Gabriel Guerrero took his lumps early in the 2013 season.
One of the top position-player prospects in the Seattle Mariners’ farm system, the then-19-year-old outfielder hit .193 last April for the Class-A Clinton LumberKings.
The cold early season weather of the Midwest League likely was a factor for Guerrero — on June 10, he was hitting .217. Once things warmed up, Guerrero’s bat followed suit. He hit .306 after the All-Star break and hit his first four home runs in the final month of the season.
This year, the Mariners promoted Guerrero to the warmer and more hitter-friendly Advanced-A California League.
Guerrero has shot out of the gate, batting .405 (15-for-37) over the first nine games for High Desert. After waiting until Aug. 12 to hit his first home run last year, Guerrero ripped his first two of the 2014 season by going deep in back-to-back games last week.
Guerrero’s home run total will be worth following this season, because scouts believe that he has power potential.
He certainly has the bloodlines for it. Guerrero is the nephew of 2004 American League MVP Vladimir Guerrero, and Gabriel bears a striking resemblance to his famous uncle.
The High Desert Mavericks invited Vladimir to throw out the first pitch before Wednesday’s game, and Gabriel served as the catcher.
The Mariners probably are scouting the next Guerrero to appear on the scene: Vladimir told the Victorville (Calif.) Daily Press that his 15-year-old son, Vladimir Jr., is a star in the Dominican and will be ready to sign in July 2015.
PETERSON PROCESS YIELDS POSITIVE RESULTS
Rather than push him to Double-A, the Mariners decided to have 2013 first-round draft pick D.J. Peterson build confidence by opening the season with hitter-friendly High Desert.
So far, so good.
Entering Saturday, Peterson was batting .364 (12-for-33) with one homer and nine RBIs through eight games. He went 4-for-4 in the third game of the season against Inland Empire, and he has already shown some plate discipline by drawing four walks.
Defense, however, is something to work on. Peterson has played third base in seven games, committing six errors. Three of them came in one very rough game on Tuesday against Lake Elsinore.
The hot bats of Guerrero and Peterson have helped High Desert to a 7-2 record going into Saturday’s game. That’s the best record among the Mariners’ four full-season minor league affiliates.Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.