Dave Cameron reported early this morning that Robert Andino has been outrighted to waivers, meaning he is done as a Seattle Mariner. Carlos Triunfel will be called up to replace him and Brad Miller is being called up to AAA to replace Triunfel. Apparently the Mariners were not ready to make the move as Triunfel was in Reno with the Rainiers. But since Cameron leaked the story they were forced to bring back Triunfel and Jesus Sucre will be joining him in Seattle.
It seems fitting that Andino’s Mariner career ends in a confusing story broken by a blogger and not a beat reporter. During Spring Training I was a fan of Andino. If he could hit league average and backup all three infield spots, our stupid five man DH/1B/corner outfield arrangement was going to work out. Unfortunately for Andino, he was nowhere close to hitting league average. But he was a better hitter than Brendan Ryan. So congratulations to you Robert Andino, if nothing else, you showed Seattle fans that you are a slightly better hitter than Brendan Ryan.
I already discussed why this move is necessary, and why Brendan Ryan is better than Andino and why Triunfel gets the call over Nick Franklin. But to sum those points up, Triunfel has some MLB playing time and Franklin would lose a year of team control if brought up now. And Ryan’s defense makes him a much better option than Andino, even if neither can hit.
The real winner in this, besides Carlos Triunfel, is the Tacoma Rainiers. They now have the future middle infield of the Mariners playing together in Miller and Franklin. Add Paxton, Hultzen when he returns from injury and possibly Taijuan Walker later this summer and that Tacoma team is stacked with prospects. So if nothing else, at least the Tacoma Rainiers should be fun to watch this year.
Anyway, Robert Andino is gone. The Mariners should be a better team and a slightly less boring one. I doubt Triunfel pulls a Mike Trout and starts destroying the ball, but he should be a serviceable back up who can hopefully cover Seager at third when he needs a day off. He should be better than Andino, and if he is not, Nick Franklin and now Brad Miller are close to being ready.
The Mariners begin a three-game series with the Yankees in the Bronx today at 4:05 PT. Here are a few storylines to follow throughout the series.
Tuesday features class of AL starters
Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia. Both names evoke thoughts of terrifying and elite pitching prowess. Both names will appear in Tuesday night’s lineup card with a “P” next to their names. With Felix, a former Cy Young winner with a 1.53 2013 ERA, and CC, a former Cy Young winner at the head of the Evil Empire’s rotation, runs will likely prove few and far between. Who has the advantage? Sabathia tends to dominate the Mariners, with a 12-4 record and 2.46 ERA in 20 career starts against Seattle. But Felix pitches lights out in Yankee Stadium, with a 4-1 record and 2.13 ERA since its inaguration in 2010. It’s a close matchup, by I give Felix the slight edge because of how well he has pitched so far in 2013.
Andino, Ryan starting together again
The two worst hitters on the 25-man roster will both start for the second consecutive game for the Mariners. Andino will play second and Ryan shortstop, even though the two are hitting .159 and .122, respectively. Why? Well first of all, Dustin Ackley is left-handed and Sabthia could pose a matchup nightmare for him. Ackley is 1-for-7 career against Sabathia with four strikeouts (although that one hit was a two-run homer). Perhaps more to the heart of the matter, Andino and Ryan have the Mariners’ two best career averages against Sabathia. Ryan is 4-for-10 with three walks, while Andino checks in at 10-for-28 with a home run. Add in the fact that both hit the ball hard twice on Sunday, and runs could be produced from the bottom of the Mariners’ order tonight.
Granderson returns for New York
Manager Joe Girardi stuck Curtis Granderson in the cleanup spot and in left field Tuesday for his season debut, after he fractured his forearm during his first at-bat of Spring Training. Granderson, a three-time all star, hit .232 with 43 home runs and 106 RBI last season for the Yankees. In 2011, he led the American League in RBI and runs scored. Against Felix, Granderson is a career .273 hitter in 55 at-bats, with two homers and 20 strikeouts. Granderson is the first of a long list of injured Yankee starts to return to the lineup this season, and could provide New York with a big lift. It’s not like the Yankees exactly need one, though, as they come into tonight at 24-14, one game up on the Orioles in the AL East.
