The American League West will be a tough division this year. It sent two teams to the playoffs last year, and this off-season some good players entered the division and lots of guys changed hands within the west. The winter also brought a whole new team to the division. In 2013, the AL West appears to be one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Here is my preview for the upcoming season.
First Place: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I honestly feel like the Angels, Rangers, A’s, and Mariners could all potentially win the division, but the Angels stand out to me. Now that Pujols has a year under his belt in LA, I expect his numbers to resemble those he posted in St. Louis. He should also get some help from Josh Hamilton, who will likely hit behind him and give him great protection in the lineup, and Mike Trout who will be on base a lot when he comes to the plate.
Expect Trout to have a bit of a sophomore slump, but nothing devastating. Despite his tendency to swing and miss, Hamilton is still one of the best hitters in the game, and Mark Trumbo also has raw power that puts him in the top 25 in baseball in ISO over the past two seasons. The rest of the offense has the ability to steal some bases and get on base, so they fill in around the middle of the order nicely.
The starting rotation may be a bigger concern for the Angles, but they have some dependable starters like Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson, and the bottom of the rotation has Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas, and Joe Blanton. Considering the run support the staff will receive, they should be good enough.
Second Place: Texas Rangers
I think this will be a down year for the Rangers.
Despite their significantly deteriorating offense, the key to this Ranger team may be pitching. In this century, the Rangers have never had a 90 win team without a team ERA of 4.02 or better. As they stand, the players in the Ranger rotation have a 3.89 ERA in major league starts over the last three years. However, that number seems prone to rise this year. Darvish and Holland have shown inconsistent tendencies, Harrison is not a true major league ace, and Martin Perez has not been the young pitcher Texas has hoped for.
With that being said, the Texas offense is not the same as it has been in the past. The loss of Josh Hamilton was huge and losing Napoli hurt as well. Beltre is still a great hitter, but Cruz is on the decline, and Kinsler has seen drops in his power, speed, and on-base abilities in recent seasons.
Berkman and Pierzynski were both decent additions, but they won’t be enough to erase the loss of Hamilton and Napoli and the aging of other stars. Pierzynski had a good year last year, but his 2012 was the first time he had ever hit 20 homeruns in a season and was the first year in which he had an .800 OPS since 2003, so I don’t expect him to repeat that production. The Rangers will still score plenty of runs, but not enough to support the pitching staff enough to win 90 games in a tough division.
I expect the Rangers to steadily decline for the next couple years as they turn over the roster. Once they purge some of their aging players and let prospect like Profar and Olt sink into major league roles, the Rangers should be World Series threats again.
Third Place: Seattle Mariners
I see this Mariner team winning close to 85 games in 2012. They were a 75 win team last year while only scoring 619 runs. This year, they greatly improved the offense and made nice additions to the pitching staff, not to mention the fact
that they will have 19 games against the Astros this year. Games that would have been played powerhouses like the Rangers or Angels in the past will be replaced with games against the lowly Astros this year.
This offense has the ability to score plenty of runs. In theory, Ackley will be the player he was expected to be now that his injury concerns have been taken care of. Seager, Montero, and Saunders should also continue to improve and mature into quality major leaguers. With the additions of proven major league bats like Morales and Morse, this offense could be good enough to support a solid pitching staff led by one of the best pitchers in baseball, Felix Hernandez.
Fourth Place: Oakland Athletics
The A’s are bizarre to me. I honestly think that they will either win more than 95 games or less than 75 games; there isn’t much room in between. My main concern is their starting rotation. If you take Bartolo Colon out of the projected rotation, the other four pitchers have an average of 37 MLB games pitched, 223 innings pitched, and 1.5 years of major league service. The 3-5 pitchers in their rotation average less than .75 years of major league service. Pitchers with that little experience can be unpredictable. Oakland has a lot of good young pitchers. In theory, they will be good enough to repeat last year’s numbers, but they also seem bound to go through some growing pains. That’s why I sees them as an all or nothing team.
In a similar way, the offense is relying on a lot of guys who haven’t given consistent production. Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick have each only had one good year in the major leagues. The projected third base, shortstop, and second base positions have a combined 434 MLB at bats over the last two seasons. Although John Jaso was an excellent addition for them, he has never played more than 110 games in a season. The A’s simply have too many guys that haven’t proven their ability to succeed at the major league level over an extended period of time. I think they could be good again in a year or two, but they will have to experience some growing pains at one time or another, and I think this will be the year for that.
