Here is part two of our Mariners' season recap. I'm going to briefly breakdown each player at each position on the final 25-man active roster. I'm going to be going position by position (C, 1B, 2B, etc,). Here is a link to part one of the recap which was a detailed analysis on the Mariners' opening day lineup.
When I think of Jose Lopez I always think of his incredible offensive upside and his all-star year in 2006. But now his 2008 season is complete, and although Jose Lopez remains in the upper tier of 2nd baseman of the American League, several holes in his game have been revealed.
One of these holes is his defense. The defensive prowess of the Mariners' middle infield consisting of Lopey and Yuni is all but hype made from a commercial. And now that Yuni's defense is non-existent, Jose Lopez's defense has been exposed and might have been the worse on the team this season besides Raul Ibanez'.
We saw Lopez play 13 games at 1st base toward the end of the season, indicating a possible position switch going into next year. This makes sense for defensive improvement, however, his offensive numbers are below average for a 1st baseman so the switch would not allow the Mariners to maximize value at the 1st base position. Plus, Lopez himself doesn't want to play 1st base so leaving him at 2nd base seems to be the best option right now.
With that said, it's important that Jose Lopez does what he can to improve his defense over this off-season. It's really an attitude thing, if anything; he can become THE best 2nd baseman in the American League if he steps up his defense.
Besides his defense, I love Lopey's offense. This season was by far his best offensively so far as a Mariner. He reached career highs in hits, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage. He avoided the mid-season drop off and was able to be a solid producer for an otherwise dismal lineup for the Mariners.
I'm looking forward to see how Lopez fares next season, with an off-season focusing on defensive improvement he is poised to make a return to the all-star game.
Nothing special here, he could be a good platoon player or utility guy but other than that he's just filling up roster space. The backup 2nd baseman should really be.....
Valbuena is an under-the-radar prospect that surpassed expectations and ended up making the roster in September. He's not a phenom by any means, but he does have more upside then someone like Bryan LaHair. His defense is decent, but he's still a project who has a lot of time to develop.
Are you happy with Jose Lopez starting at 2nd base next year?