Tacoma Rainiers shortstop Mason McCoy is having a career year, and people around the sport are starting to take notice.
McCoy was always known as an excellent defender at shortstop, rising through the Baltimore Orioles system and reaching Triple-A last year. With a wave of more heavily-touted infield prospects reaching the high minors this spring, the Orioles made McCoy expendable and the Mariners snapped him up in a trade for cash or future considerations. McCoy joined the Rainiers and was installed as the starting shortstop.
What we have seen is a revelation: McCoy is very steady on the routine plays at shortstop, and he is capable of making stunning web gems on extremely difficult plays. It’s been a ton of fun to watch him play defense, and the pitching staff loves him because balls hit his direction turn into outs.
Offensively, McCoy has been much better than anticipated. He has set career highs in home runs and runs batted in, with last night’s go-ahead grand slam raising his totals to 16 homers and 51 RBI.
His new employers have certainly noticed what McCoy is doing. Earlier this week, when Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford was banged up and there was some concern he might have to be placed on the injured list, Seattle flew McCoy out to Detroit to accompany the big club on the Taxi Squad, and be ready to be activated if needed. It turned out that he was not needed because Crawford quickly recovered, and McCoy returned to Tacoma last night just in time to get the game-winning hit.
That experience was something of a tease for McCoy, who has not yet played in the major leagues, but it also had to be encouraging for him to know that he’s on the Mariners radar after just five months in the organization. If he keeps playing well, he’ll eventually get his chance.
Last night’s game was Tacoma’s first to use the “Automated Ball-Strike Challenge System,” and it was… interesting, definitely interesting. I’m going to wait a few more games and see how it goes before writing about it – my understanding is that the system won’t be used in the upcoming road series at Oklahoma City, but probably will be used at Las Vegas the following week, and during our last homestand at Cheney Stadium as well.
If you are coming to the game today or tomorrow and have no idea what I’m talking about, please click here for an explanation.
YESTERDAY: Tacoma was trailing Sacramento 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning when Mason McCoy launched a go-ahead grand slam, leading the Rainiers to a 6-3 victory. McCoy had previously tied the game 2-2 with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning, and he finished the game with five RBI. Starting pitcher Roenis Elias went five innings and allowed two runs, and the Tacoma bullpen returned to form with four pitchers combining to allow one run over the final four innings.
TODAY: Sacramento River Cats (57-70) at Tacoma Rainiers (59-68), 5:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Francisco Giants.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Dave Brundage
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 13-9.
PITCHERS: LHP Jonathan Bermudez (2-4, 8.96) at LHP Austin Warner (3-2, 4.41)
Sacramento recently acquired Bermudez, who had been pitching for Sugar Land all season – the stats above are his numbers from there.
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday the Rainiers placed Chris Mazza (shoulder) on the injured list, and added pitcher Colby Morris from the Arizona Complex League.
HOT HITTERS: Erick Mejia has hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games… Mason McCoy has reached base safely in ten straight games, and he has homered seven times over his last 17 games… Kyle Lewis has a six-game hitting streak… Brian O’Keefe has a four-game hitting streak.
OPPONENT NEWS: Sacramento comes into the series hot, winning five of six in a home series against first place Reno, and they have now gone 7-3 over the last ten games… Sacramento pitched really well in that series, holding Reno to three runs or fewer in all five of the River Cats wins… Sacramento has one former Rainiers reliever in Aaron Fletcher, and former Rainiers infielder Donovan Walton is on the injured list…. Austin Dean has hit safely in nine of his last 11 games.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens right here.
- The Mariners won the opener at Cleveland last night as Cal Raleigh homered twice and drove in four runs.
- George Kirby was named the AL Rookie Pitcher of the Month.
- Zack Weiss, who was with the Rainiers championship squad all of last season (except for a break while he pitched in the Olympics), returned to the majors with the Angels and retired all four batters he faced last night.