Fifth Place: Houston Astros
There isn’t much explaining to do with this selection. The Astros are a bad baseball team, and their new uniforms and new division won’t help that. Out of their starting rotation, only one pitcher posted an ERA below 4.60 last year. The offense is young and inexperienced, but is also mostly empty of promising players. There aren’t many reasons to have hope for the Astros for the next couple seasons, so enjoy them while there bad, because by the end of the decade they could be a pretty good team considering the farm system they are building and will continue to build as they accumulate high draft slots.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! To honor this wonderful day, I would like to metaphorically raise my glass to five wonderful events from this last year of Mariner baseball.
1.) The Parting of “Friends”
Note that “friends” is in quotation marks. I did not shed a single tear between the release of Chone Figgins or the trades of Ichiro and Brandon League. Figgins was an absolute disaster with the Mariners, and I feel relieved to know that I will never have to look at him wear a Seattle Mariner uniform again.
Ichiro did a lot of good things for the Mariner organization and the city of Seattle during his stint here, but it was time for him to go. He was no longer contributing to the team’s success and he seemed to cast a negative spell over the locker room. Following Ichiro’s departure, the team excelled which proved that parting with him was the right decision.
Although his stats were not terrible, Brandon League gave every Mariner fan a heart attack every time he stepped on the mound. There was no such thing as a save without suspense for League, and most were glad to see him sent to Los Angeles were he can no longer scare us. The fact that we got a few decent prospects in return was just the icing on the cake.
I am very thankful that each of those players are no longer Seattle Mariners.
2.) The Making of History
On August fifteenth, King Felix threw the 23rd perfect game in baseball history. All of us got to witness history and one of the finest moments in Mariner history. His performance that afternoon was absolutely masterful and the fan reaction was very exciting as well. For Felix’ following start, Safeco Field filled with fans, and the King’s court was spread throughout the whole stadium. I hadn’t seen that much energy in Safeco in almost a decade. The fan base needed the boost that the perfect game gave, and I’m sure all of us are thankful that Felix achieved perfection that day.
3.) The Coming of New Players
This year’s MLB Draft was very productive for the Mariners. The third overall pick, Mike Zunino, had a phenomenal first year in the minor leagues. His .538 wOBA and 234 wRC+ in short season Everett confirmed his status as a prospect and he is now ranked the 44th best prospect in baseball and 3rd best catching prospect. There were several other good selections made in the draft. Names like Joe DeCarlo, Tyler Pike, Patrick Kivlehan, Chris Taylor, and Timothy Lopes have already started to gain attention just months after being drafted by Seattle.
4.) The Stadium Alterations
The fences are moving in! This has been an idea tossed around by Mariner fans for years. While there are pros and cons to the change, the Seattle offense which has been at the bottom of the league for years, will certainly get some help from the shorter fences, but the pitching staff will struggle more. However, considering the strong future of the pitching staff, I feel confident that we will continue to have a solid staff and still get more run production from the batters. The smaller field also allows Seattle to pursue and attract top free agent bats. This was a very good all-around move for the organization.
5.) The Astros
Tired of being in the division cellar? At least for now, the Marines will no longer be the worst team in the AL West with the Astros around. Having the 107-loss Astros in the west will also mean that Seattle will have more games against the poor Houston team and far less against the three good teams in the division.
Overall, there has been a lot to be thankful for over the past year, and I hope that we will have many more things to express our gratefulness for in a year from now.
Tags: American League West, Brandon League, Chone Figgins, featured, Felix Hernandez, Felix Hernandez Perfect Game, Ichiro, Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners General, Mike Zunino, Popular, Safeco Field, Season Reviews, seattle mariners
Yes, kids. We sat through 110 2/3 innings of Ian Snell pitching, spanning a year and a half. During that time frame he walked more than he struck out and gave up over a hit an inning. All the while, he pitched in front of one of the premier defensive baseball teams in pitchers park.
Well that is mildly depressing.
If you haven’t committed suicide yet and are still reading this post just be comforted in the fact there is no Ian Snell in 2011.
Of course we still do have Erik Bedard.
I really should have thought this post through a little better…
We all know the Mariners were bad, but exactly how bad were they? If you read Geoff Baker’s blog on the Seattle Times, you’d be led to believe that this team was the worst team that was ever put together. While the offense turned out to be historically bad, the starting pitching was surprising good, at least for the first half of the year.
