I’m not gonna lie. Last year, when the Mariners traded away Kendall Graveman, I wasn’t happy about it. Especially since they traded him to the division-rival Astros. I do think that I was one of the earlier ones to come around on the deal, though. Part of it is my love for Joe Smith. We also got rid of Montero. Those were both big wins. The biggest win? Well, that would be the fact that the Mariners got Abraham Toro in the deal.
As we get ready for a full year of Abraham Toro, I found myself wondering… what type of player does he compare to? Now, I know not everyone likes comparing players. Each person is their own individual self and all that. I like doing it for the fact that it’s a helpful way of thinking about the type of season or career a player could put together as a likely comparison.
Let’s look at some likely and possible comparisons for the Mariners Abraham Toro
First… what kind of player is he, exactly? Just 25-years-old, he looks to be a second and third baseman. He mostly played second for the Mariners in 2021 due to the team having Seager at third. For 2022, barring any other signings (Come on Kris Bryant or Trevor Story), Toro is going to be at third with Adam Frazier playing second.
As for the bat, he’s got a little bit of pop, and we could see that increase as he reaches his prime (27-29) in the next few seasons. Not a ton of doubles, as he finished 2021 with just 12 2B to go along with the 11 HR, for an ISO power of .115 (league average is .175). He’s definitely more of a “put the ball in play” guy, with a very low strikeout rate. League average there is 23.1% over the last three seasons, and he K’d just 13.0% of the time with the Mariners in 226 ABs.
I do think that he is going to end up with a statline somewhere similar to what he did in 2021. The hope is he can be more consistent though, as he hit .296/.377/.398 in August and .183/.259/.260 in September. His Mariners slash at the end of the year was .252/.328/.367.
I’ll give two statlines below. The first is a mix of last year, and the second would be giving him a year of improvement around 10%. So, let’s take a little bit of his time in Houston, adding that to what he did in Seattle, and extend his numbers out to say, 500 AB, which would give something close to the following statline.
- 68 R, 16 2B, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 9 SB, 45 BB, 82 Ks
- 75 R, 18 2B, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 10 SB, 50 BB, 90 Ks
Put whatever stipulations you want in there. I’m going to give him the same thought process you should with most young players. They “should” get better each year until their late 20s when they reach their prime. A 10% increase doesn’t seem too unreasonable. Also, some of those numbers are rounded, so they might look funky if you are thinking straight 10% on a whole number.
So, who does that compare to? Especially for infielders in their mid-20s? I’m not going to go back too far, as you start to get into a different type of baseball, especially with batting average, when you start going too far into the past. Remember, a .244 BA was average in 2021. 15 years prior, that number was .269.
Kolton Wong, Dansby Swanson, Niko Goodrum, Yoan Moncada without the strikeouts, Young Jorge Polanco, Chris Owings only power season, Eugenio Suarez before the focus on power, and Marcus Semien. Those are some of the players who profiled similarly around that age.
It sort of proves something that I’ve been wondering about with Toro, and that I think happens to a lot of players with his profile. A little mix of power/speed as well as multi-positional availability. They can try too hard, and see their average drop or strikeouts increase. With Toro’s patience, I don’t see the strikeouts increasing a ton. His average should stay up because of that.
If he improves his foot speed (which isn’t always easy) or learns how to steal more bases, he could turn into Kolton Wong type, with 10-20 HR/SB potential. It’s more likely that as he continues to mature and get stronger, he would lean the other way into a 25-10 guy, especially since he already had 11 last year in 335 ABs. That would lean more towards the Marcus Semien type.
Kolton Wong or Marcus Semien. I think I would be totally fine with either one of those. The one that I lean towards more is Kolton Wong. He does lean more towards speed over power, but If Toro can turn into Wong and post those kinds of numbers, we’ve got a darn good infielder on our hands. Check these out. I expanded 2020 to a full season for better comparison sake.
- 2014: .249/.292/.388, 12 HR, 20 SB, 2.4 WAR
- 2015: .262/.321/.386, 11 HR, 15 SB, 2.6 WAR
- 2019: .285/.361/.423, 11 HR, 24 SB, 5.1 WAR
- 2020: .265/.350/.326, 3 HR, 14 SB, 3.5 WAR
- 2021: .272/.335/.447, 14 HR, 12 SB, 3.3 WAR
Yeah, yeah. I know I left out 2016, 2017, 2018. Wong averaged 1.9 WAR over those three years, with a .259/.346/.386 slash line. The speed and power were done, but he only averaged 119 games.
If we do look at the other side and focus on a third baseman with a good eye, fairly decent pop, and a bit of speed. Who do we end up with? Well, let’s play a bit of an MLB Network type game. Here are the player’s stats, and you can guess who it is.
- Player A: 2016: .270/.348/.450, 20 HR, 12 SB, 4.5 WAR (3.2 oWAR, 1.6 dWAR)
- Player B: 2012: .259/.316/.423, 20 HR, 13 SB, 2.8 WAR (3.4 oWAR, -0.1 dWAR)
Give a guess for Player A? Any thoughts?
It’s Anthony Rendon during his age-26 season back in 2016.
Okay. Now the fun one. Who do you think player B is, though?
It’s KYLE SEAGER! That was his age 24 season back in 2012. What if… what if Toro just turned into Kyle Seager? That would be fun, and interesting, and I would be totally okay with it.
I thought about putting out Alex Bregman at 24 to mess with people, as he went 19/17 HR/SB with a .284/.352/.475, but Toro isn’t that type of player. Would be awesome if he turned into him, but he isn’t there.
Whether it’s a Wong comparison, a Kyle Seager comparison, or just a darn solid player that we have in the infield, it’s a good spot to be. Dipoto got a great player for the Mariners when he acquired Abraham Toro, and the Mariners should be happy to have him on their squad.