December 7, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category Mariners .
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June 04, 2013
Ike Davis and comfort at the plateAll stats are as of Sunday, June 2
Living in New York, I am often subjected to sports talk radio. As I'm sure most people know, the New York media love controversy. This being said, one thing the talking heads have been discussing more than anything else is Mets first baseman Ike Davis and the possibility of him being demoted to the minors.
Davis, 26, is hitting .168/.245/.272 (.230 wOBA, 44 wRC+) in 177 plate appearances. As a team that is currently in transition and is still trying to figure out its core, the Mets have to be disappointed in Davis so far.
After strong and injury-plagued 2010 and 2011 campaigns, respectively, Davis struggled out of the gate in 2012 (.178/.228/.296 in first 171 PAs) and by the end of May there were talks of him being sent to Triple-A Buffalo. However, he quickly turned it around and from June 1 on, he hit .253/.341/.536 and finished the year with 32 homers. With a very good last four months, it seemed safe to think Davis would continue to hit in 2013.
It seems like deja vu because of what happened last year. However, although the slash lines are similar, there seems to be a little bit more swing and miss in his game. He's striking out in almost one-third of his plate appearances, while swinging and missing on 13.4 percent of the pitches he sees. It's kind of crazy to see a player struggle so mightily to find consistency.
For me, this lack of consistency for Davis comes from tinkering with his swing. Looking back at some video, it appears Davis has tried different stances over the years since making his debut in 2010. Here's a look with some screen caps:
Davis was going well at the time of the first two pictures, but he has two different stances. He seems to be more upright in 2010 while being in more of a crouch and maybe a little wider in 2012. He is seen using these same two basic stances in April and May of this year. He's also tried different toe taps and strides over the years and during the early part of this season.
Not being able to settle down with one stance will clearly take a toll on a player's ability to consistently produce, but it could hurt his mental toughness as well. Let's look at two spray charts, one from when he was consistently putting up solid numbers (2010-2011) and one when he was having trouble doing so (2012-2013):
It's clear that he's become more pull-happy in the last two years, while he was more of an all-fields hitter from 2010-2011. There seem to be more hits to left field and center field and even some more power to center field during the first two years.
The idea of a hitter losing himself isn't new; in fact, we saw it with Dustin Ackley just a couple of weeks ago. The Seattle second baseman was the second pick of the 2009 amateur draft and and made a successful big league debut in 2011 (117 wRC+ in 376 PAs). Since the start of 2012, however, he has hit .221/.288/.312, prompting the team to send him to Triple-A to work on his game. Here's what Mariners manager Eric Wedge had to say about it (via MLB.com):
"It's not his swing anymore," Wedge said. "He's in a pretty good position fundamentally. But I do think it's the mental that leads to the fundamental, the mental that leads to the actual performance. Listen, he's going to be a good hitter. He's going to be a good player. He's done a [heck] of a job at second base. … He gets down the line quicker than anybody, he can steal a bag, he cuts the bases as good as anybody. There's a lot there to like.
I think Wedge brings up a good point here because Ackley has had success at the major league level. Davis is a similar case, but it seems that they have each struggled with the mental side of hitting. The M's sent Ackley down with the hopes that he can work on his approach in a more relaxed setting while getting some confidence back. It might take reset in Las Vegas for Davis to get back to being productive, but after the turnaround he had last year, patience might be the best move.
Posted by: Matt Filippi
October 18, 2012
Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin, and the future of second base in SeattleThe Seattle Mariners weren't expected to be competitive this season, but they were expecting to have some high-points to build upon. One of main causes of pre-season excitement was the anticipation of Dustin Ackley first full-season in the majors, and the start of a new era of Mariners offense.
Fast forward six months, and there are questions about Ackley's future after he hit just .226/.294/.328 on the 2012 season as a part of a putrid offensive team performance.
The Seattle Mariners offense has been so bad for the past few seasons their management finally caved and agreed to move in the fences for next season.
The Mariners have been desperate to conjure up some offense in any way they can, to the point that they traded a young, team-controlled pitching prospect (the most valued commodity in baseball) for a catching prospect destined to become a lifetime DH. You can argue whether or not the Mariners knew something about Michael Pineda's arm that the Yankees didn't, but regardless, the pitching for hitting trade signified just how desperate the Mariners have become to find offense.
