Mariners Seeing the Best Mallex Smith Has Ever Been

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 06: Mallex Smith #0 of the Seattle Mariners dives for a catch in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros during their game at T-Mobile Park on June 06, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 06: Mallex Smith #0 of the Seattle Mariners dives for a catch in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros during their game at T-Mobile Park on June 06, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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The Seattle Mariners are making a lot of trades now and will continue to do so. But while moving on from some veterans, they also need to start identifying pieces to build around.

After a disastrous month of April, Mariners fans began to doubt that new center fielder Mallex Smith was anywhere close to a player to build around. Of course, the more shrewd amongst us knew Mallex wasn’t that bad.

Never in his career had he been the .165/.255/.247 hitter with the worst outfield defense in the majors type of player. But he was obviously broken and in need of a reset. So after some much needed time in Tacoma, working with Mariners legend Mike Cameron, Smith returned to Seattle ready to prove his doubters wrong.

That is exactly what he has done. Since being recalled from AAA, Smith is slashing .274/.322/.442 with 10 steals and solid defense. That slash line is about what you can expect from Smith, minus about 40 points of slugging.

But since being recalled, Smith has shown he has enough power to hurt you, slugging 4 home runs, 5 doubles, and a triple in 28 games.

But as good as those numbers are, they get even better in June. This month, Smith is slashing .290/.329/.478 thus far. He has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games and has cleaned up his defense considerably.

Now, this isn’t to say Smith has been perfect. His walk rate is still too low for a player of his skill set and his K% is a little high but still below league-average. There are some things to clean up in the outfield as well.

Ultimately, Mallex Smith will see his power drop at some point. Even with the juiced baseball and the current home run hitting environment, Smith isn’t going to slug 20 homers. And when the power drops, he will need to get on base more than his current pace to keep the value he has had the past month.

But after a lot of handwringing and second-guessing, it appears the Mariners may have gotten a steal of a deal from the Rays in the Mike Zunino trade, as both Mallex and Jake Fraley appear to have some future in Seattle.

Smith is an excellent reminder to Mariners fans that sometimes it takes players time to adjust to new surroundings. And even though they are the best in the world at what they do, human nature can play a role.

Next. Rumor: Mariners, Padres Lining Up for a Trade?. dark

For the first time in his brief Mariners career, Mallex Smith looks comfortable with where he is at. And if this is the Smith we can see for the next 4-years, the Mariners have one less outfield spot to fill.

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