- Sept. 10: Fraley is batting .269 with 18 doubles, 15 home runs and 34 walks. Fraley has a hit in 60.2% of his games this season (59 of 98), with multiple base hits in 21 of those contests (21.4%).
He has gone yard in 14 games this season (98 opportunities, 14.3%), leaving the ballpark in 4.3% of his plate appearances.
In 31 of 98 games this year (31.6%), Fraley has scored, and seven of those games (7.1%) included an effort that produced two or more runs scored.
He has produced a run in 41.8% of his 98 games this season, with more than one RBI in 16.3% of them (16). He has also plated three or more runs in five contests.
In 50.0% of his games this year (49 of 98), Fraley has gone down on strikes at least once, and in 14 of those games (14.3%) he registered more than one strikeout. (Data Skrive)
|Birth City:||Frederick, MD|
|Draft:||Rays #2 - 2016 - Out of Louisiana State Univ.|
Fraley was born in Frederick, Maryland and grew up in Middletown, Delaware. His father, Marvin is a salesman, and his mother, Traci, works in safety and security. Jake has an older sister, Lauren, and two younger brothers, Brandon and Andrew.
Jake graduated from Carvel Academy in Bear, Delaware. He hit .492 as a high school senior and .536 as a junior, earning All-State recognition in both seasons. And he was a three-time member of the Academic Honor Roll.
Upon finishing high school, Fraley accepted a baseball scholarship to LSU. He majored in sports administration.
In the summer of 2015, Jake played in the Cape Cod League. He hit .302/.389/.349 line in 63 at-bats.
In 2016, Fraley got drafted by the Rays (see Transactions below).
In 2018, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Fraley as the 23rd-best prospect in the Rays' organization. Fraley, after being acquired by the Mariners, was the 14th-best prospect in their farm system in the spring of 2019. He moved up to #11 a year later, early in 2020, but he fell back to #23 in the spring of 2021.
The morning of August 19, 2019, was a little surreal for Jake. As he sat in the visitors' dugout at Tropicana Field, he took a moment to lean out and point toward a wall of windows beyond the concourse in left field at the Rays’ home park.
“I remember just a couple years ago, behind one of those windows up there, I was signing my contract for the Rays,” he said with a smile. “It’s a pretty cool experience. Obviously, the whole time I expected I was going to make my debut here, but not knowing I was going to be on the other side.”
The outfield of the future has begun to arrive, and this version has a grateful heart, a strawberry blonde beard, and a wicked swing. Batting seventh and playing center field, Fraley was both itching to begin the next level of his career and content to soak up the moment, a peace he attributes as much to his faith as any preparation or lucky breaks that have come his way.
“I’m a believer in Jesus; it’s the biggest part of my life,” said Fraley, who went 0-for-3 with a run scored and a nice diving catch in his debut, a 7-6 loss for the Mariners. “It allows me to really take that pressure off and just enjoy this unique season of my life that I’m in.”
Fraley’s baseball season has been pretty unique as well. He rocketed through the Minors at a record pace, spending just 61 games at Double-A Arkansas before his June 20, 2019 promotion to Triple-A Tacoma. After 38 games at Triple-A—and a combined .298/.365/.545, with 19 homers and 80 RBI between the two levels—the Mariners deemed him ready for The Show.
If Fraley is feeling any pressure, he didn’t show it pregame, preferring instead to talk about the great timing that allowed his wife and two small children to grab the same cross-country flight to Florida for his debut. A herd of family members came—his side from Delaware and Maryland, his wife’s side from Miami. They all made it to St. Petersburg for the August 19 day game, so there is much, Fraley said, to be grateful for.
Acquired by Seattle from the Rays as the key return in the Mike Zunino trade on Nov. 8 along with Mallex Smith, Fraley is eager to show the Mariners they made the right move.
How it comes to be, Fraley said, is not just in his hands. He’s also guided by the Psalm 37:4 tattoo across his upper back. The Bible verse reads, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
So far, so good. “I don’t have any expectations today; I’m just going to enjoy it,” Fraley said. “I’m just going to go out there and try to do what I’ve been doing all year, and regardless of the results, I’m going to have as much fun as I can.” (Klemish - mlb.com - 8/21/19)
Fraley was (unfairly) labeled as "injury prone." "In baseball, it feels like if you get hurt once or twice, you get pinned on you that you have an injury bug," Fraley said. "For me, it was getting past those thoughts of, 'Can I stay healthy for a full season?' I knew I could.”
