The Mariners defeated the Blue Jays in the first game of a five-game road trip to Canada and Pittsburgh Friday by a final score of 4-0. Felix Hernandez improved to 4-2 with eight shutout innings. He defeated Ricky Romero in Romero’s season debut. Romero only lasted four innings.
- Felix registered his 66th career start of eight or more innings with two or fewer runs allowed. Since his 2005 debut, he leads the major leagues in that obscure yet impressive category (Per: @Mariners).
- Kyle Seager went 3-for-4, raising his average to .304 on the young season. This is interesting, because in case you haven’t noticed, Mariners’ players don’t typically hit .300 since Ichiro stopped doing so. Also, Seager’s second hit was a first pitch, upper-tank home run off of Romero, his fourth of the year. It was absolutely destroyed, and was his third homer of the year against left-handed pitchers.
- Jason Bay hit an opposite field shot in the sixth inning to extend the Mariner lead to four. It marked Bay’s third blast of the year, and showed that Bay still has some of the power that allowed him to average 29 home runs in a six year period in his prime. The Bay over Casper Wells decision continues to look better and better for Jack Zdurencik.
- With the bases loaded and one man out in the fourth inning, Dustin Ackley fell behind Romero 0-2. Instead of wildly hacking to stay alive, a la 2012 Ackley, he patiently took three pitches, including a tempting 1-2 breaking ball. He then ripped a 3-2 fastball through the whole for an RBI single. Another base hit later on raised his average to .255, and he’s slowly but surely becoming a viable part of the lineup again.
- Initially, Hisashi Iwakuma was supposed to be starting tomorrow’s game for the M’s. Then early in the week, Eric Wedge announced Joe Saunders would swap spots and make an early start because of Iwakuma’s nagging blister. Earlier today, Wedge changed his mind, saying Iwakuma would in fact make his regularly scheduled start. Maybe there was some gamesmanship involved here, but the takeaway is that Iwakuma is still healthy enough to pitch on his regular timetable. Thanks for the distraction, Wedge.
Iwakuma takes on reigning NL Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey tomorrow at 10:07 a.m. PT.
The Mariners looked terrible in Houston this past week. There’s no two ways around that. They looked lifeless out on the field, and Wednesday’s 10-3 defeat where Joe Saunders resembled a pitching machine caused Eric Wedge to call a closed-door meeting after the loss.
Thursday night’s resulting 6-0 beatdown of the Angels showed why it’s too early to give up on this Mariner team.
Wedge called out his players, and the team responded. The most impressive performances of the evening came from young players who will form the core of the team for years to come. Kyle Seager continued his success with a 3-for-4 night in which he knocked in three runs and homered in the eighth inning. On the other side of the coin, Brandon Maurer put together his best outing as a professional, going 6.1 innings without surrendering a run and striking out six Angels. Both Maurer and Seager have improved as of late after rough starts. Seager even broke .300 tonight.
Carlos Peguero probably isn’t in the team’s future, but he absolutely crushed a pitch at his ankles for the third-longest (451 feet) homer in Safeco Field history in the third inning. He got it on a full count after showing some solid plate patience, something he typically lacks.
Two fringe veterans also pitched in significantly Thursday night. Endy Chavez had a three-hit night in the leadoff spot, raising his average to .310 and making a case for the Mariners to make absolutely certain Franklin Gutierrez is ready to come off of the DL when he eventually does. Even Jason Bay got in on the fun, delivering a huge bases-loaded two-run single to blow the game open in the seventh. Bay checked in with a two-hit night.
The win showed that it’s too early to count the Mariners out, regardless of how much they suck against Houston. Eric Wedge woke them up with whatever closed-door tongue lashing he delivered Wednesday, and they are back on the right track. The youth not only on the 25-man roster but in the minor league system will continue to blossom and one by one, they will arrive on the scene ready to make an impact. Hell, Nick Franklin went 5-for-5 in Tacoma Thursday, and last time I checked, the Mariners needed a shortstop.
Patience is a virtue. It’s only a matter of time.
