2017 marked the first year of affiliation for the Travelers with the Seattle Mariners. Here of some of the noteworthy items from the season.
Travs to the Bigs
Four players who played for the Travs this season made their way up to Seattle:
RHP Andrew Moore was the Opening Night starter for the Travelers. Following a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma in early May, Moore was summoned to Seattle for a June 22 start. It was the second consecutive season that the Opening Night starter for the Mariners' Double-A club was in the Major Leagues by June (Edwin Diaz). He earned the victory over Detroit in his Major League debut that night by holding the Tigers to three runs on six hits over seven innings. Over the course of four different recalls, Moore has posted a 1-4 record and 5.40 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) and is currently still in the Majors with the M's. With Arkansas, he was 1-2 with a 2.08 ERA in six games (five starts).
RHP Max Povse was slotted behind Moore in the Travs rotation to begin the year and made his big league debut on the same night as Moore. Povse was called to Seattle straight from Arkansas in June after appearing in nine games (eight starts) for the Travs and spending a stint on the disabled list. Povse's debut saw him allow three runs to Detroit in two-thirds of an inning. Overall, he appeared in three games with Seattle this year tossing 3.2 innings. Max went 3-2 with Arkansas while posting a 3.46 ERA in nine games (eight starts).
LHP Zac Curtis had big league experience from the previous season as a member of the Diamondbacks organization. Acquired by Seattle in an off-season trade, Curtis was called up by the Mariners directly from Arkansas on two different occasions. Over a total of three appearances with the M's, Zac pitched 4.2 innings and was charged with three unearned runs. With the Travs, he appeared in a team high 41 games on the mound posting a 3.51 ERA with a 1-2 record, 13 saves and 60 strikeouts in 51.1 innings. Curtis was designated for assignment by Seattle on September 4 and was claimed on waivers by the Phillies on September 11 and has pitched a scoreless inning in his lone appearance with that club.
RHP Thyago Vieira continued his steady climb up the ladder in 2017. Opening with the Travs, the flame-thrower from Brazil appeared in 29 games going 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 36.1 innings. Promoted to Triple-A in July, Vieira became only the fifth Brazilian ever to reach the Major Leagues when he pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout for Seattle on August 14 against Baltimore. Thyago represented the Travs, the Mariners organization and Brazil when he pitched for the World Team in the All-Star Futures game in Miami on July 9.
Additionally, RHP Chase De Jong (Seattle) and LHP Ashur Tolliver (Houston) pitched in the big leagues earlier in the season before being with the Travs in the closing weeks.
Major League Rehab Assignments
The Seattle Mariners sent six of the players to the Travs on injury rehab assignments throughout the campaign. Chronologically they were RHP Steve Cishek, SS Jean Segura, LHP James Paxton, RHP Shae Simmons, INF Shawn O'Malley and RHP Evan Marshall. Cishek made four appearances on the mound. An eight-year big league vet, he had seen time with the Marlins, Cardinals and Mariners in his career. Segura played in three games recovering from a hamstring injury. A big league All-Star in 2013 with Milwaukee, he had played for the Travs in 2012. Paxton, in the midst of his best big league season to date, started the May 26 game at Dickey-Stephens Park. He was named American League Player of the Week just over a month before his appearance with the Travs and then was the AL Pitcher of the Month for July.
Awards and League Leaderboards
Several Travelers put together strong seasons in 2017:
CF Ian Miller was named to the Texas League Postseason All-Star Team. Miller played in 83 games before being promoted to Triple-A and hit .326 finishing second in the league batting race by percentage points. He also swiped 30 bases which was good for second in the league as was his .382 on-base percentage. At the time of his promotion, Miller's batting average, stolen base total and on-base percentage all led the league. Overall with Arkansas, he hit 18 doubles, three triples, four home runs, drove in 29 runs and scored 63 times. He was awarded the "Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Hitter of the Year" Award in mid-September for the Mariners organization.
RF Kyle Waldrop was named the league's Player of the Month for July hitting .374 (43-115) with 12 doubles, two homers and 17 runs batted in. Overall in 109 games with Arkansas before a promotion to Triple-A, Waldrop batted .303 (fifth in the league), with 28 doubles (tied-fourth), 10 homers and 68 runs batted in (seventh). His .444 slugging percentage also ranked fifth in the circuit.
OF Chuck Taylor had a 21-game hitting streak at one point and reached base in 31 consecutive contests. He concluded the season batting .274 with a .369 on-base percentage thanks to 66 walks. The base on ball total tied for third in the league with his teammate SS Joey Wong.
RHP Dylan Unsworth ended the season second in the league ERA race. Unsworth was 9-8 on year with a 3.31 ERA in 20 starts. He led the league in WHIP (1.10) and fewest baserunners/9 IP among starters at 10.53. Unsworth was named Texas League pitcher of the week for May 22-28 when he earned a pair of wins.
RHP Lindsey Caughel led the TL in innings pitched for the season with 157.2 IP. Caughel was 10-10 for the season with 3.71 ERA, good for seventh best in the league. He also tied for the league lead with two complete games including an 83-pitch, nine inning, three hit shutout at Springfield in late August.
C Tyler Marlette and 1B Ryan Casteel were both honored as a TL Player of the Week. Marlette took home the award for April 6-16 while Casteel got the award for August 21-27.
Texas League All-Star Game
The Travelers were well represented at the Texas League All-Star game on June 27 in Frisco. Four position players were on the North Division squad and all were in the starting lineup. CF Ian Miller led off the game with a triple and finished 1-3 with a run scored. RF Chuck Taylor blasted a home run in the first inning and went 1-4 on the night with a run scored and two driven in. C Tyler Marlette went 0-2 while DH Kyle Waldrop was 0-3. On the pitching side LHP Zac Curtis and RHP Peter Tago each worked a scoreless inning while RHP Tyler Herb did not pitch in the game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.