First pitch is at 4:05 PT and will be from Sabathia to Michael Saunders. Here’s the rest Mariners’ lineup:
- Saunders CF
- Bay LF
- Seager 3B
- Morales 1B
- Morse RF
- Shoppach C
- Ibanez DH
- Andino 2B
- Ryan SS
Happy Felix Day!
Tonight I joined 15,367 other Mariners fans down at Safeco Field for an open house sponsored by the Seattle Mariners organization to show off their new giant big-screen, the new fences, and more importantly the all new 2013 Seattle Mariners. It was a surreal environment at the Safe tonight with all the fans milling around and looking up at the giant big-screen of the opening game in Oakland as Felix Hernandez led his club to a 2-0 victory going 7 2/3 innings giving up only three hits, one walk, zero runs and striking out eight hapless Athletics.
I’m not sure what to say about the new giant big-screen except that it’s indeed huge and hopefully it will not provide too much of a distraction for so many of the fans who only seem to go to games for the Hydro races and other little gimmicks that the Mariners ownership has relied on for the past 10 years since they haven’t put a real team on the field. But for tonight the Seattle Mariners did put a real team on the field down in Oakland against their division rival Athletics featuring the King himself who was up to the task of providing his usual opening day leadership with this gutsy performance. The Mariners offense only managed a couple runs when Franklin Gutierrez drove in Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan with a single up the middle in the top of the fifth inning. But thankfully Felix was on his game and though the relievers looked a bit shaky we managed to pull off a victory in what was sort of a home opener.
It felt really good to be down at the Safe again wandering around, eating hot dogs and watching baseball. It only cost me 10 bucks tonight for my parking so that was a steal, and considering the way the Mariners have played the past 10 years the ownership group might want to consider having a free night every now and then to draw some of us shell-shocked fans back into the house that Griffey built. It was nice to see Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales in the middle of the lineup tonight though they didn’t do much tonight you could just tell that the dynamics have changed with these two sluggers hitting in the middle of the pack. It’s hard to hate the Oakland Athletics, though they probably are our only real rival so to speak, it seems like I’ve watched them play 1000 times and no matter who they have on their team they always seem to look the same with those goofy green uniforms. You gotta love the Oakland fans, as they were definitely loud and boisterous tonight coming off their AL West championship last season. So off we go to the races now folks with another year of my Mariners fan blog and an improved club that is now 1-0 with only 161 games to play! Go Mariners!http://jeffsmariners.com
Tomorrow is opening day for the Mariners, and you should be PUMPED! The team is undeniably moving in the right direction. This year will be another step forward for Seattle, and they may even surprise some people. I don’t usually like giving super bold predictions, so here is a quick list of somewhat bold predictions I am making for the Mariners this year.
Brendan Ryan hits .270
Ryan literally didn’t hit his own weight in 2012, but that’s not how it has always been. In his first full season in the major leagues, Ryan hit .292 with a .332 BABIP. Sure, the BABIP is a bit high, but it certainly is no indication of a future .194 hitter like he was in 2012. One of the big differences between the Ryan of 2012 and previous years was that he had no luck getting hits from ground balls. His average on line drives was also low which indicates a bit of unluckiness which is supported by his measly .244 BABIP over the season. Common logic tells us that his average will rise back to the mid .200’s. In theory, his adjusted hitting mechanics will cut down on his strikeout rate which has climbed for each of the last two seasons, and his removed bone spur should help him as well. Once you take all these things into consideration, a .270 average from Ryan seems possible.
Blake Beavan doesn’t last the full season in the rotation
If you read my last article, you know that I don’t think much of Blake Beavan. When I look at him, I see a pitcher who pitches to contact but doesn’t know how to get groundballs and doesn’t know how to avoid barrels. His stuff isn’t good enough to bail him out when he makes mistakes, and he tends to make a lot of mistakes. With Erasmo Ramirez, Jeremy Bonderman, Danny Hultzen, and James Paxton all sitting in AAA close to being prepared to pitch in Seattle, I don’t see the Mariners giving Beavan a whole lot of slack this season.
The Mariners are within 4 games of division lead in September
This somewhat bold prediction is derived from a gut feeling more than anything else. My main support for this ascertain is a simple, “why not?” The Mariners are a solid team that, with a little extra production, could win 85 games this year, and the division probably doesn’t have a team good enough to run away with the AL West crown unless the Angels’ rotation over performs. Saying that the Mariners will win the division is a bit too bold for me, but saying that they will be the hunt down the stretch is just somewhat bold enough for my liking.
