A glance at Taylor Trammell’s name in the box scores from the Mariners’ instructional league play likely didn’t wow many scouts and evaluators.
But talk to the people who actually saw the 23-year-old outfielder play and ask what they saw.
“Taylor continues to impress me in all facets of the game,” Mariners farm director Andy McKay said.
The Mariners haven’t been deterred much by Trammell’s underwhelming offensive production since the Reds traded the 2016 supplemental first-rounder to the Padres in a blockbuster deal in 2019 before the Padres sent Trammell to Seattle last summer. The Mariners surrendered catcher Austin Nola and relievers Dan Altavilla and Austin Adams in the deal.
McKay stressed the importance of just assimilating the 6-foot-2, 213-pound outfielder, who hit .234/.340/.349 at Double-A for the Reds and Padres in 2019, into the system and the importance of helping him get to know the organization.
Mariners manager Scott Servais traveled to Peoria, Ariz., and got his first glimpse of Trammell.
“His numbers weren’t that great as far as getting a lot of hits, but I was impressed with his maturity, how he goes about his at-bats and what he looked like running in the outfield,” Servais said.
“I definitely feel there is a major league player in there. There’s no question about that.”
That’s why the Mariners added the hard-hitting, athletic lefthanded hitter to their 40-man roster in November, protecting Trammell from the Rule 5 draft.
Seattle mostly tested Trammell in center field during his time at the alternate training site in Tacoma and during instructional league play in Arizona. They wanted to focus on evaluating and developing his arm strength.
“We saw him come into instructional league, focus on a throwing program to improve his arm strength, and we saw his arm jump a grade or a grade and a half,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
“He covers ground in center field. He has the instincts to go gap to gap. He’s an above-average runner. But we’re really encouraged that we saw a step forward in his arm strength and his commitment to making that a priority.”
— Manager Scott Servais said that during his week watching instructional league play in Peoria, Ariz., the unquestioned most impressive player of anyone he saw was 20-year-old top prospect Julio Rodriguez, who was coming off recovery from a wrist injury that didn’t allow him to participate in play at the alternate site.
“He’s pretty much the same every day—he can’t wait to get to the ballpark and take that next step toward the big leagues,” Servais said. “When that happens, I don’t know. He’ll let us know. And when he’s ready there won’t be anything stopping him.”
— It’s widely believed 21-year-old Jarred Kelenic will make his major league debut in 2021. Servais was asked if the athletic outfielder would accept a spot in left field if Kyle Lewis is in center and Mitch Haniger returns to play right.
“Looking at opportunities and where the playing time is going to come from, that’s why we’ve spread guys around and made them play all three outfield spots in their minor league careers,” Servais said. “So that won’t be an issue.
“When (Kelenic’s) time is right, we’ll have to wait and see when that is going to be. But he’s a very talented player and I’m very excited for what he can bring for our future.”
—Servais also recently praised 19-year-old shortstop Noelvi Marte, who struggled in his invite to spring training at T-Mobile Park as a teenager against the organization’s top players.
“At times he was really overmatched—as he should have been,” Servais said. “This is a guy coming out of the DSL and now he’s playing against major league players in a major league stadium. But to see his development and how he has progressed along was very encouraging.”