Results tagged ‘ High Desert Mavericks ’
The timing was cruel. Twenty-four hours after 12th-ranked Mariners prospect Stefen Romero (@stefonson) recorded a seven-RBI effort in a Major League Spring Training game last Thursday, he strained his oblique while swinging and missing.
I caught up with Romero (bio, stats here) on Wednesday to check on his status and discuss, among other topics, his mental approach to his first big league camp and baseball at large.
On his injury: “It feels way better since it happened Friday. The strides I have made just resting it, and I’m feeling healthier. I don’t feel it doing everyday activities like walking. If you look at me, you wouldn’t think I was injured.”
On whether he looked back on his 2012 season, in which he batted .352 and hit 23 home runs between Class A Advanced High Desert and Double-A Jackson: “The only time I got to really marvel at it was when I got home [because] family members would just reminisce about the season, tell me how great of a season I had. And that’s when it hit me.”
On whether he surprised himself last year: “I just wanted to go in and be as consistent as possible. I knew I was going to fail at times. I knew I was going to have up-and-down days, up-and-down weeks even, and I just wanted to limit the downs as much as I could and just stay positive throughout. Thankfully, I did that last season and, hopefully, it transitions into the season.”
On what he used the offseason for: “It was more of the same, a combination of rest and taking that time to focus on my goals and what I wanted to accomplish coming into this season. Last offseason, I read quite a lot of mental books [to] get my mental game up because you always hear the same thing [from coaches] in Spring Training: ‘It’s 90 percent mental, the game.’ So I took that to heart and really improved my mental game because that’s something I should be practicing as well. I re-read the same books: The Way of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman and Training Camp by Jon Gordon, a couple other books here or there.”
On how the books help him in baseball: “Training Camp talks about what you can do to strive to become great, to become better everyday no matter if you’re [only] improving. .001 percent, you’re still improving constantly over years, over months, over days. All that adds up. That’s what I try to stay consistent to, trying to get better every single day, whatever helps me get better, whatever gives me that slight advantage over the competition. It pushes me forward.”
Prospect Q&A: Mariners SP Jordan Shipers on Strikeouts, the Walker-Hultzen-Paxton Motivation Factor, and Facing Miguel Sano
The Mariners doled out $800,000 bonuses to two of their draftees in 2010. The first was 43rd overall pick Taijuan Walker, a Louisiana prep right-hander who is now MLB.com’s fifth-ranked prospect in all of baseball.
The second was Jordan Shipers.
You probably know less about him, but not because there’s less to know. Seattle gave Shipers (bio, stats here) the same amount of money to sign despite the fact that he, then a Missouri prep left-hander, wasn’t drafted until the 16th round. Shipers showed he was worth the investment in his first full season in 2012, compiling a 3.89 ERA in 23 starts for Class A Clinton.
Know this, too: The power-armed if diminutive 21-year-old has accomplished something that Walker — and the M’s other top pitching prospects — have yet to sniff: a professional no-hitter, which was just one of his two complete game shutouts last year.
I caught up with Shipers, presently ranked 13th in Seattle’s system, this afternoon, and we talked about that achievement, among other topics. We started our chat, however, with his off-season job at the gym. Because six-figure bonuses don’t last forever.
Me: So what’s this about your job — working where you work out?
Shipers: I have a job to take up my off-time, when I’m not working out. I work out five days a week, hit the weights hard, run. I work at 68 Inside Sports in Overland Park, Kansas. I just work at the front desk and just sit down, take phone calls and greet people when they come in. Pretty simple.
Me: Nice way to earn a little money in the offseason?
Shipers: Yeah, I just sit. I mean, before I got the job, I would just sit downstairs and do nothing after I was done working out. Then I was like, ‘You know what? I could just get a job and sit somewhere and make money.’ I’m usually pretty busy because there are a lot of baseball, softball people coming in and getting ready for their season.
Me: I bet they don’t know that a pro ballplayer is manning reception…
Shipers: No, they don’t. I try to keep that on the ‘DL,’ so they don’t try to act weird around me.
Me: Aside from workouts, how is your throwing coming along?
Shipers: I started throwing, probably, about three weeks ago. I feel great. I’m excited. I threw my first bullpen three days ago, and it was about 30 pitches. I was already hitting my spots on the corners, which I wasn’t really trying to do. I was just trying to get it across the plate to loosen up the arm a bit. I have another bullpen tomorrow [Friday].
Me: Now that some time has passed, how do you evaluate your 2012 season?
Shipers: I thought it was a really successful season. I learned a lot, and that’s what I tried to achieve. I’m going to take what I learned last season into this coming season.
Editor’s note: Lost and Found is this blog’s first offseason series, in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post.
Lost: Twelve months after the Los Angeles Dodgers made him its third-round draftee in 2010, lefty-hitting outfielder Leon Landry was hitting in the .220s in what was supposed to be an easier assignment in the Midwest League.
2011: .250/.307/.360 slash line, 36 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs in 500 ABs spanning 125 Gs at Class A Great Lakes
Found: Fast forward another 12 months, and Landry was just about to be traded from LA to Seattle, but not because the Dodgers didn’t want him — the Mariners just wanted him more. Of his uptick in offensive production — while increasing his batting average 91 points, he was +29 in extra-base hits and +35 in RBIs despite playing 21 fewer games — Landry told me by July that his pitch selection had improved.
2012: .341/.371/.584 slash line, 65 extra-base hits and 76 RBIs in 449 ABs spanning 104 Gs at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga/High Desert (full stats here)
So Landry was lost, now he is found. Now, about the Mariners’ returns: Landry may not stay in center field (he was playing left field mostly before the trade), but that’s not all that irrelevant to his increased value as a prospect. He’s being mentioned in this space because of his improvement with the bat. Simply put: He does more things well (make consistent contact, find the gaps, run like mad, etc.) than he does poorly (has more of a “hack” than a fluid swing, not much home-run power). His ceiling is batting first or second at Safeco Field by 2014. His floor, which he’s more likely to top out at, is on the M’s bench as a pinch-hitting outfielder, by 2015.
2013: ??? at Double-A Jackson (he finished 2012 on the DL with strained quadriceps, but he should be ready to go next spring).