Kyle Seager's batting line looks awful, but you still want him up to bat if you need a run driven in
June 3, 2021
Watching the Mariners drop two of three games to the Athletics to close out their most recent homestand, it was frustrating to see all the sub-.200 averages in their lineups. At this writing, when the M's are winging their way down to Orange County to take on the Angels, Seattle's active roster contains seven position players out of twelve batting below the Mendoza Line. Over half. (And one of the other five has fewer than 20 at-bats.) That's sad even by this year's diminished standard for hitting. Hell, Seattle pitchers are 2-for-8, maybe the team would be better off opting out of the designated hitter for a while, let the pitchers bat like God intended and maybe get the M's a few more knocks.
Kidding on that last point. Sort of.
But all that said, season batting averages don't always give you a good sense of how a player is doing. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to see where success has been happening—and where it very much has not. So this post will endeavor to drill down into the stats and splits and find nuggets of interest for you as you tune in to see the M's take on the struggling Los Angeles Angels who are no longer officially of Anaheim but do still play there despite their current branding.
Without further ado, a dive into each active Mariner position player's numbers:
- J.P. Crawford: Seattle's Gold Glove shortstop has two standout splits on the season, one a new thing and one consistent with the past. In prior seasons—admittedly, just over 200 games—J.P. batted .173 against left-hand pitching. This year he hits the lefties and it's right-handers that give him fits. Meanwhile, there seems to be something about T-Mobile Park that doesn't agree with him; for his career including this season, J.P.'s line in games at TMP is .202/.278/.294. Is it the heavy air? The comforts of home making him too relaxed? The smell of the fish market up at Pike Place? It's odd, but consistent. Maybe Crawford ought to bat high in the lineup on the road and 8th or 9th at home. Just a thought. Also, like most of the Mariners, J.P. doesn't really kick things into gear unless there are runners on base.
J.P. Crawford, 2021 vs. LHP .308/.328/.385 vs. RHP .213/.296/.291 Home .206/.283/.275 Road .289/.333/.378 Bases empty .215/.280/.264 Runners on .296/.351/.423
- Jake Fraley: There's not really a big enough sample size yet with Jake, he missed too much time on the IL. But it's still super fun to look at his walks. Fraley has 18 official at-bats and 13 walks. He only has three hits thus far, but his on-base is stratospheric! We'll see how things go as he gets more playing time, but right now it's amusing to see Jake work deep counts and anticipate yet another ball four coming his way.
Jake Fraley, 2021 8 games, 32 PA .167/.531/.278
- Ty France: We wrote about Frenchy's splits a bit the other day as we noted how crucial he's been to the M's. He's just good all around, no matter what the circumstance, unless he's playing with a bum wrist (which he did for 19 games before acknowledging the need to go on the injured list; overall numbers are skewed badly by his performance playing hurt). Monsieur France is consistent against lefties and righties, at home and on the road, a bit better in the afternoon than at night. But the stark splits are when there's a chance to drive in runs: a .999 OPS with runners in scoring position.
Ty France, 2021 Bases empty .209/.310/.300 Runners on .339/.403/.525 RISP .364/.408/.591 Day games .288/.354/.475 Night games .236/.336/.327 While injured .159/.266/.232 While healthy .320/.395/.640
- José Godoy: Not enough PAs to really gauge anything for the Mariners' latest backup catcher, he's only played seven games since being recalled from Triple-A. All but one of the left-hand batter's plate appearances have been against right-handers, so we can't see anything there, but so far he seems to like being in Seattle: .375 BA at home (3 games) vs. .182 on the road (4 games).
- Mitch Haniger: Mitch has kept the M's from being completely pathetic at times, clubbing 30 extra-base hits thus far. He's been relatively consistent in terms of home/road, lefty/righty splits—a little better on the road, a little better vs. right-handers—but the interesting mark is whether or not he's playing the field. When he's in his usual right-field slot he slugs fine but doesn't have the average; as a designated hitter, he's thrived across the board. No one's advocating for Mitch to be a full-time DH, of course, this just seems to be a smallish-sample oddity, but it's curious.
