#Mariners at #Rangers starting lineups: pic.twitter.com/Ammtfc9rKf
— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) August 18, 2015
#Mariners at #Rangers starting lineups: pic.twitter.com/Ammtfc9rKf
— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) August 18, 2015
The number of strikeouts by Mariners hitters. The M’s were at it again with the strikeouts—Brad Miller was the only starter not to strikeout at least once.
The number of Seattle hitters with more than one base hit. Nelson Cruz posted a 2-for-4 stat line on the day. Only five other M’s recorded hits.
Mike Montgomery’s ERA after the game. The former top prospect continues to impress. He allowed five hits, two runs (both earned) and a walk over seven innings. Montgomery struck out three and allowed a home run.
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The number of strikeouts by the M’s in the game. It’s slightly less of an eye-sore, but still an eye-sore nonetheless. Robinson Cano, Mark Trumbo and Brad Miller all led the way with two punch-outs each. Six of the nine Seattle starters struck out.
The number of innings thrown by Roenis Elias, who was a tough-luck loser on the day after allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits. Elias walked one and struck out six.
Mark Lowe’s ERA after the game. Lowe, in the midst of his second with the M’s, pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out two while allowing one hit.
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The Seattle Mariners have made their fair share of blunders over the years, namely letting numerous players leave for little-to-no return.
This long, illustrious list includes the likes of Carlos Guillen, Jason Varitek, Rafael Soriano, Alex Rodriguez—you get the point.
The M’s missed a big opportunity in the first round of the 2011 draft.
Danny Hultzen was drafted third overall by Seattle and immediately became part of the “Big Three” pitching prospects along with James Paxton and Taijuan Walker. Hultzen showed immense potential, but has seen his career derailed by injuries.
The former first-round pick could still achieve the success he was projected to reach, but it will take time.
Hindsight is obviously 20-20 (stop me if you’ve heard that before), but the 2011 draft produced numerous first-round gems that the Mariners could have taken. Here are some of those players in order of draft position.
Dylan Bundy, Starting Pitcher: Baltimore Orioles, 4th Overall Pick
Bundy, only 22, made his major league debut in 2012. He made two relief appearances for the O’s, totaling an inning and two thirds.
However, the former fourth-overall shows the potential to be a front-line pitcher, if not an ace in the major leagues.
If nothing else, Bundy’s name appearing in trade rumors should speak to his value. According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles wanted Bundy in a trade for Matt Kemp while Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported in July that Boston was interested in Bundy in a potential Jon Lester trade.
Anthony Rendon, Third Baseman: Washington Nationals, 6th Overall Pick
In a draft class loaded with talented hitters, Rendon has shown the most polish early.
The third baseman, who has also experience at second base, hit .287 in 153 games. The infielder also scored a major-league high 111 runs. In addition, he swatted 23 home runs, drove in 83 runs and swiped 17 bases.
He would have trouble finding at-bats with Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager manning second and third, but teams can always use extra bats—especially quality ones like Rendon.
Archie Bradley, Starting Pitcher: Arizona Diamondbacks, 7th Overall Pick
Similar to Bundy, Bradley has future ace/front-line starter written all over him.
He’s been routinely ranked in the top ten prospects in the league and is probably on equal, and while his minor league numbers haven’t been overly impressive (4.45 ERA and a 1.506 WHIP in 18 minor league starts across three minor league levels) he still has a bright future.
Bradley is on similar or better footing than Taijuan Walker or James Paxton in terms of potential.
Francisco Lindor, Shortstop: Cleveland Indians, 8th Overall Pick
Lindor has skyrocketed through the minors and could be in Cleveland in the near future.
One of the top prospects in the game, Lindor is regarded as a top-notch defensive shortstop. He also managed a .273 batting average in 38 Triple-A, showing the potential to be more than simply a defensive wizard at the major league level.
His impending arrival also forced two-time All Star Asdrubal Cabrera out of Cleveland at the trade deadline. Incumbent shortstop Jose Ramirez could meet the same fate as Cabrera.
Javier Baez, Infielder: Chicago Cubs, 9th Overall Pick
Part of the Cubs’ first wave of impact prospects to make the majors, Baez shows tremendous upside. He has outstanding power and will drive in plenty of runs when he reaches his potential.
Baez can play either middle infield position and is part of a talented group of Cubs’ infielders that include Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo among others.
