Jake Fraley, CF-LF
At least one M's farmhand breaks out in 2019

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SonicBOOM sez,

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I'm really excited to see Jake Fraley in teal. Two more HRs today; five tools. As someone else suggested- I expect that trade (Zunino, Heredia, Plassmeyer) will be forever remembered as "The Fraley Trade". 

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At last sight, Fraley was raking AA for a Manny-esque .318/.389/.550 slash line with 11 homers, 16 doubles/triples and 14 stolen bases in a bit more than 1/3 a season.  MLB.com gives Fraley as the M's "breakout prospect" for the 2019 season:

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Fraley had trouble staying healthy with the Rays, playing just 30 games in his first full season (2017) and 66 more in 2018, though some of his tools were on display during that shortened campaign. In his first year with the Mariners since coming over in the Mike Zunino trade, he’s put it all together in his first taste of Double-A with a .326/.393/.563 line to go along with 11 homers and 14 steals.

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Here is a YouTube with a CF camera and a side shot of a Fraley homer.  He's got the Nick Franklin rubber band stretch between hands going backwards and foot going forwards, with lots of supination (bat angle at load) and outstanding explosiveness through the zone.  Nice quickness to the ball and controlled followthrough in balance.  NO worries about power with this lad, gentlemen.

This one is a Rays blog post about Fraley.  Bad:  it's written before 2018, when Fraley began lighting it up for realz.  Good:  it's a comprehensive and detailed op-ed.  They like Kevin Keirmaier as a comp, no big surprise since they were so high on his defense in CF:

ABILITIES

  • Plus-Plus Range in the OF 
  • Average arm
  • Base-stealer who runs bases extremely well
  • Noted as best defensive OF in Rays system 
  • Abilities notes: None can match Fraley’s range and instincts in CF within the Rays system, and although he’d show little power through 2017’s regular season (much of it lost to injury), he showed a great deal while playing in the ABL. It remains to be seen whether or not that translates States side in 2018.

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The Baseball Draft Report had a scouting report right before, and after, he was drafted in 2016:

JR OF Jake Fraley is an outstanding prospect. I may have actually underrated him despite ranking him twentieth overall in the college class back in October. Here’s what was written then…

... it would be easy to overlook Fraley, a tooled-up center fielder with lightning in his wrists, an unusually balanced swing, and the patient approach of a future leadoff hitter. Do so at your own discretion. 

Peers ranked over Fraley this year (according to me back in October) included names like Lewis, Reed, Ray, Boldt, and Reynolds. Banks, Wrenn, Quinn, Abreu, Brooks, and Dawson came next. I think if I had to do it again today with a few more months of research and thought under my belt, I would have Fraley behind only Lewis, Reed, and Ray, and in as close to a tie as humanly possible with Reynolds. He’s really good. In what is surely an unfair thing to say based on the sheer awesomeness of this guy’s numbers last year, I can see some opportunity for a Benintendi-like breakout for Fraley in 2016.

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The Dynasty Guru has an opinion for us from just last week:

Fraley is older than I generally like to mention in the prospect highlights, but his performance so far certainly merits it.  Currently, Fraley leads all of Double-A in batting average, and he is doing it while hitting for power as well, sporting an OPS just under 1.000 on the season (.978).  His 2019 performance is also well-aligned with how he performed in High-A ball last year, which bodes well moving forward.  

Will he end up being a .330+ hitter in the Major Leagues?  Unlikely.  But he may still end up being a significant boon to your fantasy team.  Not calculated in his already stellar wOBA projection is his 14 stolen bases, which comes on the heels of the 39 bags he stole in 2018. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better overall performer in the minor leagues right now than Jake Fraley.

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The last we'd heard from the Mariners -- forgetting where it was -- was that Fraley could get to AAA before too long and if so, a September callup would be standard operating procedure for a 24-year-old like him.  You and I can root for something more aggressive than that.

Enjoy,

Dr D

Comments

1

Vs. RHP

‘18: .371-.434-.603

’19:  .339-.413-.612

Sheeeesh!

63 K’s In 379 PA = just 16.6%

36 BB = 9.5%

48 XB In 334 ABs = 14.4%

He’s been hitting like this for a year and a half.  

He should have been in Tacoma two weeks ago.  Heck, a Smith-Fraley-Haniger OF might not be too bad to look at for a bit.  Sometimes you just have to quit asking a farmhand to re-prove it down there and come up and prove it here!

BTW:  Jay Bruce has hit 5 homers in 11 Phillies games

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He was okay last year, but this year; .235/.295/.256 and a 30% K rate is not a great look, makes me worry that Lefties with breaking stuff are gonna be trouble for him.  Of course Vogelbach has a similar problem and he's okay ;)

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John Sickels, formerly of Minor League Ball now of The Athletic released his Top 100 list and the M's are doing quite well with 6 players on the list: 

30) Jared Kelenic, B+: heading towards the top twenty and maybe top ten.

