Fraley was sent to minor-league camp Wednesday, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports.
Fraley hit well in 29 spring plate appearances, posting a .960 OPS while hitting a pair of homers. He spent last season at High-A Charlotte in the Rays' system and will likely open 2019 at the Double-A level.
Fraley, who went 2-for-2 with a double, home run and three total RBI in Tuesday's 7-7 Cactus League tie with the Padres, has caught the eye of manager Scott Servais with his play this spring, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "Jake has had an unbelievable spring," Servais said. "Like many of these guys who've come to the organization, they really want to give a strong impression and he's handled everything we've thrown at him. He's got power, has done a nice job defensively, runs the bases pretty well, he's got some speed."
The promising prospect drew the start in center field Tuesday due to Mitch Haniger's back stiffness, and his perfect day at the plate makes him 7-for-16 across nine spring games. Due to Mallex Smith's continuing recovery from an elbow injury, Fraley has a legitimate opportunity to claim a reserve outfield role to open the regular season. It would be quite the leap for the 23-year-old, who hadn't risen above High-A ball in the Rays organization prior to the trade that brought him to Seattle this offseason. However, it's worth noting Fraley decimated pitching at that level last season, slashing .347/.415/.547 across 260 plate appearances.
Fraley received an invitation to major-league spring training, TJ Cotterill of The Tacoma News Tribune reports.
Fraley missed the first two months of the 2018 season at High-A due to an injury, but he mashed when he returned to action. He produced a .347/.415/.547 slash line with four homers, 41 RBI and 11 stolen bases across 260 plate appearances. After being traded to the Mariners over the offseason, the 23-year-old will get a chance to play with the major-league squad for a bit, though he'll likely spend much of the 2019 campaign at the Double-A level as he gets more accustomed to upper-level pitching.
A deal has been agreed upon that will send Fraley and Mallex Smith from the Rays to the Mariners in exchange for Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia and Michael Plassmeyer, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports.
Injuries prevented Fraley's career from taking off in his first full season after being selected out of LSU with the No. 77 overall pick in 2016. However, he was one of the best hitters in the Australian Baseball League last offseason and hit .347/.415/.547 with four home runs, 11 steals and a 44:26 K:BB in 260 plate appearances at High-A this season. He is an excellent defender in center field, makes hard contact to all fields and rarely strikes out. The big key for him going forward will be to prove he can hold up over a full season. This trade is a boon for his dynasty-league owners, as the Rays have seemingly endless organizational outfield depth and the Mariners have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. He turns 24 in May and will likely be assigned to Double-A.
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