That desperation is only going to get stronger, as ace Felix Hernandez is joined in their starting rotation by a stable of young pitching prospects, led by Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton. That group of pitching prospects is as good as any trio in one organization as there is in baseball right now, and the Mariners don't have to look too far into the future to see a day when they have a playoff-caliber starting rotation.
Now they have to figure out how to have a decent offense to support it.
It remains to be seen how the new fences will change the offensive strategy of the Mariners, but it won't be a cure-all for their offensive woes. There's no doubting the effect of Safeco Park on offensive production, and enough has been written about it that I don't need to touch on it here, but the fact remains that the Mariners offense hit just .247/.300/.403 on the road, meaning they just weren't that good no matter where they played.
The new dimensions could benefit Ackley as much as anybody, but his .658 OPS on the road signifies much larger problems with his offensive game.
There were those who doubted Ackley's bat when the Mariners selected him second overall in 2009, but one season is certainly not enough time for the Mariners to give up on him. When, in their desperate search for more offense, the Mariners look towards their farm system, however, they find Nick Franklin, a shortstop who has been playing more and more second base in each of his professional seasons.
Franklin is the closest thing the Mariners have to a major league-ready offensive contributor in their farm system. Drafted as a shortstop, Franklin played almost as much second base in 2012 and is playing there primarily in the Arizona Fall League. Most scouts don't believe in Franklin as a shortstop, and their shifting of him towards second base indicates that the Mariners don't either.
The problem is that Franklin will be ready for the majors before the Mariners are prepared to make a decision on Ackley's future. Franklin will begin the 2013 season in Triple-A, where he spent the second half of 2012. He struggled there slightly offensively, but should be fine there next season. If he remains healthy and hits the way he has in has throughout his minor league career, he should be ready for the majors by mid-season.
Franklin should offer more power than Ackley, but it was Ackley's hitting acumen that got him drafted in the first place. Ackley has acclimated himself nicely to second base, but he's no gold-glover there and could find a new home in the field. No matter how much Ackley struggles, it's hard to envision a scenario in which the Mariners are ready to give up on him by the 2013 all-star break. Come July, the Mariners are going to have to find a way to get both Franklin and Ackley in their major league lineup.
The obvious answer is to leave Franklin at shortstop for the time being. He'd certainly be an offensive upgrade over the defense-only Brendan Ryan, who literally didn't hit his weight this season, but the Mariners have built their current roster around pitching and defense, and this could constitute a major philosophical change.
Which may not be the worst thing. But it's not a long-term answer.
Franklin may be able to handle shortstop for the second half of the 2013 season, and if the Mariners are out of contention, then they might as well make the defensive sacrifice in order to get both him and Ackley major league at-bats. But ideally, Franklin and Ackley both become productive major league hitters, right? Then what?
One of them will almost certainly have to play in the outfield. Ackley has played first base, but no matter how he progresses, he's almost certain to be an offensive black hole compared to other first basemen. Even as a corner outfielder, Ackley will have below-average power and will have to be a .330 hitter to be better than league average. Additionally, his weak throwing arm would limit him to left field.
The Mariners haven't had to cross this bridge yet, but it's coming. Franklin should be the Mariners shortstop by the end of the season, but defensively, he's not their long-term solution at the position. His bat should have enough power in it, however, that the power-hungry Mariners will need to get him in their lineup one way or another.
Ideally for the Mariners, Ackley begins to hit as expected and gives the Mariners a problem like this to deal with. Otherwise, the answer could be painfully simple.
Posted by: Jeff Moore
April 23, 2012
Run Ryan, runThe last out of Philip Humber’s perfect game brought some controversy as an umpire’s call was questioned. The last pitch was on 3-2 count involving a called third strike on a checked swing.
The problem, though, was missed. The controversy should not be about the call itself, but Brendan Ryan’s reaction. Down to your last out in a 4-0 game, instead of attempting to get on base, you argue the call instead of running to first base?!? I think Ryan, if he would have run, probably would have been safe at first.