The infielder wouldn’t unseat Robinson Cano at second (duh), but he’d provide an upgrade over Chris Taylor and Brad Miller at shortstop.
Baez mashed 37 homers and drove in 111 runs in across multiple levels in the minor leagues in 2013.
George Springer, Outfielder: Houston Astros, 11th Overall Pick
While Rendon would have been blocked at multiple positions by the Cano and Seager, George Springer wouldn’t have been blocked in the outfield.
Part of the Astros’ next great team, Springer is a slugger in every sense of the word.
The outfielder swatted 20 home runs in a mere 78 games. He only hit .231 and struck out 114 games, but his power is undeniable.
Springer has a .303 career batting average in the minor leagues—or, in other words, he won’t be a .231 hitter forever. He’ll improve.
But instead of hitting bombs in Safeco Field as a member of the M’s, Springer will be hitting for the division rival Astros.
Jose Fernandez, Starting Pitcher: Miami Marlins, 14th Overall Pick
Jose Fernandez is one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball—a fantastic accomplishment considering he was only drafted in 2011.
The 22-year-old Cuban took home Rookie of the Year and All-Star honors in his first season in 2013. Only Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright finished ahead of Fernandez in Cy Young voting that year.
The Marlins ace is one of the many exiting, young talents in Miami that have prompted the team to give Giancarlo Stanton a big contract and accelerate the rebuilding process so as to win as soon as possible.
Coming off of an injury shortened 2014, Fernandez will undoubtedly be Miami’s ace when he returns in 2015 and beyond.
Seattle is blessed in the pitching department with the likes of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker, but adding Fernandez certainly wouldn’t have hurt.
C.J. Cron, First Baseman: Los Angeles Angels Anaheim, 17th Overall Pick
Cron can flat out hit. He may not be as dynamic as teammate Mike Trout, but he provides the Angels with another young player to build around.
The first baseman owns a .290 career minor-league batting average and can drive the ball out of the park. He slugged 11 bombs in only 79 games in 2014 and has the potential to do much more.
With Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in decline, Cron will be counted on to help carry the Angels into the future. Don’t be surprised if Cron gets close to 40 home runs in a season at some point.
He would have been a nice fit at first base for the M’s.
Sonny Gray, Starting Pitcher: Oakland Athletics, 18th Overall Pick
While Bundy and Bradley are future aces, Gray (like Fernandez) is already there.
Gray has a 2.99 ERA in 283 innings pitched and posted a 3.2 WAR in 2014. That 3.2 WAR was higher than the likes of Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma and Anibal Sanchez.
Gray stepped in during his rookie season and started two playoff games for the A’s. Both times he went toe-to-toe with vintage Justin Verlander and didn’t blink, arguably pitching as well as the former Cy Young MVP.
Also like Fernandez, Gray would have been a nice addition to the M’s, but Seattle will have to settle for seeing him pitch against them a few times a year with Oakland.
Other Notable Names
In addition to the big names like Fernandez, Springer and Rendon, there were a plethora of players available later in the first round of the draft.
The Cardinals and Giants respective second baseman (Kolten Wong and Joe Panik) were taken 22nd and 29th overall. Jackie Bradley Jr. was taken with the 40th pick while fellow Red Sox youngsters, and current farmhands, Matt Barnes (19th), Henry Owens (36th) and Blake Swihart (26th) were also first-round picks.
While Danny Hultzen hasn’t reached the big leagues yet, the M’s clearly could have received more value out of all these players.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.comunless otherwise noted.
Nearly a month ago, the baseball world was thrown into a frenzy. Not just because it was the non-waiver trade deadline, but because David Price was traded. That the former Cy Young winner had been dealt wasn’t the shock. Everyone and the foul pole knew that was coming for years, but the shock was who acquired him— the Detroit Tigers. Detroit didn’t just do it on their own, they got the Seattle Mariners involved— acquiring Price from Tampa Bay, flipping Drew Smyly and minor league shortstop Willy Adames to Tampa and sending Austin Jackson to Seattle, who in turn sent Nick Franklin to the Rays.
While most will talk about how Detroit came away as a huge winner or maybe Tampa Bay didn’t get as much as it could have, the Mariners are the forgotten team in the trade. Seattle made out like highway bandits. Highway bandits.
The Mariners’ offensive output was horrendous. The infield is excused from this discussion because of Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. While the infield gets a pass, the outfield doesn’t. The pre-trade deadline offensive production in the outfield was dreadful.