Michael Saunders has a 25/25 year
Last year, Saunders hit 19 homeruns and stole 21 bases. In 2013, he will likely get more at bats and will probably have much better protection in the batting order. Assuming that he continues to progress as a player, a 25/25 year for Saunders would be a bit surprising but certainly not unrealistic.
King Felix wins his second Cy Young award
Again, why not? There is no doubt that Felix Hernandez has good enough stuff to win the Cy Young, and this year his numbers should get a little help from the games he will pitch against the Astros instead of the Angels. The improved offense should provide a few more wins which will give him some extra votes. Seattle’s stellar defense should also help his case. Even with the fences moving in, Safeco won’t be easy on batters and Felix’ numbers outside of Safeco have never been much worse than at home. In fact, he has allowed more homeruns at home than on the road in several different seasons. The dimensions shouldn’t have a significant impact of the King.
Franklin Gutierrez gets traded
The pieces match up for a trade like this happening. It’s his last year under contract, the Mariners could use to dump his salary, he doesn’t seem to be in the organization’s future, and he could fetch a decent return. It’s a perfect situation for Seattle. It’s not often that a gold glove caliber centerfielder gets traded, but if it is going to happen this summer, it will probably happen to Guti.
Mike Zunino makes his major league debut before the all star break
Zunino has thrived in every level of competition he has seen thus far. He will start 2013 on the doorstep of the major leagues, and with nothing more than a defensively inept catcher standing between him and a major league starting job, it doesn’t seem like he’ll have to wait very long to get his major league debut. Prior to the all star break may be a bit optimistic, but it is doable. His ETA will also vary based upon a few other players.
Smoak has a .800 OPS
It seems a bit unrealistic, doesn’t it? Let me lay out a scenario for you. Justin Smoak will replicate his typical walk rate of about 10% while finally posting a somewhat respectable BABIP. With a tad bit of luck, his OBP should sit around .350 in this scenario. In order to achieve his .800 OPS he will need to slug .450. This is a stretch for Smoak, but we know he has made some changes at the plate. If his Spring Training is any indication of his future, a .450 slugging percentage could just barely be in reach. He hit as many doubles in spring training as he did in five months in 2012. If Chris Johnson can reach a .450 SLG%, Smoak should be able to.
The team ERA drops
Considering that Hector Noesi won’t be pitching every five days in 2013, this somewhat bold prediction looks pretty good. I prefer Joe Saunders to Jason Vargas and I think Iwakuma will improve in his sophomore year. With some added experience in the bullpen, the team ERA is prone to drop in 2013.
The season attendance reaches 2,500,000 fans
The club has received a minor facelift, the ballpark has seen some remodeling, the promotions are stellar, and the weather appears to be wonderful; there is no reason why 2,500,000 fans shouldn’t enter Safeco Field for the first time since 2007. Get out and watch some games!
Happy baseball season!
After surgeries to repair injuries, both Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley are ready to play in the Seattle Mariners 2013 season. Both men had their injuries cleaned up and they are well on the way to full recovery.
Ryan suffered from an elbow injury, impairing his ability to throw the ball. Bone spurs, particularly painful growths on bone, can cause pain and excess wear and tear when it rubs against other bones. For Ryan, this meant he didn’t perform as well as he was capable of last season. Post-surgery on his right arm to remove the spurs, he’s throwing 120 feet now, and he’s reporting that he’s hopeful that he’ll be able to perform well in Spring Training – something he had great difficulty with in the 2012 Spring Training season. In the past, Ryan was considered one of the best fielding shortstops in the League. It will be great to see him back on his feet again.
Ackley had surgery performed on his left ankle – also to remove bone spurs he has been struggling with since his college days. After a sad season – most likely attributed to the pain that Ackley was feeling as a result of the spurs – it will be interesting to see what he can do for the Mariners now that he’s had the ankle repaired. Considering the second baseman is only 24, in principal, he still has a lot of good athleticism left that he should be able to take out on the baseball field.
Let’s wish the two guys a great season with improved post-surgery stats.
Shortstop Gold Glove winner: J.J. Hardy
Yesterday, Matthias ruminated on the defensive value of Ryan and his two AL competitors, Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy and Texas’s Elvis Andrus. Despite leading the league in UZR and DRS, Brendan’s cold bat may have swayed voters towards the hot-hitting Hardy instead.