54) Justus Sheffield, B: needs to fix issues or may fall off top 100.

83) Julio Rodriguez, B: great when healthy.

86) Logan Gilbert, B: impressive so far, could reach AA soon.

97) Evan White, B: pure hitter, using his power more often, superb defense.

99) Justin Dunn, B: steady command progress in AA.

6

1. I'm firmly in the camp of "shocked the Mariners couldn't get a little "Now" in trade for EE, have to wait for 'Then'"    [sorry]

2. That said, piecing together reports, seems like JeDi was told "Money over prospects". That flabbergasts- and, concerns- me: I though we were going "all in" for 2020/21, and loading up on all the prospects we could extort from other "loaded" franchises.    

3. I accept that perhaps 21HRs in 2+ months isn't what it used to be. But the Yankees have won one (1) World Series in this century (after 2000) despite having the largest payroll of any organization this side of the federal government. Seems like we could have held out for a bit more of a return.

4. And- if money is the issue- are you suggesitng EE was not putting bums in seats?!

5. I've come around on Crawford. 

6. I really like the 2019 draft: not as sexy as hitters, but I believe we loaded up on some very good pitching. i'm a big fan of the Razorback kid, Campbell, whom we drafted as a result of this trade. 

7. The past eight months have been GREAT from the perspective of prospect acquisition. 

8. I'm much more enthusiastic about Austin Nola (genuine potential) than I am about Mac WIlliamson (gap filler). Honestly, If Mac Williamson survives on the roster beyond Haniger's return, I'm shocked. In fact, I think they added Williamson rather than one of the young, high-potential OFs (ie, Fraley) simply because they could cut him later and recover the roster spot (which they would not want to do with Fraley!) 

9. I'd love to know what the 'Stros, Rays and Rockies were offering for the rest of the year + an option on 2020 for EE. Sounds like it was less $$, but more player. 

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The Dodgers’ top three starting arms, Ryu, Buehler and Kershaw are a combined 24-3.

Yikes!

10

Tell all the other guys, I miss them! Gordon, Daddy, Matt, TRain- a history of lots of insightful comments, on the most erudite Mariners' website on the planet. "The House that Doc built".  Been a bit lonely, lately!

Here's what I've noticed, over this past week, in the Mariners Minors: 

1. Justus SHeffield: two strong outings, back=to=back. He's cut way down on the walks, his previous bugaboo. After an outing with no walks, last night he threw six innings of no-hit ball. OK< it's not the Yankees- at least, nit the NY Yankees- but, he seems to be back on track to see the majors in September (at least in early 2020) where, a couplf of weeks ago, I had my doubts. 

2. Jake Fraley: Hit for the cycle (over the weekend): two double and a triple on Friday night, followed by a HR and a single last night. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but... why are the M's playing Mac Williamson and D Moore in the outfield? (Oh yeah... two MLB outfielders on the long-term DL with torn internal organs. That'll do in ANY team!) Fraley didn't take too long to figure out AAA ball. See ya in September (or whenever we can clear the logjam in the OF- see below) 

3. Shed Long: Churchill asks "Why is this guy not in Seattle?" I think the M's have to play Gordon and Beckham whenever they can, to shore up their trade value. Stanton says "flexibility is key"- that means clearning out the dead wood- Bruce, Encarnacion, then Gordon, Beckham, perhaps even Leake and Leblanc, Smith and Haniger and Santana- Healy?- all to make room for the kids. I expect Long will get re-promoated when Dipoto has found nice homes for Beckham and Gordon. (Toward that end, Gordon's errorful performance at 2B yesterday did NOT help his cause!)

4. Austin Nola: Does he have a chance to stick? Playing solid D at 1B. Former 3B. Played about half theinnings at C, in Tacoma. Looks like a MLB bat, thus far. Does it depend on whether they find a home for Healy, elsewhere? Nola is controllable for longer, FWIW.

5. Tacoma starters who could see innings- or ABs- in September: Jon Niese, Andrew Moore.

6. A raft of almost-MLB-ready relievers between the Rainiers and Travs: Gerson Bautista, David McKay, Parker Markel, Reggie McClain. Art Warren, Wyatt Mills, Sam Delaplane, Jack Anderson, Jake Haberer,  Joey Gerber- and of course Sam Tuivalaila, who must stand at the front of the queue. We don't have room for all those guys- but we probably have some effective replacements in there for the likes of Anthony Bass, Mike Wright, Cory Gearrin, even old friend Dan Altavilla. (And, we're probably gonna find a new home for Roenis Elias- generally our most effective late-innings reliever this year- given his few remaining controllable years.)

