30-Year-Old Outfielder – Free Agent
2016 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Saunders was brought in from Seattle to lock down the Blue Jays' left field job, but a knee injury sustained in spring training set off an unfortunate chain of events for the 29-year-old. Originally t...
Michael Saunders Contract Information:
Agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.9M deal with the Blue Jays in Jan. 2016, avoiding arbitration.
Saunders did not receive a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays and is now a free agent, Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball reports.
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|Preseason||Subscribe now to see our 2016 projections for Michael Saunders||3-Year Averages||75||284||250||36||64||26||14||2||10||31||1||2||30||75||1||2||1||.256||.336||.448||.784|
|Career (View All)||702||2,513||2,237||298||526||206||114||17||75||242||55||22||240||656||13||16||7||.235||.309||.402||.711|
Michael Saunders: MLB Games Played By Position
Michael Saunders Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
|Year||Age||Lg||Tm||PA||AB||Walk Rate||Strikeout Rate||BB/K Ratio||Contact Rate||BABIP||Isolated Power|
|Preseason||Subscribe now to see our 2016 projections for Michael Saunders||3-Year Averages||284||250||10.6%||26.4%||0.40||70%||.327||.192|
2016 Stat Review for Michael Saunders As compared to the top 200 hitters in 2015 (min 420 PA)
Good contact skills often lead to better fantasy stats.
SLG and ISO are useful indicators of power.
Patience at the plate often leads to positive outcomes.
A couple of useful stats for evaluating a hitter.
Michael Saunders: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
For the second year in a row, Saunders' season was ruined by injuries as he played just 78 games in 2014. General manager Jack Zduriencik criticized Saunders' work ethic in October, saying that some of Saunders' injuries could have been prevented. Perhaps, but a hyperextended knee, shoulder impingement, strained oblique and viral infection – injuries that cost Saunders time last season – aren't necessarily maintenance issues. Whatever the case, it's clear that Saunders needs a full season of health to re-establish himself as an everyday starter. He'll get that chance after being traded to Toronto where he'll start in left field. When he's on the field, he's a productive player. Last season, Saunders cut his strikeout rate and improved his contact rate slightly. More of that will go a long way.
Just when it looked like Saunders had figured out major-league pitching, he took a major step back. Saunders entered 2013 coming off a near 20/20 season, with 25/25 a seemingly realistic shot for last year. In the end, he mustered only half that. A right shoulder sprain in early April knocked him off track, and Saunders wobbled through the first half. He salvaged his year in the second half, equaling his first-half power production in 62 fewer plate appearances, while increasing his batting percentages significantly across the board. Curiously, he stopped running in the second half, stealing only three bags after swiping 10 before the break. Saunders is one of a number of Mariners with an uncertain future, but working in his favor is a quality outfield glove, which should get him playing time. If his bat is to rebound, he needs to make better contact, cut down his strikeouts and figure out left-handed pitching (.654 OPS).
Saunders entered spring last season with a ticket to Triple-A already punched, but two factors breathed new life into his fledgling major-league career. First, he went outside the organization and hired a private hitting instructor who helped him change his approach at the plate and hit the ball to all fields, both for average and power. Second, Franklin Gutierrez got injured, which opened a spot on the roster for Saunders. He made the most of the opportunity, falling one home run short of a 20/20 season all the while playing standout outfield defense. He improved his contact rate by nearly 10 percent from the previous year, though more improvement would be good to see and would help his mediocre batting average. He goes to spring training this year with an outfield spot secured, and with more playing time this season (139 games last year) perhaps 25/25 is realistic.
Saunders started last season in Seattle, but the "re-tooled" swing he worked on in spring training never paid off, and it quickly became apparent that he needed everyday at-bats at Triple-A Tacoma rather than fighting for time in Seattle's crowded outfield as essentially a defensive replacement. He's had 572 career at-bats across three seasons, so it's still too early to dismiss him, but Saunders desperately needs to show progress, especially going the opposite way. The Seattle outfield got more crowded over the last year, too, so unless Saunders drops jaws in spring training, he's probably ticketed for Triple-A Tacoma again.
Saunders was called up for good in May last season and spent the rest of the year trying to figure out major league pitching. A gimpy shoulder didn't help matters. He got hot briefly in mid-summer, but otherwise didn't prove much with his bat. He goes to spring training, though, as the team's left fielder in what could be a make-or-break year. Saunders' power is still developing, but he needs to be more selective at the plate (84 strikeouts in 289 at-bats). He'll be given every opportunity to win the left-field job for good, though the Mariners won't wait forever for his bat to come around.
Saunders suffered his share of growing pains last season after his late-July callup, but as a lefty bat with developing power, speed on the basepaths and good defense, he's still a highly intriguing prospect. Saunders was frequently mentioned in offseason trade rumors, and the Mariners made no secret of their desire to add a bigger first-base or left-field bat, but Saunders heads to spring training as the favorite for left field. He needs to be more selective at the plate (6:40 BB:K) and lay off offspeed pitches out of the zone to be successful.
Saunders still strikes out too much, but there's no denying his skills. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma after a strong showing at Double-A West Tennessee last season. A lefty bat with developing power, speed on the basepaths and good defense, Saunders heads to spring training with a chance to make the big league roster. Even if he starts the season at Triple-A, he's one of the organization's top prospects and figures to man an everyday outfield spot soon. He could help himself by not chasing offspeed pitches out of the zone.
Saunders established himself as one of the organization's better prospects in 2007. An 11th-round pick in 2004, Saunders showed good development at High-A High Desert, totaling 43 XBH, 60 walks and 27 steals before a late-season promotion to Double-A West Tennessee. The Mariners have a number of outfield prospects on the depth chart, but Saunders is just 21, so he has plenty of time.