Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners could have some open positions in 2014. Sound familiar? Unless the Mariners break out the checkbook and start signing big-name free agents, those spots could be filled by prospects.
Enter Abraham Almonte, who may have a head start on the competition after being called up to Safeco Field on August 30. Before being promoted Almonte put together some impressive statistics at Tacoma, hitting .314 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI in 94 games. He also stole 20 bases and had a .403 on-base percentage.
Future leadoff man, anyone?
If Almonte is going to make this team in 2014, he will have to maintain the average and improve his OBP in the big leagues. In his first 64 at-bats, Almonte has six walks and 17 strikeouts. If he can somehow flip those numbers, Almonte may be in business.
Almonte may not provide a great deal of power, but the young outfielder was hitting .281 after the Mariners beat the Kansas City Royals on September 23. Conventional wisdom suggests that the offense-challenged M’s will give the job to a player that is hitting somewhere near .300. When was the last time Seattle had a consistent .300 hitter?
It has been far too long.
When you look at the current outfield depth chart, there aren’t a lot of certainties for next year. Raul Ibanez may not be back. Franklin Gutierrez can’t seem to stay healthy. Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders have been solid at times from an offensive standpoint, but neither has been particularly dominant with the lumber.
In other words, the outfield may be wide open in 2014. Granted, that is not necessarily great news for a fan base that is hoping for this franchise to take the next step. There is opportunity for players like Almonte and Stefen Romero to make the roster, but that doesn’t guarantee the Mariners will improve on their 28th-ranked .239 team average. Prospects are still prospects.
Abraham Almonte may be part of the future outfield for the Seattle Mariners. For the team to succeed he may need some help.