With the Arizona Fall League kicking off this week, here is a list of Mariner players who will be playing in winter ball. Winter ball can be a valuable exercise, providing a chance for pitchers to work on a new pitch, or one more opportunity for a player to catch the eye of management and put themselves in the plans for next year.
The most interest will naturally be focused on the Peoria Javelinas of the AFL, where last year’s No. 1 draft pick, left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen (No. 2 overall), makes his professional debut. In fact, Hultzen will be pitching today in Surprise. UPDATE: Hultzen went two innings, allowing three hits, one run (earned), with one walk and two strikeouts. He threw 42 pitches.
Others on the Peoria team are Nick Franklin, the highly touted shortstop prospect; Adam Moore, the catcher coming back from knee surgery; Chih-Hsieh Chiang, an outfielder obtained from Boston in the Erik Bedard trade; and young pitchers Steven Hensley, Brian Moran and Forrest Snow.
The Mariners have provided a list of other players scheduled to play winter ball this year. Keep in mind that all this is subject to change, and winter rosters, particularly those in Latin America, have a tendency to be in flux. Among the names catching my eye are Alex Liddi and Michael Saunders, both assigned to play for Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela.
Others assigned to the Cardenales: Vicente Campos, Edilio Colina, Jarrett Grube, Moises Hernandez, Cesar Jimenez, Jose Jimenez, Luis Jimenez, Johan Limonta, Mario Martinez, Yoervis Medina, Scott Patterson (currenlty with Team USA for World Cup/Pan Am), Stephen Pryor, Mauricio Robles, and Nate Tenbrink.
Also playing in Venezuela, for Magallanes, will be Yohermyn Chavez and Francisco Martinez (the third baseman acquired in the Doug Fister trade). Luis Rodriguez is on the roster of Tiburones de La Guaira, while Jesus Sucre will play for Leones de Caracas.
Scheduled to play in the Dominican Winter League are Leury Bonilla (Estrellas Orientales), Edward Paredes (Aguilas Cibaenas), Carlos Peguero (Club Atletico Licey) and Carlos Triunfel (Club Atletico Licey).
Daniel Carroll is assigned to Carolina of the Puerto Rican Winter League. And four players will be in Australia in the fledgling Australian Baseball League, including former first-round draft pick Steven Baron, a catcher. The others are Denny Almonte, James Jones and Jandy Sena.