Second base Gold Glove winner: Robinson Cano
Flanked by Ackley and Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, Cano grabbed his second career Gold Glove award. Defensively, he came second in UZR (9.7 to Pedroia’s 10.0) and first in DRS (15), batting .313/.379/.550 to boot.
While neither Mariner was an expected favorite among voters, their nominations may be a sign that voters are placing greater emphasis on defensive accomplishments in spite of sub-par offensive performances. A complete list of Gold Glove winners can be found here.
As per the Mariners official twitter account….
Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley are in the running for gold glove honors. The fact that Derek Jeter won the award last season for AL shortstops is one of many events that has diluted the value of the award to sabermetricians. But if Ryan wins this season, it will likely garner unanimous support from both baseball writers and stat nerds alike. Not only has he been spectacular this season with the glove, he’s been spectacular his whole career, and deserves to start winning some hardware.
Fangraphs’ UZR puts Ryan three full runs ahead of his next-best competition, J.J. Hardy, of the surprising Orioles. In other words, UZR suggests that Ryan has saved the Mariners more runs that Hardy has saved the Birds. DRS, another defensive system measuring runs saved, ranks Ryan nine runs ahead of second-place Hardy. These defensive systems attempt to measure more than just errors, and one category specifically includes double plays. Brendan Ryan’s double play efficiency alone is two runs better than the competition, which segues nicely to his up-the-middle infield mate, Dustin Ackley.
Ackley is definitely in the Gold Glove conversation if we use UZR and DRS as our starting points. UZR ranks Ackley third, about three runs behind the leader, Dustin Pedroia, while DRS has both of them trailing Robinson Cano by four runs. As expected, Ackley’s ability to turn the double play earned him extra runs saved, but it wasn’t quite enough to make up for other relative shortcomings.
The stats support the fact that Ackley is an above average second baseman defensively, but not necessarily the best. Even if we use two full years of data, and pro-rate for Ackley’s half-season in 2011, there are three players outperforming him over that time by UZR’s standards. And Pedroia beats him out in DRS as well.
I’m not saying this is how the voting is going to go, but UZR and DRS are currently the best, publicly available statistics for measuring defensive value. Ryan deserves the shortstop’s Gold Glove, hands down, but Boston’s Pedroia probably deserves it among AL second basemen. However, we as Mariners fans can appreciate that fact that a guy originally thought to be a league-average second basemen at best is now legitimately in the discussion for the Gold Glove.
We’ve obsessed ourselves with league-wide MVPs, Cy Youngs and Rookie of the Years for long enough now. Don’t worry, you won’t find any of those, or Silver Sluggers, Roberto Clemente awards or any of that crap here. I instead present you with the Mariner Awards of Irrelevance.
Let’s get things started off with the Bored Fans Relief Award.* This player made sure to keep the game moving while additionally providing action that a bored fan would enjoy (or enjoy yelling at). Our winner swung at 54.4% of all pitches and 44.2% of pitches outside the strike zone, leading the team in both categories. Not surprisingly he averaged just 3.62 pitches per plate appearance, good for second on the team. He also managed homeruns in a whopping 3.7% of his plate appearances en route to appeasing all fans tired of long, monotonous batter-pitcher matchups with a remedy of quick plate appearances full of swings, strikeouts and homeruns. His catching was always an adventure in and of itself, and without further ado, I present to you Miguel Olivo.
The Manly-Man Award* was a difficult one to choose, and so I really had to split it between two tough, manly men. Each took a team-leading five pitches off his body without so much as a grimace, and promptly responded every time with, “thank you, sir, may I have another.”** Each played one of the most physically demanding positions on the diamond—shortstop and catcher, respectively—while sporting the manliest and ruggedest of facial hair. I present to you, Brendan Ryan and John Jaso.
The offensive Most Well-Traveled Award goes to the guy that covered more ground than anyone. Thanks to a team-best 9.6% extra base hit percentage, our winner covered 219 total bases with his hits, and tacked on a team-leading 21 bases through thievery and deception. Playing center field put him over the top for this award, so let’s give it up for Michael Saunders.
