The Southridge, WA product has been one of the M’s most productive players early in spring training. O’Malley is hitting an even .500, with 6 hits and 1 RBI through 7 games. He does a nice job putting the ball in play, as he has struck out just 1 time in 12 at bats. O’Malley also leads the Mariners with 4 stolen bases, and his 2 free passes are tied for first on the team.
O’Malley made his big league debut with the Los Angeles Angels during the 2014 season, and he was signed as a minor-league free agent by the Mariners following the season. He spent the bulk of last season with the Tacoma Rainiers, but earned a September call-up to Seattle. O’Malley dominated the Pacific Coast League, hitting .297 with 5 home runs, 39 RBI and 20 steals across 89 games. He also did a great job with the Mariners, slashing .262/.418/.357 through 24 games in 2015.
The 28-year-old switch hitter has played six different positions during his career. O’Malley is capable of playing second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots. He played 58 games at second base last season with the Rainiers, and he spent 14 games in center field this past September for the Mariners.
I wrote prior to last season that O’Malley is the next Willie Bloomquist, and I stand by that statement. He embraces the role of a utility player, and his experience playing the infield and outfield makes him a valuable asset to the 2016 Mariners. Personally, I believe Shawn O’Malley’s ability to play center field sets him apart from his competitors, and gives him a slight edge to break camp with the Mariners.
Next: Taylor is the known commodity