In the 76-year history of the Clinton baseball, 242 players have gone on to play in Major League Baseball. Out of 25 players named to the 2013 Seattle Mariners Opening Day roster, nine passed through Clinton on their journey to the big leagues.
New Mariners acquisition Jason Bay played with the LumberKings in 2001 when Clinton was the Midwest League affiliate of the Montreal Expos. It was a special season for Bay as he won the MWL Batting Crown with a .362 average. In just 87 games, Bay collected 115 hits, including 37 for extra bases.
Another recent Mariners addition, reliever Kameron Loe, pitched for Clinton in 2003, the first season as a Texas Rangers affiliate. Loe dominated the competition in the MWL as he posted a 4-3 record with a staggering 1.95 ERA in 97 innings. The 6-foot-8-inch right-hander appeared in 23 games for the LumberKings.
2008 was the last season Clinton was a Rangers affiliate, and it was a memorable year. 19-year old Blake Beavan and first-round draft pick Justin Smoak were both members of the squad that went 78-59. As a teenager, Beavan overpowered the MWL. He started all 23 games he appeared in and posted a 10-6 record with a 2.37 ERA. In 121 2/3 innings, the right-hander issued only 20 walks and struck out 73. Smoak, the 11th overall pick in the 2008 June Draft, played only 14 games with Clinton but hit .304 with 17 hits, including three homers.
Budding star Kyle Seager played for the 2009 LumberKings after the Mariners selected him in the third round of the June Draft out of the University of North Carolina. After playing just one game for the AZL Mariners, Seager was sent to Clinton where he collected 42 hits in 41 games and hit .275. At 24 years old in 2012, Seager led the Mariners in games (155), hits (154), doubles (35), home runs (20), RBI (86), extra base hits (54) and multi-hit games (42).
More recently there has been a run of young arms to come through Clinton and then have an immediate effect in Seattle. Stephen Pryor, Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon Maurer were all members of the 2010 LumberKings. After beginning his pro career with Everett, Pryor finished his first season with 12 appearances out of the bullpen in Clinton. He struck out 29 batters in only 17 innings. Wilhelmsen was also a member of a dominant late-season pitching staff. Wilhelmsen started six of seven games and went 6-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 44 1/3 innings. Maurer appeared in two games with Clinton in 2010 and then again for seven games in 2011. Maurer enters 2013 as the number four starter for Seattle.
Rounding out the current crop of Mariners to travel through Clinton is reliever Carter Capps. The fire-balling right-hander pitched in four games for the LumberKings in 2011 after the Mariners drafted him in the third round of the June Draft. Capps then dominated Double-A in 2012, made a brief stop in AAA-Tacoma, then made 18 appearances out of the 'pen for Seattle. Capps became only the third player from the 2011 draft class to make his MLB debut.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.