High Desert was once again an offensive haven and a pitcher’s nightmare, as the team based in Adelanto, California saw three batters with at least 20 homers and six with at least 20 doubles, and a stunning 992 runs were scored in the 70 games played in their home stadium (fedora tip to Kevin Goldstein for that last tidbit).
Strangely though, the team fared better on the road than in their offensive paradise of a home park, with a 31-39 record at Stater Brothers Stadium, and a 44-26 record away from it. Still, the Mavericks would earn a playoff spot, one of seven Mariners affiliates to do so, but they would fall two games to none against Rancho Cucamonga.
Final 2010 Record: 75-65, lost in first round of playoffs
2010 Batting Leaders: Johermyn Chavez 32 HR
Kyle Seager .345 BA | Rich Poythress 130 RBI
2010 Pitching Leaders: Andrew Carraway 11 W, 120 K
Anthony Vasquez 3.07 ERA
Pitchers (12): Austin Hudson, Tim Boyce, Chris Kirkland, Nick Czyz, James Gillheeney, Taylor Stanton, Yoervis Medina, Chris Sorce, Jonahan Hesketh, John Housey, Daniel Cooper, Jose Jimenez
Catchers (2): Trevor Coleman, Ralph Henriquez
Infielders (6): Dennis Raben, Gabriel Noriega, Vince Catricala, Jake Schlander, Matt Browning, Nick Franklin
Outfielders (4): Denny Almonte, Daniel Carrol, James Jones, Kalian Sams
DL: Alfredo Venegas (RHP), Stephen Pryor (RHP), Shaver Hansen (DL), Mario Martinez (DL)
Notable Prospects: Nick Franklin (SS), James Jones (OF), Stephen Pryor (RHP)
Players To Watch: Dennis Raben (1B), Yoervis Medina (RHP), Gaberiel Norieaga (SS/2B), Daniel Carroll (OF), Denny Almonte (OF), Vince Catricala (1B/3B), Taylor Stanton (RHP)
Outlook: Nick Franklin somewhat surprisingly headlines a solid crop of prospects, despite some indications late in 2010 and during the offseason that he would skip the level. James Jones is also an excellent prospect, and given the offensive potential the two project, the ball will really be flying around Slater Brothers Stadium this year.
Joining them in the bus from Clinton to Adelanto, CA is Gaberiel Norieaga, who thanks to the presence of Franklin will again be playing second base this season, despite being a slick defender at short. His bat has to develop and show something for him to progress much farther, however, and High Desert will be a good place to try and do just that.
Dennis Raben returns to High Desert as he continues his comeback from the microfracture surgery that cost him his 2009 season, and if he can get right, his bat has huge power potential. Daniel Carroll and Denny Almonte both offer some degree of promise in the outfield, but if I had to choose one to succeed, I might lean towards a healthy Carroll. Mario Martinez, who should man third base once healthy, is another intriguing prospect who’s bat will surely benefit significantly by moving out of the pitcher-friendly Midwest League and in to the California League.
The pitching staff has three arms that stand out as the most interesting: Stephen Pryor, Yoervis Medina, and Taylor Stanton. Pryor has an electric arm out of the ‘pen, and once he’s healthy and has his second pitch solidified a bit more, he should move quickly through the system. Medina had a solid 2010 in Everett and Clinton, and earned protection from the Rule 5 draft via a 40-man roster spot. High Desert will be a challenge for him, but it’s not one he’ll back down from.
Stanton’s 2010 ERA is a little deceptive because of some bad HR luck (evidenced by his 3.63 FIP, compared to his 4.30 ERA), but his career K/BB ratio of 3.21 and ground ball rates that hover around 50% will serve him well in the offensive haven of the Cal League.