Since the “Greek God of Walks” has famously been taken by former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was bestowed that nickname in Michael Lewis’ renowned book “Moneyball,” perhaps Jake Fraley, whose resemblance to a resident of Aasgard in a Thor movie can be the Norse God of Walks.
Sure, he hit his first big league homer in Thursday night’s 6-2 win over the Angels. But it was just as impressive that he worked two more walks.
Fraley’s stat line, which is a small sample due to an extended stint on the injured list with a left hamstring strain that kept him out 47 games, is unique and odd.
In nine games, Fraley has been to the plate 36 times. He has four hits — a single, two doubles and his homer — with four runs, four RBI, two stolen bases, 15 walks and seven strikeouts. He has also been hit by a pitch.
Yes, he has more free passes than his hits, runs scored and RBI combined. Kyle Seager has the most walks on the team with 18. He has been to the plate 239 times.
The preponderance of walks gives Fraley a .200/.556/.450 slash line.
He has gotten on base more than half the times he has come to the plate and walked in 42 percent of his plate appearances.
Sure, the numbers will likely regress as he accumulates plate appearances. But don’t expect Fraley to suddenly start swinging at everything.
“He has a really good eye at the plate,” Servais said. “He trusts his eyes. That’s the phrase I like to use. He really does trust them. He also is able to hang in on at-bats. He’s covering more pitches throughout the strike zone, not really smoking them but he’s getting late contact and fouling off a lot of balls to extend at-bats. So those are great attributes to have.”
Fraley had a walk rate of around 10 percent for much of his minor-league career, but he has taken it to a new level, starting this spring. He was mired in a slow start and in an effort to get out of it, he grew even more selective at the plate.
He took the Mariners’ “dominate the zone” philosophy to a new level.
“It’s kind of something that I’ve always prided myself in from college and through the minors,” he said. “I’ve always had that kind of niche on me that I have a good eye and make good swing decisions. I’m obviously sticking to that. This is my third year with the Mariners, and they’ve always preached, controlling the zone. You’ve got to buy into it. And then step two is finding a way to apply it when you’re in the box. It’s helped being here around these guys and what they preach.”
Instead of being asked about the myriad players on the injured list — a league-high 15 players — Servais just provided updates at the beginning of his pregame media session.
- Dylan Moore (left calf strain) is expected to join Class AAA Tacoma on a rehab assignment on Monday or Tuesday.
- Evan White (right hip flexor strain) has started a running progression and will go on a rehab assignment at the end of the week or early next week.
- Kendall Graveman, RHP (COVID-19 injured list) will throw a live batting practice session in Tacoma on Saturday and then appear in at least one game on a rehab assignment before returning to the bullpen.
- Drew Steckenrider, RHP (COVID-19 injured list) is with the Mariners in Anaheim and is expected to be activated in the next few days. It will probably be Saturday based on the usage of Friday’s bullpen start.
- Casey Sadler (right shoulder impingement) had a setback Thursday during his throwing progression. He is going to get examined by team doctors.
- Sam Haggerty (left shoulder inflammation) has not started any baseball activities.
M’s pick up pitcher
The Mariners acquired right-handed pitcher Yacksel Rios from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for cash considerations.
Rios, 27, had made 12 appearances with Class AAA Durham this season, posting a 2-0 record with two saves and a 0.66 ERA. He has struck out 17 and walked two in 13 2/3 innings. He was a minor league sign in February.
Rios has appeared in parts of four seasons with the Phillies and Pirates, posting a 5-2 record with a 6.36 ERA in 69 1/3 innings with 68 strikeouts and 34 walks.