Seattle Mariners Holiday Wishlist: 3 free agent options at second base
2016 Stolen Base Champion Jonathan Villar
Jonathan Villar has become a bit of an anomaly in his Major League career. He has had his share of lowlights but has become a much more consistent power-speed combo over the last four years. After posting a wRC+ of 111 in just 58 games in 2015, Villar landed in Milwaukee via trade. He changed his launch angle by nearly two degrees upwards in 2016, allowing him to drive the ball in the air more often.
That resulted in a career year for Villar at the plate, swatting 19 home runs and 38 doubles. He also swiped a league-high 62 bases to go along with his .826 OPS in 2016. Despite a down 2018 season, Villar is coming off a similar power-speed display in 2019, when he blasted 24 home runs and stole 40 bases while having a wRC+ of 107. 2020 was a lost year for Villar, as it was for so many of us.
His numbers fell victim to a small sample size, and are really not worth getting into. Villar profiles well for the Mariners as he displays more power from the right side against lefties in his career, with a 20 point increase in slugging percentage when comparing his career splits. Villar’s defense will be where he hopes to show strides in 2021, as he has never statistically been an above-average defender at second base in his career.
The M’s have shown a willingness to let infield coach Perry Hill transform guys defensively (J.P. Crawford, Dylan Moore) but it remains to be seen who Dipoto will roll with at second base in 2021. Teams are in the midst of the Winter Meetings so things could become more clear in the next couple of weeks. The Mariners have made a couple of moves but not any major ones so stay tuned for more from Jerry Dipoto.