Grading the 2019 Seattle Mariners Seasons: Outfield

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 29: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners hits a two-run home run off of relief pitcher Drew Smyly #33 of the Texas Rangers that also scored Mallex Smith #0 of the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning of a game at T-Mobile Park on May 29, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - MAY 29: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners hits a two-run home run off of relief pitcher Drew Smyly #33 of the Texas Rangers that also scored Mallex Smith #0 of the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning of a game at T-Mobile Park on May 29, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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We continue to grade the Seattle Mariners individual seasons and today we land in our largest category: the outfield.

Obviously, there are a lot of players to play in the Mariners outfield this year and grading all of them would be tedious. Besides, how can you possibly levy a grade on Braden Bishop, Kyle Lewis, and Jake Fraley when they barely played?

Our grades today will go to Domingo Santana, Mitch Haniger, and Mallex Smith. Grades are handed out on the discretion of the grader, aka me. They are standard school grades, with A+ being the highest grade, F- the lowest. So let’s get started.

C -. 2019 numbers: 63 games, .220/.314/.463, 15 home runs, 106 wRC+, 1.1 fWAR. Seattle Mariners. . Mitch Haniger

There are no two ways about it, Mitch Haniger had a disappointing year. After breaking out in 2018 and making his first All-Star team, Haniger was hailed as the face of the franchise and the player Seattle was going to build their entire team around. Well, that was the idea at least.

Haniger struggled out of the gates as the strikeouts crept up from his All-Star season. The lack of contact drove down his batting average and on-base percentage, but the walk rate was nearly identical to 2018 and he was on pace for a 40 home run season.

Unfortunately, Haniger never did get the opportunity to get right, as an unfortunate ruptured testicle injury and a subsequent back injury derailed his season. It was a step back for Haniger, though not quite as drastic as many believed. But at the end of the day, the season wasn’t what we were accustomed too.

D+. 2019: 133 games, .228/.301/.337, 46 steals, 74 wRC+, 0.0 fWAR. Seattle Mariners. . Mallex Smith

Speaking of disappointments, say hello to Mallex Smith. Acquired for Mike Zunino last winter, Smith was supposed to be the top of the order catalyst the team hadn’t had since Ichiro. He wasn’t.

Smith battled a number of issues, including one of the worst months imaginable in April, which saw him unable to hit or catch the ball. A quick stint in Tacoma seemed to turn him around, but after a 40 game stretch of good baseball, Smith has been mediocre at best for most of the season.

The Mariners idea to pair Smith with Haniger at the top of the lineup was a good one, but it just didn’t work. The only thing Smith did well this season was steal bases, which helps buoy his grade. To his credit, Smith did improve in the outfield as the season went along and there is no reason to give up on the 26-year-old.

But to say 2019 was successful in any significant way just wouldn’t be true.

. Domingo Santana. B -. 2019: 121 games, .253/.329/.441, 21 home runs, 8 steals, 107 wRC+, 0.0 fWAR. Seattle Mariners

The Mariners bough low on Santana last winter, banking on the idea his 2017 was more real than his 2018. And they were right. Santana looked every bit the hitter he was in 2017 until an elbow injury in late July greatly impacted his swing before he was finally placed on the IL a few weeks later, effectively ending his season.

Prior to the elbow injury, Santana was hitting .274/.343/.473. Afterward, he hit .109/.230/.219. The evidence is pretty clear. But the defense was just awful. And coming from somebody who has watched old Raul Ibanez play left field, that is saying something.

Next. Grading 2019 Mariners Shortstops. dark

Santana appeared to play his way out of Seattle, but the injury derailed his trade value. Now the question becomes, ” do the Mariners see Santana as part of their future”?