The Seattle Mariners' biggest problem from the 2011 season, hitting, has persisted through the start of the 2012 season, exemplified by struggling slugger Justin Smoak.
Smoak has heated up a bit recently, but the past two years have been rough for him. He was supposed to be the team's go-to clean-up hitter when he came to Seattle from Texas in 2010 as part of the Cliff Lee trade, and, as we know, that hasn't worked out perfectly. We can cut him some slack because of past accidents and family issues, but any time he's ready to get the chains moving would be fine with me.
General manager Jack Zduriencik took the offense through a pretty dramatic makeover beginning in the middle of last season with the call-up of Dustin Ackley. It was marked predominantly by replacing the old with the young, and it continues to take effect as the team trudges through 2012.
It's not too serious of a problem for the team at this point, since many of the hitters have a lot of room to improve, and the revamped lineup is actually quite a bit more successful than last year's, but a problem worth noting as the M's move into the second quarter of the season.
Here's a statistical view of the Mariners' hitting in comparison to other teams in the AL and last year. For each stat, I'll give the 2012 Mariners value thus far with their rank in the AL in parentheses, the 2012 AL average thus far, the 2011 Mariners value with the AL rank in parentheses and my prediction for what the value will be by the end of 2012.