start, but he’s again on the shelf with a stress reaction in his shoulder.
– What was expected to be a strong Albuquerque rotation isn’t providing pitching alternatives for the Dodgers. McDonald, though, has been decent outside of one start in which he suffered from cracked fingernails on his pitching hand. Also, Lindblom must be dealing with some bad luck. To go along with the strong K/BB ratio, he’s allowed just three homers in his 26 innings. Albuquerque is one of the toughest places to pitch in the minors.
Relievers
Matt Reynolds (Rockies) – 0.00 ERA, 0 Sv, 18/0 K/BB in 13 2/3 IP
Ernesto Frieri (Padres) – 0.00 ERA, 5 Sv, 17/7 K/BB in 12 IP
Zach Braddock (Brewers) -0.00 ERA, 1 Sv, 22/4 K/BB in 11 1/3 IP
Ryan Webb (Padres) – 0.00 ERA, 1 Sv, 10/2 K/BB in 10 IP
Henry Rodriguez (Athletics) – 0.00 ERA, 3 Sv, 14/3 K/BB in 9 1/3 IP
Josh Roenicke (Blue Jays) – 0.00 ERA, 0 Sv, 8/1 K/BB in 8 2/3 IP
Henry Sosa (Giants) – 1.29 ERA, 0 Sv, 11/9 K/BB in 14 IP
Blake Wood (Royals) – 2.57 ERA, 5 Sv, 11/7 K/BB in 14 IP
Carlos Rosa (Royals/D’Backs) – 3.14 ERA, 0 Sv, 11/7 K/BB in 14 1/3 IP
David Purcey (Blue Jays) – 3.27 ERA, 0 Sv, 15/10 K/BB in 11 IP
Chad Cordero (Mariners) – 4.63 ERA, 2 Sv, 10/3 K/BB in 11 2/3 IP
Shane Lindsay (Rockies) – 6.17 ERA, 0 Sv, 18/14 K/BB in 11 2/3 IP
– Webb and Rodriguez just received callups. I had Webb down as a fantasy sleeper at the beginning of the year, only to be disappointed when the Padres didn’t give him much of a chance to win a bullpen spot.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.