Your Complete Guide to Mariners Spring Training

Mar 30, 2016; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais against the San Diego Padres during a spring training game at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2016; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais against the San Diego Padres during a spring training game at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 6, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Guillermo Heredia (5) follows through after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports /

Players to Watch in Spring Training 2017

Most of the Opening Day positions have been set for the Seattle Mariners. No one is challenging Cano at second base or Kyle Seager at third. Felix Hernandez is still the unquestioned ace of the rotation with some familiar faces and added help below him.

Here are some players that are worth watching in spring for either a position battle or a bounce back season in 2017.

Mitch Haniger

Haniger was acquired in the megadeal that sent Ketel Marte and Taijuan Walker to Arizona and brought shortstop Jean Segura to Seattle. He is a top-level prospect with power. He hit .321 with 25 home runs in Double and Triple-A last season. He hit five homers in just 34 games for the D-backs late last season. Many think that the Opening Day right field job is his to lose this spring. He has some stiff competition, beginning with…

Ben Gamel

Gamel played for the Mariners for most of September after being acquired from the Yankees in a late-summer trade. He has plus speed. With a .200 average in 27 games for Seattle, he certainly has some work to do with the bat. He stole 19 bases in Triple-A last season, an encouraging sign for the increasingly athletic Mariners. He appeared in at least one game in all three outfield spots for Seattle last September.

Guillermo Heredia

Heredia was signed out of Cuba by Seattle before the 2016 season started. He shot his way up the system and played in 45 games for the big league club. He held his own up there, hitting .250. He needs to improve his patience at the plate and utilize his speed more. He is a plus fielder as well. Right field could be one of the deepest positions for the Mariners if all three of these players pan out.

Dan Vogelbach

Vogelbach was acquired from the Cubs in the deal that sent Mike Montgomery to Chicago. Many believe there will be a platoon between Vogelbach and Danny Valencia at first base. That position will not be just handed to him. He is going to have to show that his bat is ready for the big leagues. He went 1 for 12 with six strikeouts in his very brief appearance with the Major League club last season. The Mariners hope he can become somewhat of this year’s version of Adam Lind (platooned with Dae-Ho Lee, hit .239  with 20 home runs in 126 games). Vogelbach certainly has the pop everyone wants in their first baseman (23 HRs, .923 OPS in Triple-A last year).

Ariel Miranda

Miranda impressed after being shipped to Seattle in the deal that sent Wade Miley to the Orioles. He appeared in 11 games, 10 of those being starts. He went 5-2 with a serviceable 3.54 ERA in 56 innings. If he can build on that sample size of success, he can put some heat on the back end of the rotation guys like Gallardo and Smyly. He will likely start the year in the bullpen. However, with a fantastic spring, he may find himself in the rotation, especially if someone goes down.

Jean Segura

In the biggest trade of the offseason, the Mariners received All-Star and last year’s National League hits leader, Jean Segura. Was last year’s 203 hits and 20 home runs an anomaly? Perhaps. He never had more than 173 hits and 12 home runs previously. He takes over the shortstop spot and replaces departed Ketel Marte. Segura is certainly an upgrade with the glove and most definitely with the bat. But how much more of an upgrade? We get our first glance at the prized piece acquired in the offseason.

Mike Zunino

Zunino started last season in Tacoma, playing in 79 games in Triple-A before finishing the season in Seattle. He seemed to handle himself at the plate better. In 2015 for the Mariners, he struck out 6.3 times more than he walked. In 55 games last season, that rate was cut in half. His batting average was also 30 points higher. He will go into the season as the starting catcher but the thing to watch for is how he approaches each at bat. If he lays off breaking balls in the dirt and gets deep in counts, that could be vital to a postseason run for the M’s.