The Mariners have a fresh face joining their outfield mix. Jake Fraley has been selected from Triple-A and will be available for today’s game. Domingo Santana has been placed on the injured list with right elbow inflammation, the team announced. Santana’s IL stint is retroactive to yesterday on August 19th, though the elbow discomfort is something he has been dealing with for close to a month now. With the addition of Fraley, Seattle’s 40-man roster still has two spots remaining – with one seat presumably saved for Felix Hernandez should his rehab assignments go smoothly.
Santana has quietly become one of the more potent bats in the Seattle lineup this season. It was at least a little surprising that Trader Jerry didn’t field further trade calls for him at the deadline, but with two more years of arbitration eligibility and plenty of near-term financial flexibility, the Mariners felt no pressure to move him. For his part, Santana is better suited for regular at-bats on a non-contender like Seattle until he can add some dimensionality to his game.
The hulking 6’5″ outfielder has DH’ed on occasion, but mostly splits his time evenly between left and right field. Defensive metrics are slightly more enamored with his work in right, but it’s a negligible difference in the grand scheme of things (-8 DRS to -7 DRA, -23.7 UZR/150 to -17.8 UZR/150). Regardless of where they stick him, Santana has not provided any additional value with the glove.
With the bat, Santana looks the part of middle-of-the-order slugger. Towering presence is a check, home run output is a check (21 on the year), and his overall batting line of .256/.332/.449 sticks the landing with an above-average 110 wRC+ – right in range of his career average (112 wRC+). When he connects, Santana does damage (above-average 42.5% hard-hit percentage), but getting bat-to-ball remains a struggle. Santana, 27, tops the league with 159 strikeouts, striking out in 32.1% of his at-bats – the highest percentage in the majors.
Fraley, 24, will prepare for his major league debut. A native of Frederick, MD about 45 miles north of Washington DC, Fraley is a former 2nd round selection of by Tampa Bay and the current #8 ranked prospect in Seattle’s system per MLB.com. Speed and defense are his calling cards, but after injuries slowed his progress in 2017, power has begun populating in-game for Fraley. His isolated power has increased with each new rung of the minor league ladder, from .200 ISO in High-A to .226 ISO in Double-A to .276 ISO across 168 plate appearances for Triple-A Tacoma this season. Fraley joined the Mariners this past winter as part of the Mike Zunino deal.
Fun fact for your trivia guides from MLB.com’s Greg Johns (via Twitter), Fraley will be the 17th Mariner to debut in the major leagues this season.