Tacoma Rainiers catcher Steven Baron is making good progress lately on both offense and defense.

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Prospect watch

Steven Baron

Catcher, Class AAA Tacoma

Selected in the supplemental first round of the 2009 draft at pick No. 33 out of John A. Ferguson High School in Miami

Baron has had his struggles at the plate throughout his minor-league career — he’s a .226 hitter over six seasons. But he’s starting to progress at the highest level of the minors, hitting .286 with a .684 OPS for Class AAA Tacoma. Baron is splitting time with John Hicks and has played well. The Mariners have been pleasantly surprised with his recent success. But Baron’s ticket to the big leagues is his defense. He’s an outstanding athlete, which has helped in blocking, throwing and receiving.

Ex-Mariner of the week

Brandon Maurer

Pitcher, San Diego Padres

The hard-throwing right-hander blossomed after being converted to a reliever last season. And he carried over that success with the Padres. The Mariners sent Maurer to San Diego in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith. This season, Maurer has posted a 6-3 record with a 2.56 ERA in 46 appearances in middle relief. Maurer has struck out 36 batters in 452/3 innings.