7. All these other guys: What's up with signing all of these "mature" ballplayers out of the independent leagues? We have a keystone combo in Tacoma who is 62 years old, between them. If we're gonna turn it over to the kids- how about promoting Donnie Walton to play alongside Long/Lopes, and sending Kelby Tomlinson and Kristopher Negron back to the independent leagues? (Or do we really think they'll bring back a prospect or two, in July?!)

8. The Kids: Gilbert, Kelenic, Raleigh, Newsome, Murfee all lighting it up in Modesto. How soon until we see Julio Rodriguez in the Nuts OF, alongside his former running mater Kelenic? Also, Dayelson Arias looks ready for a promotion. 

9. Has anyone been up to Everett yet? Who looks exciting up there?!

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Was thinking exactly the same thing in Shed Long:  bring him up, keep him there.

Mac Williamson is a great story,  but his upside is limited.  

12

Hey, SonicBOOM.

Too much going on in real-life here, including a possible move back to the Northwest, to Prineville, OR, perhaps trading the Texas Hill Country for the Oregon High Desert (triggered again by a job move by our son-in-law). Plus projects at home like re-building my desktop computer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera (to steal a line from Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady."). Oh, and things like complaining to MLBTv that they've made it impossible to watch because no matter how many times you set the app to Hide Scores it presents you with the scores anyway and ruins the anticipation of the game. I've stopped watching entirely.

But if we move I'll be back in the Pacific Time Zone and able to watch Mariners' games live IF Prineville has cable...electricity...running water...and something a step up from outhouses (that's a joke, of course they do).

Back to your topic, I do check the site periodically now, but I just don't have the time to participate much, which is odd because I'm retired.

God be with the Doc and all of you,

Sir Daddy of O (to borrow a moniker structure from William of Orange)

13

The chances of us moving to Prineville OR just took a jump to over 90%. I can't remember what it was like to watch W.Coast sports on W.Coast time, where the games end by bedtime. If this goes forward, we'll be in the Northwest in time for football season.

14

Just a few more thoughts, that didn't fit into my last post: 

1. We could turn over the whole OF, and hand over to the kids. Certainly there will be strong offers for Haniger and for Santana (AL RBIs leader- I know, I know, meaningless stat- but, if you don't have 'em, you ain't gonna score many runs!) Sodo Mojo has been running a "trade a day" that suggests good offers coming back for either one from the NL teams in the thick of a race for the Wild Card. Six teams (Rays, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers, Angels, Athletics) are within six games of each other for the two AL WC spots; meanwhile, nine NL teams have between 39 and 45 wins. This could be a great year to sell off players who can make a different in a pennant race (yes, Leake and Leblanc, Gordon and Beckham- probably not Seager- but also perhaps Murphy, Healy, Santana and Haniger, Gearrin and Elias) who won't help us in 2021.  

2. I'm kinda sorry we didn't hang on to EE for a few more weeks. Also, that we didn't sell to the team offering the best prospect. I don't know who (team) or who (player) that was, but- for any team looking for instant offense- he might have been our most valuable commodity. 

3. Not to mention Jay Bruce, who has done nothing but hit HRs since he arrived in Philly. I like the looks (performance, stats) of Jake Scheiner so far, tho...

4. Anyone heard an updated report on Healy? He may be around until the winter! Is he just Austin Nola with less years of control, or am I missing something? 

5. Seems like Dipoto has picked up "keepers" up the middle, in Narvaez (Murphy?), Crawford/Long, and Smith or Haniger or Fraley in CF. I've come around on both Narvaez and Crawford, who have both had great months in June. 

6. Has Tommy Milone been our most effective SP for the past 4-5 weeks? Who saw that coming? Will we have our arms twisted to give him up, at the break? 

15

Hey... great to hear from you! The Oregon High Desert may not be "God's Country", but it's gotta be a step up from Texas. At lest they root for a friendly team there, and- as you point out- they have seats in their outhouses! And I can certainly relate to the attraction of following the kids/grandkids: My kids are all distributed up and down the West Coast, while I'm back here in New England for the fireseeable future. 

16

...A starter or two (Leake, Leblanc). who comes up? 

Two weeks ago, I might have said "Swanson", or Niese, but... Sheffielod has been razor=sharp these last several outings, and CHurchill suggests he could go straight to the majors. 

...A relievers or two (Elias, Gearrin), who comes up? 

Brennan fremains on the DL. I was ndever convinced abut Wright (was anyone?) Festa and Altavilla seem to need more seasoning, or a change of uniforms. Again, Churchill suggests Delaplane might be ready for a trial. McKay is missing bats in Tacoma. and MIlls has been sharp, after some early-season sorting out. 

...An outfielder or two (Santana, Haniger) together with a DFA (WIlliamson), who comes up? 

Seems unlikely that Mitch gets traded, when he's still recovering from a traumatic pelvic injury. Santana, on the other hand- two more erros on one play, last night! I assume Haniger and Bishop are candidates for reinstatement: However, Jake Fraley seems to be knocking down the door to MLB. 

