Power surge in AZ
Jack Z, and the rest of the Mariners front office set out to do one thing this off season; add some bats.
It looks like their plan has worked, for now.
The Mariners are tearing the cover off of the ball from every spot in the lineup, but does the higher elevation, drier air, and spring training pitching have more to do with this than anything else?
That is the question we all are wondering at this point of the pre-season. Come opening day in Oakland, I guess we will see.
The Mariners are getting home run numbers by the new guys, which is nice for a change, but the biggest explanation point to the power of this spring is the HR output of both Franklin Gutierrez, and Carlos Peguaro.
Peguaro, and Gutierrez both have three, as of Tuesday, which ties for the team lead.
This is probably not quite what Eric Wedge was wanting as the spring season started, having brought in three new outfielders over the winter.
Gutierrez is a player trying to keep his job after suffering far too many injuries to keep a count of the past few seasons, while Peguaro is a youngster who thought he would have a spot on this years team at the end of last year.
The three new players have a combined 5 HR’s on the spring, with both Bay, and Ibanez having two each.
What this means for Seattle
Those numbers will have more of an effect on management than they have in the past, simply because of the walls being moved in at Safeco Field this year.
The dimensions at the Peoria Sports Complex look like this: LF 340, CF 410, RF 340. A pretty big field actually, one that these Mariners should not be clobbering the ball out of on a daily basis.
Now move up to Seattle and the newly redesigned outfield; LF 331, CF 401, RF 326. Plus, the power alleys both got moved in quite a bit as well; LF Alley 378, RF Alley 381.
Seems a lot smaller than down in Arizona doesn’t it?
This is what this new team is built for, and the test run down in the Cactus League has been an overwhelming success so far.
One can only hope that the competition of spring helps the power numbers of the players who will actually be making the trip up north come the first of the month.
Support from all around
Not only have the HR numbers been up, but overall offensive production has been at what seems like an all time high after watching the anemic offenses of the Mariners for the past decade.
Leading the way through Tuesday is Franklin Gutierrez with 7 RBI.
Another player who has everything to play for this spring in Justin Smoak, who, as you can remember, had an outstanding September after being recalled from AAA Tacoma at the end of the 2012 season.
Smoak is hitting .500 with 2 doubles, 2 HR’s, and 5 RBI’s.
Newly signed 1b Kendrys Morales on the other hand is hitting .357 with o doubles, 1 HR, and 2 RBI’s.
Advantage Smoak. At least at this point in the spring.
If nothing else, the moves made by Jack Z this off season created position battles at nearly every spot on the diamond.
And as the Seattle Seahawks can attest, this is only a good thing when you want to change from a losing team into a winning team.
A decade plus in the making, and it finally seems like we are going to see this rebuilding project take the form of a decent baseball team.
At I hope that we can.