Wednesday, May 29, 2024
AL WestAmerican LeagueAnalysisMLBSeattle Mariners

Jose Siri Waiver Wire Fodder or Future Star?

The Mariners somehow managed to have the highest claim on Jose Siri after the Reds DFA’d him in wake of the Nick Castellanos signing and they added him off of waivers this morning. Here is why you keep an eye on him and be extremely excited about adding him to the fold for 2019 and potentially beyond.

Jose Siri was a top 100 prospect in 2018 according to Fangraphs, coming in as their 93rd ranked prospect. His raw tools are still very much there even today. He was coming off of a season where he hit .293/.341/.530 for a 137 DRC+ while stealing 46 bases and compiling 17.2 FRAA in centerfield. The highlight of the season for Siri was a record breaking 39 game hit streak. He was a popular pick to click in 2018 and soar up Prospect lists that year.

In 2018, the wheels fell off and he struggled mightily, as he only hit .239/.294/.449 between High A and AA and only had average defense in centerfield. 2019 he still struggled at the plate as he limped to a .237/.300/.357 triple slash between AA and AAA for a 75 DRC+. His defense, however, did bounce back and then some as he posted 25 FRAA total and according to the Davenport system, contributed 15 Runs with the glove in center. He stole some bases with 26 in 34 attempts and was despite the negative value of the bat still worth 3.2 BWARP in the minors across two levels.

So what should we expect Siri to be in the majors? Keon Broxton is probably the likely outcome for Siri. However, if the hit comes around even a little you could have prime, Mike Cameron, with the defensive ability that Siri has. Mike Cameron despite being roughly an average hitter was worth 5 fWAR a year in his prime. So now the question is how likely is Siri to hit “even a little?” 

The answer is complicated. He’s not extremely likely to ever hit for a high average but just looking at the stat sheet undersells the upside of the bat. Jose Siri has absolutely tremendous bat speed in the upper echelon of all prospects. The impact of that bat speed is somewhat minimized by his slow reaction times and poor pitch recognition. He should always be able to hit fastballs wherever they are, inside or up at the top of the zone because of his hand speed. Jose Siri also possesses great barrel control, an exceptional feel to put the barrel to the ball as a 12.8% infield rate somewhat shows and he consistently runs above average BABIP’s because of that feel to make effective contact. He’s aggressive at the plate naturally but the Reds have tried to reign in his aggressiveness the last two years and work deep into counts. That strategy has led to him laying off on a lot of hittable pitches early in counts and playing off his back foot in pitchers counts frequently. He is naturally a free swinger who makes aggressive decisions and swings at bad pitches but is good enough to not swing and miss three times in an at bat most the time. When he is taking strikes looking he seriously disadvantages himself and is no longer playing to his strengths. To fix the hit tool it really might be as simple as swing more freely. He won’t walk a ton but won’t strike out at an absurdly high clip either, despite a 17.5% swinging strike rate last season.

The power potential is much more clear and more exciting. He has tremendous raw power, consistently hitting the ball with authority to all fields and he elevates at a solid enough 36.3% clip. His power doesn’t quite play like you would like with his disgusting tendency to try to go to the opposite field on flyballs. He needs to work on clearing his hips more consistently but his raw physicality leads to easy plus speed potential. He’s still only 24 but it’s easy to dream on 20 homer and 20 steal seasons annually in his prime. There is the potential for more then even that too. If he can work on consistently tapping into his power, and hitting the ball with enough regularity, he can hit homers.

He is an absolute wizard in the field with a rocket arm that hosed 14 batters trying to stretch last year. He has incredible range due to his blazing sprint speed and his jumps are some of the quickest in the league, his routes have gotten more direct in 2019 and he looks like a Gold Glover out there. His athleticism is exciting and easy to dream on, and even as he loses a step with age and/or more bulk, he still has the fundamentals down to the point where he could still be a well above average centerfield.

The defense gives Jose Siri the floor of a likely MLB contributor in some capacity and the power/speed combo could make him an above average regular. I wouldn’t be shocked if he starts in center field on opening day with Mitch Haniger still hurt, but he still has an option so he could just as easily start in AAA for more seasoning. Keep an eye on Jose Siri, and be excited he now plays in Seattle because there is real upside here. He could be a key piece on the next Mariners contender if things break the right way, and he is another very exciting outfield prospect the Mariners have added to the mix. 

Tieran Alexander

Just a baseball fan who happens to like the Mariners. I try to strike a non-biased perspective on things with consideration to stats, raw data, and the eye test but I'll admit I'm no professional in any field just a fan trying to do their best. An opinion without evidence is invalid.