If you just joined us, Innersquad Games are the slop end of the stick for vets like Seager and Cano. There's a looooong way to go until Opening Day. Truth is, there's too far to go. Spring Training is about 30% longer than it probably needs to be. Remember the NFL strike some years back, when they trained for about 4 days before firing the official games back up?!
So the first coupla March games seem useless ... unless you're a kid trying to make the squad. Then, a first-game placement of #3 in the order can mean a lot. That very first practice game can be kind of a big deal, as far as how the coach sees things.
Now, BaseballHQ has a top-15 M's prospects list that looks somefin like this:
1. Alex Jackson, OF
2. D.J. Peterson, 3B
3. Gabby Guerrero, OF
4. Patrick Kivlehan, 3B
5. Edwin Diaz, RHP
6. Victor Sanchez, RHP
7. Austin Wilson, OF
8. Carson Smith, RHP
9. Luiz Gohara, LHP
10. Tyler O’Neill, OF
11. Ketel Marte, SS
12. Danny Hultzen, LHP
13. Ryan Yarbrough, LHP
14. Austin Cousino, OF
15. Tyler Marlette, C
So, are there any interesting differences between the J.V. game and the preseason expectations?
Alex Jackson, Tyler O'Neill, Austin Wilson, and Gabby Guerrero are low-minors prospects; nothing to see there. They're not challenging for anything, even in their Wonderland scenarios.
Ketel Marte was hitting pretty low in the order, and that's relative to 15-20 other minor leaguers. To me that's worth a simoleon. Dr. D is a bit of a Marte cynic in the first place. Not a big cynic, but a bit of one.
Austin Cousino was a name I hadn't been familiar with, since I don't even scan the post-draft list in June. He played low-A last year (only .265/.340/.400 at Everett) and here he is, rising HQ's list with a bullet and playing in the Innersquad Game.
Seattle also picked another outfielder in the 3rd round, this time from the college ranks. OF Austin Cousino (3rd) is the polar opposite of Jackson and Morgan. He is more of a speedy, defensive player who makes contact, though can reach the seats.
Short, athletic OF who has various talents to impact game. Doesn't hit for much long ball pop, but drives ball to gaps with simple, line drive approach. Can chase pitches out of zone and has some holes in stroke. Runs very well and patrols CF with keen routes while owning average arm.
HQ sees Cousino as a "7C" prospect, meaning an okay chance to be a fringe ML player. All his ratings are 2's and 3's out of 4. Presumably the M's think this is off the mark. The pics are those of a skinny little kid with brawny forearms, like Nick Franklin and Dustin Ackley.
How do you reconcile that with (1) his getting drafted same round as Kyle Seager and (2) his marquee presence on the All-Important Innersquad Game?
You'll have to ax Gordon or Jim,