Did you watch the Mariners in Spring Training? Remember, the outfield prospect that was tearing it up? No, not Jarred Kelenic. There was another prospect, the Mariners’ No. 15 (per MLB Pipeline) prospect, Cade Marlowe. Many believed he was in a battle with Kelenic, with the latter ultimately winning out.
If you’ve followed the Seattle Mariners this season, you’d know that they have seen some inconsistency in numerous players. Though, to the naked eye…that inconsistency has been overshadowed by the rise of Kelenic, the continued phenomenal play of reigning AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez, and recent tears by proven Major League hitters; Ty France, Teoscar Hernandez, and Eugenio Suarez. Yes, the combination of those five players has nothing short of amazing to watch.
However, that doesn’t show the early season slump (5-for-53) from second baseman Kolten Wong and not to mention virtually no production out of the Designated Hitter spot in the lineup. A position that the Mariners have seen a great amount of production over the last two decades with the likes of Edgar Martinez and Nelson Cruz. This season, the Mariners have used the DH spot as a revolving door. The six players who have started at DH have combined to post a .115 batting average, a .206 on-base percentage and a .180 slugging percentage — all of which rank dead last, by far, among the 30 major-league teams at the position.
So the days of having a dominant DH to etch onto the lineup card are history, but the solution to the problems may not be far-fetched. Not only did Cade Marlowe dominate in spring training, but he has been a consistent bat that Tacoma Rainiers Coach Tim Fedorowicz has been able to place in the outfield this season. Sure, it’s a small sample size due to Marlowe only playing in five of the team’s first 19 games.
Entering the season, the Mariners planned to rotate hitters through the DH spot. They want flexibility; they want to create the best matchup opportunities vs. the opposing pitcher; and they want to give regular starters dedicated DH days.
That has become a popular trend around MLB. Just 11 teams have employed a full-time DH this season, and just four of those teams are in the American League (the Angels, Guardians, Red Sox and Twins).
“At the end of the day you need production, right? It’s the big leagues,” manager Scott Servais said Wednesday. “Some guys get more opportunities than others for different reasons. You play matchups; you play what the projected outcomes are going to be based on who’s pitching and what type of pitcher that particular hitter hits better than others. So there’s a lot that goes into it.”
Calling up Marlowe?
How could calling up Cade Marlowe change the scope of things? Could the Mariners then deploy a full-time DH by moving Hernandez to that role? The Mariners’ 25-year-old prospect (Marlowe), who was drafted in the 20th round of the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft, can play all three outfield spots. He’s hitting .316/.458/.652 with four doubles, a triple and five walks. So, he appears to be ready. It might be worth a shot to call him up as it could lead to more production out of the DH spot with Hernandez there on a full-time basis.
He has not been vocal about not making the big leagues. Rather, has been letting his bat do the talking as an unheralded prospect… much like France did. It may be something to keep an eye on for now, the idea may be on the Mariners radar already.
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