While it is easy to get lost in the daily grind of the Seattle Mariners and their rough month and a half, it is important not to forget the important strides being made by those at the minor league level.
The most important things happening to the future of the Mariners are happening down on the farm. And while guys like J.P. Crawford and Shed Long have started to leave their mark on the teams long term plans, most of the impact is still down in the farm.
One such player who is quickly playing his way into a prominent role with the team, possibly as soon as this month, is 24-year-old outfielder Jake Fraley. Currently playing for the AA Arkansas Travellers, Fraley has straight up dominated in his first stint at the level, slashing .333/.401/.554.
Fraley, who came over with Mallex Smith in the Mike Zunino trade, made a swing change last year and is starting to see significant strides in his in-game power grade. His 9 home runs and 14 doubles show that Fraley may end up with 5 above-average tools, raising his profile from fourth OF to potential regular.
Fraley isn’t the highest profile player in his own OF. That distinction belongs to Kyle Lewis, the 2016 first round pick. Lewis had gotten off to a terrible start at the plate and the doubts began to creep in that his Spring Training was nothing but a mirage.
However, in the few weeks, he seemed close to a breakout and now the team is seeing it come to fruition. Since going 0-4 on May 28th, Lewis has gone on a tear, raising his average 30 points, his OBP 25 points, and his slugging 52 points.
But perhaps the biggest star of the Mariners entire organization is already that of 19-year-old OF Jarred Kelenic, the prize of the Edwin Diaz trade. Twitter was abuzz after the team promoted Kelenic to High-A Modesto after 50 games in the Sally League.
Since his promotion, all Kelenic has done is slash .375/.423/.667 with 2 home runs and 3 stolen bases in his first week. Kelenic will likely spend the remainder of the season in Modesto, but is on a path to make his MLB debut as soon as 2020.
Mariners fans got a scare when Kelenic was mysteriously lifted from the game yesterday, but all reports indicate it was just a precautionary move and no serious injury was reported.
These 3 players are amongst the most crucial in the organization. If all three live up to their hype, the Mariners rebuild could be completed sooner than most thought. But for now, these 3 players are the star offensive players of the entire system.