To lead you into the MLB season Stoop Sports’ MLB staff is embarking on a 30 day journey, where we will give you pre-season profiles of all thirty teams. Each writer was given the artistic liberty to format their previews to their liking. Enjoy, and happy spring training!
The Mariners struggled in 2012, not being able to compete with the top teams in baseball as their rotation and lineup were simply average. However, in the offseason the Mariners really improved their club and the development of their young players could lead to big things in 2012.
When the Mariners missed out on the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes they turned to plan B, Michael Morse. Morse had a great year for the Nationals in 2012 hitting 18 homeruns with an average of .291. He will be asked to be a major run producer for the Mariners as his role will be much greater than it was last year for the Nationals.
Kendrys Morales could also turn out to be an incredible addition. Morales was once a top first basemen in baseball but suffered a broken leg and just hasn’t seen been the same producer that he once was. But a change in scenery for the switch hitting DH could be beneficial for the Mariners and his career.
The rest of the Mariners offense relies greatly on how the young talent around this team can perform and develop. The Mariners have former top prospects playing everyday roles for the team and players like Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley, and Justin Smoak, who need to build upon last year and improve their play. Each has shown the potential of doing big things for the Mariners, but these players need to be more consistent and produce at much higher levels if Seattle wants to compete with the juggernauts of the AL West.
A potential breakout candidate for the Seattle Mariners is right fielder Michael Saunders. Saunders has displayed a knack for hitting the ball out of the yard and in an increased role, could improve upon his numbers from last year and become a dangerous hitter.
The Mariners greatest weapon istheir king, Felix Hernandez. The fireballing right hander is arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball and his new contract should motivate him to be the dominant ace of this staff for many more years. Unfortunately, Hernandez can only pitch every fifth day and the rest of the rotation is shallow and underdeveloped. The Mariners will need veteran Joe Saunders, and second year foreign stud Hisashi Iwakuma to provide stability to the rotation.
The Mariners do boost a tremendous farm system and hope to have some of their elite prospects progress and end up in the show sometime soon. Pitchers Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker both project to be front line starters, and catcher Mike Zunino is almost big league ready.
The Mariners took a step in the right direction this offseason as they made some moves that make the team better and more capable of competing with other teams in the divisions. Yet they are still a couple years away from being true contenders as the development of their young talent is crucial to the future of this team. They are not there yet, but 2013 will prove that the Mariners are ready to push their way out of mediocrity.
4th place in AL West with record of 79-83