And now the Red Sox leave the warm confines of Southern California to head north to Seattle, home of grunge, Starbucks and we’ll even give them the honor of inventing “rain that never stops”. Why not. I’ll give Seattle some credit, though, their baseball beat writers are fantastic people. Speaking of baseball…
SEATTLE MARINERS – 39-49, 4th in the AL West (12.5 GB)
The most apt thing I can probably say about the Mariners at this part is that they’re in a state a flux. Their buy-low-trade-bait guys haven’t worked out too well, and now they’re calling up their top prospects at a rate of one per week, it seems like. While their infield sans first base looks great, the outfield is just…awful, really. They’re injury-prone and everything. At least they have their pitching.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
1 – Brad Miller – SS – .200/.314/.400 (in 35 PA)
- Fresh new call-up for the Seattle Mariners. Capable of playing both shortstop and second base.
- Possesses above-average power for a middle infielder. In just 122 PA at Triple-A Tacoma this year, he hit 6 homers and slugged .596.
- Not really all that fast, but has a talent for getting on base. Walks often, doesn’t strike out very much.
2 – Nick Franklin – 2B – .287/.345/.485 (in 148 PA)
- Switch-hitting middle infielder who, like Miller, walks often and doesn’t strike out a bunch.
- Very apt at hitting doubles. In smaller ballparks, those could translate to home runs every now and then.
- He’s already worth 1.0 fWAR, which, projected to a full season, could be in the the neighborhood of 4.5 fWAR. And he’s cost-controlled, too!
3 – Kyle Seager – 3B – .286/.348/.478
- The best player the Mariners have this season. 3.4 fWAR, a solid fielder, and a great hitter with the added value of being a third baseman.
- Probably the healthiest guy on the team too. He’s gotten the most PAs on the team by a sizable margin.
- Has gradually gotten better as a hitter. His wRC has progressed each year: 96 in 2011, 108 in 2012, 133 in 2013.
4 – Kendrys Morales – DH – .272/.332/.438
- Far removed from the 34(!) homer campaign he had in 2009. He still has power, but not to that degree anymore, it seems.
- You can’t fault him for being inconsistent, since his wRC is just one point lower this season than last. His wOBA is only four points lower too.
- Really shouldn’t be in the field anymore. He’s posted positive fielding metrics in the past, but the operative words there are “in the past”.
5 – Raul Ibanez – LF – .257/.305/.554
- This is his third stint with the Mariners. And he’s posting a career-high wRC of 138. I’m honestly just amazed.
- Not many 41-year-olds can say that they’re hitting fifth for a MLB team and have crushed 21 homers by the All-Star Break.
- Also one of those guys who should retire their glove for good, but injuries have kept him out there.
6 – Justin Smoak – 1B – .257/.360/.403
- This year has finally shown some progress for Smoak. He’s swinging at less pitches outside of the zone, and showing more patience at the plate.
- Even if slightly above average, he’s the best fielding option at first for the Mariners. Won’t hurt them to play him there every day.
- A 2013 wOBA of .339 is far and away the best of his career. And he’s finally got the BABIP gods on his side (.262 career avg, .319 in 2013).
7 – Jason Bay – RF – .220/.321/.425
- Bay is alive and well in Seattle, and he’s even toting a .204 ISO, something we haven’t seen since his Boston days (.269 ISO in 2009).
- Still striking out a ton at a 25.9% rate, but he’s getting walks and may be due for some BABIP progression.
- Add to the list of “Bad fielding outfielders on the Mariners”.
8 – Mike Zunino – C – .200/.235/.277 (in 68 PA)
- Zunino has only 484 PA in the minors. He struggled a bit in Triple-A, but that didn’t stop the Mariners from calling him up.
- He’s posted a decent walk rate & strikeout rate in the minors. Also, he’s got some good power, as he hit 26 homers in those 484 PA.
- A wait-and-see guy at this point. 68 PA in the majors doesn’t really do much for projections.
9 – Dustin Ackley – CF – .202/.263/.251
- Wasn’t producing earlier in the year, so he got sent down to Triple-A. Raked there, and was called up for OF depth.
- Ever since a great rookie year in 2011, he’s just been sub-par. 75 wRC in 2012, and a 49 wRC in 2013.
- No idea if he has power anymore or not. Has a .049 ISO in the majors this season.
Who’s hot? – Last 14 days:
- Kyle Seager: 4 HR, 8 RBI, 175 wRC
- Raul Ibanez: .341 avg, 4 HR, .466 wOBA
Who’s not? – Last 14 days:
- Endy Chavez: .205 avg, .246 wOBA, 56 wRC
- Dustin Ackley: .185 avg, .241 OBP, .226 wOBA
Out of the frying pan, into the fire. It’s no secret that King Felix is one of the best starters in the league, and he’s a pretty potent buzz saw for the Red Sox coming into Seattle. Hopefully, Lester is still riding the wave of good pitching he’s had since the end of June.
Uncle, Mariners, uncle! Not only do the Red Sox run into Hernandez, they face Iwakuma, one of the best number-two starters in the league this season. While Allen Webster might be getting swings and misses often, he’ll have to match Iwakuma pitch-for-pitch if the Sox want a chance to win.
Finally. A reprieve. Harang won’t walk many guys, but he can’t keep them from scoring if they do get on base. Felix Doubront, though…I’m actually excited to see him pitch. He’s been on a roll.
Ryan Dempster vs. TBA
Dempster vs the cunning TBA once more! Did TBA get traded?
- Red Sox
Just hope and pray/believe that the Red Sox won’t continue to be awful on this West Coast trip. That’s really all you can do. Expect a lot of good pitching and a lot of awful offense.