There was a heartening discussion on the telecast today. We had noticed that the Mariners do not take Ben Gamel out of the lineup whatever his results. Blowers relayed the Mariners' view that Gamel will definitely hit well in the big leagues, and "there isn't any question about that."
He relayed his and the M's (reasonable) view that his slow month-or-six-weeks was due to several things, bad BABIP luck being one of them. But also, Gamel enjoys fastballs (especially HIGH fastballs, unusual for a lefty, we might add) and the league had softened up on him. Gamel has recently adjusted back by simply adjusting his vision to a farther-forward point in the tunnel. The adjustments go on.
Blowers also decisively opined that Gamel will hit 20 homers, which, to me that would be a dubious claim ... except for the fact that he's visibly gone Kyle Seager Yank Mode the last week or so. It's not impossible. He and Sims finished by opining that you'll see 15-20 stolen bases.
We don't say that Gamel is going to be a high-impact player like Mitch Haniger looks to be. But you gotta like his chances at 3 WAR for $500,000*, and that has a role in a pennant.
Every once in a long while you see a batter sink his weight in the box, he stays back on curves, he quick-snaps the fastball with authority to right field, he punishes mistakes, you just don't see how he ever gets out ... that is how Mitch Haniger has looked the last two weeks. It's more than just a Jean Segura look or even a Nelson Cruz thing; Haniger is pouncing on strikes like a leopard on a gnu with a sprained ankle.
To what extent is Haniger a streak hitter, and to what extent is he merely getting his timing back? That's the delicious question for M's fans. But here are a couple of stats for you: per b-ref.com, he's back up to 2.6 WAR for the season - in 78 games. Everybody resume that glorious game we used to play figuring out all of Mitch Haniger's projected numbers. Among the many other stats, he's on pace for 40 doubles full season. He's liable to become quite an RBI man, despite his footspeed. ... you know what team Mitch reminds me of? the 1970's, 1980's Red Sox.
And he is batting roughly .500/.500/1.000 since August 30th. Note that he's got 0 BB and 9 K in that stretch: in the short run, EYE can actually invert its importance when a batter is dialed in up to volume 11.
Barry Bonds walked a lot, so we're changing subjects a little bit, but sometimes it seemed that the first strike that he liked ... COVER!! That is the way with Mitch Haniger right now.
Seems that baseball has had its share of late bloomers the past few years, Justin Smoak and Danny Valencia and Nelson Cruz just among our faves, and Mitch Haniger wouldn't even be a late bloomer. He's age 26 with experience.
Jarrod Dyson is done, if you hadn't seen, with a hernia. In Dr. D's usual addled take on things, that may actually help allow Gamel and Haniger to stay in rhythm? Is that a valid use of a 4-to-make-3, to soak up an injury?
The Mariners had six different guys with multi-hit games Tuesday. Their batting stats might be a little different if they played in Arlington rather than a few hundred yards from the Pacific Ocean. Then again, we don't want to think about what Ariel Miranda's might be.
Mike Zunino maintains an OPS that starts with an 8. Kyle Seager does not. What chances would you have given, this spring, for Zuumball to have a higher OPS+ than K-Swag.