The Seattle Mariners are supposed to be good
next this year. That much hasn’t been true in a long time, or at least it hasn’t been reasonable in a long time. They’re there now, and presumably are going to be a good baseball team barring something totally unforseen. Which totally never happens in baseball. Totally.
After the recent acquisitions of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano, it’s been speculated that the 2015 Mariners are complete. They’re shored up the offense, kept enough of the defense, and maintained the rotation and bullpen. No holes, or something close to no holes.
But is that really the case? Let’s pop on over to Fangraphs depth charts, which are awesome. Here you’ll find every position on every team projected and ranked in order based on those projections. It’s a heck of a tool, and we’ll use it here to quickly show how the Mariners stand relative to the rest of the majors.
First Base: 25th
Second Base: 1st
Third Base: 6th
Left Field: 17th
Center Field: 16th
Right Field: 18th
Designated Hitter: 6th
Starting Pitching: 3rd
Relief Pitching: 8th
At the end of the day, the Mariners project to be one of the best teams in baseball. But there are certainly some obvious areas where they lag behind a great deal: catcher, first, and the entire outfield. While the roster may seem balanced at first glance, looking at it in this light shows how this is still partially a “stars and scrubs” team.
Maybe you believe in Logan Morrison and Jesus Montero at first. That’s fine, but there’s a reasonable argument to be made that 24 teams are better situated right now. Mike Zunino is awesome defensively, but at some point he’ll have to get on base. Same goes for Jesus Sucre. And the outfield… well, it took the M’s an offseason to get where they are right now. Probably not a lot of reason to believe they’re going to make a big move there.
The team isn’t going to add anyone behind the plate or past the infield dirt, so if you’re hoping for another M’s upgrade this offseason, you’re hoping for a platoon/backup first baseman. Which… isn’t a lot to hope for. Montero’s hard to project, given that he’s been a wreck off the field and allegedly has made huge conditioning gains over the offseason. Maybe LoMo really did just break out. Maybe the M’s are set absolutely everywhere.
Or maybe Zunino never hits, Morrison is his usual injured self, Austin Jackson really sucks now, Dustin Ackley can’t hit or throw, the right field platoon fizzles out, and the Mariners are left trying to field an entire team of infielders. Who knows. I mean, nobody knows, now. We’ll all know, in nine months.
The 2015 Seattle Mariners should compete, but they have some roster holes to worry about. But then again, so does everyone. The difference is that the M’s project to be a top ten team. That’s a good place to be.