We continue to take a look at each of the Astros AL West rivals culminating in a microscopic look at our own Astros. Today we will focus on the Seattle Mariners. We will include some stats from 2019 and 2020 since 2020 was such an odd wad season.
- Last Playoff season – 2001 when their unbelievable 116-46 team lost to the Yanks in the ALCS
- Last Playoff winning series – 2001 when they beat the Indians in the ALDS
- They have never been to the World Series in their 44 seasons
- 2019 Record – 68-95 5th place in the AL West – 39 games back / 35-46 at home / 33-48 on road / 23-26 one run games / 9-4 extra inning games – They were 1-18 against the Astros!!!
- Hitting – 4.68 runs/game (10th in AL) / .237 BA (14th) / .316 OBP (10th) / .740 OPS (10th) / 239 HRs (7th)
- Pitching – 5.51 runs/game (13th in AL) / 1.382 WHIP (9th) / 34 saves (8th) – Starters – 5.21 ERA (9th) / Relievers – 4.77 ERA (12th)
- 2020 Record – 27-33 3rd place in the AL West – 9 games back / 14-10 at home / 13-23 on road / 7-8 one run games / 2-3 extra inning games -They were 3-7 against the Astros
- Hitting – 4.23 runs/game (12th in AL) / .226 BA (13th) / .309 OBP (T12th) / .678 OPS (14th) / 60 HRs (14th)
- Pitching – 5.05 runs / game (10th) / 1.378 WHIP (11th) / 15 saves (8th) – Starters – 4.41 ERA (7th) / Relievers – 5.92 (15th)
The Mariners were the worst team in the AL West in 2019, starting off with a crazy 13-2 start, where they were scoring an unsustainable 7.8 runs per game. They went 55-93 the rest of the way sinking into the AL West cellar. In 2020 their hitting worsened and their pitching improved, which allowed them to crawl up into the 3rd spot in the division. Drop offs by the Rangers and the Angels helped them with that climb. In addition, the Mariners have gone from middle of the road age-wise to one of the youngest teams in the bigs.
The Mariners offense was below average in 2019 and dipped to plain poor in 2020. And though trader Joe (GM Jerry Dipoto) basically left the positional players alone in the offseason, there is real reason for hope. Catcher Tom Murphy, who enjoyed half a break out season in 2019 (18 HRs and 40 RBIs in 73 games) returns from a foot injury that kept him out of 2020. Former All-Star Mitch Haniger has not played since the day in July 2019, when he fouled a Justin Verlander pitch off his (groin) area resulting in mulitple surgeries for that or for core and back injuries tied to that injury. His return is a huge boost to the offense. Dylan Moore, who hit well in a small sample as a utility player in 2020 takes over the second base starting spot. Ty France came over in a trade from the Padres in 2020 and his strong performance puts him forward as the full time DH (though his .390 BAbip from 2020 is not sustainable). Rookie of the Year CF Kyle Lewis will only get better and they hope that OF Jake Fraley overcomes his terrible cameos the last couple of season to become the third outfielder going forward. 1B Evan White, SS J.P. Crawford and 3B Kyle Seager return with the thought that all three will have better 2021’s with a better lineup around them. The M’s could get back to an AL average hitting team with a little luck.
The Mariner’s starters were the best part of the team the last two seasons, going from average to above average in 2020. Ace Marco Gonzales (7-2, 3.10 ERA) returns along with solid Justus Sheffield (4-3, 3.58 ERA). The big move the M’s made was picking up former Seattle ace, James Paxton in free agency. After six strong seasons in the Northwest Paxton had a good year in 2019 for the Yankees, followed by a year mostly wiped out by off-season back surgery followed by elbow problems during the year. He finally got into a ST game this week and was excellent with 8 Ks in 4.1 innings. The team also needs something better out of Yusei Kikuchi, who was a top notch pitcher in Japan for years and has been a bad pitcher for the M’s the last two seasons. The depth chart shows Chris Flexen, signed as a Free Agent from the Mets as the 5th starter, though if he does not win the job (as his numbers from New York were horrible) the M’s may turn to Nick Margevicius, who was decent (2-3, 4.57 ERA) last season. The M’s may improve a tad and have an above average rotation
The M’s bullpen was bad in 2019 and in 2020 they were the worst in the American League. As many a laid off employee has heard, the M’s have decided to “go in another direction” at the high leveraged spots in the pen. They traded for veteran reliever Rafael Montero from the Rangers, who was excellent in 2019 and OK in 2020, to be their closer. They signed Free Agent reliever Keynan Middleton from the Angels, who was excellent in 2018 and 2019 and bad in 2020 to be their main set-up man. Kendall Graveman, once a promising starter with the A’s returns one year further removed from TJ surgery after a poor 2020. Brady Lail, Casey Sadler and Anthony Miesevicz return after so-so seasons. The M’s did sign former Astros closer and BFF of A.J. Hinch, Ken Giles, to a two year contract. Of course this was after having arm surgery last September, so he will not be able to help out until 2022. It is hard not to see another year of poor performance overall from this bullpen.
2021 Prediction: 74-88 and 4th in the AL West
The M’s are a very young club. They could threaten the .500 mark in 2021 and possibly slide into 3rd spot in the West, but their focus is probably a year or two further down the line.