2012 MLB Handicapping: Seattle Mariners
For the 2nd season in a row last year the Mariners scored the fewest runs in the Majors. Seattle finished up at 67-95 and while they have a good staff they did not do much to upgrade their team and traded away their 2nd starter Michael Pineda for highly touted prospect Jesus Montero.
Odds to win the World Series +10000
Odds win the AL Pennant +6000
Odds to win the AL West +3000
Ichiro is still a great hitter, but he is on the decline and for the first time in his career he will hit from the 3 spot rather than the leadoff spot.
The offense may be better this season, but playing in the less-than-hitter friendly Safeco Field the pitching is still key. Still, the Mariners have to score runs to win and odds makers don’t think Seattle has much of a chance this season, as they are major long shots even to win their division.
How will the Mariners fare this season?
Let’s take a look.
Former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez will anchor the rotation, but the loss of Pineda will hurt. Jason Vargas will be the #2 starter and Hisashi Iwakuma must stay healthy, as shoulder problems kept him from fulfilling his potential last season.
If the starters pitch well and the offense scores some runs the Mariners will be in good shape late in games since they have one of the best closers in the game in Brandon League.
Middle relief is a minor concern, but last season the bullpen had the 3rd lowest ERA in the Majors last season.
Jesus Montero has a ton of potential and he hit over .325 after being called up by the Yankees last season. Besides Montero the Mariners have a couple young guys that can hit, but are still a bit unproven in Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak.
Watch out for Canadian Michael Saunders as well in 2012.
He’s having a great spring.
These young players have to have good seasons for the Mariners to have any shot.
Ichiro Suzuki hit for a career low .272 last season and Chone Figgins was below the Mendoza line and Seattle needs to squeeze one more productive season out of each of these guys. These 2 need to get on base and steal some bases and if they struggle it will put a ton of pressure on the pitching staff.
2012 Mariners MLB Projections
The Mariners will have a good season from their pitching staff and they will play good D, but while their offense will be better than last season they will still struggle to score runs.
I just don’t see a DRAMATIC improvement coming in just one year.
From the top to the bottom of the batting order there are a ton of question marks and if Jesus Montero does not pan out Seattle may be in big trouble for what they gave up for him.
I don’t think the Mariners will lose as many games as they did last season, but I still see them in 3rd place of the AL West.
Projected win total: 77-85