As much as has been made about the the Mariners’ accumulation of top-tier prospects, it appears that only one position player will make his first major league start April 1 in T-Mobile Park. It won’t be either of the celebrated youngsters with superstar potential, Jarred Kelenic or Julio Rodriguez.
Based on spring training results so far, rookie Taylor Trammell, 23, seems destined to open in left field in a lineup that likely will include three 30-somethings (3B Kyle Seager, 33; RF Mitch Haniger, 30 and C Tom Murphy, 3o April 3).
Trammell is with his third organization, never making it beyond Class AA with Cincinnati or San Diego. But his big-league moment appears to be now with Seattle.
“The guy who has really stood out at this point has been Taylor Trammell,’’ general manager Jerry Dipoto said of his youngsters. “Taylor has been the most consistent. We’re seeing from him a level of maturity and preparedness. He’s a wonderful guy to be around.
“He’s had a really solid spring training. He’s got a pretty natural history in how he handles righthanders and lefthanders. I think he’s played good defense, he can play all three (outfield) positions, which is a positive as we move into the season. He gives us a potential for a left-hand bat with a speed element. He’s trending in the right direction.’’
It ain’t a game until the uni gets a little dirty. @Taytram24 | #SeaUsRise pic.twitter.com/LEY1enShT7
— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) March 6, 2021
Trammell grew up in Georgia and was taken in the first round of the 2016 draft by the Reds. He hit .303 in rookie league, then in 2017 at Class A Dayton hit .281 with 13 home runs and 41 stolen bases.
During the 2019 season, the Reds traded him to the Padres. Trammell batted just .234 at AA and struck out 122 times in 126 minor league games.
The Mariners acquired Trammell late August 2020. They dealt C Austin Nola and pitchers Dan Altavilla and Austin Adams to the Padres for four prospects led by Trammell. Absent a minor league season because of the COVID-19 shutdown, the Mariners glimpsed him at spring training in Peoria, where he hit .375 in 14 games.
A muscular 6-foot-2, Trammell seems to have all the needed athleticism. What he needs are some stability and consistent playing time.
“I played with Cincinnati for three years,” he told 950 KJR radio. “I’m sitting there and found I got traded in mid-game, at the deadline. I was like, ‘Whoah! I thought I would be in Cincinnati for however long.’ I had no thoughts I would be traded. When I got moved to San Diego, I started to get settled down with the people I knew. Then I moved again.
“I love Seattle, I love the team and love the culture here and just everybody who is part of the organization.’’
Trammell (pronounced truh-MELL), ranked No. 100 on MLB Pipeline’s prospect list, has had a good spring, hitting .310 in 13 games with five doubles, a homer and and a .980 OPS. He still strikes out a bunch (12, with four walks).
“I’ve had really good at-bats,” he said. “It’s just having the consistency. That’s what I’m trying to hone in on.
“I’m an all-around player. I can hit a home run, and I can look at the defense when they’re playing back and lay one down. That’s what I really need to do.’’
The Mariners have had a hard time filling the left field spot consistently. Aside from Phil Bradley in the 1980s, and Raul Ibanez later on in two stints, anchor tenants have been rare.
With Kyle Lewis, the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year, a lock for center, and a healthy Haniger in right, the opening in left will have serious competition among Trammel, Kelenic, 21, and Rodriguez, 20.
It’s likely that Kelenic and Rodriguez will not make the opening day roster for reasons mostly due to service time. After spring training ends, they won’t see much action until the minor league season begins, which this year is delayed because of covid until the first week in May.
Trammell has earned his shot to start on one of MLB’s mystery teams. Because of the club’s history, he’s enjoying the notion that the Mariners are off the MLB national radar.
“Right now it’s like, we’re about to about to burst out on the scene,’’ he said. “We’re on the cusp of reaching our potential and reaching what we set out to do. The guys we have in our camp are creating a new culture, making sure that we’re all together.”
If all goes well the rest of camp, Trammell is set to get the the young outfielders’ first shot at reaching his potential.
I like him, although he strikes out at a huge rate. But he has the personality and attitude to succeed. Loved the ESPN in-game interview (2 weeks ago?). I think Kelenic’s ready, too, and the service time issue may not be an issue in the next CBA (thanks to not just Mather). Given that, I see TT spelling Haniger in RF (the man’s been out – pretty gruesomely – for 2 years, he’ll need more rest in-season) and DH when France is in the field. But hey, I could be wrong, and that’s the fun part.
wait, he strikes out a lot? what happened to ‘control the zone’ ? was that was just more hot air from the Mariners brass? shocking. but yes: here’s wishing young Trammell good luck. (the best luck, of course, would be getting traded to a real organization . . . )
For so early in the calendar, you’re harsh. And Trammell is new to the control the zone mantra. As, apparently, was Mather.
Seems like everyone strikes out too much these days. I think Kelenic will get some ABs in AAA to humble him, then he shows up midseason, unless Rodriguez burns up the minors. What if all four young OFs are good at once? Trade Trammell for No. 4 starter.
The M’s have a number of hopeful position players, including the catcher, Cal Raleigh. BUT, their starting pitching remains thin, and the bullpen continues to be a murky pool of no-names and no-success. There are a few young pitchers, including Logan Gilbert, that may eventually bring heft to the pitching staff. But for now, the M’s starters and relievers, as a group, remain near the bottom of the AL.
I think the starters are close to average as a group with Paxton. The pen is a wound that won’t heal. The young position players are solid except for 1B Evan White. Not sure he’ll ever hit.
Randy Winn comprised probably the most balanced outfield when he was in left along with Mike Cameron in center and Ichiro in right. Jose Cruz Jr would have been a mainstay for years if Woody Woodward didn’t decide to jump the shark for two relief pitchers who didn’t have much impact.
I’d love to see Trammel play full time for the M’s however if he meets or exceeds expectations he becomes trade bait and at this point he probably understands and expects it. If Kelenic needs another season in the minors Mather has all but destroyed the M’s credibility in developing players by keeping them in the minors too long. Sometimes players are kept there not because of lack of skill but lack of maturity or preparedness for like in MLB. Having never met Kelenic I can’t say where he is in that part of his development but Mather has near taken away the option to keep Kelenic in the minors if that’s the case. But the future outfield right now seems to be Kelenic, Lewis and Rodriguez. That could rival the Royals outfield of Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Carlos Beltran. Until then Trammel, Lewis and Haniger offers a sound outfield.
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Since most teams engage in the same service-time malpractice as the M’s, I don’t think Mather’s foolishness hurts the M’s more.
Kelenic can deal with a month at AAA before coming up. He can take the high road and win over people.
I think everyone will enjoy the outfield you describe in ’22.
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