As we all know, the Mariners finished the year a pathetic 61-101. The also only scored 513 runs, which is the lowest total since the DH was added. Defensively they gave up 698 runs. Using the Pythagorean projection formula, the Mariner’s “should” have been 59-103. This suggests that M’s were even worse than their record (a scary thought indeed), and I expect you have seen this point being made on other sites throughout the offseason.
Before we move on, I need to address one issue. I know this is going to make those who love their sabermetrics cringe, but unfortunately the Pythagorean projection system (pythag) is seriously flawed. Teams that win with good pitching and average hitting always win more than their pythag suggests, while team’s who win with great hitting and average pitching always have less wins then their pythag predicts. So using a team’s pythag to assess if they were better or worse than their record isn’t a viable method.
This is because of the effect of blowouts. Since the Pythagorean projection system only takes into account runs scored and runs allowed over the entire season, losses by more than 3 runs can actually count as 2 losses for the team’s pythag. In the same manner, wins by more than 3 runs can actually count as 2 wins for a team’s pythag. I’ve never seen a team get 2 losses added to their record when only playing 1 game. Proponents of Pythagorean projections claim that by the end of the season it should all even out, but in practice it usually doesn’t a couple teams each season.
Lets use an example to illustrate this point, the 2009 Mariners. This is a team that won 85 games, but had a pythag of just 78 wins. A difference of 1-2 win between the pythag and the actual win total isn’t a big deal. Like all real data, there’s always a little variance. But here we have a difference of 7 wins, which is quite significant. This is because the 2009 Mariners suffered quite a few more blowout losses than they had blowout wins.
Those that swear by Pythagorean projections will say that this means that a team isn’t as good as their record because they’re getting dominated too often. While that might work in other sports, I just don’t buy that argument in Baseball. Roster construction plays too much of a roll here. This was a team with a below average offense, but had good pitching. A team that wins in this way will rarely rack up enough runs to win in blowout fashion, but that doesn’t make them a bad team. The Angel’s won a world series this way. (The Angels also won a lot more than their pythag predicted that year as well)
Conversely, teams that win with a ton of offense and average (or worse) pitching are always on the positive side of the ledger when it comes to their pythag. The Mariners of the 90’s are a great example, as are the Yankees in almost any year. Since this article is already way too long, I wont go into the specifics for these teams. You’ll simply have to take my word for it, or look it up on your own. Now, back to the 2010 Mariners:
If you account for these blowout losses by allowing them to only account for what would be the maximum so they only get credit for 1 loss or 1 win per game, essentially capping the run difference allowed per individual game, (golfers will recognize this from the way handicaps are calculated, capping the strokes per hole) the 2010 Mariners adjusted pythag comes out to be 64-98. While this record is still bad, it’s better than their actual record and suggests that the team wasn’t as bad as their record shows, though only slightly so.(For the record doing this for the 2009 Mariners leads to a pythag of 83-79, much closer to their actual record)
Another way to look at a team is to use their hitting lines, and their opponents hitting lines, and predict how many run “should” have scored. This tends to normalize for pitcher who scatters a lot of base runners over many innings, but doesn’t give up many runs (Miguel Bautista circa 2007) vs. pitchers who dominate mostly but always have 1 bad inning (Freddie Garcia, Doug Fister).
This projection says the M’s should have scored 546 runs, 33 more than they actually did. That should come as no surprise to anyone who watched them strand almost every base runner they had all season. On the pitching side they should have only given up 668 runs, which is 30 less than they actually did. These are some interesting numbers, and I’ll have to get into them in another post. The adjusted pythag using these numbers is a 67-95. Again this shows that they actually weren’t as bad as their record shows.
Baseball prospectus also adjusts these stats based on strength of schedule. Exactly how this is done is a topic for another post. Based on this adjustment, it turns that their pythag record should have been 69-93. This means that the M’s ran into more than their fair share of the opposing aces and didn’t get their share of #4 and #5 starters. (If you disagree with this don’t blame me, these aren’t my stats. I just found them interesting.)
So, what does all this mean? Well, for my money it says that the M’s weren’t quite as bad as we thought. Instead of 101 losses bad they were closer to 95 losses bad. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still awful, but perhaps not as awful as our raw emotions led us to believe as the season ended, and certainly not the 115-118 losses bad that Baker claimed they were.
I’m interested to hear what the rest of you have to say on this subject. Please post your responses in the comments thread below.