2019 Season: Fraley started the season with Double-A Arkansas, where he went about dismantling Texas League pitching staffs. He was named the Mariners 2019 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America and was an All-Star in the Texas League
In 61 games with Double-A Arkansas, he hit .313 with 15 doubles, 2 triples, 11 home runs, 47 RBI, 16 stolen bases and a .925 OPS. At the time of his promotion to Triple-A Tacoma on June 20, he ranked among the Texas League leaders in nearly every offensive category, including second in slugging, second in OPS, third in RBI, and third in extra-base hits.
From April 23–June 19, Fraley reached base safely in 37 of 46 games with the Travelers. He batted .337 on his way to earning Texas League Player of the Month for May, Texas League Player of the Week for May 27–June 2 and, ultimately, a promotion to Tacoma.
Fraley spent only two months with the Rainiers, batting .276 with 12 doubles, 3 triples, 8 home runs and 33 RBI in 38 games. On August 20, he received his big league call-up from the Mariners. The 24-year-old made his Major League debut on August 21 at Tampa Bay and picked up his first big league hit two days later vs. the Blue Jays.
“It was very cool that I was able to have my entire family and very close friends of mine there,” Fraley said. “To be able to share that with them, because obviously all of them were a huge part of that, allowing me to get there and get to that point.”
His Major League stint was derailed after just 12 games when he sprained his right thumb on September 7 at Houston.
“I think what we saw from Jake at the big league level was generally a fatigued player who had never played that long of a season before,” Dipoto said. “But we’re really excited about the many ways he can impact the game and his versatility to play all three spots.”
Jake diligently prepared for his rookie season and a likely role as the starting left fielder for Seattle’s young club. He was fielding line drives hit by Ichiro Suzuki every morning during Mariners workouts and then facing Major League pitchers in the afternoon’s 2020 Cactus League contests.
But with MLB in hibernation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fraley finds himself at home with his young family, going back to his own childhood days to find ways to stay sharp as he and the rest of baseball wait and wonder when the games might resume.
Fraley put together short videos for a #FindAWayToPlay series the Mariners promoted that show how to work out and continue training even when stuck at home. Fraley’s video focuses on how he’s practicing fielding drills simply by throwing a ball against a wall and repeating the glovework and mechanics that were being taught in spring 2020 by Mariners coach Perry “Bone” Hill.
Most players spend their offseason working out at private baseball academies, college facilities or gyms, but all those are closed. So improvisation was the key.
“It really does take you back to your childhood,” said Fraley. “For me, it’s like being with my brothers at home at times when we didn’t have our parents available to drive us anywhere or didn’t have a handful of bodies to get a Wiffle ball game going. We had a little shed in the backyard and we’d always find something to throw off it and make a game and be competitive.”
Fraley and his wife, Angelica, rented a house in Glendale, Ariz., with their two young children, Jayce and Avery. In normal times, he could work out any time he wanted at the Mariners' complex in nearby Peoria. But that complex is now closed, and Fraley hasn’t got a home gym.
So he made do with what he has, which means running sprints on his own, throwing into a pop-up net or against the wall and doing calisthenic exercises and basic weight training techniques. “I’m just using the handful of things I have,” he said. “I have a few medicine balls, a foam roller, just a lot of body workouts and variations. It’s just really a crazy time. The sports world hasn’t seen anything like this, so it’s just trying to put all your creativity and mind toward figuring things out.”
Part of that includes sometimes using the mind to visualize baseball situations and picturing himself in the batter’s box with a 95-mph heater coming his way. “For me, that’s big,” he said. “Keeping your mind and mental state sharp, no different than your physical body, maintaining what you built up in Spring Training, seeing all those pitches and pitchers. The only thing other than getting in the box and continuing that progress is closing your eyes and visualizing it. It’s a huge deal, especially in a time like this when you can’t get in there and compete against a pitcher.”
Fraley does have a very willing workout partner in Jayce, who turned 3 in April 2020. “I’m in the backyard hitting with my son every single day. He’s missing baseball probably more than me,” Fraley said with a laugh. “But we have a lot of time to critique that swing and get it right for when it’s time.
“That’s one good thing. We’re all trying to take advantage of the family time we’re not used to having this time of year and make the best of a tough situation. For me, what really matters is having my family next to me. When baseball isn’t here and that’s taken away for the time being, it really makes you appreciate everything you do have more.” (Johns - mlb.com - 4/3/2020)
2021 Season: It was the best year of his major league career with a slash line of .212/.352/.369/.721.
He committed only two errors on the year. Fraley heads into 2022 as the odds-on favorite to start in left again.
