TACOMA, WA. — Shortstop Bryson Brigman entered the season with a ceiling pegged as a marginal prospect, according to Baseball America in its annual Prospect Handbook.
Brigman, 22, batted just .240 over 188 games in his first two pro seasons after the Mariners selected him in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
“There are still plenty of questions about Brigman’s future,” Baseball America declared, “but the biggest one is whether he’ll get strong enough to reach his ceiling as a utility bench bat.”
That could be changing after Brigman opened the season by batting .405 and racking up 50 total bases over 22 games in April at Hi-A Modesto.
Even so, it’s a close call here at KLAY in choosing Brigman as Mariners’ minor-league player of the month for April. Double-A Arkansas first baseman Joey Curletta batted .323 in 21 games with five homers and 13 RBIs.
Curletta, 24, actually had a higher OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) at 1.098 to Brigman’s 1.080, but Brigman had a similarly slender edge in on-base percentage (.485 to .482) and plays the tougher defensive position.
KLAY will pick a player and pitcher of the month throughout the season for each of the Mariners’ affiliates and an overall player and pitcher of the month for the entire farm system.
Lo-A Clinton right-hander Tommy Romero, 20, is KLAY’s pitcher of the month for April after going 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA over four starts in the Midwest League. He also had 28 strikeouts while allowing just four walks and 11 hits in 21 innings.
Romero was a 15th-round pick in last year’s draft after being cited as a first-team juco All-American at Eastern Florida State College. He then went 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 13 games at Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League.
Baseball America cited Romero’s pitchability and fastball command while citing him as the organization’s No. 26 prospect — just ahead of Brigman — in its Prospect Handbook.
But the praise for Romero, like Brigman, was muted.
“There’s not a lot of projection in Romero’s body,” Baseball America reported, “but his pitching smarts should allow him to thrive in the lower levels of the system as he develops.”
Romero certainly thrived in April.
Two unsolicited plugs: Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook remains the industry standard. Yes, its ratings and evaluations are highly subjective, but that’s also true within each club’s player-development system.
If you’re interested in tracking the Mariners’ prospects, you’ve got to follow @MiLBMariners on twitter. It’s the best source, by far, for up-to-date happenings within the club’s minor-league system.
Onto the April individual affiliate selections:
***Triple-A Tacoma: Outfielder/first baseman Cameron Perkins, 27, (.356/.431/.522 slash with two homers and 17 RBIs in 23 games. Right-handed closer Erik Goeddel, 29, (1-0, four saves and a 0.00 ERA in eight appearances).
Both are recent depth-building additions. The Mariners acquired Perkins from Philadelphia in a Dec. 11 waiver claim and signed Goeddel on March 20 after he was released by Texas.
UPDATE: The Mariners promoted Goeddel to the big-league club Thursday after clearing space by removing outfielder Ichiro Suzuki from the roster.
***Arkansas: Curletta and right-hander Andrew Moore, 23, (1-1 with a 2.96 ERA in five starts). The Mariners acquired Curletta in a March 12, 2017 trade that sent switch-pitcher Pat Venditte to Philadelphia and chose Moore in the second round of the 2015 draft.
***Modesto: Brigman and right-handed closer Wyatt Mills (2-0 with two saves and a 1.64 ERA in nine outings). Mills, 22, was a third-round pick in last year’s draft.
***Clinton: Outfielder Jack Larsen (.288/.405/.530 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 19 games) and Romero. Larsen, 22, was signed last June as a non-drafted free agent before posting a .312/.472/.541 slash in 34 games at Peoria.