Like any good general manager of a contending team, Jack Zduriencik made a trade to fix that. In actuality, he made two. One was to bring in Chris Denorfia, who is at best a platoon option on a good team, and the second involved acquiring Jackson.
The one-time Yankee farmhand hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in the Emerald City. He’s hitting .227 with a .542 OPS and is averaging one strikeout per game. But, at age 27, Jackson still has room to improve and time to get back on track. At best he’s a .290-ish hitter who’ll reach double digits in homeruns, steals, triples and approach 30 doubles. In addition, he plays strong defense in center field. The caveat with Austin Jackson is that he strikes out a lot. He paced the league with 170 punch outs his rookie season and fanned at least 100 times every season he’s been in the big leagues.
So, maybe he strikes out a lot. Maybe too much. But at this point, the Mariners will take any offense they can get, no matter what the cost (i.e. lots of strikeouts). It wasn’t exactly like the M’s acquired a .227 hitter in the trade; Jackson hit .273 in 100 games for Detroit. If he can get close to that number, he’ll be exactly what the Mariners need.
What made the Jackson trade look so one sided was what Zduriencik gave up to acquire the former Tiger— minor league second baseman Nick Franklin. Once thought to be one half of the Mariners’ double play combo of the future, along with Brad Miller, Franklin hit a mere .225 in his first season. Despite that, he showed promise with 12 homeruns and 45 runs driven in across only 102 games. All of that progress was seemingly chucked out the window when Seattle signed current offensive catalyst (and second baseman) Robinson Cano. Franklin was then thrown into a spring training battle with Miller for the starting shortstop job. Miller won the job, hence making Franklin expandable.
The second baseman only got into 17 games with the Mariners. He hit an extremely underwhelming .128. His OPS over those games? .363. It wasn’t a case of Franklin being in the minors because of lack of available at bats in Seattle. It was because of a lack of production in Seattle.
The bottom line is that the Mariners acquired Austin Jackson for Nick Franklin. They acquired an above-average center fielder for a minor league second baseman who was failing to produce in the majors, an established player with a track record for above-average play for a player whose value comes more from a promise that may or may not come, as opposed to on-the-field play.
The Mariners didn’t bring in David Price like the rumor mill thought they would, but they were still involved in the trade. And from their perspective, it looks pretty good.
All stats courtesy of http://www.baseball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.
The Seattle Mariners reportedly had conversations with the Dodgers about incumbent outfielder Matt Kemp.
Kemp is reportedly not being moved, but the M’s should maintain interest in the two-time All-Star.
After the ambitious, low-buy acquisitions of Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, the team’s lineup will look something like this-
That’s a pretty solid lineup. In terms of the division standings, that group would probably get you higher than the Astros, and should the pitching hold up, above the Angels. If Hart and Morrison can have bounce-back years, and (again) pitching forbid, the team has a good chance to surpass Texas.
Acquiring Kemp would vault them past Texas and the Angels. Something that seemed absurd four months ago. Oakland may be out of reach, but bringing in Matt Kemp would put the Mariners in a position to legitimately contend for a Wild Card berth.
The Dodgers’ outfielder would bring a perfect blend of, well, everything to the Mariners. Kemp’s defense would shine in still-spacious Safeco Field. Hitting him cleanup in the lineup listed above could be potentially lethal. Imagine this-
Almonte is the “projected” leadoff hitter only based on the fact that he has the foot speed to create at the top of the order, and Ackley can’t play right field. A leadoff hitter would probably be the next item on the Mariners’ to-do list. Ackley could be traded in an effort to get one.
The Yankees, among others, have inquired about the former first-round pick. Ideally, Seattle could flip Ackley and one of their lesser relievers for one of their incumbent outfielders, Brett Gardner. Here’s another lineup prediction with Gardner (bear with me on this)-
That lineup would contend with Oakland for the division. Not only could that lineup, coupled with the Mariners’ underrated pitching staff, contend with Oakland, but they could compete with the best of them. Outside of Detroit, St. Louis, Los Angeles and a regressing (for the moment) Boston, Seattle could have the most talented team.
This isn’t even mentioning former top-prospects Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak and Nick Franklin, all of whom could be shopped to add to the M’s bullpen or rotation.
Getting to this point won’t be easy. Seattle’s going to have to take on some money as well as give up a solid player or two to acquire Kemp. The other trades won’t be cakewalks, but should the Mariners do it, they could be looking at a playoff berth for the first time in a long, long time.