Jumat, 17 Februari 2012

Season Previews, Part 3: Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners
2011 Record: 67-95
Pythagorean Record: 67-95
Games out of first: 29

2011 Recap

Nobody expected the Mariners to be hovering around .500 and 2,5 games out of first in the middle of the summer. Last season, they were 43-43 on July 5th. What happened next was nothing short of a disaster. The Mariners went on to lose their next 17 games in a row. SEVENTEEN. At this point, there was no rescuing the sunken Mariners. All that was left was to look forward to the future. Ichiro, the star of the team for the last decade, seemed to finally hit a wall in 2011, suffering by far his worst season in the big leagues. A young rotation headed by Felix Hernandez, Doug Fister, and Michael Pineda struggled to stay afloat after the toll of the losing streak wore them down. The offense just wasn't there, although the promotion of second baseman Dustin Ackley was promising. Justin Smoak, who still has breakout potential, did not live up to expectations that many had for him. The youth on the team just did not produce enough.

Top Performers by WAR (b-ref for batters, FG for pitchers)

1. Felix Hernandez, 5.5
2. Michael Pineda, 3.4
3. Doug Fister, 3.2
4. Brendan Ryan, 2.8
5. Dustin Ackley, 2.5

Offseason Overview
The Mariners did not go out and sign a significant free agent, choosing to add minor pieces instead. The tragic death of outfielder Greg Halman left them with one less outfielder. Bringing back George Sherrill will surely help the bullpen, whose brightest spot was closer Brandon League, but did not do much otherwise. The huge trade for Jesus Montero will help the offense score more than the minuscule amount it did last season, but giving up Michael Pineda (and previously losing Doug Fister to a trade with Detroit last summer) will not improve a rotation carried by King Felix already. The Mariners did add Hisashi Iwakuma from Japan to help attempt bolster their rotation.

Notable Additions

C John Jaso
C/1B/DH Jesus Montero
RP Lucas Luetge
RP George Sherrill
P Hector Noesi
P Hisashi Iwakuma

Notable Subtractions

SP Michael Pineda
P Jose Campos
C Josh Bard
1B/2B/3B Adam Kennedy
RP Josh Lueke
OF/DH Wily Mo Pena

Projected Lineup

Ichiro RF
Brendan Ryan SS
Dustin Ackley 2B
Justin Smoak 1B
Jesus Montero DH
Miguel Olivo C
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Michael Saunders LF
Chone Figgins 3B

A middle of the lineup including Ackley, Smoak, and Montero has plenty of offensive potential...if they can all reach it. Franklin Gutierrez will need to find his power stroke again, and Ichiro cannot afford to decline anymore. He failed to reach 200 hits for the first time in his US career, and dropped his average 50 points from 2010.

Defensively, it could be a mess. Ichiro is declining, Ackley is still learning how to play second base, and Olivo is a below average defensive catcher. Gutierrez is a gold glove defender, but he has had trouble staying healthy and will need to remain there to pick up the slack for Ichiro and Saunders.

Projected Rotation

RHP Felix Hernandez
LHP Jason Vargas
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
RHP Blake Beavan
LHP Charlie Furbush 
Vargas is the oldest of this group, and is only 28. Luckily, King Felix has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League throughout his career and will continue to be the leader of this rotation. Iwakuma is a wild card, as are all Japanese pitchers in their first US seasons. Beavan and Furbush will bring up the rear hopefully learn from Hernandez and Vargas and help fill the losses of Pineda, Fister, and Erik Bedard.

Significant Relievers/Bench Players

C John Jaso
OF Trayvon Robinson
OF Mike Carp
OF Casper Wells
CP Brandon League

Roster Strengths

Defense. Brendan Ryan and Gutierrez are two of the best at their positions, and Ichiro will also be if he improves on his 2011 season. Chone Figgins is solid at any position, and Smoak can hold his own. Ackley, Saunders, and Olivo will all be liabilities until Ackley can fully and completely adjust to second base.

Roster Weaknesses

Offense. Seattle finished last in hits, RBI, and average in 2011, while scoring 3.43 runs per game. Montero will help to improve this, but not enough to make it anywhere close to a strength. No Mariners hitter had a WAR higher than 2.8 and they were last in the league in that by 4.9 whole wins. They were also last in OBP, SLG, wOBA, and runs scored.

2012 Outlook

This team has the talent, but has not been able to fully reach its potential. Unfortunately for the Mariners, they play in a division with the Texas Rangers, who have represented the AL in the World Series the past two seasons, and the Los Angeles Angels, who added two of the top free agents this offseason. Luckily, the Oakland Athletics got worse and seem to have entered rebuilding mode, so the Mariners won't look as lowly.

Potential Breakout Player

Jesus Montero. If he can harness his power, he will team with Smoak and Ackley to pull the Mariners out of last in half the offensive categories in existence.

Potential Bust

Chone Figgins. The million dollar mistake. Figgins has not produced anything in his time as a Mariner, and, although still potentially one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, will not be able to put it together once again and is in danger of losing his starting job already.

Prospects with potential to help in 2012

Nick Franklin, SS- Franklin played in rookie ball, A, and AA last year and wound up hitting .281 with 7 homers and stole 18 bases, while playing decent enough defense. If he can keep hitting like he did at AA (.325 BA), Franklin may come up and add more pop to the offense.

Danny Hultzen: Although he has only pitched in the AFL so far, Hultzen has dominated with a 1.40 ERA and has a chance to join the rotation by late summer and take Pineda's place as the prized pitching prospect.


Projected Record: 75-87
Projected Finish: 3rd
Projected MVP: Felix Hernandez, 6 WAR

Final Thoughts

It's all about potential. The Mariners have about a 0.05% chance (yes, I made that up but it's pretty close) to win the division. But they have the ability to improve upon last season and even more potential for the future. Twelve rookies made their major league debuts for the Mariners last year, so they do lack experience. But if they can begin to score more runs, the young rotation will not have much difficulty getting the wins.
*This article was written by OccupyGreendale of the Message Boards*

Tidak ada komentar:

Posting Komentar