Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero is off to a good start in the Dominican Winter League, as a number of Seattle players and prospects have begun their offseason efforts.
Peguero, who figures to be among several players battling for the Mariners' left-field job next spring, is batting .343 (12-for-35) with five doubles, three home runs and seven RBIs in nine games for Gigantes del Cibao. The 24-year-old has struck out 10 times with three walks and is putting up a strong .410 on-base percentage and 1.153 OPS, thanks to his .743 slugging percentage.
Francisco Martinez, a 21-year-old third base prospect acquired from the Tigers in the Doug Fister trade, is also hitting well in the Venezuelan Winter League. He's batting .360 (18-for-50) with four doubles and six RBIs in 12 games for Navegantes del Magallanes.
Alex Liddi and Michael Saunders, two other young Mariners prospects, are not faring as well in the early going for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan League. Liddi, expected to compete for the third-base job in Seattle next spring, is batting .154 (6-for-39) with one home run, four RBIs, six walks and 17 strikeouts in 12 games.
Saunders, trying to get back on track after a tough season in Seattle, is batting .163 (7-for-43) with one home run, four RBIs, nine walks and 12 strikeouts in 12 games.
Luis Jimenez, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound first baseman who split time between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma last year, is faring much better in his native Venezuela. The 29-year-old is hitting .353 with five home runs and 10 RBIs in 13 games for Lara.
Meanwhile, Danny Hultzen, the Mariners' top choice in last June's First-Year Player Draft, continued his strong showing in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday.
Hultzen went 3 2/3 innings in Peoria's 7-6 loss to Phoenix, allowing just two hits and one run with a walk and five strikeouts. The left-hander out of Virginia was perfect through 3 1/3 innings before allowing a solo home run to Brodie Greene, then issuing his lone walk and a double before getting the hook after throwing 58 pitches.
His ERA now stands at 2.13 after four starts in the AFL, having given up 11 hits and three runs in 12 2/3 innings with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Young Mariners shortstop prospect Nick Franklin went 2-for-5 with an RBI in that contest, raising his average to .238 in 12 games. He's walked eight times to boost his on-base percentage to .360, with one home run and six RBIs.
Mariners catcher Adam Moore, continuing his comeback from knee surgery, went 1-for-4 and is batting .133 (4-for-30) in eight games.
Chih-Hsien Chiang, the 22-year-old outfielder acquired from the Red Sox in the Erik Bedard trade in July, is off to an excellent start in the AFL with a .341 average for Peoria, going 14-for-41 in 11 games with a .438 on-base percentage and .877 OPS.
That's encouraging news for the Mariners, as Chiang struggled at Double-A Jackson after the trade, hitting just .208 after tearing up the Eastern League with a .340 average, 18 home runs and 76 RBIs for Boston's Double-A Portland affiliate.
The other two Mariners products in the AFL are pitchers Forrest Snow and Brian Moran. Snow, a 6-foot-6 right-hander out of the University of Washington, has yet to give up a run in 8 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit and a walk with 10 strikeouts. He's pitched in four games, with one start.
Moran, a 23-year-old lefty who pitched at Double-A Jackson last season, has also been strong. He's posted a 2.84 ERA with three hits, two runs, two walks and seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings in six relief appearances.