Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier went on the 15-day disabled list today with two broken metacarpal bones. Replacing him on the roster is rookie outfielder Mikie Mahtook. Yes, Mahtook spent much of 2015 in the majors but is still a rookie by official reckoning with 105 at-bats to his credit. Here's a look at what to expect.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book
Mikie Mahtook, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 200 DOB: November 30, 1989
2012: Grade B; 2013: Grade B-; 2014: Grade C+; 2015: Grade C+
After a solid 2014 season, Mikie Mahtook made six different trips between Triple-A and the majors in 2015, coming up to the Show whenever the Rays had a roster gap and needed an extra bat. Interestingly, his repeat season with Durham was not that good, with a notable drop in production compared to ’14. International League observers noted that Mahtook looked like he was "playing tight," trying too hard to slug his way back into the majors. When he came back to Tampa in September and was given a chance to play regularly, he relaxed and hit the snot out of the ball for a month, batting .353/.397/.706 over 68 at-bats. No, Mahtook is not going to slug .619 over the course of a big league season and probably not .519 either, but he has enough real power to slug .440, runs well enough to be a threat on the bases and is a solid defender who can play all three outfield positions. He’s not going to be a star but should be a fine addition to any roster due to his broad range of skills, as either an excellent fourth outfielder and platoon bat or a lower-case regular. Grade B-.
Mahtook hasn't had any problems playing tight this year, hitting .333/.416/.487 in 78 at-bats for Triple-A Durham, collecting four steals in five attempts along with 10 walks against 17 strikeouts. At age 26 he has nothing at all left to learn at this level.
Projection systems aren't wild about Mahtook: Steamer has him at just .237/.282/.363 in the majors. PECOTA is a little more optimistic at .247/.300/.392. The systems look at Mahtook's relatively poor 2015 campaign in Triple-A and his birthday and disgorge a collective "meh."
That's understandable but my personal opinion (and it is an opinion) sees him more as a .260/.310/.440 hitter, nothing spectacular like the .353/.397/.706 line from last fall, but workable as a very useful role player when added to the speed and defense he contributes.
What do you guys think?
Here's a Mahtook bomb from mid-April.