For all the attention on the Seattle Mariners’ decision-making surrounding top prospect Jarred Kelenic, there is another young outfielder who seems more likely to be on the club’s opening day roster.
Taylor Trammell has never played above Double-A. But with Kelenic sidelined by a knee injury and a couple of other outfielders struggling early in spring training, Trammell could have a shot at being on the field when the Mariners open the season on April 1 against San Francisco.
“I think he fits in very well with our group,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’s comfortable. He now has been around us long enough he understands our language and our verbiage and what we value. He fits right in with that.”
The 23-year-old Trammell is on the third organization of his career despite regularly being regarded as one of the top 100 prospects in baseball. He was one of the main pieces when Seattle traded Austin Nola and a pair of relievers to the San Diego Padres last season as the Mariners continued to stockpile young talent.
Trammell is hoping he finally finds stability with one team this time. He was a first-round pick by Cincinnati in the 2016 draft but was sent to San Diego as part of a three-team trade before moving on to the Mariners last summer.
“I think it’d be good. I don’t have to go through another pair of cleats, or another wardrobe for the most part, so I think that’d be pretty cool,” Trammell joked. “But in all honesty, it’ll be great. I think it’s something we all understand is what comes along with business and everything like that. It’s just how it goes sometimes.”
Left field is the one position that seems unsettled for Seattle. Despite questions about his service-time situation, Kelenic was pushing to land the job and his performance may have dictated a spot on the opening day roster. But an adductor strain suffered in his left knee during a spring training game last week may have solved the service-time issue for Seattle since it seems unlikely Kelenic will be ready for the start of the season.
Assuming that is the case, it leaves Trammell, Braden Bishop and Jake Fraley as the likely options in left field. Trammell has been the most impressive so far this spring.
Trammell made changes in his swing during his time in the Padres organization but the opportunity to see how they translate to games has been limited since there was no minor league baseball last season. So far this spring, the changes seem to be working. His four hits in 11 at-bats include three doubles and a home run.
Servais said the time spent at the alternate site last season was critical for Trammell.
“He spent over a month down here in Arizona as part of our instructional league group, and really got to focus on a few things and the things we gave him to work on over the offseason he took to heart,” Servais said. “He came into camp and you’ve noticed the difference with him already.”
His defensive versatility could be the reason Trammell makes the opening day roster. He’s primarily played left field but can easily shift to center field and give starter Kyle Lewis a break, especially considering Seattle’s bench is likely to consist of utility players more adept at corner outfield spots.
The concern with Trammell, and what may ultimately lead the Mariners to start him at the team’s alternate training site, is simply the lack of experience. Trammell has just 126 games and just over 500 plate appearances at the Double-A level.
“He is an athletic guy. Still things to work on focusing on, trying to get his arm strength up to where we feel better about it and he does, too,” Servais said. “Things to work on like all young players have. But we’re going to see a lot of him this spring.”
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