Cooper Hummel is the last hitter that we are going to look at in our STEAMER projection checks. He is the sneaky new Mariners outfielder, as many think of the acquisitions of Wong and Hernandez as the only ones that were made in the offseason. It's much easier to forget that the Mariners sent former AL ROY Kyle Lewis to the Diamondbacks for Cooper Hummel.
Hummel is sitting squarely in the same corner as Jarred Kelenic and Taylor Trammell. He's fighting for a spot to find playing time in a corner outfield spot. With Teoscar getting a full seasons worth of time between DH and a corner spot, there is still a good amount of ABs left to dish out to those three, alongside Haggerty and Moore.
Hummel does have an advantage over Kelenic and Trammell, similar to the one that Moore and Haggerty have. Positional Versatility. Hummel can play catcher if need be, something that usually rears its head during the season when a catcher inevitably goes on the injured list for something. It's a small addition to his value, but not a game-breaking addition.
Still, Fangraphs thinks that we will see a decent little line from Hummel.
.217/.320/.374. 29 G, 122 AB, 4 HR, 2 SB, 0.4 fWAR, 106 WRC+, 27.6% K, .281 BABIP
What stands out to me is the WRC+. If we can get over 100 from everyone on the bench, we are looking at a team that can easily move people around and fill in when needed without taking a massive L. You still have a downgrade when it happens, but it's not the insta-hole you have seen so often in the past.
Hummel showed a great ability to get on base in 2021/2022 in AAA, although that was supported by an unsustainable .405 BABIP. With a good eye and decent BB/K rate, we could be seeing one of those late-20s ballplayers with a minor breakout. If it's enough to compete with Trammell for a decent role at the end of the bench, that's good. It could be great if he can keep that BB rate around 15% and hit .240, which isn't that far of a reach.
Still, with what STEAMER projects, it seems like a nice safe prediction and a good basis for expectations heading into 2023 for Cooper Hummel. Even if I do think we end up seeing a line closer to .225/.350 from him.