Big League Debut: Shed Long, Seattle Mariners

It seems like there isn’t an abundance of Shed Long love around baseball. That might be because he’s been the same player for the last three years or so with little variance, good or bad. We’ve long formed our opinion on the 5-foot-8 23-year-old. Yeah, that size is right. Long is anything but an imposing figure at the plate but he’s not lacking dynamic skills.

The Rankings

Long ranked #7 in our Seattle Mariners Top 30 (and if you’re curious, he was #6 when he was with the Reds). He did not rank inside either of our Top 100. Instead, he sat #151 in our Fantasy Top 300.

The Tools

Defense (45 field/50 throw): In the Reds system, Long was a second baseman through and through. But after arriving in Seattle, he’s started nine games at second base, six games in left field and 13 games at third base. Much like the majority of Long’s profile, he’s just about average at each position. Reports are his defense has improved little by little and he’ll be passable at any of the three positions he’s played this year.

Hit (45 present /55 future): In his preseason write up, Ralph noted how excellent Long’s hip rotation was. The transfer of momentum ensures he doesn’t get cheated, especially in the power department. There’s a timing mechanism with a leg kick and a slow waggle with a hitch that I wonder if it’ll be detrimental especially with high heat. But so far he’s shown he’s able to attack the ball and maintain an all-fields approach. The plate discipline gives him a floor to fall on as he routinely posts walk rates 10 percent or better.

Power (50 present/55 raw): Like almost every other Triple-A minor leaguer in the planet, Long is thriving with the new ball. He had 14 XBH in Tacoma (.228 ISO) including five home runs. His career high is 16 home runs in 2017 and I’d like to imagine that’s where I see his typical output as he makes the jump to the majors. His ability to barrel the ball with his strong torque gives me hope he can creep close to 20 home runs with the new ball.

Speed (55 present/50 future): Long’s speed on the basepaths is of the more instinctual variety rather than a burner. He has a 72 SB% in his minor league career (54 steals), topping out with 19 steals in 2018. In the young season he’s been caught twice with no steals. The Mariners like to run (they’re fourth in MLB in steals as of this publishing) so I expect them to utilize Long’s advanced instincts when he gets on. On the field, he’ll use his legs to get to balls quickly to try and make up for his average arm.

Prediction: Shed Long won’t cost much in the fantasy community, giving him an in to produce solid returns should he start five games a week at different positions. Dee Gordon seems to have avoided the worst with his hit by pitch, and Ryon Healy is slugging the ball like a mad man, so openings at second or third seem slim for now. In the long term, he profiles as a potential 15/15 bat with the upside of a 20/15 season in his best years.