Yes, Ryan could have ended a perfect game by being safe and also the 27th out, since Humber would have been credited for the strikeout. In fact, if Ryan would have run, the discussion of Brian Runge’s call on the checked swing would have been muted immediately.
The real problem was Ryan’s lack of hustle.
Given that, I still want to take a look at Runge’s call. Interesting enough, it was one of the Fox national games, opposite the Red Sox and Yankees. Significantly, this means the game’s camera coverage was increased a bit.
We—at least, I—have not yet seen a first-base angle replay of the check swing. This leads some people to speculate that MLB is just trying to hide the fact that Runge’s call was incorrect. Most likely the reason for a lack of replay is less sinister.
The center field camera was used to record the pitch, and a normal set of cameras was prepared to cover the live action. Any remaining cameras available to record the batter and different angles probably were used to record the reaction of the White Sox’s dugout, Humber, etc.
Since checked swings are not a reviewable call, the production team has the option not to record it at every angle. Watching a replay of the last pitch and the events surrounding it, it is pretty clear the Fox production team was scrambling a bit. It was a fairly unique circumstance.
But here lies the problem with a fan’s expectation of replays and the reality of the production of a televised baseball game. If something is not reviewable, the production team is under little obligation be able to produce replay material for it. As I believe happened in Humber’s perfect game, Fox used extra cameras for entertainment value.*
*This is why, in a previous post about instant replay, I included uniform standards across games and stadiums for instant replay specifically so something like this could not happen on a reviewable call.
Like most people, Fox did not anticipate a called third strike on a checked swing where the catcher missed the ball and the batter argued before running to first.
Thus, we circle back to the real problem: Brendan Ryan didn’t run.
Posted by: Mat Kovach
March 28, 2012
Extremely early awards votingSure, it's only one game (Mariners 3-1 over the A's in 11 in Tokyo), but a few players already have set themselves apart from the competition, establishing themselves are early front-runners for the American League MVP and Cy Young awards. Here's a look at the candidates and their credentials.
1. Dustin Ackley is slugging 1.000 and on pace for 162 homers, the same number of stolen bases, 324 RBI, and an equal number of runs scored. Naturally, all of those would be major league records. He had the game-winning RBI in Wednesday's contest, too, so he has the clutchiness factor working for him.
2. Ackley's 324-hit pace would shatter the current record. However, Ichiro Suzuki is looking to protect his status as the record holder in that category by getting off on a 648-hit pace, nearly 400 base knocks over the current record of 262 safties. Also, Ichiro's .800 batting average would make Ted Williams' .406 mark look pathetic in comparison.
3. A distant third, Cliff Pennington is batting .400 with a stolen base. Hey, someone has to get those third-place votes.
If you prefer to put one of the pitchers below in the MVP discussion, that's completely understandable. For now, I'm keeping the hitters and hurlers separate.
AL Cy Young
1. He didn't get the Opening Day win, but a low win total didn't stop Felix Hernandez from bringing home the hardware a couple of seasons ago. His eight-inning, six-strikeout, one-run, five-hit, no-walk performance enabled the Mariners to stay in the game long enough for Ackley to execute his heroics. And Hernandez's 1.13 ERA would be just off Bob Gibson's 1968 record of 1.12.
2. Brandon McCarthy did his best to keep pace with King Felix, but he managed to twirl only seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball. He also didn't walk anyone (nor did any other pitcher on either staff), but his mere three punchouts hint at a lack of dominance that could weaken his case as the season progresses.
3. Brandon League preserved the M's win, throwing a shutout frame in the 11th inning, whiffing two batters while allowing one hit. Sure, saves are overrated, but League's peripheral numbers show he's more than just an accumulator.
Posted by: Greg Simons
March 07, 2012
Carlos Guillen career highlightsOn Tuesday, veteran major leaguer Carlos Guillen retired after 14 seasons. When a player retires, it makes sense to look back on his career, so let’s do that now.
Below is a list of his career highlights, presented in chronological order. They include the greatest and most important games he played in, his personal highs (and lows), and also some odds and ends along the way.
Click for more...
Posted by: Chris Jaffe
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