The Mariners signed Chone Figgins to a four year, $36 million deal back in December, which, at the time, was received with wide acclaim. However, in 2010, the first year of the deal, he posted a paltry WAR of 0.6, and came nowhere near earning the $8 million he received.
Offense: While the walks and doubles were there, Figgy’s offensive numbers as a whole were disappointing. His .259/.340/.306 line was the worst of his career, as was his .302 wOBA. The Mariners signed him for his ability to get on base, and while his .340 mark was above average, it was still his worst since 2006, when his wOBA was a mediocre .320.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what went wrong for Figgins in 2010, but bad luck may have had something to do with it, as his .314 BABIP was well below his career average of .337. His LD%, though, was his worst in four years, indicating that he may have been legitimately making worse contact in 2010 than he has in the past. If so, it could have been caused by the noticeable increases in both his O-Swing and O-Contact rates, as hitters tend to make weaker contact on pitches out of the zone.
There may be reason for hope, though, as Figgy finished the year strong, posting a .322/.376/.383 line in September & October. If he could at least move back towards his career norms in 2011, it could go a long way towards salvaging his contract.
Defense: After spending most of the last three years at third base with the Angels, the Mariners decided to move him to second base, where he had started just 22 games since 2006. That experiment, though seemingly sensible at the time, failed, as Figgins went on to post a -12.3 UZR over 161 games. Not only did he make 19 errors, but his range was bad too, at 6.3 runs below average. Granted, UZR isn’t always accurate with only one year of data, so there’s a decent change Figgy isn’t really this bad of a second baseman. Nonetheless, it’s clearly time to move him back to third.
Oh, and he did start one really awesome double play.
Outlook: We have him locked up for three more years, and it’s unlikely that any team would be willing to take on his contract, so he’s more than likely going to remain a Mariner. If the organization can learn from their mistakes, he’ll be back at third base from the start, hopefully turning around that negative defensive value. As for his offense, at 32 years old, I can’t imagine that it has hit full decline mode yet, so I expect it to be back at an at least respectable level in 2011.
In 2007, Josh Bard was worth 3.1 WAR over 443 plate appearances. He walked almost as much as he struck out, and and ended up with a .768 OPS. He was a decent defensive catcher, even if he threw out only 8% of attempted base-stealers.
It is now 2010. Josh Bard, who has since become much, much worse, was worth 0.3 WAR over 126 plate appearances. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was a paltry 27-10, and his OPS was .633. He was a poor defensive catcher according to most metrics. However, he was better than Rob Johnson and Adam Moore, so he got a fair amount of playing time.
Bard had a few nifty home runs, but he wasn’t particularly valuable this season.
Outlook: Josh Bard could return to the M’s in 2011. It doesn’t really matter. He’s the position player equivalent of David Pauley in that he exists only as a stopgap.
Offense: Kotchman wasn’t an offensive addition. He was a baseball player who happened to be better than Miguel Cairo. By himself, he was really just a medium risk medium upside guy acquired in exchange for a seemingly broken Bill Hill. Kotchman had excellent offensive seasons as recently as 2007 and 2008 for the Angels, and I would have laughed at anyone who told me that Kotch would post an OPS under .620 this year.
Casey Kotchman posted a .616 OPS for the Mariners in 2010. He had a .229 wOBA, hit nine home runs in 457 plate appearances, and was worth 18.9 runs below average. Even when it was clear that he wasn’t about to start hitting any time soon, Don Wakamatsu kept playing him. It was painful to watch. Here’s the most telling bit: Casey Kotchman was less valuable than Rob Johnson, according to WAR and wRAA.
Defense: Obviously, Casey Kotchman was billed for his defense. His UZR hadn’t dipped below 7 over the previous three seasons, and every scouting report on him praised his range and his glovework. Process-wise, Jack Zduriencik made a nifty move in acquiring Kotchman to prevent the defensively-inept Mike Carp from playing first base. Who would have though Kotchman would end up with his worst defensive season since he broke into the majors? The heinous duo of good process and bad outcome struck again. Kotchman was flat-out bad.
Outlook: Good riddance, Kotch. Don’t return to the Mariners until you have remembered how to hit a baseball. And if you do remember how to hit a baseball, make sure to do it in the NL.
