MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners on Paper

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIMarch 31, 2011

MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners on Paper

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    There's not much to cheer about in Seattle, but they do have two of the most exciting players in baseball in Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez and Ichiro.

    Just a year ago, the Mariners were a popular pick to win the AL West.  They acquired Cliff Lee during the offseason in a trade with Philadelphia, and acquired Chone Figgins as a free-agent.

    Seattle started off slow and Cliff Lee didn't pitch the first month of the season.  Lee was then traded for four prospects and the Mariners fluttered to 101 losses.

    Throughout this article, you will see a number between 7-10 beside each player.  These numbers break the players up into essential categories; here's a rough layout. 

    10: Best player/pitcher in baseball

    9-plus: Superstar, MVP/Cy Young Candidates

    8-plus: Consistent All-Star

    7.5: Periodical All-Star

    7.25: Solid Starter

    7: Average Player


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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    C Miguel Olivo: 7

    1B Justin Smoak: 7 

    2B Jack Wilson: 7

    SS Brendan Ryan: 7

    3B Chone Figgins: 7.25

    Miguel Olivo (32) 394 AB .269 BA 55 R 14 HR 58 RBI 7 SB 

    • Olivo is a fastball hitter who likes the ball out over the plate.  He's strong and gets good bat speed.  He does strike out a lot.  He's shaky behind the plate, but does have a strong arm.


    Justin Smoak (24) 348 AB .218 BA 40 R 13 HR 48 RBI 1 SB

    • Smoak was acquired in the Cliff Lee deal.  The switch-hitter is patient at the plate, stays back and shows good strength from both sides.  He's adequate in the field.


    Jack Wilson (33) 193 AB .249 BA 17 R 0 HR 14 RBI 1 SB

    • Wilson is known more for his tremendous glove than his bat.  As a hitter, he's a line drive hitter who likes the ball up.  Dustin Ackley will get called up at some point during the season. 


    Brendan Ryan (29) 439 AB .223 BA 50 R 2 HR 36 RBI 11 SB

    • Ryan is a scrappy, feisty player.  He sprays the ball around, but he doesn't have any power.  In the field, he has soft, quick hands.  He has a strong arm, and can throw out runners from the hole.


    Chone Figgins (33) 602 AB .259 BA 62 R 1 HR 35 RBI 42 SB

    • Figgins struggled last season in his first year after signing as a free-agent.  He has a short swing and hits line drives all over the field.  He finds ways to get on base so he can steal bags.  He has good range and a strong arm.


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    Harry How/Getty Images

    LF Michael Saunders: 7 

    CF Franklin Gutierrez: 7

    RF Ichiro Suzuki: 9

    DH Jack Cust: 7


    Michael Saunders (24) 289 AB .211 BA 29 R 10 HR 33 RBI 6 SB

    • Saunders struggled mightily to start Spring Training, but has hit much better lately.  He's athletic and covers a lot of ground in the outfield.


    Franklin Gutierrez (28) 568 AB .245 BA 61 R 12 HR 64 RBI 25 SB

    • Gutierrez will start the season on the DL with an unknown stomach ailment.  He's a high ball hitter who can get pull happy.  He's a very good center fielder with excellent range.


    Ichiro Suzuki (37) 680 AB .315 BA 74 R 6 HR 43 RBI 42 SB

    • Ichiro's as consistent as they come.  He's amazingly hit over .300 in each of his first ten seasons in the league.  He's fantastic in the field.  He gets great jumps on the ball and has a hose for an arm.


    Jack Cust (32) 349 AB .272 BA 50 R 13 HR 52 RBI 2 SB

    • Cust has power and waits for fastballs to drive.  He struggles against lefties.

Starting Pitching

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    Norm Hall/Getty Images

    Felix Hernandez: 9.5

    Jason Vargas: 7

    Doug Fister; 7

    Erik Bedard: 7

    Michael Pineda: 7

    Felix Hernandez (25) 249 IP 13-12 2.27 ERA 1.06 WHIP 232 K

    • The king has a smooth delivery, and creates deception by turning his back on the hitter.  He gets outstanding movement with his two-seam fastball.  He throws it in the mid-90s.  He has three great secondary pitches.  He has a sharp, biting slider, power curve and a sinking changeup.  He's simply a workhorse.


    Jason Vargas (28) 192 IP 9-12 3.78 ERA 1.25 WHIP 116 K

    • Vargas is a soft thrower who gets by with solid command of his pitches.  His fastball is in the mid-80s.  He also mixes in  a little cuter, slider and changeup.


    Doug Fister (27) 171 IP 6-14 4.11 ERA 1.28 WHIP 93 K

    • Fister pitches to contact.  He's tall, but doesn't throw hard; high-80's.  He also has a big downer curveball and changeup.


    Erik Bedard (32) DNP

    • Bedard has missed the most of the past two seasons with two shoulder surgeries.  He has a great curveball.  When he was healthy the velocity on his fastball was in the low-90's.  He'll occassionally mix in a changeup.


    Michael Pineda (22) ROOKIE

    • Pineda was impressive during the spring and won the No. 5 starting job.  It'll be interesting to see how the Mariners bring Pineda along.  How many innings will he pitch?


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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    RP Dan Cortes: 7

    RP Josh Lueke: 7

    RP Aaron Laffey: 7

    SU Brandon League: 7

    CP David Aardsma: 7 


    Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke, Aaron Laffey

    • The depth in the bullpen is rather thin.  Cortes and Lueke are interesting youngsters.  They both throw hard. 


    Brandon League (28) 79 IP 9-7 6 SV 3.42 ERA 1.19 WHIP 56 K

    • League is a power set-up reliever.  He gets his fastball up in the high-90s, and gets good sinking movement.  He also has a solid splitter which dives late.


     David Aardsma (29)  50 IP 0-6 31 SV 3.44 ERA 1.17 WHIP 49 K

    • Aardsma will start the season on the DL with an injured hip.  He's expected back sometime during May.  Aardsma struggled during the early part of the year with four blown saves in the first 30 games, but allowed just one run in his final 14 games.  He throws a mid-90s fastball to go  along with slider.  His splitter is his out-pitch.

Sizing Up the Mariners on Paper

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. Ichiro Suzuki: 9

    2. Chone Figgins: 7.25

    3. Franklin Gutierrez: 7

    4. Jack Cust: 7

    5. Justin Smoak: 7

    6. Miguel Olivo: 7

    7. Michael Saunders: 7

    8. Jack Wilson: 7

    9. Brendan Ryan: 7


    Projected Starting Rotation 

    Felix Hernandez: 9.5

    Jason Vargas: 7

    Doug Fister; 7

    Erik Bedard: 7

    Michael Pineda: 7


    RP Dan Cortes: 7

    RP Josh Lueke: 7

    RP Aaron Laffey: 7

    SU Brandon League: 7

    CP David Aardsma: 7 


    Jack Cust, Milton Bradley, Adam Moore, Ryan Langerhans: 7



    Eric Wedge: 7


    INF: 35.25

    OF: 23

    SP: 37.5

    RP: 7

    CP: 14

    MISC: 14

    Hitting: 58.25

    Pitching: 58.5

    TOTAL: 130.75


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    Norm Hall/Getty Images

    Call me crazy, but I don't think this team is terrible.  I'm not predicting them to win a division title or anything, but I don't believe they'll lose 100 games again.

    I'm interested to see how the young guys like Justin Smoak, Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley play.

    Prediction- 75-87 4th AL West

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