Offseason report card and prediction: Second Base
Now we get to one of the biggest flaws in the 2022 roster, the second base position. While it was a weak spot this season, could a position change strengthen it in 2023?
Although Adam Frazier had one of the biggest hits in Seattle Mariners history just two weeks ago, they will be looking to replace him. Late last year the Mariners acquired Adam Frazier and Abraham Toro in the hope that one would be able to seize this job.
Neither one of these players could accomplish this, in fact, they ended up being two of the worst hitters in all of baseball. Seattle hoped Toro could finally realize the tools that made him a coveted prospect and hoped Frazier could repeat his All Star 2021 season.
Instead, Frazier dealt with bouts of bad luck and seemingly not hitting a baseball hard for weeks. While he got hot in early August there were very few instances of times when the 30 year old second baseman was impactful to the lineup.
He had few moments and finished the season with a .238/.301/.311 slash line. His best moment came in the postseason, where his double into the right field corner capped the epic 7 run comeback.
He ended up falling cold in the postseason after his hot start, finishing 5-22. Abraham Toro never saw the field in October, and rightfully so. Toro struggled mightily in 2022, finishing with an ugly -.8 WAR according to Baseball Reference.
He did manage to hit 10 home runs in just 324 at bats, but this came with just a .185 batting average and a .239 on-base percentage. Toro has not been the player Jerry Dipoto thought he was getting when he traded Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero to acquire him from the Houston Astros. He did have a few clutch moments, including this walk-off against Oakland.
Nevertheless, Toro will have a chance to be on next year’s roster, but would likely start out in Tacoma. There is also a chance he could be a supporting piece in a deal to acquire a player this offseason.
Sam Haggerty and Dylan Moore also played second base this season, and are the two most likely returners at the position. The Mariners love both players, and both hit lefties very well.
My prediction is that J.P Crawford will be moved to second base. The Mariners should be in on the free-agent shortstop class, none of which would likely prefer to move to the other side of the bag. The shift ban would place more importance on the range at second base, and Crawford’s bat plays much better at that position.
Seattle will also have the option to play Sam Haggerty or Dylan Moore there against lefthanded pitchers in hopes of saving Crawford. Second base is a position they must improve in 2023 if they want to take the next step.