I have become a huge fan of Taylor Trammell on and off the field and I 100% believe he should be the starting left fielder on Opening Day. Centerfield and right field are locked in by Kyle Lewis and Mitch Haniger, but left field is the one “open” spot in the 2021 Mariners outfield.
People were expecting Jarred Kelenic to be the Opening Day left fielder after the Kevin Mather controversy, but he is now sidelined with a knee injury which probably leaves him off the Opening Day roster. Plus, I honestly think Kelenic needs more reps in the minor leagues before being called up (not because of service-time manipulation).
Why do I think Taylor Trammell should be the Mariners starting left fielder on April 1st?
He’s simply the best available right now. Jarred Kelenic, Jake Fraley, Braden Bishop, Dylan Moore, Sam Haggerty, and Shed Long Jr. are all technically in competition for left field. The competition is stiff but I think Trammell has been the most electric out of all six of these players in Spring Training. My answer would be different if Kelenic were healthy, but that’s not the case.
The former first-round pick is hitting .273, has a .333 OBP, a .545 slugging percentage, a .879 OPS and leads the team in doubles with three. Trammell also has one long home run under his belt, and a stolen base. Did anyone expect Trammell to hit this well in Arizona? Not me.
Now if you compare Trammell to his teammates, it’s not really a competition except for Dylan Moore. Moore has been the second-best behind Trammell with a .273 average, .360 OBP, .500 slugging percentage, and .860 OPS. D-Moore also has one stolen base.
Although Moore is technically in the mix for the outfield, I see him more as an infielder moving forward. So, I think you can even take Moore off this list which just leaves Kelenic, Fraley, Bishop, Haggerty and Long Jr. left.
Jake Fraley got his first hits of Spring Training several days ago against the Dodgers. Until then, he was 0 for 15 with lots of strikeouts. Now, he is hitting .150 with a .320 OBP and a home run. As much as I want to give Fraley a chance, he deserves the be on the bench for now.
Braden Bishop is another player on the fringe, and his future is a little uncertain. Bishop has only had 11 at-bats and recorded two hits in those opportunities. The speedy sure-handed outfielder’s offensive output was always a question, and it still seems to be.
Sam Haggerty is also in the mix, but he is more in competition to be the utility player off the bench. He has also struggled in Arizona and owns a .150 batting average and .511 OPS. He has stolen two bases though.
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Last but not least, Shed Long Jr. Unfortunately for Shed, he has not fully recovered from his injury and has not had a chance to play yet. He experienced some inflammation in the shin he injured so we still don’t know how much more time he will need to get back on the field. Honestly, it might be worthwhile for Long Jr. to take the recovery slow until he can give it his 110%. Because right now, he needs to show out if he wants to make the roster.
With all that being said, wouldn’t you agree that Trammell is the best out of the competition? Plus, looking five years from now, Taylor Trammell is going to be a Mariners outfielder. So, why wouldn’t we give him as many opportunities as possible?
People have mentioned starting Dylan Moore in left field but what does that accomplish? That is short-term thinking and that is not what the Mariners are about right now. I think Moore can be the Mariners second baseman for the next five years, so let him anchor down there and give Taylor Trammell the time and experience he needs.
Is Taylor Trammell MLB ready?
You may be asking, is Taylor Trammell ready? With every prospect, that is a very important question to ask and we have talked a lot about it in regards to Jarred Kelenic.
Remember, Taylor Trammell was drafted in 2016 and has spent four seasons in the minor leagues between 2016 and 2019. He would have had five seasons in the minor leagues if 2020 weren’t such a crazy year.
The speedy outfielder hasn’t played in Triple-A yet but he spent the entire 2019 season in Double-A with the Reds and Padres. It’s always nice for prospects to get some reps in Triple-A, but we have seen plenty of examples where prospects made the leap from Double-A to the MLB.
Kyle played 159 games in Double-A, while White played just 92 games in Double-A. Also, one thing to note, technically Evan played in Triple-A but it was only for four games in 2018.
And if we look at Trammell, he has played 126 games at the Double-A level. Plus, Trammell spent time at alternate training sites and the Mariners instructional league. For me, I think that’s plenty of reps for him to join the big league squad and start in left field.
And since we are talking about Double-A experience, Jarred Kelenic has played just 21 games in Double-A. Think about that, just 21 games and he expects to be on the Opening Day roster? Since the Mariners have had a bad history of rushing prospects, I am very hesitant to have Kelenic on the Opening Day roster even if he’s healthy by then.
So, since Trammell is red hot in Spring Training and has ample minor league at-bats, I think it’s time for him to make his MLB debut and experience his first MLB Opening Day! Who knows, Trammell might join the Rookie of the Year conversation.