Mariners prospect bishop having a big spring, 4mom my american university

TEMPE, ariz. — no player’s stock is skyrocketing in the mariners farm system right now like university of washington graduate braden bishop.

He’s hitting, fielding and running at pretty impressive levels so far. His stellar 2017 minor league season between high single-A modesto, double-A arkansas and an arizona fall league impressed the mariners’ staff enough to hand him a non-roster invite to spring training.

“it’s been unbelievable,” he said. “just to be around dee gordon, robinson cano, nelson cruz, kyle seager … seeing how they work on a day-to-day basis is pretty huge.”

last season

His father scoured through a stack of old birthday cards braden had stashed in his bedroom. He mailed one to his son from braden’s 14th birthday.

“don’t ever lose sight of how important your family is,” suzy wrote. “and how important it is to stay humble and kind. Because that’s who you are.”

She is unable to write those cards any more because she was diagnosed almost four years ago with early-onset alzheimer’s disease, for which no cure exists. She can’t communicate, rarely recognizes him and she can’t travel to watch braden’s games.

So the greatest benefit to all his success in baseball is every step is a bigger platform and greater opportunity for him to raise awareness of the terrible disease.Last season

“those are memories I don’t have anymore,” an emotional braden said of the card. “my mom can’t write anymore and she can’t talk like that anymore. It’s so brutal, man. But when I read that stuff, it kind of brings me back to who she was because a lot of times you only live in the moment and I only see who she is now. It’s not even close to who she was.

Just look at how the 24-year-old outfielder performed last season – in 119 games he had a triple-slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) of .306/.393/.413. And in 41 games after his promotion to double-A, bishop slashed .336/.417/.448.Spring training

The mariners have a lot of outfield depth already slated to start the season with triple-A tacoma, so it’s likely bishop will remain in double-A to begin 2018.

“the whole year for him was obviously a big one,” double-A arkansas manager daren brown said. “A lot of movement forward and putting himself in a good spot. He can run, he has made some adjustments at the plate that have seemed to work for him, and now it’s about going out wherever he goes this year and trying to just improve on what he started last season.”

He reworked some of his swing, but he said the biggest thing was his coaches helped him revamp his mentality from pac-12 small-ball play to …

bishop said

“an intent to make damage,” bishop said. “not just make contact. The pac-12 game has always been small ball, hit it around the infield. But the way I hit in college is a lot of outs here and I realized that quickly. You hit the ball on the ground here and you are out. So I took that mentality – do damage.”

Now he’s working on applying that to the base paths. He had 22 stolen bases last season, but he knows he has the speed to get to at least 30.

That’s where dee gordon comes in. Bishop said he arrived at spring training on feb. 6 – four days before pitchers and catchers were scheduled for their first official workout – because he wanted to get in on extra time with gordon and other big league players.Bishop said

“we had a discussion last year – it’s something that going into this year he needs to take off in,” brown said. “he runs so well that he should be a threat every time he gets on base. And, more than anything, it’s about taking the fear out of getting thrown out. Guys that steal a lot of bases can’t be afraid to get thrown out.

He walked off one of the mariners’ spring training fields after a recent triple-A scrimmage as the team’s leadoff hitter. He stole a base for the second consecutive game. But the first thing he spoke about?

He announced this plan on twitter just a few days before he showed up for workouts.Bishop said he said he’d donate money to alzheimer’s research for every hit he gets this spring, pledging $10 for every single, $20 for doubles, $30 for triples and $40 for homers.

As hard as this is for he and his younger brother, hunter bishop, who plays just up the road at arizona state, braden always pushes himself to talk about his mom. He started this all by writing “4MOM” on his forearm during games. Now that’s also on his shoes, glove, hat and certainly on his mind. It inspired his charity, 4momalz.Com.

“I never thought it would get so many personal connections and people wanting to share their stories with me and me bringing them hope with my story,” bishop said.Bishop said “and by them sharing their stories, it brings hope to me without them even realizing it – for sure. I think it provides such a good bridge, which I never thought of when I started it.”

“anybody can be a good teammate,” bishop said. “but when you become a genuine one I think it takes everybody’s game up and I think it lifts you, as well.