Mariners Have Many Options, Little Impact

There’s no denying the Seattle Mariners have a number of infield options on the farm primed to push incumbents at the major-league level in the next year or two. In 2012, Brad Miller, Nick Franklin and Stefen Romero left strong impressions in Double-A. And while I don’t question the three as future big leaguers, are they true upgrades over what’s already in Seattle?

Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak are younger options with spotty track records. And while that inconsistency is maddening, the opportunity exists for each to improve once fully healthy. Brendan Ryan is a top flight defensive shortstop, but one of the worst hitters in baseball. Kyle Seager has been an overachiever given his pedigree. And if you consider Jesus Montero a viable catching option, then throw Mike Zunino in this discussion as well (For the record, I don’t). By now, the baseball world expected Montero, Smoak and Ackley to be star caliber players. This hasn’t happened leaving Seattle fans hoping the next wave will be an improvement.

At shortstop, I have little doubt Brad Miller would produce more offense than Ryan now. However, is he really an upgrade at present given his error totals in the minor leagues? As a player capable of posting .350+ on base percentages, it may not matter. Low strikeout totals and a decent number of walks may force the hand of the Mariners and their abominable offense.

Mariners fans expect Nick Franklin to push Dustin Ackley and force the organization to decide on a second baseman of the future before 2014. Franklin is a quality prospect, but will his peak production eclipse a healthy Dustin Ackley? I’m not so sure. Ackley had a career minor league line of .280/.387/.435. Franklin’s is .283/.351/.458. Franklin has been young for every level, but Ackley was considered to have a better pedigree. For me, Franklin is more trade chip than core piece of the next winning Mariners team.

From an organizational standpoint, the future of the Mariners at first base is difficult to project. Justin Smoak has struggled mightily and enters his prime with a career WAR of 0.0. Should Nick Franklin Surface, Dustin Ackley could man first base. Stefen Romero and his .352/.399/.599 line in 2012 may also make a push. Romero is a bat first player with a poor defensive profile. When scouting Romero, I was reminded of a mini-Dan Uggla.

I’ve never cared for Jesus Montero at catcher. As he continues to adjust to Major League pitching, Montero will become a viable designated hitter option. My only concern is shuffling at other positions will lead to a designated hitter by committee with more managers rotating players in and out as a form of pseudo-rest.

This leaves Mike Zunino the undisputed catcher of the future. He and Taijuan Walker are the two untouchable commodities inside the organization. To deal either would be a form of heresy. Of course I would have said the same thing about Trevor Bauer and Wil Myers a week ago.

The only “safe” infielder is third baseman Kyle Seager. While he’s not an impact talent, the Mariners have bigger fish to fry. The 24-year old has done everything asked of him on a baseball field and then some.

It’s fun to try and decipher what the Mariners front office will do with a plethora of infield prospects and youngish big leaguers. For me, it’s disconcerting to think organizational planning may yield the same results as throwing names in a hat and picking at random.

Beyond Zunino, none of the current “baby Mariners” are considerably more valuable than what’s already there. And with the Mariners pursuing a number of impact bats, signs point to their feeling the same way.




Print This Post



Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.


89 Responses to “Mariners Have Many Options, Little Impact”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Steve says:

    Erasmo Ramirez is legit. That’s one thing I’d be optimistic about as a Mariners fan.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. dean wormer says:

    zero. point. zero.

    +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Pat G says:

      Slow, Stone Handed and Weak is no way to go through your pre-prime son

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jim says:

      Technically, based on WAR, the Yankees won that Montero/Pineda trade, since while they didn’t get a single Major League pitch out of it, Montero and Noesi combined for -0.9 WAR.

      So… in that case, is 0.0 a win? Or is just that everybody lost?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Newman says:

      In the past year, Mariners have come to the defense of Justin Smoak. In this piece, I tried to give him whatever benefit of the doubt I could. With last night’s trade, I probably didn’t need to.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. firejerrymanuel says:

    mariners need to man up and deal felix.

    -62 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Basebull says:

      They were a .500 team the second half of last year. Two solid bats and some growth from the young core and they’re a wild card team. Unfortunately it’s looking like they’re either incapable or unwilling to pay the market rate for those two bats.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • cherry picker says:

        so glad we get to disregard the first half!