Offense: In his 211 2010 plate appearances, Jack Wilson was good for a .262 wOBA, and a .598 OPS – slightly worse than Jose Lopez on both counts. Granted, he has never been a player known for his offense, but the numbers he put up this season were far too awful for any contending team to be throwing in their lineup on a regular basis, even for a position like shortstop, where offense comes at a premium. His ISO (.067), walk rate (3.3%), and strikeout rate (18.1%) were all worse than his career norms as well. And perhaps the most depressing part, is that there’s no way to blame any of these atrocious numbers on bad luck – his BABIP was .298, right where it’s supposed to be. His HR/FB rate did come in at a whopping 0.0%, but after watching him this season and looking at his .067 ISO, it really isn’t surprising that he didn’t hit any home runs.
However, he’s still only 32 years old, and I’m not quite ready to believe that he’s in full on decline mode just yet. There’s no doubt that injuries have been a factor, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his bat get back to at least a respectable level next season – a .300 wOBA isn’t too much to ask, is it?
Defense: Surprisingly, Jack actually posted a negative UZR in 2010. Don’t read into that, though, as the 61 games he played in are an extremely small sample size, and we know how volatile UZR can be. As far as I can tell, he’s still an excellent defensive shortstop.
Outlook: He’s under contract through 2011, so when he’s healthy, he’s probably going to continue seeing the majority of the starts at shortstop. Beyond next season, however, he’s extremely unlikely to have any real future with this team – sure, if he has a bounce-back year, puts up 1-2 WAR, and for the most part stays healthy, the team might explore bringing him back on another short-term deal. All of those things happening seems like a long shot though, so if you really like Jack Wilson, watch as many games as you can in 2011.
Erik Bedard didn’t pitch in 2010. He was supposed to return in mid-June and join Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee in one of the greatest one-two-three punches in Mariners history. Then the M’s started to tank and the management figured that since Erik wasn’t doing particularly well in his rehab assignments they may as well shut him down for the season – before his season even began.
Outlook: Bedard might return to the M’s in 2011. He might not. He’d certainly help out the club if healthy, but in all likelihood he won’t be, so I’d prefer the M’s non re-sign him.
In a season of things that went wrong, Michael Saunders was (kind of) a bright spot, giving fans a taste of his offensive potential and showing good range in the outfield. Though Saunders contributed only .3 WAR, Mariners fans generally seemed optimistic about Saunders, partially because his last season was so abysmal, and partially because Saunders had stretches of playing very well in between shoulder, wrist, and finger injuries.
Though that may make him look injury prone, his shoulder injury came from crashing into a wall, and didn’t sideline him long. The same goes for his wrist and finger injuries: they are things that may have hurt his production a little bit, but they’re likely not signs of recurring injury problems. He didn’t have any tears or breaks, he just happened to take a few unlucky bumps as the season went on.
What seems to have fans most optimistic about Saunders’ future is that his power has already partially translated to the major leagues. He posted a solid-respectable .156 ISO, after putting up an exciting .234 mark in AAA Tacoma just a year ago. With 10 home runs, 11 doubles, and 2 triples in his 100-game stint this year, it seems like Saunders could develop into a 20 (or more) home run player in the next year or two.
Saunders took another step forward at the plate this year in the form of discipline. While Saunders looked lost in 2009, swinging at almost anything leading to a terrible 4.7% walk rate, Saunders managed to take more pitches this year and ended the season with an above average 10.7% walk rate. That’s higher than the Mariners’ leader in walks, Chone Figgins (10.5% walk rate.)
With Saunders’ contact also rising, (up to 75.5% of the time he swings from 70.9% in 2009) it’s fair to think his low .260 BABIP will also improve. If Saunders can make better contact, he could fit well into the lineup as a 2, 5, or 6 type of hitter.
While Saunders’ defensive ratings were simply average, (.7 UZR between LF and CF) it must also be stressed that Saunders only played 100 games in 2010, so there is not much of a sample size to draw from. In fact, if we just look at his defensive abilities career wise, he has a UZR score of 5.9 in 146 games. Saunders looked like an above-average defender this year after looking outstanding a year ago, so I think it’s safe to say Saunders can be considered an above-average defensive player.
So what does his future look like in Seattle? Well, Saunders is young, turning 24 this November, and has about one full year of service time. Potential wise, Saunders could end up being a 3 WAR player with a couple of peak seasons between 4 and 5 WAR, but I feel safe saying Saunders will put up close to 2 WAR next year, and it’s not out of the question that it’d be between 2 and 3 if his periods of health (June and July, where he compiled a .763 OPS) are a sign of his immediate capability as a hitter. The Condor should be a solid, if not better piece of the Mariners for years to come.