The pitchers deserve some of this credit, too, of course. We begin with the MVP—Mean and Volatile Pitcher Award. This hardly gentle man led the team with 12 hit batsmen, and before you start pointing at garbage like innings pitched, those twelve poor souls represent four times the number that teammate, Jason Vargas, hit in 217 innings. His 13 wild pitches represented 41% of all Mariners starters’ wild pitches, and were more than twice the next highest count. Additionally, our winner led the Mariners in something called WAR—quite the surly, temperamental sort, to be sure. I thus present this award to Felix Hernandez.
The Best Friend Award goes to Lucas Luetge, who allowed just 8 of his 50 inherited baserunners to score (16%), leaving the ERAs of many teammates intact. Additionally, he pitched 17 of his 63 outing on zero days rest, the top percentage on the team. I mean, who didn’t like Lucas Leutge? On the flip side, the Worst Friend Award goes to Stephen Pryor for allowing 10 of 17 inherited baserunners to score (59%). Side note: he also drew the most glares from his starters.**
The last award—the Pitching Efficiency Award—goes not necessarily to the pitcher that most efficiently recorded outs, but rather the pitcher that most quickly recorded outs. We fans have other crap to do, right?! This pitcher threw nearly 15% of the entire team’s innings, or about one-seventh, and did so with a team-quickest 20.0 seconds between pitches. His 5-minute, 9-second innings were the shortest on the team, and for that, we are thankful for Jason Vargas.
*Players required at least 300 PA
**Source not found
The shortstop situation in Seattle is quite bizarre. We have the best defensive shortstop in baseball right now, yet the majority of fans would like to see him go due to the fact that he can’t hit. It’s true, Brendan Ryan is a miserable hitter right now, but I don’t think that that means we should just get rid of him as soon as we can.
I believe that Seattle has taken good defensive shortstops for granted in recent years. The Seattle pitching staff has been blessed him Brendan Ryan and Jack Wilson, who were two of the best defensive shortstop of the decade, play shortstop for the last few seasons. People don’t realize how important having that stud up the middle is until it’s gone. Just remember what it was like having Yuniesky Betancourt’s disastrous glove. I don’t want that.
My point is that we shouldn’t just throw away Brendan Ryan simply because he doesn’t have a great bat. Ryan should get the job out of spring training next year. If he can raise his average up to a semi-respectable .240, I see no reason to try to move him. His glove is too valuable. In a few years when this team is challenging for a playoff spot, Brendan Ryan’s glove is the kind of tool that makes a good team great.
At the same time, if Ryan continues to display Mendoza line production, the Mariners will have to start looking elsewhere. In this scenario, there are lots of good options in the farm system.
With the exception of starting pitching, the shortstop position has more farm system depth than any other spot.
Carlos Truinfel has been a prospect in this organization since 2007 when he was 17. He was considered an organizational top 10 prospect from 2007 to 2010 and was a MLB top 100 prospect in 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately, his bat has never been impactful above class high A. His frequent strikeouts and poor BB% have plagued him as well. At this point, he is no longer the heir to the throne due to the draft of Nick Franklin and Brad Miller.
These two new players are now the guys who are expected to be the future at shortstop, specifically Nick Franklin. While Franklin has been the front runner at shortstop and is currently the 29th best prospect in baseball, I encouraged fans to pay attention to Miller in my 2nd base article, and I will use the same argument here.
Here is a comparison between Franklin and Miller during their time in AA Jackson in 2012.
Pretty similar huh?
As I discussed in the 2nd base article, 2012 draft picks, Chris Taylor and Timothy Lopes have both moved swiftly through the farm system in their first years in professional baseball. Taylor has the glove to project pretty well at shortstop, while Lopes may be forced to stay at second.
Another name that has been tossed around on Mariner top prospect lists is Martin Peguero. Unfortunately, the 18 year old has spent his first two years in rookie ball and has little to show for it. In the Appellation League this year, he posted a triple slash of .231/.269/.294. Ouch.
If you ask me, if we want an 18 year old shortstop from the DR with no power and no ability to draw walks, then we should look at Ketel Marte. Who? Ketel Marte. That name is rarely used, but he spent this year in Everett and put up numbers very similar to the ones Peguero posted in rookie ball. Only a month separates these two international talents, but Marte is a bit more developed than Peguero.