        +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Thirteen says:

        Actually, yeah, you can disregard the first half. The Mariners shuffled around a lot of internal talent at the break: Noesi to AAA, Smoak to AAA, Figgins to the bench, Iwakuma to the rotation, Jaso full-time…. etc. It’s not totally arbitrary to divide there.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • cherry picker says:

        ok, clearly benching figgins is a great move. fine. but the others? noesi? jaso? smoak? not exactly swapping gehrig for pipp…

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • @cherry picker: No, but you should compare out of division records to other teams. The Mariners had to play in the best division in baseball last year.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • ThirteenOfTwo says:

        Noesi produced -1 WAR over half a season, whereas Iwakuma produced +1 WAR over half a season. Between that, the Figgy benching and the swap of Jaso for Olivo the post-break Mariners were probably 5 wins better than the opening day Mariners (that’s prorated over a full season) just through those internal moves.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mike Newman says:

        Is the A.L. West the new A.L. East? For years, the wild card came out of that division. With the Angels and Rangers, are other teams now fighting for third?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tim_the_Beaver says:

      Honest question: are these downvotes from Mariners fans? Or (outside of Seattle) is this considered to be the wrong strategic move? Or, third option, is it agreed that he’s untouchable for “heart/soul” type reasons?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jim says:

        I’m a Yankees fan. I don’t think that Seattle should trade Hernandez, because that would kill baseball in Seattle — why else would anybody care? — and we don’t need another team abandoning Seattle the way the Sonics did.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Larry Bernandez says:

        Abandoning?! Lets be clear about one thing, since apparently 6 years after the fact people still don’t get it. The Sonics were taken, ripped away from the city by Clay Bennet and David Stern. Mariners fans would burn and pillage Safeco field is Felix were dealt.

        +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mike Newman says:

        I don’t think trading Felix is the answer, although he would bring a large return. There’s a potential for the Mariners to be creative and deal arms for bats. Of course that’s easier said than done.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Guy says:

    How tall is a “mini-Dan Uggla”? 2′? Shorter?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Will says:

    Maybe the Mariners could rent Russell Wilson from the Seahawks…

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. malcolm shelley says:

    the marlins are looking for third base. the mariners need g stanton in the worst way. seager, paxton, plus what pulls stanton?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Twain says:

    Seager is an overachiever given his pedigree? What’s so surprising about (early) third rounders becoming successful major leaguers? He hit well at each level of the minors. Did I miss something?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CJ says:

      Seager was well above-average last year, and he might have been even more above-average depending on your idea of the one-year Safeco park effect, to the tune of ~4 wins. A prospect who provides 4 wins a year is a MASSIVE success.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Twain says:

        52 of the 135 qualified MLB regulars produced (WAR) at Seager’s level or above. You may need to rethink your definitions of MASSIVE and prospect. Seager didn’t even qualify as a rookie. I’m a big fan of Seager, but let’s not pretend he came out of nowhere just because he exceeded some people’s expectations.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason says:

      Well, he’s no Corey Seager.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Newman says:

      Seager was a 3rd round pick who was ranked only once in the Mariners top-10 (9th in 2011). By all accounts, he was expected to be a utility player. His being a 3+ win performer at the MLB level is a huge win for the org.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brian says:

        Kyle Seager had a wOBA near .400 at every level of the minors and a wRC+ near 140. He never struck out more than 15% of the time at any level of the minors and consistently was able to keep his BABIP in the middle .300′s.

        I would submit to you that his omission from various prospect rankings was more a failure of traditional prospect analysis underrating his abilities and not him now suddenly over-performing. It’s like some kind of confirmation bias saying he’s over performed now because no one gave him enough credit before.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. unequal comparison says:

    Ackley vs. Smoak…one of those doesn’t fit with the other….

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. jgstecker says:

    Ackley is the 2B, period. Check back in 2014.

    Don’t believe everything you read about Franklin moving off SS. He still has people in the org that believe in him there and he is not moving off the position yet.

    Miller also has the tools to play a very good CF and could shift there if Franklin can hold up at SS.

    Romero will eventually see plenty of corner outfield time as well.

    There’s a lot of flexibility here. None of these kids will be pushed out of a job unless they fail on their own.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Spike says:

      I don’t get why Romero isn’t being groomed for 1B. It’s not like anyone is really blocking him and if his bat plays and he doesn’t otherwise have a position….

      and the M’s will have to use one of Franklin or Miller to obtain an OFer. That seems pretty obvious… if Seager and Ackley are going to stay at 2B & 3B.

      There are worse positions to be in with all these terrific prospects I guess…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Newman says:

      Everything you said is in the realm of possibility, but that’s quite a bit of faith in Franklin as a SS. I’m pretty conservative when it comes to prospects in general.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Poncho says:

    Maybe they should trade Vargas to the Angels for Morales?

