Exploring The New, 2016 Seattle Mariners Lineup Possibilities

Dipoto Has Re-Shaped M’s Lineup Card

With the winter meetings complete, it would appear the Mariners, and their high octane General Manager, Jerry Dipoto, have finally settled on the general appearance of the M’s roster.  Sure, there could still be more moves coming but we have enough information to start exploring what the M’s will look like come April.

Aoki gets on base. It's just that simple in Dipoto's mind. (AP Photo/Joe Nicholson)

Aoki gets on base. It’s just that simple in Dipoto’s mind. (AP Photo/Joe Nicholson)

Let’s take a look at some hypothetical lineup cards and see how the new M’s fit together using the same numbers that Dipoto used when he built this team for his new Manager, Scott Servais.

M’s Line Up Card Vs. Right Handed Starter

Most starting pitchers are still right handed so we’ll start there.  In addition to their position and noting lefty/righty bats, I’m throwing in the player’s OB% against right handed pitching in 2015.  This is what Dipoto used when he targeted these players.

  Pos Name Bats OB% vs. R
1 RF Nori Aoki Left .335
2 SS Ketel Marte Switch .373
3 2B Robinson Cano Left .348
4 DH Nelson Cruz Right .343
5 1B Adam Lind Left .380
6 3B Kyle Seager Left .330
7 LF Seth Smith Left .343
8 C Chris Iannetta Right .267
9 CF Leonys Martin Left .265

I’m assuming two things when I made this lineup card out.  The first is that Seth Smith and Franklin Gutierrez will be a true platoon, meaning Smith goes against righties and Gutierrez goes against lefties on a full time basis. 

The other thing I assumed is that Chris Iannetta and Steve Clevenger are not going to be true platoon partners.  Iannetta will be the catcher about 80% of the time regardless of the opposing pitcher.

Just for fun, and for comparison, here is a lineup we saw regularly from the M’s in 2015 with the same 2015 numbers each player wound up posting.

Pos Name Bats OB% vs. R
1 CF Austin Jackson Right .299
2 RF Seth Smith Left .343
3 2B Robinson Cano Left .348
4 DH Nelson Cruz Right .343
5 3B Kyle Seager Left .330
6 1B Logan Morrison Left .323
7 LF Dustin Ackley Left .288
8 C Mike Zunino Right .223
9 SS Brad Miller Left .350


Now we can really start to see what Jerry Dipoto sees when he envisions the new lineup.  The Mariners of 2016 simply get on base more frequently, especially at the top of the order in front of Cano and Cruz.

The insertion of Adam Lind into the mix actually bumps Seager down in the order in my mind against right handed pitching.  Lind’s .380 OB% vs righties is huge and really protects Cruz and Cano from the intentional walk while providing the same kind of power Seager produces.

I realize I’m banking a lot on Ketel Marte being able to keep up the level of production he showed late in 2015 by having him as the #2 hole guy in the lineup but all signs from the M’s are he is the guy at short.  Nick Franklin and Brad Miller are long gone.

M’s Line Up Card Vs. Left Handed Starter

Things will shift a bit when the Mariners face a south paw starter.  Here’s what I see Scott Servais dialing up when he fills out the lineup card in that situation.  I have changed the OB% to reflect the player’s 2015 performance against lefties.

Pos Name Bats OB% vs. L
1 RF Nori Aoki Left .400
2 SS Ketel Marte Switch .324
3 2B Robinson Cano Left .308
4 DH Nelson Cruz Right .435
5 3B Kyle Seager Left .324
6 LF Franklin Gutierrez Right .357
7 C Chris Iannetta Right .359
8 1B Jesus Montero Right .247
9 CF Leonys Martin Left .261


A few things have to change against a lefty in the Mariners lineup.  Gutierrez comes in to play left.  Jesus Montero comes in to play first base and Seager moves back into the #5 hole in place of Lind.

New M's catcher Chris Iannetta feasts on left handed pitching.

New M’s catcher Chris Iannetta feasts on left handed pitching.

Again, we see what Dipoto saw when he made the moves he did the past two months.  Nori Aoki is ridiculous against lefties despite being a left handed hitter.  The other new guy that really shines against lefties is catcher Chris Iannetta.  If he could run a lick, I would have put him up in the #2 hole but he can’t so Marte needs to stay there.

If you are wondering why the M’s would yank Lind against a lefty in favor of Montero consider these numbers–  Lind’s OB% drops from that scorching .380 down to .277 against lefties.  Sure, .277 is better than Montero’s .247 last year but Montero’s numbers in the bigs are very limited.  At AAA last year, Montero’s OB% against lefties was a monstrous .432.

Montero has done everything he can at AAA.  He deserves the shot to take on lefties at the big league level.  If he doesn’t perform the M’s can always run Lind out there full time.  I think Montero gets that chance in 2016.

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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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