Yacht Rock: The Welcome Barge

Hello avid reader,

Gerard has done some things!

Bonafide Dude, Austin Nola, as well as Neat Guys Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla, will now be working far closer to North America’s largest accredited model railroad museum. Though I have major regrets about not spilling more pixels on his rise from just a guy to A Dude, no recorded fantasy point in human history has ever occurred in the past and real-time marches on for fake baseball. 

Needless to say, holy buckets reader!

Providing events go as they usually do, there will be four new employees of the Seattle Mariners: Ty France, Andrés Muñoz, Luis Torrens, and Taylor Trammell. The general internet consensus around the transaction is that you should be at least whelmed and potentially bordering on the berserk if you root for the Seattle Mariners. All four of the additions have ample amounts of Club Control in all the right places and depending on how hard you want to squint, could be a part of the next up-cycle for the club.

But this is not why you’re here in this corner of the site, oh no. You’re here for a higher love. Let’s talk about how these new young dudes could fit into your fantasy and or rotisserie baseball roster. Let’s get to it.

Luis Torrens, Catcher

TL;DR: Safely ignore for now.

To whoever ordered the shot o’ dopamine, our newest deckhand was once thought of slightly higher than fakeball stalwart Gary Sanchez. Now that we’ve given you a nice little juice spike, Torrens spent the better part of his time with the Yankees posting pedestrian stat lines across the low minors landscape. With no real concerns about his ability to stick behind the plate and coming from something of pedigree as a prospect, Torrens was plucked by the rebuilding Padres in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft. Predictably, the 21-year-old Torrens spent the year getting the bat knocked out of his hands (163/243/203), but did so long enough to remain a Padre going forward. 

Since then Torrens has shown flashes of promise. Slashing 280/320/406 in Hi-A in 2018 and 300/373/500 in AA in 2019, he’s gone from suspect to prospect. Now, 24 and with no worries about having to move down the defensive spectrum, Torrens is part now of the blob of interesting but flawed Mariner catchers. Barring an unforeseen offense improvement, Torrens will likely not sniff fantasy relevance in the near or distant future. Then again, we’ve just watched a variant on this movie lately…

On-Base: 35/80

Power: 35/80

Speed: Runs like a catcher

Defense: Catcher for the foreseeable future

Sunshine and lollipops comp: In the majors and available on the waiver wire in most sane formats

Ty France, 3b/1b/”2b”

TL;DR: Immediate add in medium-depth leagues with potential to be a work league level Dude. Fantasy value is tied to the whims of how aesthetically pleasing Scott Servias wants the second base situation.

^this being said, we know where you work, Servi’y boy.

You know, heck it, I’m gonna go for it. France went from cannonballin’ Ron Burgundy (.399! .477!! .770!!!) in the rabbit ball’d PCL to milk dribbling down his beard in San Diego (.234/.294/.402). Though his production at the plate was underwhelming, not everything escar’went (low hanging fruit, come on, you’d pluck it too) poorly during his maiden voyage in the big show. France got the chance to lead the keystone dance 17 times and made 21 total appearances at second for the year, granting him second base eligibility for 2019. With the dramatic drop in offensive expectations from second to third, France can start delivering sneaky fantasy production the second he steps into the TMob.

With nothing left to prove in the minors and an encouraging small (albeit babip fueled) 309/377/491 sample here in 2020, France should be given all the plate appearances he can handle on a rebuilding Mariners team. As we’ve seen with other alleged second basemen, a league average or slightly better bat can slink into broader fantasy relevance. With a unique talent for gettin’ plunked (25 HBP’s in 2019 alone!), relative lack of athleticism, and two-syllable name, expect France to generate some content in the blogosphere. 

On-Base: 50/80

Power: 50/80

Speed: 35/80

Defense: Likely 3b/1b but hasn’t been a disaster yet at 2b

Sunshine and lollipops comp: Fully actualized Ty Wigginton.

