Time for the next installment in this very young series. The other day, I looked at the battle for the set-up man position. Today I will be doing the battle for the right field job.
Adam Jones was set to be the Mariners' starting right fielder, but he was traded to Baltimore as the centerpiece of the Erik Bedard trade. So, by using our logic, it would seem that a guy like Wladimir Balentien would be an option, as he is next or one of the next few down the depth chart. Brad Wilkerson was also brought in, and may be the starting RF.
Let's start with Balentien. The 23 year old is now the best outfield prospect in the Mariners' system. With Tacoma last season, he put up a .291/.362/.509 line with 24 HR and 84 RBI. He got 3 AB's with the Mariners last season, he got two hits, one a HR, and 4 RBI. That looks good on paper, if those three at bats are in a ratio with around 200-300, as in half to a full season, depending on how everything else goes. Right now, Balentien and Brad Wilkerson have to be considered the front runners for this gig. Keep a watch on Balentien, and expect him to get more than a few AB's in '08.
Next up, is Brad Wilkerson. When was the last time that this guy dominated the batter's box? You'll have to go back to his NCAA days to find some really good stats. This guy appears to be the favourite headed to camp, but anything could happen. Last season with Texas, he hit .234/.319/.467 with 29 HR and 62 RBI. I like the power numbers he put up, and the ability he has shown, which is almost about the same that Jose Guillen has, so the rught field situation could even out if Wilkerson put up the same numbers as last year, and if Wlad can step in and put up somewhat close to the same numbers in a platoon role, then this could work out well.
Mike Morse has to be considered sort of a long shot to make this team, but is still in the running. Morse came to Seattle in the Freddy Garcia trade a long time ago. In the last few years in the Mariners' organization, he;s bounced around between AAA and the MLB. In 102 career MLB games, all with the Mariners, Morse has hit .302/.365/.399 with 3 HR and 37 RBI in 291 AB. Not bad, and his minor league career stats; .261/.319/.408 with 50 HR and 331 RBI in 2270 AB's. Morse definitly has an idea of what the heck is going on out there, so he'll be getting a few looks this Spring.
Charlton Jimerson looks like a longshot, but is a decent prospect that isn't too far down the depth chart. In his one season in this organization, he has looked good, hitting .276 with 23 HR and 73 RBI at AA (322 AB), and then after being called up to AAA, he hit .308 with 2 HR and 7 RBI (65 AB). In his two major league AB's, he is hitting 1.000. This guy may have something, but will most likely be starting in Tacoma.
As I mentioned, it looks like Wlad and Wilk are the front runners for this spot. Platooning would be a solid option, but we'll have to wait and see. Taking suggestions on any other battles as well. I still haven't set up an email for this blog, so feel free to leave suggestions in the comments for now.