Results tagged ‘ Inland Empire 66ers ’
Prospect Flashback: Picturing The Mariners’ Felix Hernandez In San Antonio, Before He Got to Seattle
Felix Hernandez hasn’t pitched in the Minors since he was 19 years old. And he only started pitching in the Minors when he was 17. That’s something, isn’t it? Makes you remember that this recent trend of teenage Harpers and Profars and others reaching the Majors isn’t all that new. Wildly impressive, yes, but, no, not all that new.
Hernandez, now 26, has been in the news lately, of course, in the wake of his new record-breaking contract (see story below). But before he got to Seattle, he was just a Minor League prospect, making stops with the following clubs: Everett, Wisconsin, Inland Empire, San Antonio and Tacoma.
Here is Hernandez as a Texas League hurler in 2004. He is 18, finishing up a season in which he went 14-4 (his overall MiLB record stands at 30-10 in 58 games, 48 of them starts). Click on any photo to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Flashback, click here.
SEATTLE — It was a reception fit for a King.
When Felix Hernandez arrived in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon to put official ink to his much-talked-about seven-year, $175 million contract extension, the Mariners ace stepped out of the field-level elevator at Safeco Field and was greeted with raucous cheers and a sea of about 100 team employees wearing yellow “King Felix” T-shirts. They held signs of his likeness and that of his comedic alter-ego, Larry Bernandez. They chanted his name until he covered his eyes, overcome with emotion.
Happy Felix Day, indeed.
“To all the people in Seattle that trust me and believe in me. I will say this: I will not disappoint you,” said Hernandez, who shed tears at various points during a news conference that also included general manager Jack Zduriencik and was attended by chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln, team president Chuck Armstrong and Hernandez’s agents, Wil Polidor and Scotty Pucino. “I’m doing this because I love this city, because I want to stay here. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I love this place. This has been my life. This has been my family.”
To continue reading MLB.com’s story, head here.
Earlier this week, I detailed the lofty expectations of a tall lefty in the Red Sox system. Expect high praise of this right-hander, too: John Hellweg — the Brewers’ No. 4 prospect — stands 6-foot-9 and is seen as a potential impact starter. Potential being the operative word. Hellweg, now 24 and on his second organization following last July’s Greinke-to-the-Halos trade, has stuff to be a No. 2 starter but has yet to command much of it on a consistent basis. He finished 2012 in the Double-A Huntsville bullpen (bio, stats here) and, while that was simply to keep his innings in check down the stretch, don’t be surprised to see him end up in the ‘pen sometime in the future.
Here is a gallery of Hellweg in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.
Dodgers-turned-Phillies pitching prospect Ethan Martin (bio, stats here) emerged in MLB.com’s new Top 100 Prospects list, which was released on Wednesday. Martin, a 23-year-old right-hander, checked in at No. 80. If you recall, he was traded from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, in a Nonwaiver Trade Deadline deal on July 31, 2012 for veteran outfielder Shane Victorino. Originally a first-round pick of the Dodgers four years earlier, Martin has now pitched for five Minor League teams in his career. Based on his success with his first Phils affiliate, Double-A Reading, last fall (5-0, 3.18 ERA in seven starts), he could begin 2013 with a sixth in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Here is a gallery of Martin, in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.
Editor’s note: Lost and Found is an offseason series in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post.
Lost: Randal Grichuk will always carry with him this dubious distinction: He was not only drafted before Mike Trout in the 2009 MLB Draft, he was drafted by the same team. To make matters more awkward for him, Grichuk (like Trout) was also a high school outfielder with strong physical tools. So if Grichuk, who was underwhelming in 2011 when Trout was really emerging as the game’s top prospect, was never lost, we can at least agree that he was overshadowed and, perhaps, in the dark.
2011: .256 AVG, 3 HR, 25 RBI in 199 ABs spanning 59 G split between three lower levels
Found: Grichuk finally finished a season healthy. In fact, this was his first season of more than 251 at-bats in his four years as a pro. So it’s no surprise that he established career-highs in all the important categories while returning to the Halos’ list of top prospects.
2012: .298 AVG, 18 HR, 71 RBI in 537 ABs spanning 137 G at Class A Advanced Inland Empire
So Grichuk was lost, now he is found. Now, about the Angels’ returns: Grichuk, now 21, will not be Mike Trout, because there is only one Mike Trout. But as long as expectations are lowered — and his health is maintained — this righty-hitting, toolsy center fielder should find his way to Anaheim by 2015. He’ll just have to move to left field or right, because someone else is already in center and will be for a long, long time.
2013: ??? at Double-A Arkansas (Grichuk will also been polishing his skills in the Arizona Fall League, which kicks off next Tuesday; Trout, you may remember, played in the AFL in ’11)