Will the Other Pieces Fall Right for the Mariners?
I realize this covers only two-thirds of what makes a baseball team great. This features hitting and defense.
Pitching is still a big question mark as well. Looking at WAR for pitchers, the Mariners return the top three from last season (Hisashi Iwakuma, Steve Cishek and Felix Hernandez). James Paxton came in late, made 20 starts and posted a 1.0 WAR. That was better than Nate Karns and Wade Miley combined last season.
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WAR is not the end-all-be-all statistic and neither is DRS. However, you have to like those numbers coming in to replace last year’s bunch. Last year’s 24.5 WAR as a team is now at 30.9 WAR with these new players and their 2016 totals.
Last season, the now departed Mariners players netted four Defensive Runs Saved. The new players totaled a whopping 48 DRS last season. Imagine what would have happened last year if the Mariners’ defense prevented 44 more runs!
There is of course one factor no one can predict and that is health. It can derail any team, no matter how great they are. It is unrealistic to expect this team to post the same lineup with the same rotation all season long – 162 games is a battle of attrition. The deeper teams win. I believe the Mariners have depth.
The bullpen is deeper, younger and healthier. The outfield is more athletic and with guys like Guillermo Heredia and Ben Gamel, it is deep. It looks as if this team is more equipped to weather the storms that will come in a six month-long journey to October.
This should be a fun summer of Mariners baseball.