Haven't we all wondered who is the best on our team's roster? What about the top five players?
Well, I have decided to rank the Seattle Mariners' top five players of 2009, and there may be some follow up articles from the other 29 teams as well—I have yet to decide.
1. Ichiro Suzuki
Eight seasons of a .300 batting average, All-Star selection, 200 hits, and a Gold Glove easily sets Ichiro as the No. 1 top player on the Seattle Mariners. In 2001, he won the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards.
Did I forget to mention that Ichiro Suzuki is one of the fastest players to ever play the game? Well he is...or was...
2. Adrian Beltre
Who says the Seattle Mariners lack power? Beltre has hit 20 home runs in each of his seasons in Seattle, and in 2007 and 2008, he has won the prestigious Gold Glove Award. His average is decent as it ranges around .270—although he did hit .334 in his last season as a Dodger back in 2004.
3. Felix Hernandez
King Felix is said to have the most potential of any pitcher in the major leagues, and this year might belong to him.
His 3.45 ERA in 2008 may be misleading because of the defense behind him last season, and I believe it should have been around 3.36 had he had an average defense behind him.
Now that he arguably has the best defense in the majors behind him, he should have an ERA close to 3.00, added that what he has shown in the World Baseball Classic is a preview to his 2009 season.
4. Jose Lopez
Lopez surprised the Mariners last season with added power and average, and I only expect his numbers to go North this season. He has been working very hard this off-season—playing in Winter Leagues, and now the World Baseball Classic.
With his added strength, I believe he is good for 30 home runs while still posting an average around .300. If Lopez plays 2009 like his second half of 2008, he should be batting .305 with 29 home runs. Was it luck or is he a future baseball stud?
5. Erik Bedard
The trade that sent Bedard to Seattle broke my heart—not because of him coming to Seattle, but because of Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill and two other minor league players leaving to play in Baltimore, Maryland.
Throughout injuries, Bedard posted a 3.67 ERA in 2008 and a 6-4 record. He is expected to be the Mariners No. 2 starter behind King Felix, and after his Cy Young caliber season of 2007 (13-5, 3.16 ERA, and 221 strike-outs), I expect big things from the Seattle Mariners' rotation this season.
After the top five, the Seattle Mariners' talent drops off, but not too much, as they have Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and possibly Chris Shelton as surprises of 2009.