2016 O/U Wins:
2016 AL West Odds:
Projected Starting Rotation:
Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Wade Miley, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton
Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, Mark Trumbo, James Jones, Danny Fahquhar, Tom Wilhemson.
Wade Miley, Adam Lind, Leonys Martin, Steve Cishek, Joaquin Benoit, Chris Iannetta
Handicapper's Take: "New GM Jerry Dipoto engineered a significant offseason makeover for one of the most disappointing teams in baseball last year. First year, first time manager Scott Servais is a former major leaguer, but his previous experience has all been in the front office, first in Texas as their Director of Player Development, then in LA as the Angels assistant GM. Servais is Dipoto’s buddy, having worked under him in LA; a curious hire.
In 2014, when the Mariners were a young, improving team on the come, their bullpen was elite, winning 25 games and leading the majors in bullpen ERA. Last year, one of many things that went completely wrong for Seattle was the collapse of that same bullpen. The pen lost a whopping 36 games, second most in the majors. Their ERA went up by more than a run and a half, while the bullpen strikeout rate dropped from #5 in the majors to #20. Many of DiPoto’s offseason moves centered around improving a bullpen that cost them eight games where they had a ninth inning lead. Charlie Furbush is healthy after missing the second half of the season; youngster Tony Zych will get an opportunity after an impressive September call-up and either Steve Cishek or Joaquin Benoit is likely to be the closer. We have to expect that this bullpen will be better.
And there’s upside with the Mariners starting rotation. King Felix has thrown at least 30 starts in each of the last ten years; a true ace. Iwakuma has pinpoint control and he has had a WAR of +2 or better in all four of his big league seasons, signed to an incentive laden deal. Both James Paxton and Taijuan Walker have shown flashes of brilliance, although consistency has been a concern. If (and yes, that’s a big if) this rotation lives up to its potential, Seattle should be in the thick of the AL West race.
But I’m not convinced that the Mariners lineup that finished ranked #13 out of 15 AL teams in runs scored last year is primed for a breakout campaign. Nelson Cruz is a regression candidate after raising his OPS by 67 points last year. Robinson Cano hit .238 with four home runs over the first half of the season before exploding in the second half. Other than that duo and third baseman Kyle Seager, this is not an offense loaded with punch."
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