The Minor League Baseball Season Kicks Off Tomorrow
The Mariners farm system had a terrific year last year, and it was actually the best year by the Mariners minor league affiliates in Franchise history. Only one affiliate did not make it to the postseason and two of the affiliates, the Tacoma Rainiers (AAA) and the Everett Aqua Sox (Short Season), each won their league’s title. This year’s minor league teams have some big shoes to fill but there is still a lot of great talent remaining and even more has been added to the system.
The reigning Pacific Coast League Champions kick of their season on the road against the Sacramento River Cats. Luke French will be pitching for the Rainiers tomorrow. The Rainiers don’t make their home opener until Friday, the 15th in the brand new Cheney Stadium. The biggest name to watch for on this team is Dustin Ackley who shouldn’t stick around at AAA for long. Once June comes around, Mr. Ackley should be manning second base on the big league roster.
The Jackson Generals, formerly the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, will be kicking off the season with a brand new name, logo, and everything else that comes with. Anthony Vasquez will be on the mound for the Generals as they start the season on the road against the Mississippi Braves. The Generals will be going up against one of the top pitching prospects in the league in Randall Delgado. Their first home game is on Wednesday, the 13th.
As we head down to the desert, the High A Desert Mavericks kick their season off on the road against the Lancaster Jethawks. The opening day starter has yet to be announced but I’m making a guess and saying that it will be right-hander Yoervis Medina. This league is known for its huge offensive numbers and we often see a lot of players really break out while playing here. Watch for the toolsy outfielder James Jones to really take off this year. The Mavericks first home game is Thursday, the 14th.
The Clinton Lumberkings won the Midwest League West division title, but they fell short of bringing home the MWL Championship Title as they lost in the final series to the Lake County Captains. Forrest Snow will be on the mound for the Lumberkings as they kick off the season at home against Burlington Bees. I did an interview with Snow this offseason and he is a great guy. http://www.swinginginseattle.com/2011/01/interview-with-forrest-snow.html
He spent last year as a reliever in which he was very dominant but he has been stretched out and will now be working as a starter. This is a talented group of players and they should compete again for the division and league championship.
Make sure you follow me on twitter @Mike_Schwartze for updates on all of the Mariners Minor League Affiliates throughout the season.
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