It's been nearly a week since Miguel Olivo's activation and Casper Wells's demotion. Given that Wells was banished in lieu of Chone Figgins, I don't think I'm going out on too much of a limb to suggest that the majority of Mariner fans were unhappy about the transaction. If you were among the upset, here's a little bit of validation for your Tuesday evening:
Stats since May 24th:
Miguel Olivo- 0-7, three strikeouts.
Chone Figgins- 1-5.
Casper Wells (AAA)- 5-15, 1 homer, 2 walks, .333/.389/.733 slash line.
Yes, I know those are small samples that don't mean anything on their own. But it's a rebuilding season and Wells is fun and good, while Figgins and Olivo are neither of those things. The losing streak and the roster move made me cranky, so you get self-serving small samples (and alliteration, apparently.)
At this point, I wouldn't expect to see Wells back in the majors any time soon. Franklin Gutierrez has resumed baseball activity without a setback and Carlos Peguero is tearing the PCL apart. Combine that with the presence of prospects Trayvon Robinson and Chih-Hsien Chiang in Tacoma, both of whom probably have more of a long term future in the organization than Wells, and Casper's window with the might Mariners have closed. I'd still love to see him get a chance in Seattle, but I'm not too optimistic about his future with the Mariners.
I know that Alex Liddi is a likable player, and a guy with both power and youth on his side, but he looks completely overmatched at the plate right now. Counting tonight's game (he's 0-3 with a strike out as I type this in the fifth inning) he's just 1-17 with eleven strikeouts since the grand slam game. Even the base hit wasn't a total victory as it was a just a dropped pop up, and Liddi was then caught in a rundown while he trotted to second in anticipation of the catch. Unlike a lot of high strike out young players, Liddi isn't a hacker (he has a fairly low swing percentage and a decent walk rate) but he's among the worst hitters in the league at making contact and he's toting a 35% strike out rate. If he wasn't hitting .370 on balls in play, he'd have a pretty ugly stat line right now. His flaws may be fixable, but it'll be tough for him to make an adjustment while big league pitchers routinely exploit his inability to make contact. He might be best served with a stint in Triple A.
In better news, Danny Hultzen has been lights out in Jackson thus far. After allowing five runs in his first outing, he has a 0.85 ERA in eight games since. Three starts ago he whiffed eight batters and last week he had a twelve strike out game. His control, which had been a bit of an unexpected thorn in his side early in the year, appears to be better as he's only walked four batters in his last three appearances. I'm a little surprised he isn't in Tacoma yet, and I'd guess he's set himself up nicely for a midsummer major league call-up.
James Paxton's season has been the inverse of Hultzen's. After a strong start, he's battled control problems and left his last outing with an injury after issuing five walks in just two and two thirds innings. Fortunately, the injury reportedly isn't serious and he's only expected to miss a couple of starts. Hopefully he can return to his early season form when he gets back on the mound.