In my shortstop article, I said that the shortstop position has the best minor league depth of any spot in the field. However, the more I think about Seattle’s minor league options at third base, the more I am convinced that third base truly has the most depth. The hot corner may also be the most secure position going into next year as well.
Due to Kyle Seager’s sophomore surge, he has a solidified job in Seattle’s order for next year, but that doesn’t mean that he is the third baseman of the future. There is a chance that he won’t repeat this year’s performance in the future, or that he will be traded. In addition, Seager’s versatility could also lead to him moving to second base or shortstop depending on how the pieces fall.
Alex Liddi is a good young option at third base. As I discussed in my first base article, Liddi can hit, but his inability to make consistent contact is disturbing. If he can resolve that, he could be a good major league hitter.
A guy that I have spoken highly of in the past is Vinnie Catricala. “Cat the Bat” has a beautiful line drive swing and the ability to hit the ball hard to all fields and hit for power as well. Unfortunately, his 1.052 OPS from AA in 2011 dwindled down to .640 this year in AAA. His prospect status decreased as well, and at twenty-three years old, he doesn’t have a ton of time to make the majors. While his poor 2012 campaign doesn’t mean that we should rule him out of the future of Seattle, it certainly is disappointing. If he has a good spring training, however, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Seattle next year. Catricala has versatility, so he may be better suited in the corner outfield, but he could still be a decent guy at third base should he be needed there.
While he’s not usually thought of as a third baseman, Nick Franklin could also find himself at the hot corner. I’m not sure if he will hit for enough power to project well there, but if his glove isn’t enough for the middle infield, he could be thrown in at third.
Stefen Romero is a name that has recently begun to pop onto the radar of Mariner fans. The twenty-three year old was in just his second full year in the professional ranks this year, and he thrived. After hitting the cover off the ball in class high A High Desert, he was promoted to AA Jackson where his production improved. In 56 AA games, he posted a triple slash of .347/.392/.620 which adds up to a 1.012, and he also hit 12 bombs. While his low walk rate is a problem, it’s excusable after seeing his 178 wRC+. Some people think he will end up at second base, but personally I tend to think that his 6’3” 225 pound body is built for third base. Hopefully Romero will be in AAA next year, and if he can produce, he may have a chance to be a September call-up.
While Romero has been a great surprise, his AA teammate, Francisco Martinez, has been a great disappointment. Martinez was a main piece in the Doug Fister trade last season and became one of Seattle’s top prospects with his arrival in the organization. This season, he hit just .227 with a .295 SLG% and a 21.1K%. His lack of power and good speed will likely force him into the outfield, but he is currently listed as a third baseman. Some people think he will have a chance at second base, but I don’t believe his glove is good enough to stay in the middle infield. He just turned 22 years old, so he will have time to figure out his swing, but this year was a setback for Martinez, and with the kind of depth Seattle has at third base in its farm system, a bad year could be enough to write him out of the future.
Class High A also had a pair of 22 year-old power hitting third basemen in Steven Proscia and Mario Martinez. They both put up huge numbers in the California League this year, but they also shared the problem of a K% close to 20% and BB% below 5%. While the pure power stats were impressive, it’s hard to determine how much their numbers were inflated by High Desert. Regardless, these guys need to refine their plate approaches and learn to make more contact before they are MLB options.
Everett’s third baseman this year, Patrick Kivlehan, is yet another name to remember in the future. Kivlehan has also had a crazy journey to where he is now. He began as a safety on the Rutgers University football team before switching to baseball in his senior year. In his only year of collegiate baseball, he became the first player to ever win the Big East Conference Triple Crown and also earned conference MVP honors.
The Mariners snatched him in the fourth round which was a selection that many believe to be Seattle’s biggest steal in the draft. In a full year in short season Everett, he had a line of .301/.373/.511 before being named as a Northwest League all-star and Northwest League MVP. In the last calendar year, he went from a college football player to Northwest League MVP. It’s an unlikely story, but Kivlehan continues to progress at a rapid rate. He has learned to hit very quickly and there’s no reason to think that he will stop anytime soon. Keep an eye on this converted football player, because he could be in Seattle before you know it. He will probably make the switch to outfield, however.
