What we can expect from Swaggerty, Hammy Swags, the Mariners Sam Haggerty in 2023
Every once in a while, a team will stumble upon a player that fans adore. The majority of fans will Stan for the player, and any fans that go against them are the ones who don't seem to like anyone. This happened with Mariners fans and Sam Haggerty in 2022. The man has a ton of nicknames (Hammy Swags, Swag Daddy, Ham Swaggerty, Swags, etc.), and I still don't know which one to call him.
I do know that having him on the team and watching him play is a wonderful thing to have. Despite just 83 games and about 200 PA in 2022, Haggerty still compiled some impressive numbers. It ended all too soon when he got hurt at the end of the season and missed the playoffs, but Mariners fans could definitely agree that he was someone we wanted on the team.
The question becomes... where? How often? It's a tough one to answer. Realistically, I think he is someone that you want getting around 200-250 ABs. Filling in sporadically throughout the season, pinch running, and coming in late in games on defense as well. In fact, he had a 2.2 WAR last year and was at 1.0 on OFF and 0.8 on DEF. That DEF number is pretty impressive for just 53 or so total games worth of innings in the field, and for someone who can hold down both corner spots, and go to CF or 2B when in a pinch.
I do think he would falter a bit if he had to play much more than half a season. There is something about the energy off the bench, the prove it mentality, that some guys can bring and excel in when given a part-time role. That's exactly what Haggerty does.
I think that's something close to what we could expect to see from him in 2023. If so, it means that the Mariners had another good year as a team, and we didn't have to see Hammy Swags fill in too often, but that he was still able to make an impact when we needed it. There have been plenty of great BN guys who play as platoon types and are important to have whenever and wherever needed. I think Swags is going to continue to do that for the Mariners in 2023.
It does end up being a bit worse, from a slash line at least, than in 2022. It's also worth noting that he had a BABIP of .333 in 2022. That's hard to keep up for someone with a REALLY low exit velo and hard-hit rate (83.4 mph and 24.6% compared to league averages of 88.3 mph and 39%). However, Swag Daddy is quite fast, and is more of a slap the ball and beat it out player. I think we see a lower amount of XBH from him, but better defense and more steals since he will be on first base more often.
It's still going to be a good season for him, and it's going to be fun watching him. It's just important that we temper our expectations and realize that it isn't very likely that we see him turn into an All-Star if he's given the opportunity to play every day... and that's okay.