Mariners hope José Marmolejos can bring ‘thump’ he showed with Tacoma
With the Mariners’ offense scuffling and an open roster spot following Jake Fraley’s placement on the injured list, the Mariners made the move a number of fans have been calling for recently. They called up José Marmolejos from Triple-A Tacoma, where he has hit 23 home runs with a .360/.452/.700 slash line (1.152 OPS) in 72 games.
“The numbers look great,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said Monday, noting he had forgotten how big Marmolejos was. “He’s had a heck of a season in Triple-A. I’m hoping he can help us out a little bit with some thump in the lineup.”
The Mariners have posted the fifth-lowest slugging percentage in baseball in the second half of the season, and with their left fielders – the spot Marmolejos will mostly occupy – dead last at .271, it would appear there is a good chance he can help in that department.
Servais is hoping changes he made at the minor league level will benefit the 28-year-old Marmolejos in the bigs.
“Marmo is hitting the ball harder in the air,” he pointed out. “It’s something our analysts noticed – this guy hits the ball really hard, he just didn’t get it in the air. I think he has been more consistent in hitting the ball hard in the air, certainly that has shown up in the home runs. Keep in mind, the level of pitching is quite a bit different in Triple-A than it is in the big leagues. I’m anxious to see what it looks like.”
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Marmolejos said he made a minor adjustment at the plate to get him in better position with his vision to get the ball airborne.
“It was focus on seeing the pitch, the delivery of the pitcher, seeing the ball get to me and focus on getting the bat to the ball,” he said.
The bigger adjustment was on the mental side, namely staying aggressive at the plate.
“When I start trying to wait for the perfect pitch, that’s when stuff gets shaky,” he said. “It is a confidence thing and a mental process that you have to work on every day. Staying aggressive, staying in your zone and going when you see a good pitch to drive is the mindset I want to keep.”
It will be interesting to see how Marmolejos will be used. Will he be the left-handed half of a platoon in left with Dylan Moore, or will he get an opportunity to show he can hit lefties as well after slashing .365/.412/.778 (1.190 OPS) against southpaws in Tacoma? With Jake Bauers available off the bench as a defensive replacement, Marmolejos is likely to come out late in games. His opportunities could be short-lived, too, with Kyle Lewis expected to rejoin the club at some point in September, although he has yet to be sent on a rehab assignment.
One thing is certain, however: if Marmolejos hits, there will be a place to play. Worrying about what is on the horizon is not part of his mindset. While in Tacoma, Marmolejos checked in from time to time on what the Mariners were doing but didn’t keep a close watch.
“I wanted to focus on what I had in front of me,” he said. “I don’t want to think about the past, it will bring you down. I don’t want to think about the future, it will give you anxiety. So I just am keeping myself centered and focused on what I have in front of me.”