Mariners Breaking News: Figgins to lead off Ichiro now hitting 3rd

Ichiro Has A New Role

Reports out of the Seattle Mariners spring training facility in Peoria, Arizona on Tuesday morning have Mariners manager Eric Wedge moving Ichiro Suzuki to the number three spot in the batting order for the upcoming season.

Wedge has stated that Ichiro gives the club the best chance at scoring runs this season, a spot that the Mariners desperately need to improve upon from the past few seasons.

Wedge also went on record saying he is giving Chone Figgens “the first shot” at hitting lead off for the Mariners this season.

With that in mind, I give you five things to expect out of Ichiro Suzuki batting third for your Seattle Mariners in 2012!

1. Runs galore

With the proposed 1-3 lineup of Chone Figgins, Dustin Ackley, and Ichiro, there will be ample opportunities for runs to be scored this season for the Mariners.

If Figgins can get his bat going once again, and Ackley proves to be the big league hitter that he showed us  a glimpse of last year, Ichiro will have multiple chances per game at knocking in runners. His gappers will be things of beauty, especially when two runs cross the plate.

2. Lethal speed one through three

As noted above, get Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley on, and they will be a force to be reckoned with. Ichiro is such a dangerous hitter that the hit and run can almost be on during every situation. Or even a base hit through the infield will score at least one run.

Speed in hitters 1-3 can disrupt a pitchers timing, the defenses timing, and become very exciting baseball to watch. It will be strange at first to see Ichiro at the three spot, but I think Wedge is on to something good here.

3. Better pitches for the two and four guys

Depending on what Figgins does leading off a ball game, with Ichiro hitting third, Ackley will most likely see better pitches. If Figgins gets out, instead of Ackley seeing pitches in the dirt trying to induce a ground ball, he will see pitches up in the zone.

Chone Figgins

With the 1-4 combo of Figgins, Ackley, Ichiro, and Carp, those one runs losses will turn into two run wins.

Same goes with the number four hitter. If Ichrio does his job of moving the runners up, the number four batter (whom I think will be Mike Carp), will see balls up in the zone with the pitcher trying to get Carp to pop up.

And we all know what happens when a breaking ball gets hung over the sweet spot of the zone. It gets crushed! This lineup will help the power numbers of whomever Wedge decides to go with at number four.

4. Power numbers increased

We have all seen the magnificence of Ichiro’s long ball in batting practice. Now, for the first time in his career, he will have a chance to showcase that power in live ball games.

His RBI totals will go up exponentially. Especially with the speed on base in front of him, one of his signature line drives will surely score two runs.

I’m most looking forward to seeing what his homerun total will be after this season though. I’m predicting anywhere from 25-30 HR’s this season, with an RBI total of 121. And maybe finally an appearance in the homerun derby!

5. More wins

The Mariners have one of the better defensive teams in baseball, and if they can score an average of even two more runs a ball game, that will come close to doubling their win total from last year.

The M’s lost a majority of their games by two runs or fewer. Starting pitching is good, and the bullpen is even better this year. The only thing lacking is run production.

With the 1-4 combo of Figgins, Ackley, Ichiro, and Mike Carp, those one runs losses will turn into two run wins.

Want to read more of my thoughts on this topic? I touched on this in a prior article: Chone Figgins to lead off for the Seattle Mariners?


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About Clinton Bell

NWSB Editor. Born and raised in Friday Harbor. Even though he makes his home in Mesa still bleeds Seattle Blue and Green. Mariners Seahawks Sounders till the day he dies! Bring back his Sonics! Connect with Clinton today!
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  • Berrythekid

    Fine Ichiro lower in the line up, but Figgins in the lead off is a slap in the face to the fans. He was pretty much booed out of the line up last year, and when they continued to play him attendants dropped dramatically. Does Wedge and Zduriencik think the fans memories are that bad that we don’t remember his two lousy years. Or that we forgot about Figgins trying to take a swing at the then Manager for yanking him out of a game for lack of hustle?? Sorry no Figgins. Zduriencik face up to your mammoth blunder. Eat the remaining cash owed to Figgins get rid of him, and move on.

    • Clinton

      Oh yes, Figgins has got to go, but in the mean time, the M’s need to win ball games. We’ve been rebuilding for a decade now, the projects are over, we need to see results. Figgins is not the only one to blame, but yes, it has been a major blunder on the part of Jack Z. If I were him, I’d just eat his contract like you said, and designate him for assingment.

  • nextgm

    What are you smoking Clinton? In response to your article! Moving Ichiro down in the lineup is a good move. Ichiro hitting 25 to 30 homeruns is not going to happen. He may hit 15 and he may drive in 60 to 70 runs.
     As for Figgins? It doesn’t appear that he is part of our long range plans, so the Mariners are trying to jump start his bat so they can unload him at the dead line.
     I have said it before and I’ll say it again! This team will be competetive, but it is going to have its growing pains. With all the young talent we have it will take a while to find its true character.  We sure aren’t going to double are wins and I find it a bit of a stretch to see more than a one run improvement in our offense this year.
     I am looking forward to an interesting year of developement. Which players are going to mature and have their break out year and which ones will struggle. Time will tell and it should be fun year. Go Mariners!

    • Clinton

      The only thing I’m smoking is whatever the management has been smoking for the last 11 years. This is the best lineup move they’ve made since the arrival of Ichiro. He is by far the smartest hitter on the club. He has quicker bat speed than any other player on the team, and can go deep at will. He has never had the chance to be at the plate in power situations day in and day out. If Figgins and Ackley do what they are supposed to ahead of him, he will drive in 100+ no problem. As for the long balls, I know that is a streach, but I expect him to hit upward of 20. He is getting older, but he is still the best hitter on the team, power wise and situational wise.

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