For long-suffering Mariners fans, they have heard the phrase “The future will be great!” more times than they have heard “The Mariners are going to the playoffs.” However, with the new youth in the outfield, the future may be closer than people think.
It’s been no secret that some of the best prospects in the Mariners’ organization have been in the outfield. With Spring Training now underway, fans are getting glimpses of prospects Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, Kyle Lewis as well as returning center fielder Mallex Smith. Of these players, only Smith and Lewis have had any playing time in the show. The Mariners also have Mitch Haniger, but with multiple surgeries to his back and core, there is no timetable for his return. Let’s take a look at them more in-depth:
While Kyle Lewis does have major league playing time, it is not a lot. He was called up at the end of last season during September call-ups. However, he managed to impress smashing six homers and having an OPS just shy of .900 in limited time. His ability and potential makes Lewis a cornerstone of the future Mariner outfield barring injury.
Julio Rodriguez has been nothing short of a legend to Mariner fans. He is a name they have heard for a while now along with promises that he will be a future all-star and cornerstone of the team. Statistics talk louder than words, and Rodriguez has both. Through his time in the minors, he has a total batting average of .322 and an OPS of .929. Through the minors, his bat has been creating hype all by itself.
Fans showed disdain for the trade with the Mets acquiring Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Mariners by saying that the deal was just another bad trade to add to the pile. However, one season after the trade and it is already clear that the mindset has turned completely. The centerpiece of this deal included the Mets’ top prospect, Jarred Kelenic.
Kelenic has impressed at every level he has played at earning the respect of players and coaches alike with both saying that he is one of the most “professional” players they have ever seen. The stats confirm the narrative on Kelenic. He has a career batting average of .290 and a .882 OPS throughout his two years in the minors. Mets fans have been dreading the trade more and more with Cano’s regression and Diaz having a year to forget.
Looking Forward To the Future
While it is unlikely Mariner fans will see either Kelenic or Rodriguez in the near future, the pure amount of potential they can add to the team is outstanding. On top of that, adding Lewis, Smith, and Haniger into the mix makes a scary five-man outfield team. This also raises the question of who starts for the Mariners when all five are major league ready. However, that also gives time for trades to happen and potential free-agent signings. Regardless, the amount of potential the Mariners’ future outfield is incredible and can very easily become the biggest strength for the team in the coming years.
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