September 3, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34, left) fist pumps second baseman Robinson Cano (22, right) after the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
I know 2014 just ended, and we have the ‘Hawks to look forward to every Sunday. But it’s impossible to not be ecstatic about the future of baseball in Seattle. April 6th can’t come soon enough.
The improvement in many of our young players this year was exciting to watch.
- Kyle Seager claimed his spot as a bona-fide star.
- Dustin Ackley finally turned the corner and looks to be entering the prime of his career.
- Michael Saunders showed not just flashes of brilliance, but the consistency he had been missing earlier in his career, although health remains an issue.
- Logan Morrison had his best year as a pro, offensively and defensively.
- James Jones burst onto the scene in May with one of the best first months by a rookie we’ve ever seen. His value as a late-game pinch runner remains extremely beneficial to the team.
- Chris Taylor’s defense was always there, but his hitting was the one thing that had scouts concerned. He hit almost .300 after being called up in late July.
- Mike Zunino showed the power we’d all been waiting for hitting 22 in 2014. He led the team in home runs per at bat with 5% of his at-bats resulting in home runs. The drop in average from .214 in 2013 to .199 in 2014 is concerning however.
- James Paxton everybody!
- Taijuan Walker and Roenis Elias both had ups and downs, but both flashed top-line starter capabilities.
- Rookies Dominic Leone and Carson Smith were fantastic out of the bullpen.
Throw in arguably the best pitcher and second baseman in baseball, and the future for the Mariners is something to get excited about! I hope it feels as good reading that last sentence as it did to type it.
With further ado, here are 5 bold predictions for the 2015 Seattle Mariners.