The last player in the legion of minor league third baseman I will cover is Joe DeCarlo who was a second round pick in the most recent draft. He was taken out of high school and just turned nineteen years old, so he has a lot of learning to do. In rookie ball this year, he had a 13.9% BB%. That is very impressive from a teenager, because pitch selection is not usually something that young power hitters possess. His mature pitch selection is a good sign and also differentiates him from other power hitters at the hot corner.
Coming into spring training, the Mariners all but handed the starting 3B role to free agent bust, Chone Figgins. They promised him his old lead off position atop the lineup and they said he would get every opportunity to prove that he his past two seasons were flukes. They insisted that inside that husk of what was once a valuable player, was something worth holding onto. Kyle Seager was an after thought, a mere possibility for a utility infielder.
Even the best laid plans often fall by the wayside and this “plan” that Wedge instated for creating a resurgent Chone Figgins was never a good one. Figgins is being paid a lot of money, and money often drives people to make curious decisions. Decisions such as handing a negative WAR player an unearned starting position. Seager however, earned his way into the roster and even with his fluctuation at the plate this season, has continued to justify his presence in the majors. Seager has done more on the diamond than this season than anyone could have ever expected. A small tweak in his swing has generated an enormous jump in power, Legitimate power I might add, with exactly half of his home runs exceeding the 400 ft threshold and four of them going over 420 ft. But other than his jump in power has Seager really transformed himself into a different player?
Kyle Seager 2011: .258/.312/.379 — 3 HR — 17.9 K% — 6.5 BB% — .121 ISO
Kyle Seager 2012: .249/.312/.406 — 17 HR — 17.1 K% — 7.7 BB% — .157 ISO
Other than power, this Seager is nearly identical to the Kyle Seager of old. He doesn’t draw walks, he has poor on base skills, and he isn’t terrible when it comes to strike outs, but he isn’t good either. Other than his ability to turn on a ball, he hasn’t really changed at all. Not to downplay the impressiveness of suddenly learning how to shillelagh a baseball over 400 ft, it is an impressive feat, but no other facets of his game have even seen marginal improvement.
Regardless of how similar Kyle Seager is to last year’s Seager, power has the ability to change everything. It is a extremely important aspect of a players game, especially one who mans a position that historically expects a decent amount of power. But what we must ask ourselves if Kyle Seager should be indefinitely penciled in for the starting 3B next season. What he has put together this season, teetering on the edge of building 3 WAR, playing respectable defense, and injecting a bat that can really hurt the opposition if they make a mistake, all that has to be taken into consideration when searching for an upgrade. Kyle Seager has impressed many this season–a dramatic jump in power will do that–however, we shouldn’t get distracted by the shiny number of homers next to his batting average, Kyle Seager has many aspects of his game that he still needs to improve upon if he plans on staying an everyday baseball player.
This season, the Mariners started slowly, but all of the sudden, they have fought their way back into the playoff picture. Seattle has erupted since the Ichiro trade, and Felix threw his perfect game which invigorated the Seattle fanbase. Hernandez’ historical outing was just the second of eight consecutive wins for the Mariners; a streak that continues currently.
All of the sudden, Mariner fans have reason to hope. They are 12 games out of the division lead, 7 back in the wild card race, and are the hottest team in baseball. Despite the reason for excitement, Mariner fans, myself included, seem to be pessimistic. Like most Mariner fans, I have dreaded putting my confidence in a team. For eleven years we have constantly been disappointed by the Mariners. Few things have gone right for us, and the last decade of frustration has turned us all into pessimists. This year I have been content with not being last, with winning a few games, with seeing a few guys improve a little, with being average.
However, something changed for me yesterday. It was a tied game in the eighth inning and Kyle Seager was at the plate with one out. Seager hit a ground ball into right-center that would have normally been a base hit, but instead, he hustled out of the box and dove into second head first to avoid a tag for a hustle double. A few batters later John Jaso walked. With a runner on first and second with two outs, Eric Thames doubled down the line and Jaso, who is not a very swift guy and had caught several games during the week, hustled all the way around from first to score and to give Seattle the two run lead. Wilhelmson came in for the save and delivered the eighth straight victory.
