Under-the-Radar Prospect Report: Could The Mariners’s Jake Fraley Be On The Precipice Of Making An Impact?

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The Seattle Mariners are a team that is clearly in a rebuild, and it’s possible that the next potential piece could be arriving before long.  When you look at the Major League roster the outfield is one of the few aspects that they appear to have a good, long-term base:

  • Mitch Haniger (28-years old)
  • Domingo Santana (26-years old, he’ll turn 27 in about a month)
  • Mallex Smith (26-years old)

Of course we can question their long-term upside/ability, but that’s a debate for another day.  For now they are getting an opportunity to prove that they deserve a spot, and at different times they’ve all looked the part.  That said Haniger is currently on the IL and there are AB available at DH…

Enter Jake Fraley, who at 24-years old doesn’t get much attention as a prospect but he’s doing everything he can to gain it.  Recently he was promoted to Triple-A, but the tougher competition hasn’t slowed him down:

  • Double-A (230 AB) – .313, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 40 R, 16 SB
  • Triple-A (48 AB) – .313, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 12 R, 3 SB

He’s added 18 doubles and 5 triples, and while he’s never shown this type of power before it would appear that he’s figured something out. 

Since the promotion he has seen his strikeout rise to 23.1%, courtesy of an 11.2% SwStr%.  It is a small sample size, though he posted a 9.6% SwStr% at Double-A (21.2% strikeout rate), so it also isn’t unreasonable.  Here’s an easier view of his progression (SwStr%):

  • High-A (2018) – 7.8%
  • Double-A (2019) – 9.6%
  • Triple-A (2019 – 11.2%

Obviously we’d expect a regression as he advances, but there’s hope that he can coral it back in.  Adding to that thought is this scouting report, courtesy of Baseball America (from prior to the season):

Fraley has a good approach at the plate with above-average bat speed and a simple, balanced swing, but his 2018 numbers overstate his impact potential. He has a track record for putting the bat on the ball and drawing walks. 

Overall he has a 9.9% SwStr% and an 8.7% walk rate, so couple that with the improvement in his power and his obvious speed (he’s stolen as many as 33 bases in a season) and there’s a lot to like.  The biggest question has always been his ability to stay healthy, but that hasn’t been a problem in 2019. 

He doesn’t need to be a 20 HR hitter, all he needs to be is a 10-12 HR threat with speed to have a significant fantasy impact.  Fraley is not Oscar Mercado, but he could bring a 10/25 mix with a solid approach.  That’s going to have value and can’t be overlooked.

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Baseball America, Fangraphs

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