Offseason Position Questions
Let’s face it, the 2011 Seattle Mariners season was an experiment. Expectations were low and there was a new line up of players virtually every game.
The management really utilized the farm system this year bringing in 18 rookies over the course of the season.
Really in his first year in Seattle Eric Wedge had to be made aware of who his franchise had hired and what they were capable of. However what wasn’t expected was that veteran Chone Figgins would have another season of record lows.
Fans grew angry with Figgins until he ended up on the disabled list opening up the door for some youngsters to audition in the third base slot.
With Figgins, Seager, and Kennedy all eligible to play the position it begs the question of who the starter will be come opening day.
What’s the case for Chone Figgins?
With the possibility of Ichiro being moved around in the lineup next season, this could pave the way for Figgins to have a shot as being the starting third basemen.
- Speed. In 2005 Figgins did have 62 stolen bases for the Angels. If he can get on base he can be a difference maker for a struggling offense.
- Leadership. Although he may not be a fan favorite, he is often referenced by team mates as being a good mentor. The young team could use that.
- Batting Average, On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage and pretty much every offensive category is essentially non-existent in his Mariners tenure. Can a 33 year old bounce back from 2 good seasons?
- Defense. Figgins has 11 errors in only 81 games this season. The move back to 3rd was supposed to increase his defensive presence instead his fielding percentage decreased from .973 to .943. Not good
Whats the case for Adam Kennedy?
With the Mariners team what it was this season, Kennedy was essentially the only one giving them consistently good at bats. It isn’t set in stone but I would imagine he stays with the M’s again in 2012.
- Leadership. Kennedy has a lot of experience. Seattle is his 5th big league team. He is willing to play every day or once a week. He has a lot to share with younger guys. He will probably be a coach at some point.
- Defense. While Kennedy can play third his more natural position is second. His career fielding percentage at third is only .944 which make him an acceptable back up but not a preferred starter.
What’s the case for Alex Liddi?
The Italian born Liddi is currently #10 on the Mariners top prospect list. In his first 15 games he seemed to bring a lot of energy and passion to the plate. There is no doubt that he has had a slow start in his MLB career. He has been in the Seattle farm system since 2006.
However the time in the minors is supposed to be training for the big leagues. He seems to have been steadily making improvements to his game.
- Pop. Liddi hit 30 home runs in AAA Tacoma. The Mariners need more pop. Enough said.
- Strike outs. Liddi is a free swinger. In Tacoma he struck out 170 times. That’s a LOT.
- Defense. Liddi only has a career fielding percentage of .939 which could cost the Mariners quite a lot in the course of the season.
What’s the case for Kyle Seager?
Kyle has been over shadowed a lot by his college team mate Dustin Ackley, but he has shown a lot of promise. His numbers are reflective of a rookie season and fans should expect an improvement over the next year. Seager will be likely be the favorite coming into spring training for the opening day spot at third.
- Hits. Seager sees the ball well and once he gets comfortable in Seattle should post a Batting average in the .300 range. In Tacoma he hit .387 and in a full season in A High Desert he hit .345
- Defense. This kid is proving to be the M’s most solid performer on the field.
- Base Running. Seager can get on base but doesn’t seem to make it around the horn much. He is not a base stealer nor super aggressive on the base paths. Although this seems like something the coaches can work on in the future.