When I saw Seager go all-out to get into scoring position and then Jaso hustle all the way from first, it occurred to me that these guys aren’t trying to “not be last.” Trayvon Robinson hasn’t put his body on the line to make phenomenal catches in the pursuit of “being average.” These guys haven’t strung together late inning rallies hoping to “improve a little.” This team isn’t playing hard for another mediocre season, they are playing for a playoff spot.
As the fans, it’s our job to believe in these guys. This team has played great baseball since the Ichiro trade, taken series from playoff caliber teams, won fifteen out of the last sixteen home games, and won eight straight games; they deserve our support.
I’ll admit that the playoffs are a long shot. In all honesty, this is not a great baseball team. We don’t have any real run
producers, much of the batting order has seen time in AAA this year, and the back-end of the pitching staff has had rough patches, but somehow they have won. Somehow we took two of three on the road against the Angels, somehow we threw the team’s first perfect game against a playoff caliber team, somehow we won eight straight, somehow we have come through in the clutch night after night, and somehow we actually got 40,000 fans into Safeco Field on a Tuesday night in August.
There is magic in the air. I have tried to ignore it, but I can’t anymore. I’m telling you that this team has a legitimate chance at the playoffs. We are 12 games out of the division lead right now, and we were 11.5 back at this time in 1995. This team isn’t anything remotely similar to the 1995 team, but it’s just another reason to believe.
The schedule is going to get pretty rough down the stretch however. We have quite a few games against the Rangers, A’s. The pessimistic me looked at that schedule and said, “There is no way we will survive those games,” but the newfound optimism inside of me says, “That schedule will give us a chance to pick up ground in the wild card race even faster.” It’s true, we have a challenging schedule, but if this team stays hot, they will have the chance to pass the A’s and Angels if they can win a couple of series.
Who knows, this could be a lucky winning streak, and we could get swept by the White Sox this week and be out of the race again, or we could fade down the stretch and end up ninth in wild card standings. Maybe this playoff run isn’t in the stars. If that is the case, then what’s the worst that can happen? We will simply be disappointed for the twelfth straight year. If we survived the Bavasi era, we can survive a disappointing finish to 2012, right?
Regardless of whether we have a miracle comeback, take the wild card, and go to the playoffs or whether we go back to playing unimpressive baseball, I urge all of you pessimistic Mariner fans to have some fun and believe in these guys! Don’t dread yet another letdown; enjoy this run for however long it lasts! Believe Bigger!!!
It occurred to me that the Seattle Mariners, in many ways, have lucked out this season because of injuries. Allow me to explain before you call me mentally challenged or send Pierre-Paul over to help me into an ice bath. Let’s start with the big trade right before the season started.
We shipped off a proven pitcher, Michael Pineda and one of the top minor league pitching arms, Jose Campo, to New York for a top prospect Jesus Montero and a unproven pitcher, Hector Noesi. Most of us scratched our heads and crossed fingers that the risky deal would work out. As it turned out, Pineda and Campo both came up with serious arm injuries which became a sick bit of grace to both Montero and the dismal Noesi experiment as a starter. Can you imagine if Pineda would have stayed healthy and was having another great year how the fans would be screaming and pressuring Jesus?
Especially after Jesus has been exposed as a weak defender, although improving, and a flop against right-handers and at Safeco where his numbers are horrid and nowhere near what all the experts predicted. How bad? He is hitting .197 with an .246 OBP at Safeco and .222 with an OBP of .258 against righties. He has exceeded expectations on the road batting .323 with an OBP of .357 and has killed lefties smashing an impressive .344 thus far. Put it all together and what is the picture? A very raw catcher with poor footwork, with a below-average arm who hits around .260, strikes out 21% of the time and would most certainly lose a footrace with Ron Cey, (the Penguin) or Edgar Martinez. Heck, he might even lose a race to a spry nursing home couple running three-legged.
Because Pineda is on the shelf healing when not sleeping it off in a car somewhere, Jesus has not been subjected to any comparisons which is good and lucky for such a young and promising hitter. It looks like the kid will indeed be a star as he is adjusting to the constant diet of breaking balls thrown to him as we all saw recently when he mashed a curve ball to deep left for a three-run homer off a right-hander. Look at that swing!
