31-Year-Old Outfielder – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
The Phillies signed Saunders after his 2016 revival with the Blue Jays. That year, he adjusted his hand positioning in his swing and blasted a career-high 24 home runs. Philadelphia cut bait in June, ...
Michael Saunders Contract Information:
Signed a minor-league contract with the White Sox in May of 2018.
Saunders was released by the White Sox on Thursday, James Fegan of The Athletic reports.
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|2017 (Multiple Teams)||30||MAJ||PHI/TOR||73||234||218||26||44||17||9||2||6||21||0||1||15||55||0||0||1||.202||.256||.344||.600|
|Rest Of Season||Subscribe now to see our Rest Of Season projections for Michael Saunders|
|Preseason||Subscribe now to see our 2018 projections for Michael Saunders||3-Year Averages||74||275||246||32||58||24||13||1||10||27||0||1||26||74||0||1||2||.236||.313||.419||.731|
|Career (View All)||775||2,747||2,455||324||570||223||123||19||81||263||55||23||255||711||13||16||8||.232||.305||.397||.701|
|Last 7 Games||.000||.000||.000||.000|
|Last 14 Games||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000||.000|
|Last 30 Games||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000||.000|
|May. 31||Lehigh Vly||5||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||.400||.400||.400||.800|
|May. 30||Lehigh Vly||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000||.000|
|May. 29||Lehigh Vly||3||1||1||0||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||.333||.500||1.333||1.833|
|Last 7 Days||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000||.000|
|Last 14 Days||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000||.000|
|Last 30 Days||46||4||7||1||0||1||4||5||10||0||0||0||0||.152||.235||.239||.474|
Michael Saunders: MLB Games Played By Position
Michael Saunders: Minor League 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|
|2017 (Multiple Teams)||30||MAJ||PHI/TOR||234||218||6.4%||23.5%||0.27||75%||.242||.142|
|Rest Of Season||Subscribe now to see our Rest Of Season projections for Michael Saunders|
|Preseason||Subscribe now to see our 2018 projections for Michael Saunders||3-Year Averages||275||246||9.5%||26.9%||0.35||70%||.294||.183|
Michael Saunders: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After suffering a knee injury that ended his 2015 campaign after just nine games, Saunders came back with a vengeance in 2016. Prior to the All-Star break, Saunders was on pace to shatter his career-best marks in most fantasy-relevant categories. He slashed .298/.372/.551 with 16 home runs, 42 RBI and scored 49 runs over 305 at-bats before the Midsummer Classic. However, his production took a hard fall in the second half when he hit .178/.282/.357 with a 35.1 percent strikeout rate. It's reasonable to assume that Saunders, who played in just 87 games in 2014 and 2015 combined, got tired legs as the season grew old. He still managed career highs in plate appearances (558), walks (59), home runs (24) and OPS (.816). He also tied a personal best in RBI (57) while falling two runs short of his career high. After signing a one-year deal with the Phillies, Saunders seems to be in line for a strong-side platoon role in right field.
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 thought to be facing several months on the shelf, Saunders then looked ready to return after just six weeks. Upon his return, Saunders was ineffective, collecting just six hits in 31 at-bats and zero extra-base hits. Saunders then found himself back on the disabled list where he would remain for the rest of the season. If healthy for the spring, Saunders may make a run at the primarily role in left with Ben Revere dealt to Washington, but Dalton Pompey could leap him with a strong showing in Grapefruit League play. Remember that Saunders is a .230 career hitter who averages 15 home runs per 162 games, but has never played more than 139 games in a season.
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.