Lo-A Clinton third baseman Joe Rizzo, 19, continues to validate his reputation as a fundamentally sound left-handed hitter, which is what prompted the Mariners to shell out $1.5 million last year after selecting him in the draft’s second round.
Rizzo went 8-18 with eight walks last week in six games for the LumberKings, which resulted in a .615 on-base percentage and his selection as the TNT player of the week in the Mariners’ farm system for the period of May 30 to June 5.
After starting the season in extended spring training, Rizzo joined Clinton on April 23 as the Mariners chose to test his development rather than wait, as once seemed likely, to assign him to short-season Everett.
Rizzo didn’t blink.
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He went 7-for-12 in his first three games at Clinton and, overall, is batting .288 with a .414 OBP in 36 games. While he’s yet to show much power — three homers in 331 career plate appearances — the Mariners believe that will come in time.
The rest of the TNT Top Five for May 30-June 5:
***Triple-A Tacoma right-hander Andrew Moore, 23, continues to solidify his status as the organization’s top pitching prospect. He limited opponents to two earned runs and seven hits in 12 innings over two starts while compiling a 0.83 WHIP. He is 2-0 with a 3.19 ERA in six starts since his promotion from Double-A Arkansas.
***Hi-A Modesto right fielder Joey Curletta, 23, was 8-for-23 with three homers and eight RBIs while compiling a 1.254 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) in six games. The Mariners acquired him in March from Philadelphia in a trade for switch-pitcher Pat Venditte.
***Double-A Arkansas right-hander Tyler Herb, 25, won his last four decisions, including two last week when he held opponents to three runs in 12 innings. A 29th-round pick in 2014, he is 4-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 11 starts and has 64 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.
***Lo-A Clinton first baseman Nick Zammarelli, 22, shows signs of emerging from a season-long slump by going 7-for-17 in five games. An eighth-round pick a year ago, he had a .180/.288/.270 slash in his previous 28 games.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners
May 23-29: RHP Nick Neidert, Hi-A Modesto