- Jesus Montero has been free to develop his talent.
Mike Carp‘s shoulder injury in Japan was tragic for Mike but it allowed Kyle Seager to get steady playing time as Figgins became our new left fielder and lead-off man. Seriously, how many more games would have been lost if Seager had been shipped to Tacoma or planted on the bench picking splinters from his rear-both possibilities-and his incredible two-out hits and 68 RBI’s erased? Would a healthy Carp have that many RBI’s? Perhaps, but not likely.
Miguel Olivo’s pulled hamstring in late April put him on the DL which lead to John “Juggernaut” Jaso getting unleashed from his normal seat on Wedge’s bench. The result? Jaso getting key hit after key hit in pressure situations, including 13 game winners, and demonstrating plate discipline approaching numbers that put him in Edgar Martinez territory for on-base percentage. http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=444379
Franklin Gutierrez came to spring training looking strong, fit and speedy. I was really looking forward to watching this great athlete perform. When the injury curse hit again, I was sad for the man. Come on, this remarkable guy being wounded for the second straight year? But Guti’s misfortune was a blessing for nearly forgotten Michael Saunders and this time he took advantage of the opportunity. He started to show that he was more than a “prospect” and at least a steady player who has displayed moments of stellar play.
After Franklin came back and was playing so beautifully, the freak throw that knocked him nearly into orbit on a routine pick-off attempt opened the door for Casper Wells who started out great after his short stint in Tacoma, allowed newly acquired 25-year old Eric Thames some regular playing time, and speedy Trayvon Robinson a trip to the majors. An outfield of Guti, Saunders and Thames/Wells is intriguing especially with Robinson in the mix battling away for some starts.
Erasmo Ramirez‘s injury on July 28th, combined with Kevin Millwood being nicked and Noesi’s continual problems finally forced Eric Wedge to unlock the bullpen prison Hisashi Iwakuma had been sentenced to for the first three months of the season. The result has been a 3-2 record and a slick 2.77 ERA since the All-Star break for the once proud Japanese ace.
Hisahi Iwakuma has been great as a starter
Charlie Furbush‘s strained tricep landed him on the DL on July 18th. This allowed young fireballers Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps the opportunity to show off their 100-mph-heaters which has been a delight. Now, Charlie is back and the two young pitchers have performed well enough to hang around for some more experience.
Injuries are part of every long major league season. This year multiple Mariner players have responded to playing time they may have never seen in spectacular fashion when injuries opened the door a crack for them. It is credit to the players, especially Seager, Saunders and Jaso that they took advantage.
- Kyle Seager has become the team RBI leader.
The one organizational setback that didn’t help in the least was when Mike Blowers became ill and was replaced by David Henderson’s private infomercials for a few telecasts. Yeah, I know that he was a very fine player but so was I. Want to hear about the time I hit an inside-the-park homer with the scouts watching?…
Hey, where’s everybody going?
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.
Certainly if anyone had told me at the end of last season that Micheal Saunders and Kyle Seager would represent the Seattle Mariners best hitters halfway through the 2012 season, I would have laughed that person out of the room. If that person then persisted with such baseless predictions, I would put together a myriad of reasons that it simply wouldn’t happen.
Well we are pretty close to the halfway mark of the season and if the instance above ever occured, I would look relatively foolish at this point. Baseball isn’t predictable. We see the strangest things year in and year out. Dallas Braden has recorded a perfect game, Fernando Tatis hit two grand slams in the same inning, Bengi Molina, an overweight catcher, hit for the cycle. Fact is often stranger than fiction, and baseball lives up to this old addage year in and year out.
The Mariners are a strange team. While on one hand they only have one established super star in the form of an aging Ichiro, on the other they have built a young core of extremely talented players that while currently aren’t established stars, could one day blossom into ones. Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, and Jesus Montero resperesemt the future building blocks for the next 10 years. The core, while not necissarily expected to produce immediantly, is expected to show signs of improvement, taking the proper steps to ensure that one day they will honor the faith this organization has placed in them. It’s hard not to get somewhat discouraged; Dustin Ackley is mired in a miserable sophmore slump, Smoak is still struggling to find a place of consistency, and Montero– possibly having the best season of the three– has not blown us out of the water as he did during his brief September cup-o-coffee last season.
