I found out Saturday night that left-handed pitcher Mauricio Robles had been promoted to the Tacoma Rainiers and would be starting for them on Sunday, and as I’ve long been intrigued in Robles as a prospect and had nothing to do Sunday, I bought a ticket to go see him make his AAA debut.
I was not disappointed.
Robles wound up giving up five runs in the fifth inning after his velocity drooped and his command utterly left him, but before that point, Rolling Rock hitters looked like rookies whenever they walked up to the plate against him. The first four innings saw Robles be simply dominant in his first outing with Tacoma, and even with that rough fifth, there’s plenty to be excited about as a Mariner fan with him around. Robles has stuff that will play in the majors, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him with Seattle out of the gates in 2012, with a possible cup of coffee late in 2011.
The Rainiers trailed late in the game, but tied it in the bottom of the ninth on back-to-back solo shots by catcher Elizier Alfonzo and center fielder Greg Halman. Top M’s prospect Dustin Ackley gave fans a moment of excitement with two outs in the ninth when he drilled a ball to center, but the wind knocked it down for an easy out. In the tenth, Matt Mangini got on with a single, and David Winfree got on base in what was a scary moment when he got drilled in the head with a fastball. Thanks no doubt in large part to the new, more protective helmets that minor leaguers have to wear now, Winfree was able to get back on his feet quickly and appeared to be OK, staying in the game as the runner on first. Two batters later, Mike Carp blasted a fastball way out past the right field wall for a walk-off three run homer.
My full scouting roundup on the game is over at ProBall Northwest, and this time includes videos! Go check it out, and if you have any questions on the Mariners minor league system or anything else, fire away and I’ll do my best to answer.
Next Saturday Megan and I will be in Everett to take in another AquaSox game. The folks up there are kindly letting us use their press box again and take in BP from the field, so I’ll certainly have lots of notes, and hopefully more video, to share with you guys afterwards. I’ll also be filling in for Megan at least part of this week because of the M’s east coast trip not meshing well with her school and work schedule. Until then…