The Seattle Mariners didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the September call up period, calling up 5 players on the first and two more on the third. This brings the 40 man roster to 32 players with more to come.
Most of those names will come from the AA Arkansas Travellers roster, who begin their playoff run tomorrow. That game will air on Root Sports and is highly recommended viewing for Mariners fans concerned about the future of the team.
It is possible Seattle takes on the full 40, but names like Justin Dunn, Kyle Lewis, and Art Warren seem likely. But regardless of who is called up, there is a massive trap so many people fall into during the final months of any season: boxscore scouting.
We have a tendency to overreact to what just happened, whether it is good or bad. This is especially true when we see things for the first time. First impressions go a long way. This presents us with the classic trap of judging players based on one month of MLB play.
So how do we avoid the September slash line trap? By ignoring statistics. At least, the ones traditionally kept in a box score. Things like batting average, RBI, HR, ERA, K’s, don’t really matter. Or at least, you need to take them with a grain of salt.
If Kyle Lewis came up and got 30 PAs and clubbed 4 homers and walked 6 times, it doesn’t mean he is MLB ready and should be the starting RF on Opening Day. On the same token, when Justus Sheffield gives up 4 runs in 3.2 innings, it doesn’t mean he isn’t close to MLB ready.
Instead of focusing on results, focus on the process. Does Jake Fraley start hitting the ball with authority? Do we see Braden Bishop tap into some gap power? Is Sheffield spotting the slider? Is Justin Dunn showing finish on his slider and growth on the changeup?
A simple slash line won’t tell you what you need to know. And the simple truth is, nobody’s timeline is going to get significantly supercharged or dropped like a hot potato based on one month. If a hitter or pitcher succeeds, ask yourself what type of opponent were they facing? A legit MLB player? Or another AAA callup?
The only way to truly evaluate how a player performs in September is to watch them play yourselves… or read about them on sodomojo.com, of course. Stats don’t matter as much as an opportunity to grow. So this September, watch the process and ignore the results.