Expectations are everything and fair or unfair the “core three” has failed to meet our expectations. But while those three have failed, two have come to represent the opposite end of the spectrum. Seager and Saunders have been the key contributors in what has become one of the streakiest offenses in recent memory. The entire offense embodies both players perfectly, as both Saunders and Seager has been streaky themselves. Seager (2.2) and Saunders (1.4) have combines for a 3.6 collective WAR. Seager sits atop the WAR chart and Saunders sits fourth and while Ichiro and Ryan both rank ahead of Saunders in regards to WAR, neither player has produced a lot wins at the plate and have survived heavily on defense alone. Saunders and Seager represents the teams well rounded players. Montero and Smoak can provide plenty of power, but currently both struggle to get on base. Ichiro and Ackley provide the opposite. The killer S’s are the two players you would want to see at the plate this season, with the game on the line.
Seager has been the most consistent player on the team by and far. While he recently hit a bit of a rough patch, his production has never really been in question and the series in Arizona, helped get him back on the right track. Seager is second in homers, fourth in K%, first in ISO, first in SLG%, second in wOBA, and only fourth in plate appearances. Seager has displayed one weakness this season, an inability to draw walks and force his way on base. Seager’s preseason expectations have been replaced by a shiny new set of “bigger and better”.
Saunders may not lead the team in any offensive categories, but has displayed the ability to be above average in almost all of them. Saunders is third, second, third, and third in ISO, OBP, SLG%, and wOBA respectively. Saunders has been one of the streakiest players on this team, but when things have gone well for him, it has been hard to find a better hitter this season. Saunders new found success has sprouted from a recent ability to drive the outside pitch. Even though driving the ball the other way still isn’t a strong area for Saunders, not being inept has changed his game immensely.
Seager and Saunders aren’t perfect players, each has plenty to work on. Seager and his lack of walks, Saunders and his strike out issues. But both players are excellent complementary pieces. If Seager and Saunders can carry this kind of production into the following seasons, along with the eventual coming around of Ackley, Smoak, and Montero the Mariners have filled six of nine slots in the line-up (counting Guti in CF). The Mariners are slowly putting the pieces together, and while this rebuilding process is taking longer than many of us would have hoped, you can’t discount the work that has been done here. Much was expected of Saunders as he progressed through the system. Even as he faltered year after year, the organization has kept faith and have been rewarded duly. Seager was a hidden gem who is now the product of the organization’s instruction, creating the player he is today. The Mariners should consider themselves lucky to have both of these players, because for the both of them, it didn’t have to play out the way that it has.
It’s no secret that the Mariners roster has been built upon a extremely young core.
This core is the foundation of the Mariners future, and while the season may not be cause for excitement, watching our young core grow is plenty of reason to tune … [visit site to read more]
It’s no secret that the Mariners roster has been built upon a extremely young core.
This core is the foundation of the Mariners future, and while the season may not be cause for excitement, watching our young core grow is plenty of reason to tune … [visit site to read more]
It has only been less than two weeks since Eric Wedge finally gave up on Chone Figgins. The entire city of Seattle breathed a sigh of relief knowing that they would no longer have to watch him and his sub-Mendoza line batting average every night. … [visit site to read more]
News and notes…For those of you who have suggested moving Kyle Seager to short in order to see more of Alex Liddi, don’t hold your breath. Wedge once more today said that Seager was not an option at short. Not a surprise. What was a … [visit site to read more]
The ninth innings last night was pretty exciting! The Mariners had a lot of heroes in that inning: Montero for the double, Jaso for the sac fly, or even Kawasaki for the speed to score. However, I think that the true hero in that inning was Kyle … [visit site to read more]
And we’re back! I’ll give you second to familiarize yourself with these charts… These are all statistics that stabilize between 50 PA and 200 PA*, and each can help tell us how much a player’s improvement or decline is real. The first chart … [visit site to read more]