The focus of baseball fans in the Pacific Northwest may have been on Jarred Kelenic’s Major League debut on Thursday night, but the outfielder optioned down to the Minors to make room on the roster let them know he might not be gone for long.
In his first game back in the Minors since starting the season in The Show, Seattle’s No. 6 prospect Taylor Trammell went 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs to lead Triple-A Tacoma in a rout of Salt Lake, 15-5. Beyond just his line in the box score, Trammell accomplished something else singularly significant.
“I had fun today,” Trammell said after his monster game. “I think that was maybe the biggest thing, just having fun. I talked to a few guys about today, and result-wise you really can’t get on that roller coaster of ups and downs and everything like that. You really have to stay even keeled. I just had fun today. I was dancing in the outfield, having a blast. My teammates were great. The guys that were there, they were hyping me up, I was hyping everybody up, as well. It was fun. It was a great atmosphere.”
Optioned to Tacoma on Thursday, Trammell wasted no time getting reacclimated to the Minors, where he hadn’t played since the Double-A Texas League playoffs while he was with the San Diego Padres in 2019. In his first Triple-A game ever, the 23-year-old bounced a single to center field in the first inning and followed with an RBI single on a liner to right in the third. After striking out in the fifth, the only time he was retired on the night, Trammell contributed -- twice -- to his team’s biggest inning of the evening.
The Rainiers sent 13 men to the plate in a 10-run seventh. Trammell, the third batter to the dish in the inning, lashed a single to right and scored two batters later on Dillon Thomas’s two-run double. After the lineup card turned over, Trammell dealt his biggest blow of the night. With two on and two outs, baseball's No. 86 overall prospect connected on a three-run homer to right field to cap off the inning.
“At certain times when the ball was flying pretty well, and it’s a big ballpark, nobody tried to get too big or anything like that,” he said. “I know [Sam Travis] hit a home run, Thomas hit a home run. I’m sitting here like, ‘OK, they’re not trying to get too big. The balls are flying, guys are trying to hit hard line drives.’ That whole inning, it was exciting to see just because it was like the next-man-up kind of mentality like I’m going to do the job to get the next guy up. I’m going to get this guy in. it was an extremely fun win.
Tacoma finished the night with 15 runs on 18 hits, seven of them for extra bases, going 8-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Trammell broke Mariners Spring Training with the big league club but never found his footing through the season’s first month-plus. In 27 games, he batted just .157/.255/.337 with 41 strikeouts in 83 at-bats. Thursday’s transaction, which Trammell said was made in part to shore up his approach to offspeed pitches, did nothing to discourage the young outfielder.
“You just play,” he said. “Carrying that over no matter really where you’re at, just playing your game, not trying to be anybody else, not trying to do anything that you haven’t done in the past or anything like that, just being who you are. I’m just chill. I think it was kind of funny today just because there were guys on base and I was like, ‘Oh, OK. Cool.’ I simplified it as much as possible, and results-wise it really didn’t matter to me too much, but I was having a blast today just simplifying the game.”
Thursday night’s four-hit showing was Trammell’s first since April 11, 2019, with Double-A Chattanooga while he was still in the Cincinnati organization. It was also another opportunity to do the thing Trammell loves most: play ball with his friends and teammates.
“Since I was a kid, I just want to be the best human being that I can to everybody, no matter if you’re up, down, out of it or anything like that,” he said. “I just want to be the best person I can be. I don’t want to ever make it about me. I see a lot of unselfishness with a lot of the [Mariners] players, as well, and I just try to do the same thing. I try not to make it all about me because it’s not. It’s a team game. I could’ve had four hits tonight and we could’ve lost. That’s just the name of the game. It takes everybody, so we all feed off of each other. It’s fun to see the connection that we have, the energy that we have.”