...A utility infielder or two (Beckham, Gordon, Moore), who comes up? 

Shed Long seems like the obvious answer- but Lopes and Negron are both hovering around .300 and over .800 OPS. Even with a juiced ball in the PCL, if they can get something for Beckham and Gordon (yes, and Moore) I'd like to see what the kids can do through August and September.

17

Mariners shook up their bullpen today: A's (Austin Adams, Altavilla) to the IL; Parker Markel and David McKay joining the big club. I'm thrilled: Two of my favorite contributors! 

The Rainiers rebounded from a 7-1 deficit today. Tyler Cloyd dug that hole (why does he continue to get AAA starts?!) and Raymond Kerr, fresh off the train from Modesto, plugged it, registering seven outs with no runners allowed. In fact, this looks like "Nuts go to Fresno" Day: Kerr was joined by Kopach as Tacoma starters. Both of those guys could be in Seattle by year end, with the way they are playing! Also- Fraley with another dinger; Negron with a 4-3-3-3 line; Lopes with two doubles. The sooner we can trade Beckham, Gordon and Moore, the better- for the kids' development; for the final scores! 

The Travs held the St.Louis farm team to one ER in 11 innings. McCaughan was on fire again; Tui pitched a clean inning, pitching on back-to-back nights (I count on him being back in the Seattle pen after the AllStar break) and Delaplane gave up no walks or base hits in seven ABs. Lewis was on base five times out of five ABs; last night he was on base 4/4 ABs. 

Raleigh has gone yard again for the Nuts; he has 16 now on the year, and may be the system's most improved defender. Sweet struck out 10, no walks, over seven innings in WV, allowing just one run on a HR. 

The milb system looks healthy, up and down the ranks! 

18

Leblanc allowed one ER in 6 2/3 innings- and left down 6-1. THat's cause the first three batters went 1B-BB-HR, and two of the next three got on. It'sgreat that Leblanc is still pitching, going through the order for the third time, in the eighth inning- but, not if he is down by five runs! (I don't get the sense Leblanc himself is wild about the idea... Milone, on the other hand, seems just grateful for an MLB roster spot!

19

Anyone remember back in December when ...we all wondered whether all these trades would ever amount to anything? ...we were anxious about giving up our All World closer, and our first-ballot HoF second baseman, for a bunch of unproven minor leaguers? ...we questioned JeDi's sanity for trading an All-Star shortstop for a phailed Phillies phenom- and then, throwing in two of our best relief arms, besides- and, taking back an over-the-hill HR hitter? ...we could not imagine trading our beloived Big Maple for a bunch of scrub pines? ...we traded our only MLB catcher for a CF whom we could have just kept, the last time we traded for him? ...we traded our only remaining experienced bullpen arm to address the alarming backstop shortage? 

Reviewing all these trades with 20:20 hindsight,  it's hard to find one that I would want back. In fact, sodo mojo reviewed something like 95 trades that JeDi has made in his 3.5 years at the helm- and they identified four (4) that they would like back- notably, Chris Taylor for Zach Lee, which we probably all would be happy to blot out of our memories. 

Seems like, for Mariners' fans, JeDI has identified some sort of "Moneyball" disfunction in how low-minors players are evaluated. Or, other GMs are on shorter leashes than he is. SOmehow it feel slike he's loaded up on a slew of young talent, while sacrificing many of JackZ's most egregious mistakes. Hooray!!

20

I had hope that yet another arm would take the world by storm this year and yet another closer would be traded.   Now I'm not even sure they should trade Elias.  I now think acquiring a closer might be the 2nd best move they could make in the next 8 months.  Competing in 2020 seems within reach, given a few good moves and developments. 

The farm system is deeper than ever since I've been a fan (90-91).  Although it would be nice to have a couple "can't miss" pitching prospects.  I figure the next best would be getting Wheeler or Cole this offseason.  Or maybe Strasburg, Bauer, Paxton or Tanaka after '20?  There's no position that seems development in the next couple years is really unlikely like a top of the rotation arm.  Even if one of Sheffield, Dunn, etc. does become a stopper down the line, the likelihood of it happening before about 2023 seems pretty slim.  Until then? 

They're making good use of what was probably Jack Z's best move still, with the Dominican facilities seeming to pay dividends.  I specifically can't find any Mariners international crop better than what's putting up numbers in several leagues right now.  Maybe the Video board was his 3rd best move behind the Cruz signing.

Just waiting now for Jerry the Mover's Christmas in July. 

21

I think 2 outfielders get traded away making room for Bishop, Fraley, Miller and maybe later Lewis and Thompson-Williams to get time.  That and 1 catcher,  middle infielder, 2 starters and 2 relievers.  They could even trade 3 starting pitchers away. 

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