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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

July 5, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Mariners’ minor-league report, July 5: The Kyle Seager edition

The Mariners just announced they have signed four more players from the 2011 draft, including sixth-rounder James Zamarripa, an outfielder from Rancho Cucamonga High School in California. Also signed were left-handed pitcher Nick Valenza (18th round), right-handed pitcher Richard White (23rd) and right-handed pitcher Gabe Saquilon (25th). All four will be assigned to the rookie-level Peoria Mariners of the Arizona Summer League, the club said.

The Mariners have now signed 31 of the 51 players from the 2011 draft, but none of their first six selections.

Here is today’s Mariners’ minor-league report. (I’ve removed a couple of repeated paragraphs. Thanks to Bil522).

The biggest story on the farm for the Mariners right now is Kyle Seager, who has been tearing up the Pacific Coast League since he was promoted from Double-A Jackson on June 23.

Seager had two more hits yesterday in Tacoma’s 9-4 loss to Colorado Springs. Since coming up to Tacoma he is hitting .480 (24-for-50) with nine multi-hit games, including 15 runs, four doubles, one triple, one homer and nine RBIs. He’s hit safely in all 11 games. And it just so happens — by design, of course — that Seager is splitting his time almost equally between second base and third base. He’s played five games at each position, with one start at shortstop. Seager had been hitting .312 in 66 games for Jackson, wtih four homers and 37 RBIs. He played 54 games at second, three at third, and 10 at shortstop.

Seager was drafted (in the third round of the 2009 draft) as a second baseman, the position he played at North Carolina. But the Mariners drafted his Tar Heels teammate, Dustin Ackley, in the first round, and turned him into a second baseman. Judging by Ackley’s performance during his first two-plus weeks in the majors, second base on the Mariners is going to be occupied for awhile. That blocks Seager, and explains why he’s being used at third base. Obviously, that’s a position of dire need for the Mariners, with Chone Figgins flaming out badly and no visible signs of improvement. Adam Kennedy has filled in nicely but he can’t play every day.

Could Seager get a try at third with the Mariners? I don’t think that’s too far-fetched. The Mariners have shown a great willingness this year to look at minor-league prospects, including ones that seemed too raw for the majors (I’m thinking Carlos Peguero, who had 25 games at the Triple-A level when he was called up). The Mariners will very soon have no need for third catcher Jose Yepez, who was called up to cover them when Miguel Olivo had to miss a few games with cramps and a thigh strain. Olivo is back in the lineup tonight in San Diego, and Josh Bard is on hand to be the backup catcher. Yepez will be going down soon, giving the M’s an opportunity to bring up Seager and give him a look at third base.

Remember, Mike Carp was the last player tearing up the PCL, and it didn’t translate to the majors (though he only got 35 at-bats). Carp was hitting .200 when he was sent back to Tacoma the other day. That said, the Mariners can’t just wait for a Figgins’ revival, one that may never come. Kyle Seager is an increasingly intriguing option.

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