No one expected much from David Pauley this year, but he actually turned out a few quality performances. Despite striking out only five hitters per nine innings, Pauley ran an excellent 49.8 ground-ball percentage and a 4.49 xFIP. He was even slightly unlucky in terms of home run-to-fly-ball ratio.
Notably, Pauley pitched at least six innings in ten of his fifteen starts. He was watchable. David Pauley didn’t make you cringe when you turned on your television and saw that he was pitching. He induced a sense of apathy and low expectations, which made his occasional quality start appear better than it actually was. Pauley was worth 0.1 wins-above-replacement this year, but he benefited comparison-wise from being on an awful team.
Is David Pauley going to be the next Doug Fister, a guy that comes out of nowhere and succeeds at the Major League level? No. That won’t happen. Is David Pauley an adequate rotation placeholder for a few starts next season while Michael Pineda is polished up in AAA? Yes. Is David Pauley a valuable pitcher, either now or in the future? No.
Outlook: David Pauley isn’t part the Mariners future. He’s a replacement-level-pitcher, and he pitched about to that level in 2010. He exists only to fill a temporary hole in the M’s starting rotation. I doubt we’ll see him for any sort of significant stretch of time in 2011 and beyond, unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Cliff Lee was everything we’d hoped he would be. The same cannot be said for the rest of his teammates.
Over the course of 13 starts in his Seattle Mariners career, Cliff was dominant. He averaged 7.96 innings per start, struck out 89 batters, walked a total of 6, and ran a minuscule Fielding Independent Pitching line of 2.16. Cliff Lee is a pitcher who does everything well. He throws strikes. He misses bats. He gets ahead of hitters. He doesn’t throw his fastball too much. And he induces his fair share of ground-balls.
I was present at two games that Lee started this season. In the first, Cliff went seven scoreless innings and struck out eight Rangers, but the M’s offense couldn’t get anything going against the Rangers’ Colby Lewis. The team lost in 12 innings, despite having the bases loaded on two separate occasions. You might remember that game. In the second game I was present at, Lee cruised seven innings only to have his defense fail him completely in the eighth. Cliff struck out five and walked none in eight innings and was credited with a “loss.”
Those two games were notably indicative of both Cliff Lee’s overall 2010 performance and that of the Seattle Mariners’ offense. Cliff couldn’t do anything wrong, but the M’s couldn’t do anything right.
In case you missed it, Cliff’s K-BB ratio in Seattle was almost 15:1, and he got hitters to swing and miss over 9% of the time he threw a pitch. His numbers were ungodly, and now he’s gone. Good thing we still have Felix Hernandez to ease the pain.
Let it also be noted that Cliff Lee helped us turn Philippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and J.C. Ramirez into Justin Smoak, Josh Lueke, Blake Beavan, and Matt Lawson. Aumont has been moved back to the bullpen, Gillies’ development has stalled, and Ramirez has appeared extremely hittable in AA. Oh, and Gillies was recently charged with Cocaine possession. On the other hand, Smoak hit .325/.400/.575 in his 45 September plate appearances, including three mammoth home runs hit against his former organization, and Josh Lueke (despite his legal troubles) put up a composite K/9 over 12 this season.
Outlook: Cliff Lee probably won’t return to the Mariners next season, barring a miracle (Eric Wedge, anyone?), but he will continue to be awesome. If there’s anyone that deserves a World Series ring, it’s Cliff Lee.
Not everything went wrong for Jose Lopez in 2010. He actually posted a UZR value over 8 in 1252.2 innings at a new position, impressing critics of his defense.
Everything else, however, went horribly, horribly wrong.
Offense: Terrible. Horrendous. Disgusting. Offensive. Repulsive. There aren’t enough synonyms for “bad” in the English language to adequately describe Lopez’s offensive ineptitude in 2010.
- wOBA: .268
- On-base percentage: .270
- Home runs: 10
- Walks drawn: 23 in 622 plate appearances.
- Isolated slugging: .099
Lopez was about as bad offensively as Mario Mendoza. In fact, Mendoza posted an identical wOBA to Lopez in his 1980 Mariners campaign. Lopez will be better offensively in 2011, that’s for sure, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that Safeco is not fond of his swing.
Defense: As I mentioned above, Lopez was pretty nifty on defense. Unfortunately, it didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. He’ll probably regress negatively next year in this respect anyway.
Outlook: Jose Lopez will not be a Seattle Mariner in 2011.