While some might want to classify Fraley as a glove-only outfielder, 2021 saw him show he can be productive at the plate. Specifically, his 46 walks to 71 strikeouts. The biggest concern about Fraley is his health. This year’s total of 78 games played is the most in his career. It’s hard to be a starter if you can only play about half the year. (Chris Phillips - Oct. 11, 2021)
2022 Season: The beginning of Jake Fraley‘s run with the Reds couldn’t have gone much worse. After the Reds acquired him from the Mariners last March, Fraley stepped into a platoon role against right-handed pitchers. He got off to a dreadful start, posting a 20 wRC+ in 48 plate appearances in April before he was placed on the injured list due to right knee inflammation.
Fraley became somewhat of a forgotten man as he spent nearly two months on the IL. There were plenty of questions surrounding him when he came back, though. Just how much was the knee injury holding him back in April? Was his strong 2021 season (109 wRC+ overall, 131 wRC+ vs. RHP) with the Mariners legit? Or was he destined to become nothing more than a bench player?
Apparently, the knee injury was holding Fraley back quite a bit. The 27-year-old was activated on July 30 and provided a spark to a lineup that traded away three key contributors — Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, and Tyler Naquin — prior to the deadline.
Over 199 plate appearances, Fraley hit .295/.377/.537 with 11 home runs after his return. His 145 wRC+ was the 19th-highest among players with at least 190 plate appearances in the same time period, sandwiching him between Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez and Braves rookie of the year Michael Harris II. The hot stretch brought Fraley’s season batting line up to .259/.344/.468, and his wRC+ climbed to 121.
Were those two months a sign of things to come in 2023? (MATT WILKES — FEB 7, 2023)
The Reds’ Viking celebration started simply enough — pitcher Luis Cessa thought outfielder Jake Fraley looked like a Viking. To be fair, he’s not wrong. Fraley has long, blond hair and a long, blond beard. If you were casting a reboot of Vikings, you could do worse than Fraley. So Cessa bought a metal Viking helmet and a fur cape for Fraley. The original Viking helmet was metal, but in the interest of safety, a plastic version was secured. The helmet and cape are put on every Red who homers, with the likes of Jonathan India and TJ Friedl also doing their best to look like Vikings with their long hair and facial hair. (May 18, 2023 - The Athletic)
June 2016: The Rays chose Fraley in the lottery round after the second round, out of LSU. Jake and the Rays agreed on a $797,500 deal, via scout Matt Allison.
Nov 8, 2018: The Mariners traded C Mike Zunino, LF Guillermo Heredia and LHP Michael Plassmeyer to the Rays; acquiring CF Mallex Smith and CF Jake Fraley.
- March 14, 2022: The Reds traded OF Jesse Winker and 3B Eugenio Suarez to the Mariners; acquiring Justin Dunn, Brandon Williamson, and Jake Fraley.
Fraley has possibilities of hitting leadoff. Jake has some wiry strength, but his lefthanded stroke doesn't produce much over-the-fence power but has developed into a factor in his game. Teammates call him "Rake" Fraley. And extra-base hits have always factored in. He will take the extra base with his fine speed.
Jake has a solid approach at the plate with strong hands and gap power. He hasn't hit the ball hard in the majors registering an average exit of 83.1 mph, but he showed some over-the-fence pop in the minors. (Spring 2021)
Even though he’s missed a lot of reps with injuries, Fraley has always been able to hit, but there was some question about his ability to drive the ball. There are no concerns about that now as he’s gotten much more physical and impacts the ball on a consistent basis. In 2019, he sold out more for power and got the ball in the air more, more than doubling his career home run output, but without sacrificing his hit tool. He also got back to using his speed on the base-paths, topping 20 steals for the first time since his pro debut.
Fraley has a good approach at the plate with above-average bat speed and a simple, balanced swing. He consistently barreling up the baseball. He also gets on base a lot. He has a 60 grade hit tool. But he needs to improve vs. lefthanders.
Jake has a wide-open stance and a high hand-set that gives him a long swing. But it enables him to make hard contact, mostly for doubles, but not many home runs.
While Fraley's swing is not very fluid, he has the hand-eye coordination to compensate.
NEW SWING PAYS OFF
Several years ago, the lefthanded-hitting Fraley overhauled his swing with Lorenzo Garmendia of Gradum Baseball in Miami. They worked on getting his bat in the zone quicker and covering more of the plate.