I have little hope for either of these players in the long run, but if you are a Martin Peguero fanatic, I would recommend you start paying attention to Ketel Marte, because he is a nearly identical player who has progressed faster.
Although 2012 2nd round draft pick Joe DeCarlo is listed as a shortstop on the AZL Mariners roster, he has little hope of sticking at short, so he is more relevant at third base than shortstop. If by some miracle he can trim down his 5’10” 205 pound frame, get quicker, and improve his glove, he would be an option at short. I don’t see that happening however.
Back in May, when the AL West was more or less an even playing field, and Mariners fans had little to complain about, I used to keep a short list of players who got on my nerves. It was always a toss-up between Miguel Olivo and Chone Figgins, depending on who made the lineup that day, but Brendan Ryan was indisputably inked at the top of the list.
Perhaps my annoyance sprung from his sagging batting average, a mere .207 in 96 PA. Or, more likely, my distaste was fueled by a penchant for basing my support and appreciation of a player on offensive production alone.
Sometime around the All-Star break, I read this. Then, this. And I discovered, in the shadow of the Mariners’ ever-plummeting record, that Brendan Ryan wasn’t just a good defensive shortstop. He was—is—the best defensive shortstop.
Let’s look at the numbers, because unlike me, they don’t show favoritism.
In 2012, Brendan Ryan holds a WAR of 1.9, tied 8th in MLB with Derek Jeter and Zack Cozart, and tied 5th with Jeter in the American League. With a .991 fielding percentage, the second highest in the NL, Ryan Carries just 4 fielding errors in 845 innings and 96 starts. Digging a little further, he also leads the majors in UZR (14.8) and DRS (25).
Compared with a handful of MLB’s top shortstops, the aforementioned J.J. Hardy, Elvis Andrus, and Yunel Escobar, Brendan Ryan comes out on top in every category but WAR, likely due to his anemic batting average.
Ryan: 1.9 WAR, 14.8 UZR, 25 DRS, .991 FP, 74 DP
Hardy: 1.1 WAR, 5.6 UZR, 14 DRS, .991 FP, 74 DP
Andrus: 4.1 WAR, 7.9 UZR, 3 DRS, .979 FP, 61 DP
Escobar: 1.7 WAR, 10.0 UZR, 18 DRS, .983 FP, 71 DP
Of course, this isn’t groundbreaking news. Over his last full four seasons, Ryan’s defense has cracked the list of the top ten shortstops in MLB each year. In 2011, he finished first in the AL with a .974 FP, and first in MLB with 18 DRS—4 more than Houston’s Clint Barmes. 2010 saw a UZR of 11.5, which was also good enough to top the MLB leaderboard, just a hair above Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez (10.8). And, in 2009, Ryan marked his first full MLB season at short with 22 DRS and 7.2 UZR, both of which put him at the top of NL shortstops.
While numbers don’t lie, you don’t have to look at charts to witness Brendan’s incredible defensive prowess. There’s the way he converts line drives into outs. There’s the way he turns anything into an out. There’s the fact that in the week or so he sat out with an elbow injury, the Mariners only turned one double play. In fact, if you closed your eyes during his at-bats, you could even call him one of the best current Mariners.
As this season starts to wind down (or gear up, for those whose teams remain in contention), there are few things that will propel Mariners fandom. Brendan Ryan, I’m pleased to say, is one of them.
Our surging Mariners still find themselves eight games below .500 at 51-59, and yet I’m excited. Well, maybe not excited, but encouraged. In fact, you may have noticed that encouraging is the word of the day. Bryant continued with his Tracking Growth series, and while Jesus Montero still hasn’t been what we’re hoping for, John Jaso, Michael Saunders, and Kyle Seager are making up for him. Encouraging things ensue…
After 110 games last season, the M’s were 48-62. The three-game difference alone is nothing to write home about—or write you about, I guess—but there are underlying factors that are more encouraging.
The first thing I see is run differential. This time last year, the M’s had scored just 368 runs, and averaged 0.53 runs less than their opponents. Half a run per game might not sound like a lot, but that’s 58 runs less than their opponents; that’s 13.6% less than their opponents; that’s…not encouraging. Here’s what is: this season Seattle has scored just three runs less than its opponents, thanks in large part to a big offensive boost—a big offensive boost despite the current run environment that needs a double dose of Prozac.
