Okay, so let’s get this out of the way so we can focus on the player: Braden Bishop is an incredible human being. He is a great guy whom his teammates love. He has a charitable foundation that donates money to Alzheimer’s and Dementia research. And he is a talented baseball player.
Sometimes, Bishop’s off the field brilliance drowns out his on the field prospects and, not surprisingly, we love both. Bishop is one of the best defensive outfielders in all professional baseball. That isn’t hyperbole, he is a legitimate 65-grade centerfielder.
Thanks to his 70-grade speed, strong fundamentals, quick first step, route efficiency, and more, Bishop has all the tools needed to win multiple Gold Gloves in centerfield. But the 26-year-old is in a crucial season to prove he is more than Peter Bourjois and is worthy of an everyday role in the Mariners’ future.
Bishop’s last two seasons have been marred with injuries, giving himself little time to establish himself at the plate. 2020 should be his best opportunity to do so. Bishop doesn’t need to be great, or even MLB average at the plate, to be a good player worthy of 140+ games a year. His defense is that good.
Fortunately, he does have a chance to hit for average and post above-average OBP numbers, with enough pop in his bat to find 10 homers, 25 doubles, and 5 or so triples every season. Bishop playing every day and posting a .270/.340/.400 slash line will give Seattle a 3-4 win player, thanks to Bishop’s elite glove and speed.
But in order to do that, Bishop needs a real opportunity from the big club, something he never really got in 2019, even prior to his lacerated spleen injury. Bishop is to root for thanks to his off-the-field actions, but fans shouldn’t think of him as just a feel-good story.
Bishop has a legitimate shot to be the best Mariners CF since Mike Cameron and that shouldn’t be taken for granted.