Shawn O’Malley hopes to be a solid back-up to the outfield core of Nori Aoki, Martin and Cruz. O’Malley has traveled through the minors most of his career before he first had his shot in the big leagues with the Angels in 2014. But his unproductive short stint, in which he struck out in 50% of his plate appearances sent him to the Mariners. In 24 games last year he was able to fix his strike out problem, striking out only 25% of his plate appearances and even managed to walk 12 times.
So far in 2016 it appears that his old woes are back to haunt him. Now, it is only a very small sample size of at-bats that can be examined in the 4 games he has stepped to the plate, but he has gone down swinging 4 of 10 times thus far. But that brightest side of his game has been his hitting- his average now stands at a career high .300.
No game showed his potential more than his last game in the starting lineup on May 22nd at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The Mariners were riding the high of yet another success road trip, coming into Sunday’s game with a 4-1 record on their latest travels. O’Malley stepped up by putting the ball in play all 4 times he went to the plate, including a single and his first double of the season (2nd of his career in 68 at-bats).
Another bright spot for the right fielder has been his skills at in the outfield (and other positions). In his last two seasons in the MLB and at Triple-A, O’Malley has committed only 2 errors, the last of which came during his unsteady first week this year with the M’s. As he continues to shake off his early season jitters, O’Malley can be a good utility option to use when the starters need a day off, but his goal will be to prove that he deserves more than just a back-up role.