Shortstop solution may be on the farm

Contributing writerApril 28, 2013 

Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge decided to switch things up at shortstop last week, giving Robert Andino more playing time over incumbent Brendan Ryan.

Both players are signed through this season only, which brings up the question of who will be the next Mariners’ shortstop.

The Mariners’ farm system has several interesting middle infield prospects, starting at Triple-A Tacoma.

Carlos Triunfel and Nick Franklin split playing time at shortstop and second base for the Rainiers. In the 11 games that the duo has played together, Triunfel has been at short seven times, Franklin four.

Both are off to fast starts offensively – each already has a 5-for-5 game this season, marking the first time two Tacoma players have had a five-hit game in the same season since 2007 (Adam Jones and Wladimir Balentien).

Franklin, 22, has appeared in only 12 games this season due to an illness and a sprained ankle. When in the lineup, he has hit: a .388 average with two home runs and 11 RBI in 49 at-bats. He has shown improved patience at the plate, drawing 10 walks with only seven strikeouts.

Triunfel has played in 21 games, batting .322 with two homers and nine RBI. The 23-year-old has walked just three times while striking out 18 times.

Defensively, Triunfel shows more range and a stronger arm than Franklin. However, he has already made five errors in 17 games at shortstop (Franklin has one miscue in five games at the position).

Triunfel and Franklin are not the only players in the shortstop mix. In Double-A Jackson, you will find 23-year-old Brad Miller hitting .282 while leading the team in home runs (three) and RBI (10).

Much like Triunfel, Miller needs to improve his consistency on defense. Miller has made five errors in 14 games at shortstop.

Miller has also played three games at second base, and a pair at third.

Wedge took a long look at Miller during major league spring training, waiting until the final day before sending him out.

All three players have played multiple infield positions in the minors because the Mariners value diversity, which can lead to a big-league opportunity.

Look no further than Kyle Seager, who played second, shortstop, and third in the minors before settling in as the everyday third baseman in the majors.

Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.

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