A new year, and some fresh beginnings
There’s a guy who comes out of nowhere every year to take the league by storm, why can’t it be a Mariner this year?
With all but three starting positions locked in, this is going to be a fun spring training to see unfold. It will be interesting to see how the young catcher Jesus Montero does platooning with Miguel Olivo, and possibly getting in a lot of at bats at the DH position.
I’ve heard a lot of talk about Montero being the best hitter to don a Seattle Mariners uniform since Edgar Martinez. Now I’m not willing to give him that much credit as of yet, I mean seriously, the Yankees didn’t want to wait on him, so I can’t give him the award for best Mariner ever just yet.
The other battles are in left field, and third base respectively.
I don’t think I can go out and say that Mike Carp will break the all time hit streak record like NWSB M’s blogger Danny Ferguson did, but with the chance to be an everyday player this year, I think his power numbers will sky rocket for the M’s.
Besides being the proposed starting left fielder, Carp will also spend time backing up Justin Smoak at first, and get some at bats in as the DH as well.
The third base race is anyone’s guess really, but it looks like it’s going to go to young Kyle Seager.
The infield is full of possibilities this season.
A full season out of Dusitn Ackley should prove to management that he is the player of the future for the M’s.
Justin Smoak is another one of my picks for breakout performance of the year. We saw a glimpse of what to expect from him last year. Let’s just hope that he can ignite those “Smoak Bombs” with a little more regularity this season.
Power out of the middle of the order is something the Mariners desperately need this season, and if Smoak is on top of his game, it shouldn’t be a problem.
To win, we gotta score
Everybody already knows that management has built this team around defense, but you can’t win games if you don’t score runs. Ackley, Smoak, and Carp will need to have breakout seasons if the Mariners want to contend past May this season.
And that leaves me with my nominees for the Seattle Mariners breakout performance for 2012. Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, and Mike Carp. Of course I expect Felix Hernandez to be on top of his game again, so I count him as a gimme.