"He said, ‘Look at what you’re doing—you got away with it (at LSU) based on your athleticism, but at this level it’s not going to work,' " Fraley said. "I had to put my ego aside and say, ‘This isn’t going to work in pro ball.'
Fraley worked with Garmendia to rebuild his swing "from the ground up." Now, Fraley strives to hit the ball in the air.
"I know I’m a strong dude and I love working out every day," Fraley said, "but seeing that work in the gym translate onto the baseball field . . . I hadn’t fully seen that before until now.” (TJ Cotterill - Baseball America - Oct. 2019)
2019 Season: Fraley played just 96 games combined in 2017-2018 due to knee and foot injuries. Traded from the Rays to the Mariners in the offseason, Fraley enjoyed a healthy, breakout campaign in 2019. His .539 slugging percentage and .925 OPS led the Texas League until he was promoted to Triple-A on June 20. He made his Major League debut on Aug. 21.
Where Fraley took the biggest step forward in 2019 was driving the ball consistently. After hitting just 7 home runs in his first 151 minor league games, Fraley hit 19 homers in 99 minor league games this season. (Kegan Lowe - Baseball America - Oct. 2019)
August 23, 2019: Jake recorded his first Major League hit and scored a run as he made his Seattle debut after breaking in with a road game at Tampa Bay.
“It feels pretty good,” Fraley said. “It’s good to get it out of the way, because now it’s just go time and I don’t have to worry about that or focus on it. I can go back to playing a normal game of baseball and not trying to get that first hit.”
Jake is a solid center fielder. His arm is average, but it's good enough (50 grade) for center field given his ability to run balls down.
Fraley's best path forward sticking in the majors would be if he could stay in center field, which is complicated by his waning footspeed. A plus runner at his peak, Fraley has become a tic above average as he's aged. His fringe-average arm makes him a poor fit in right field. (Spring 2021)
That speed allows him to cover more than enough ground to be an outstanding center fielder. And he’s shown he’s more than capable of handling the corners, albeit with a below-average arm. He could play all three spots for the time being, but has more than enough ability to be an everyday guy in a big league lineup. (Spring 2020)
- Fraley has impressive instincts on defense. He takes real good routes to the ball. He plays all three outfield spots well.
- Jake's speed is possibly his best tool; it is a 60 on the scouting scale. He can reach first base in 4.1 seconds. And he is learning when to go.
2017: Jake missed most of the season with a knee injury after being hit in the kneecap with a pitch.
April 5-June 7, 2018: Fraley spent the first two months of the season on the DL with a foot injury.
August 4-12, 2019: Jake was on the IL.
Sept 7, 2019: Fraley was removed from the 2-1 loss to the Astros after hurting his right thumb. He will undergo an MRI when the team returns to Seattle to determine the extent of the injury.
Fraley and right fielder Mallex Smith converged on a fly ball hit to the gap by Yordan Alvarez for the final out of the first, with Fraley’s glove colliding with Smith’s as Smith made the catch.
“We’re going to wait and see” Fraley said. “My glove caught Mallex’s glove, the thumb side of my glove, and it just ripped my thumb back.”
Sept 22-28, 2020: Jake was on the IL with right quad strain.
April 7-May 31, 2021: Jake was on the IL with left hammy strain.
July 18-Aug 2, 2021: Jake was on the IL.
Aug 28, 2021: Jake was on the Il with right shoulder inflammation.
May 1-July 29, 2022: Jake was on the IL with right knee inflammation. Fraley has been trying to play through a sore knee for a couple of weeks, but it was causing him more trouble during the game vs. the Rockies, when he started in right field.
“Just trying to put a stop to that and not keep aggravating it,” Bell said. “I think it just got to a point last night where he didn’t feel like he should keep playing through it. He feels it mostly running and also feels it hitting.”
June 7, 2023: Originally in the Reds' lineup, Fraley was scratched and replaced in the lineup by Will Benson after Fraley was diagnosed with a right wrist contusion.
"It's not broken," Reds manager David Bell said. "It's a little sore. We're still trying to get it loose enough to start the game. We're not 100 percent sure. We're going to give it a little more time. If he's not the lineup, we'll continue the treatment and try to get him in the game later."
June 8-18, 2023: Jake was on the IL with a right wrist contusion.
- Aug. 4-Sept 1, 2023: The Reds placed outfielder Jake Fraley on the 10-day injured list due to a stress fracture in his left fourth toe.