Mitch Haniger, 2021 vs. LHP .245/.293/.604 vs. RHP .270/.322/.522 Home .259/.302/.526 Away .271/.330/.563 Bases empty .245/.283/.490 Runners on .311/.384/.672 as RF .238/.284/.524 as DH .354/.411/.604
- Jarred Kelenic: Oy. The Mariners' prized super-prospect is becoming a cautionary tale for general managers who don't want to wait for players to develop. A superstar everywhere he's played until this year, the 21-year-old rookie was promoted after only six games at Triple-A and was hit with a large dose of humble pie. Pitchers in the Majors are a different breed from those in the low minors and high school ball. In his very limited big-league career of 80 PAs, there is no circumstance in which Kelenic has hit well, though one mildly curious thing is that he's drawn seven walks against right-handers and none when facing southpaws.
Jarred Kelenic, 2021 vs. LHP .136/.136/.136 vs. RHP .100/.224/.260 Home .102/.200/.204 Away .130/.200/.261 Bases empty .085/.204/.170 Runners on .160/.192/.320
- Jack Mayfield: Another case of too little data, though within the small sample there's some germs of useful info. In an equal number of PAs at home and on the road, Mayfield has had success at TMP and flopped away from Seattle; he seems to have a preference for lefty pitching over righty; and all of this is skewed heavily by his last four games, when he's been on a bit of a hot streak.
Jack Mayfield, 2021 vs. LHP .222/.263/.278 vs. RHP .091/.091/.091 Home .286/.333/.357 Away .067/.067/.067 Since 5/27 4-for-10, 1 BB
- Tom Murphy: Murph's been pretty terrible all season no matter what the situation. That is, until the last couple of weeks. All of the splits are pretty consistently bad, but since May 22nd—three road games, six home—he's been a different guy altogether. Ride that hot streak, Tom.
Tom Murphy, 2021 4/1-5/21 .127/.179/.304 5/22-6/2 .333/.393/.667
- Jacob Nottingham: Hopping back and forth between Seattle's original franchise (the Milwaukee Brewers nee Seattle Pilots) and its current one, Nottingham is clearly a platoon-only guy and likes it when the pressure's off. For his career (parts of four seasons), he's only managed to hit .169 vs. right-handers and .194 with runners in scoring position. This year's been no different. He has done OK in his few games at TMP, though.
Jacob Nottingham, 2021 vs. LHP .235/.316/.824 vs. RHP .100/.174/.100 at TMP .250/.455/.625 Elsewhere .138/.161/.379 Bases empty .263/.333/.632 Runners on .056/.143/.232
- Kyle Seager: The Mariners' elder statesman seems to be having a terrible year at first glance, but has actually come through in the clutch. Like Crawford, he's good on the road and brutal at home overall, but regardless of ballpark he comes to life when it's an RBI situation. In 47 PAs Seager's mashed to the tune of .425/.468/.825 with runners in scoring position, .538/.600/1.077 with RISP and 2 out. Given that, it's unsurprising that he's most effective batting in the cleanup spot in the order.
Kyle Seager, 2021 Home .150/.230/.301 Away .296/.352/.582 Bases empty .143/.203/.347 Runners on .322/.396/.552 Batting 4th .276/.344/.655 Other lineup pos. .209/.277/.396
- Taylor Trammell: Not a lot to work with here because it remains to be seen if Trammell's time in Triple-A will translate at all to better performance in Seattle. That said, the numbers are brutal across the board, though he does fare better facing righties. He's only had two games since his recall, so we should check back on him in a couple of weeks.
Taylor Trammell, 2021 vs. LHP .038/.194/.038 vs. RHP .206/.286/.492
- Donovan Walton: Not enough data, but one can imagine Walton needing to be in the minors; his .182/.200/.318 overall line doesn't deviate much regardless of split. He's had all of 32 Triple-A at-bats in his young career. He was really good in Double-A in 2019, got a week's worth of action in Tacoma to start off this season, and now he's here getting overmatched in all circumstances.