Mariners’ Jake Fraley Has a Lot to Prove the Rest of the Way

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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 15: Jake Fraley #28 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after striking out to end the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at T-Mobile Park on September 15, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 15: Jake Fraley #28 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after striking out to end the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at T-Mobile Park on September 15, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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With 16 games left in the Seattle Mariners’ regular season schedule, some Seattle players only have a couple of weeks left to prove their worth to the organization before the season ends. One such player is starting left fielder Jake Fraley, who has been having an up-and-down season mired with injury.

Jake Fraley has had many bright moments this season, but his inconsistency may not guarantee him a starting role next season.

Fraley’s most impressive statistic this season is his .346 OBP in 228 plate appearances; of qualified players, that OBP is third best on the Mariners, behind Abraham Toro and Ty France. On a team that ranks 29th out of 30 MLB teams in OBP, any player that can get on base as well as Fraley does is certainly a valuable piece.

Along with his propensity for getting on base, Fraley has also seemed to have found his power stroke, as he’s hit 9 home runs in 185 at-bats this season (roughly one home run per every 20 at-bats). However, while his solid plate discipline and newfound power have played to his advantage this season, he still hasn’t really proved that he can be an effective hitter, as his batting average is currently flirting with .200.

Another aspect of Fraley’s value as a player can be viewed through the lens of his durability; at three separate times this season, Fraley has hit the injured list – once for a hamstring strain, once for a positive COVID test, and once for shoulder inflammation. Last year, he only played seven games during the shortened 2020 season due to injury issues.

With Kyle Lewis expected to be at full strength for the 2022 season (but potentially being limited to left field and DH duties), Jarred Kelenic’s recent improvements and his status as a big piece of the Mariners future, Mitch Haniger under contract for one more year, and top prospect Julio Rodriguez on the brink of reaching the majors, there isn’t much space for Fraley in Seattle’s outfield next season.

A bench role for Fraley moving forward is always possible, but it may be in the Mariners’ best interest to trade the young outfielder to a team intrigued by his on-base ability while his value is highest; Fraley doesn’t just have a lot to prove to the Mariners for the rest of this season, but also to the rest of the league.

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