One needs to look no further than the three amigos—Saunders, Seager and Jaso—to identify the main source of the offensive boost. Let’s take a look at the improvement chart…
Jaso has been used very intelligently in recent months, being allowed to scorch right-handed pitching and rest against the southpaws. Our very own Harrison wrote about Jaso’s monster bat against righties here. The only thing Jaso is doing less of is hitting the ball to the outfield. No matter. We’ll take ground balls and line drives for hits, as well as some patience for a .391 OBP. Despite serving as a backup catcher/DH, he’s shown he can be very valuable in that role. With arbitration coming up this off-season, and his undervalued skills at getting on base as a platooner intact, Jaso should provide an excellent return on investment, and he could be a great backup at catcher and DH for the righties Montero and (the up-and-coming) Mike Zunino.
Michael Saunders has made similar changes to Jaso in that he’s given up some flyballs for more liners and groundballs. Interestingly, as with Jaso, his ISO power has actually increased (see: green cell). In other words, despite losing the deep flyballs that more often result in doubles and homeruns, Saunders has actually increased his average bases on extra-base hits. Saunders may simply be better equipped for the power-speed combo he’s shown this season, turning gappers into doubles and triples, and stealing some other “doubles and triples” on the side (15 SB, 3 CS). I was down on Saunders a few short months ago, but his “new” approach looks to be sticking, and it’s working. Good news for everyone: he won’t hit arbitration until 2014, and is likely to cost the M’s just some peanuts and crackerjack next season. A great reason to keep this experiment going in 2013.
Seager continues to chug along. His .312 OBP is exactly the same as last season, and his ISO is not significantly different. But remember, the run environment has been especially harsh for the Mariners this season. So these performances may actually be signs of slight improvement. Either way, he’s young, cheap, and his career road numbers (.354 wOBA) suggest that he has some offensive potential. To put things in perspective, that .354 wOBA on the road puts him in the company of such players as Giancarlo Stanton, Shane Victorino and Paul Konerko. I’m not joking.
Even with the run depression, the pitching hasn’t been better. But getting pitchers to pitch in Safeco will never be hard. Getting hitters will be, and thus having a lot of cost-controlled offensive potential is paramount for building a winning team in Seattle. Saunders, Seager and Jaso have put together seasons that are, in a word, encouraging.
**I highlighted Brendan Ryan‘s stat line above to point out that, due to a high walk rate, Ryan has been about as valuable offensively as in past years. His gold glove defense continues to shine, and the combination of not-actually-thaaaat-bad offense with excellent shortstop defense has him pegged at between 2.1 and 3.5 WAR (Fangraphs vs. Baseball-Reference). He may very well be undervalued in arbitration, especially to arbiters that don’t value defense as highly, and Seattle should get a good deal on him for 2013. Encouraging.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
As you may have noticed, we are approaching the halfway point in the season, and around this time every year the rumor mill starts to creak and churn. The Mariners have more than a few pieces to deal as they look to find just the right return to finally put this thing together for the 2013 season. The Mariners will look to be sellers, but instead of shooting for prospects several years out, the Mariners are going to look to acquire functioning, major league ready, talent.
With that, we have several polls that we desire your opinion on. Have a look and be sure to vote.
As the All-Star Break approaches, the rumor monster will awaken from its slumber. As the monster frantically spews it’s rumors across the baseball world, several Mariners are sure to be caught in the fanatical chaos.
Brendan Ryan has been a bit of an enigma this season. Last year we saw an organization frustrated with Ryan’s helpless bat, trade him to the Seattle Mariners for a bag of balls. The Mariners saw this bat awaken, and reaped the benefits of a defensive star with an average bat. 2012 has been a different story for Ryan, who has struggled to find an sort of consistency at the plate. The defense has still remained elite, but the bat has many fans fatigued with Ryan.
With the continued emergence Nick Franklin, how do you feel about possibly moving Ryan?Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
I have been hearing people hoping for the call up of Tacoma shortstop Carlos Triunfel recently, and I think it is ridiculous. Triunfel was once a top prospect, but his status as the future shortstop of the Mariners has slipped away. Nevertheless, … [visit site to read more]
Brendan Ryan has been a subject of much frustration this season. He utterly lost at the plate this season, he hacks at the first pitch all too often and even his manager has begun to take notice of his struggles at he dish.
It hasn’t been good, … [visit site to read more]