Sam Haggerty might be the perfect player to have coming off the bench because of his versatility. The Mariners utility player can play anywhere in the outfield, and everywhere in the infield except for first, catcher, and pitcher (as far as we know).
Not only is he flexible on defense, but he also has a nice set of skills on offense. The 26-year-old has a solid approach at the plate, has plus speed, and has sneaky pop. In yesterday’s game, he showed us fans all three of those skills.
Sam Haggerty’s performance against the Red Sox
Haggerty finished the game three for five with one home run and two RBIs. The stats I just shared should say enough about his performance, but his advanced metrics tell you even more. Out of his four balls put in play, three of them were hit 95mph+, which are considered hard-hit baseballs in advanced statistics.
- Single in the 2nd: 95.2mph EV, 12 degree LA, .910 xBA
- Lineout in the 4th: 105.7mph EV, 13 degree LA, .810 xBA
- Home run in the 8th: 103.0mph EV, 28 degree LA, .860 xBA
- Single in the 9th: 74.9mph EV, -10 degree LA, .100 xBA
And as you may be able to tell, the balls that he did square up were hit at optimal launch angles which increased his chances of getting a hit. Statistically, he should have had one more hit in the fourth inning due to that .810 xBA. Additionally, his 105.7mph was the third hardest hit ball from last night and two of Sam’s batted balls were in the top five highest xBA’s from yesterday’s game. Pretty impressive to say the least.
Oh, and by the way, Haggerty’s home run traveled 406 feet. And as the M’s have noted, Sam has hit two deep home runs this year: one in Camden Yards and one in Fenway Park.
The final touch to Sam’s performance was his final at-bat against the Red Sox. The advanced metrics don’t look so good, but it was pure hustle from Sam Haggerty which converted an easy out into a base hit.
Sam was in the top 8% of the league last year in spring speed, but sometimes you don’t appreciate his speed until you see it in motion. The University of New Mexico product hit a ground ball to the first baseman but he was able to beat the pitcher to first base by just a hair. This is what I love about Sam. He is just one of those scrappy ballplayers that gives everything his 110%.
And I almost forgot to mention, he stole his third base of the season yesterday.
Sam Haggerty is making, Mariners general manager, Jerry Dipoto’s life harder
Sam isn’t playing like an All-Star up to this point, but he’s proved that he certainly belongs. He is a major threat on the base paths and is almost an automatic stolen base as a pinch-runner. After yesterday’s game, he is now hitting .265 with a .776 OPS which is definitely respectable for a role player.
So why does Haggerty’s performances make Dipoto’s life harder? Well, Jarred Kelenic is going to get called up sooner rather than later. And as you know, when one comes up, one has to go down. The easy answer is to say “send down Sam Haggerty because he has two minor league options, he hasn’t completely proven himself at the big league level, and he doesn’t have as high of a ceiling compared to a guy like Taylor Trammell.”
Those are all true, but with Trammell’s struggles and Haggerty’s success, you start to wonder what Jerry Dipoto is thinking. I am not going to make a prediction now because this topic deserves a deeper analysis, but I think Haggerty’s games against the Red Sox is giving Dipoto something to think about, which is a good problem to have.