Taylor Trammell, LF/CF

TL;DR: 2-3 years away dude who you can dream on. Maybe better IRL than in fantasy.

Ladies and gentlemen, we got ourselves another WeirdAss.

Something of a backwards prospect (a speedy, glove-first LF), Trammel is the dude of highest repute in the transaction heading our way, and whooo nelly he’s a fun little mystery box. Trammell is locked into a likely LF only role not due to range concerns (which typically start a fall down the ugly tree that is the defensive spectrum), but by nature of an arm that is just barely playable in the outfield. 

Now that we’ve curbed your enthusiasm, it’s a good time to reiterate that the reason Trammel is held in such esteem is the fact that the young man can be affectionately referred to as a “got-dang tool shed”. 

Checking in at 6’2 and 213ish pounds of aggressive projectability, Trammel nails the eye test. Though he hasn’t necessarily dominated with the bat in his hand, there have been flashes of a feel to hit (.277/375/.406 in A-ball as a 20-year-old) and his body type lends scouts to think there’s a potential gusher of power buried in there somewhere. That being said, speed is what’s going to put Trammell on draft boards of the mid-late 2020s and beyond. He’s managed at least 20 steals at every level of affiliated ball he’s been at to date. 

What we now have is a 22-year-old potential dreamboat coming off a forgettable AA campaign, who will potentially have to repeat the level next year or be forced into the deepish end at Tacoma in 2021. I would put Trammel onto your watchlist and hopefully, we can all collectively enjoy watching the newest Mariner grow into an OF potentially worth drafting in 2022 or 2023.

On-Base: 45ish/80

Power: 35/80

Speed: 65/80

Defense: OF for the foreseeable future, may sneak into CF eligibility

Sunshine and lollipops comp: Lloyd Moesby type who grows into power and doesn’t kill your batting stats as a speed-stud coming up.

Andrés Muñoz, RP

TL;DR; Immediate add to your watchlist. Get well soon, young heatbringer.

Munoz is about as subtle as a kick in the shins.

Variants on the fastball, a cutter, and a slider, your standard menu at power reliever diners across the land.

But dang have the results been tasty thus far.

Muñoz was the mythical arm strength prospect that found just enough command, took off like a rocket through the Padres system, reaching the bigs by 20. He’s proven that he can strike more than a batter an inning out at every level he’s been at, including the bigs, and also does a really nice job of keeping the ball in the yard (league average-ish ground ball rates and a pretty darn good HR/9 as well).

You may be wondering, what circumstances have arisen that have made such a potential 9th inning godhead is available? Well, throwing a baseball overhead is an unnatural motion, and Muñoz is no less susceptible to physiology and physics than you or I. We’re now roughly 5ish months from Muñoz undergoing Tommy John surgery. Whether or not Muñoz can regain both the velocity and the command that brought him to the majors remains to be seen, as history is littered with relievers of similar profiles who either lost effectiveness or did not make it back at all.

All that said, unless the team brings in outside help or one of the current crop of Mariner farmhands pumps up the volume on their current offerings, Muñoz is the most talented reliever employed by the organization. Assuming full health and rational bullpen management, the deck is clear for Muñoz to make a run at standard league fantasy relevance come summer or fall of 2021.

Will there be walks, yes. Will there be fun, potentially more fun than the stress of the walks!

Sword (dugout dispensin’): 80/80

Shield (walk avoidance): 30/80

Mana (dinger dodging): 60/80

Role: Nothing blocking ascent to closer if healthy

Sunshine and lollipops comp: Armando Benitez class battleship

One response to “Yacht Rock: The Welcome Barge”

  1. […] You heard it here first, baseball teens 😉. Though VIBES doesn’t know that the reason Munoz is sitting out is a somewhat scary injury-related situation, all underlying metrics point to a quick ascent to efficient saves and holds goodies for one Andrés Muñoz once he returns healthy. Should the Mariners perform to team projections, his competition for these goodies will likely be in another locale—draft and hold in deeper leagues with supreme confidence.  […]

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