While the season has gotten off to an inauspicious start for the Mariners’ organization, there have been several players who have gotten off to good or otherwise interesting starts anyways. Over the next few days, we’ll look at a couple players from each squad that fits that description. Today, we start with the Clinton LumberKings.
Julio Morban, OF
Stat Line: .318/.384/.439, 4 2B, 2 3B, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 6 BB, 21 K’s
Morban lost the majority of his 2010 season to injury. Even once he came back, he was bounced around the low minors, filling in holes, not getting much playing time, and not really hitting well when he did get on the field.
While he was an attractive prospect before the year, Morban had become largely forgotten after it, not unlike Jharmidy De Jesus (who now hasn’t played since August of 2009). Now it’s time for him to re-build that prospect status, and he’s off to a good start of doing just that.
Morban has put his speed and athleticism to good use, hitting balls in the gaps and legging out two triples and four doubles. He’s also done well in the outfield, playing in both center and right field and has already registered an assist. For his own sake, I hope that Morban can keep up this hot hitting, and maybe even up his power or cut the strikeouts a bit.
Tim Morris, 1B
Stat Line: .345/.406/.448, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 4 SB, 5 BB, 14 K’s
Morris is really only an organizational-type player and is repeating the level, but it’s tough to deny that he’s off to a good start in 2011. He’s been one of the few consistent hitters for Clinton in the early goings of the year, and is the only one to record one of each type of extra-base hit so far.
Morris has never been much of a slugger, but he’s got pretty good wheels for a first baseman and actually leads the team in stolen bases right now. He’s also a reliable defender, which is always good to see for a player of his stature. He’s never going to be a major player in the organization, but it’s nice to see him hitting well in the meantime.
Willy Kesler, RHP
Stat Line: 5 G, 13 IP, 1.38 ERA, 1 W, 8 H, 1 HR, 3 R, 13 K’s, 0 BB
Kesler had a nice debut with the Everett AquaSox in 2010, and has continued that run so far in 2011. A starter in college, Kesler has been used as a reliever in the pros, and has taken to the role strongly. He indicated during the offseason that he wanted to work on attacking the strike zone more than he has in the past, and given his 13 stikeouts and zero walks so far in the young season, it seems he’s managing to do just that.