Jake Fraley, OF, SEA

He appeared in 12 games for the Mariners in 2019, but Jake Fraley is still a prospect, so can we expect more than the .151/.171/.200 line he put up in those 40 plate appearances? Of course, for that would make him the worst hitter of all time! So how much better can we expect him to be?
Video courtesy of FanGraphs
  • Born: May 25, 1995
  • B/T: Left/Left
  • 6’0″, 195-lbs
  • Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2nd round of the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft from Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA).

The Numbers

Let’s aggregate by level and focus on important numbers for minor leaguers:

Fraley took a big step forward in 2018, and then really broke out in 2019 leading to him being called up to the majors. All is well, right? I mean, look at that power! That speed! That OBP! That lack of strikeouts!

OK, now let’s break 2019 into the three levels he reached:

He destroyed AA, all right, and then going to AAA Tacoma in the offense-fueled Pacific Coast League out to have meant more of the same. But the power, though still good, was way off. His speed was cut in half. He walked fewer times and dropped his OBP from excellent to good.

Then he reached the majors and it was a complete horror show.

Which Fraley do you believe? The MLB horror show? The AA destroyer of worlds? Something in between? He’s 25 now, so he basically is who he is going to be. And who is that?

One thing’s for sure, even when he was laying waste to Texas League pitching, Double-A lefties held him to a .231/.296/.256 line. He did do better in Triple-A, to be sure, so his normal split might be in play. We’ll have to keep an eye on this.

He pulls the ball for sure. He does have some opposite field power, but it’s really, really pulled to right.

Oooh, pictures! See, there’s 2019 in graphical form. He did great against AA pitching, and then got even better against AA pitching. That’s the breakout we all saw and got excited about.

Then he goes to AAA and goes straight downhill before a late surge to salvage the year. Then it’s the majors and it’s like a trapdoor opened on him.

The Scouts

Warnings

Will the real Jake Fraley please step forward. How’d he do in spring training?

Eh. Could be better, could be worse. The power was there, but so were the strikeouts.

He’s 25. It’s now or never for Fraley.

Conclusion

The scouts still like him; I’m not so sure. He has a good swing, and he added an uppercut to it last year with great results, so I believe in the power. And he always had some speed.

Last year worries me. Everyone else sees a big breakout. I see a big breakout followed by a steady decline that carried into 2020. I could see him being a .250/.300 hitter who gives you pop and speed but drags down your ratios. More of a real-life asset than a fantasy asset.

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