fraley
Photo: MLB

#28

LF/CF

Jake Fraley

Jake Arnold Fraley

Height: 6'0"    Weight: 195

Bats/Throws: Left / Left

Born: 05/25/1995 in Frederick, Maryland

Offseason home: Miami, Forida

College: Louisiana State University

Family: Wife Angelica, son Jayce, daughter Avery

Acquired: In trade from the Tampa Bay Rays, with Mallex Smith, for Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia, and Michael Plassmeyer (11/08/2018)

MLB Debut: 08/21/2019

Free Agent after: 2025 season

Twitter handle: @jfral_23

Oy, did the Mariners miss Jake Fraley. Jake was out of action for three weeks after contracting COVID-19, and thankfully he recovered from only a mild case of the virus. After quarantining in his southern California hotel room, Jake reported for a brief rehab assignment to Triple-A Tacoma and rejoined the M's on August 3rd in Tampa Bay. While he was out, Seattle played essentially .500 ball (8-7) while relying on the likes of Shed Long Jr., Jake Bauers, and Dylan Moore—combined OBP of .276—playing the outfield in his stead. Between missing time due to his illness and an earlier hamstring injury, the bearded wonder has only had a bit more than 150 plate appearances to this point, yet he's third on the team in walks and first in OPS. He's also the best defensive outfielder on the squad. This is not a guy you want to have to go without, and it's a shame he was one of those who for whatever reason declined the COVID vaccine. You'd think someone that depends on statistics and math for such a large part of his career would understand the benefit of a shot that nearly eliminates one's susceptibility to a serious illness (and helps in the mission to stamp the virus out so we can move on from all this) and take it. Hopefully he's learned his lesson, for many reasons, but among them what should be a personally important one: this is Jake's first real shot at showing his Major League mettle and he's been very impressive on the field. It behooves his career to impress off the field as well, to respect his teammates and the greater community and stay healthy. We're rooting for you, Jake!

TH, 8/3/21

Stats ↓

Prior notes

Prior to last year's abbreviated season, management told the press that Fraley would get every opportunity to be the regular left fielder for the Mariners. That turned out to be prime-grade bullpuckey, as Fraley wasn't even included on the expanded opening day roster—nor was he on last year's weird traveling taxi squad—and spent most of the short campaign at the club's alternate training site, effectively twiddling his thumbs in intrasquad practices. Instead, the M's used José Marmolejos and Braden Bishop and waiver pickup Phillip Ervin, with Fraley himself only getting into seven games in 2020. It had to sting for Fraley, especially given the production (or lack thereof) those other guys were putting up (Marmolejos, Bishop, and Ervin combined to bat .199/.276/.352). Couple that with the fact that Fraley is perhaps the best defensive outfielder in last year's mix and when you think it through you come up with a big "WTF?"

So did Fraley. "When I got [sent back] down after having about five games [with Seattle last year] and they claimed Phillip Ervin, that was kind of a big turning point for me mentally," Fraley said. "And I really had to take a step back. And I spent a lot of time trying to reel myself back into a solid ground, a solid place, because I wasn't really there."

In 2019, Fraley was outstanding as a minor leaguer. He started the year at Double-A Arkansas and mashed; he was named Texas League player of the month for May and a midseason and postseason Texas League All-Star. Promoted to Tacoma after 61 games, he started slow but adjusted to Triple-A and picked things up, earning a callup to the big leagues late in August. He scuffled in a couple of weeks' worth of games with the M's and got hurt, landing on the injured list with a sprained thumb, and has yet to be given any chance to acclimate to the Majors. Going into this year's spring camp, we once again heard from manager Scott Servais and GM Jerry Dipoto how Fraley was going to be the guy, but after last year, we know not to take those guys at their word on such things. A slow start in his Cactus League games didn't help Jake's cause, and even though he's started to turn things around in the latter half of camp, he's being strongly challenged by prospect Taylor Trammell, who despite a strong spring has never played a game above Double-A, where he spent one season (2019) and hit all of .234.

You can make a case for starting Fraley's season in Triple-A; he's only had a few dozen games' experience at that level, after all, though if that's your metric then Trammell shouldn't even be a factor. But even if the M's go that route, Fraley deserves a chance to move up, especially if he picks right up in Tacoma where he left off in ’19. With prospect Jarred Kelenic quickly moving up the minor-league ladder, the window of opportunity for Fraley appears short; the former second-round draft selection (2016) is going to be a big-league regular at some point, the question now is whether it will be as a Mariner or with some other club after Dipoto and Servais are done screwing him over.

TH, 3/19/21