Trammell impressing early at Mariners' camp

Top outfield prospect off to hot start during Cactus League action

March 5th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Taylor Trammell came to Mariners Spring Training with a level of unknown, but he’s quickly providing a lot of clarity, perhaps even throwing his hat in the ring for consideration for the Opening Day left-field job.

A key return in the Austin Nola trade with the Padres last year, Trammell is in front of many in the Mariners’ organization for the first time after spending the final month of last season at the alternate training site. And he’s already wowed with opposite-field power, instinctual baserunning and overall athleticism.

On Tuesday, Trammell nearly legged out a triple against the Indians and was praised for his aggressiveness. On Wednesday, he tagged a long homer against the Cubs that nearly exceeded the lawn area at Sloan Park. On Thursday, he walked, stole second base and scored in a 9-9 tie against the Rockies at Peoria Stadium.

It’s been less than a week since Cactus League play began, but Trammell has been an early standout.

“For me, it’s going to be just consistent contact, making sure that every [at-bat] that I have, obviously, that's really what I want to do,” Trammell said. “I'm going to hone in on hard-hit balls, being comfortable in the box, making sure that I'm owning the batter's box. And I love saying this: I want to obviously be a good teammate every single day.”

Trammell is the No. 100 overall prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, and he is one of many in camp who are taking advantage of the early reps as Seattle eases in its everyday starters and gauges its young talent.

Among the Mariners’ blue-chip pieces of the future, Trammell is a bit older (23) and more developed, as he was drafted in 2016. As such, he has a strong chance to contribute at the big league level this year, general manger Jerry Dipoto has said.

But where might Trammell fit? He has played 263 Minors games in left field and 120 in center, and he’s been taking most of his batting-practice reps in right. His arm strength remains a work in progress, but that’s been one of the key areas he’s focused on in camp. Even Trammell isn’t sure where his best fit is long term.

But with a strong showing so far, and more playing time to come, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to consider him a contender to be the Opening Day left fielder. Jake Fraley and Braden Bishop were the primary candidates entering camp, and José Marmolejos to a lesser extent. The club has said Jarred Kelenic needs more Minor League development before taking on the role.

“We’re going to see a lot of him in this camp,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Trammell. “We’ve got a lot of competition in the outfield. It’s a great opportunity for a lot of our young players, and he’s taken advantage of it so far.”

In 2019, Trammell hit .234/.340/.349 in 126 games at the Double-A level, well below the production he had shown to that point. But he capped it with a big finish, hitting a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning of the decisive Game 5 of the Texas League finals for Amarillo, the Padres’ Double-A affiliate.

Even with the Minor League season canceled in 2020, Trammell didn’t view it as a “lost year,” based on the work he got at alternate training sites in San Diego and Tacoma, Wash., as well as the extra work he took part in during the Mariners’ fall developmental league.

“Honestly, it was fine,” Trammell said. “I ended up going to instructs later on in November, so I didn't have that big long offseason. So me and my trainer back at home, we really had to hone in on just everything that we were going to accomplish this offseason, making sure that, one, I’m mobile. That’s my No. 1 -- maintaining speed, balance and performance, explosiveness and really just maximizing the short amount of time that I was going to be there. I think I got back on my thing mid-November, so it was a very short offseason for myself, but at the same time, I got a lot out of it.”

Above all, the 2021 season will be about continuity for Trammell. He spent four seasons in the Reds' organization after the club selected him with its first-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. The Atlanta-area native opted to go pro rather than play at Georgia Tech, which had offered him a scholarship. Then, he was traded to the Padres in July 2019, before getting dealt again to the Mariners last August.

“We all understand what comes along with the business, and everything like that,” Trammell said. “It's just how things go sometimes. But it does help a lot. As far as the guys that you're with all the time, meeting new people, it takes a toll a little bit. … But I’m loving the time that I'm having out here, especially in Peoria.”