Prospect Powell off to strong start in Dominican League

Other Minor Leaguers competing for various winter ball clubs

Prospect Powell off to strong start in Dominican League

SEATTLE -- After missing the final three months of Triple-A Tacoma's season because of an 80-game suspension, Mariners outfield prospect Boog Powell is performing well in his first week of play in the Dominican Winter League.

Entering Wednesday, the 23-year-old has hit .368 (7-for-19) with one walk and two stolen bases through his first five games with Aguilas Cibaenas as he looks to make up for lost time in the 2016 season, which was his first in the Mariners' organization after being acquired from the Rays as part of a six-player trade last November.

Powell drew an 80-game suspension on June 23 for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance. At the time, he was batting .270/.326/.359 with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs, 27 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 64 games with the Rainiers.

Powell was the Mariners' eighth-ranked prospect at the time, according to MLBPipeline.com. He has since dropped to No. 20 on that list.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder missed Tacoma's final 71 regular-season games and four postseason contests, so he'll still need to sit out five more games to start the 2017 season before his suspension is completed.

In other winter ball news involving Mariners players:

• Catcher Jesus Sucre, who finished out the regular season swinging a hot bat for Seattle, has continued that in his first five games for Navegantes del Magallanes in the Venezuelan League as he has batted .294 (5-for-17) with two runs.

The 28-year-old hit .647 (11-for-17) with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs in six games for the Mariners after being recalled in September, raising his career average to .209 in 90 Major League games over the past four years.

Sucre's two-run homer to left

• Kevin Gadea, a 21-year-old right-hander who finished up last season with Class-A Clinton, has been outstanding in his first two starts for Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan League. Gadea has yet to allow a run in 10 innings over his first two outings, earning a win and a no-decision while scattering just hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

The 6-foot-5, 188-pounder out of Nicaragua was a bit of a late starter in his pro career after converting from third base to the mound when signing with the Mariners as an 18-year-old. He opened this past season in the Arizona Rookie League before being promoted to Clinton in July and going 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 50 1/3 innings over 10 appearances (six starts).

• Former University of Washington right-hander Forrest Snow threw four scoreless innings in his debut for Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican League on Tuesday, permitting just two hits with no walks and six strikeouts in a start. Snow, 27, split time between Double-A Jackson and Tacoma last year, compiling a 2.83 ERA in 28 games, primarily as a reliever.

Aguilas wound up losing that game 5-4 to Gigantes del Cibao after another Mariners prospect, Andrew Kittredge, gave up three runs on three hits in 1/3 inning in the eighth and veteran Al Alburquerque, who finished last season with Tacoma, took the loss when he surrendered two hits and a run in the 10th.

• Bryan Evans, a 29-year-old right-hander who started three games for Jackson at the end of the season after having his contract purchased from Lancaster of the independent Atlantic League, has yet to allow a run in six innings over two games, including one start, for Toros del Este in the Dominican League. Evans has given up just two hits with no walks and five strikeouts, including five innings of one-hit ball in Monday's 4-3 win over Licey.

• While outfielder Tyler O'Neill and catcher Tyler Marlette have received considerable attention for their early hitting success in the Arizona Fall League, the Mariners have also gotten a promising start from right-hander Dylan Unsworth as he works back from a left hamstring strain that wiped out most of his second half with Jackson.

Unsworth is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his first two starts for Peoria in the AFL, allowing eight hits with no walks and three strikeouts over six innings. The 24-year-old from South Africa went 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in nine starts for Jackson and was named to the Futures Game, but he hadn't been able to pitch since June 7 due to his hamstring issue.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.