    +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Rippers says:

    Morales makes this more complicated!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Jaker says:

    2011 Home/Away wRC+

    Ackley 101/130
    Seager 48/135
    Smoak 124/86 (outlier)

    2012 Home/Away wRC+

    Ackley 65/84
    Montero 68/113
    Seager 83/132
    Saunders 90/123
    Smoak 58/110

    Those are pretty startling differences (Smoak’s 2011 is the only major outlier). Imagine any of these players having their home games at Coors’ Field. Besides the statistical disadvantage, I can’t help but think of the huge mental disadvantage that playing at Safeco brings.

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Newman says:

      You have an excellent point Jaker. When I first saw Jesus Montero, my first thought was, “future batting champion”. He hasn’t developed quite as quickly as I thought he would and even stagnated some at AAA. Even so, his struggles really showed me just how bad that park is for hitters.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Paul Clarke says:

      Jaker,

      There’s a bug in the home/road wRC+ splits where they both get park-adjusted by the same amount as the player’s overall wRC+ value. That makes Mariners players look much better on the road because they’re being treated as though half their road games were played at Safeco. Similarly, it make them look much worse at home. You can see similar effects for Padres players, or any other team with an extreme pitchers’ park.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jaker says:

        Isn’t that counterintuitive? And even for the non-split stats, you’d be overadjusting (in this case) half of the stats by a park factor that shouldn’t be applied to those stats (since they were generated at different parsk)?

        Regardless, if you take OPS or any other non-park-adjusted stat those splits are just as large.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jaker says:

        I guess it would be better to look at .wOBA then which is not adjusted for parks and is not a counting stat.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jaker says:

        At the end of the day it wouldn’t matter much anyways since both their home and away stats are being inflated by the same adjustment (cancels out). Doesn’t give the most accurate value of their wRC then but we would presume that the percent difference between home and away is still real. .wOBA is better and tells the same story.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Paul Clarke says:

        For some reason I can’t reply to you directly, so I’ll put this here.

        At the end of the day it wouldn’t matter much anyways since both their home and away stats are being inflated by the same adjustment (cancels out).

        No, it actually inflates the gap between them. The park adjustment being applied is for 50% Safeco, 50% other parks, which is what you want for the whole season – it’s roughly half the Safeco park factor, as the road parks will average out to something close to neutral (possibly slightly pitcher-friendly as there are two other pitchers’ parks in the division to only one hitters’ park). So if Safeco has a park factor of 90 the overall park adjustment for the season will be about (90 + 100)/2; i.e. 95. However, for home splits using 95 instead of 90 means that you’re not adjusting enough for the difficulty of hitting in Safeco and the wRC+ figures will be too low. For road splits, meanwhile, using 95 instead of 100-ish means you’ll be adjusting too much and the wRC+ figures will be too high.

        Hopefully that makes some sort of sense.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Smallie Biggs says:

    Seattle are moving in their fences, not enough though IMO.

    They have a load of talent that will be great once they have a band box to hit in.

    Look at the Texas Rangers, a lot of their success comes from having confidence in their own ballpark.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jaker says:

      Just made the same point above.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Antonio bananas says:

      Right but then they wouldn’t be ale to leverage pitchers like Pineda as well.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • JamesDaBear says:

        Right… they have to bring in quality hitters, quality defenders AND quality pitchers… instead of having their park manufacture quality pitchers. If they had a crap pitching staff, I wouldn’t be as optimistic for the positive effect of moving in the fences. As long as they maintain an above average pitching staff, they’ll gain more from the park improvements than their competition. For example, Felix Hernandez doesn’t care how far they move the RF fence in since he does a great job already of limiting RH batters and getting outs on his own. They expect the same from Taijuan Walker, so they should see much benefit from adjusting their park fairly in the coming years.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. k says:

    Ackley sucks

    -22 Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. the hultzen says:

    hey, at least we dodged the rendon.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Melo says:

    I don’t get why this article is so down on Franklin. GREAT pedigree imo. Patience, pop and good contact ability. Good SS, but not a gold glover. LHH, which is great in Safeco. Plus, his struggles from the right will not be exposed as much since he’ll face a ton of RHP. Not to mention, we might see him ditch switch hitting this year and he might do better from the left v LHP.

    I’ve never quite understood the hesitation on Franklin. Beast AFL too. The guy’s a stud and won’t be moved off by Brad Miller until he proves he truly can’t play SS. His bat from the left in Safeco more than makes up for avg D at SS.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Balthazar says:

      I completely agree with this: I’m mystified at the *meh* for Franklin. He raked for most of the year at low A till he played more games than ever before. He moved up to high A _very young_ and took awhile, then raked, went up to AA and got concussed. Last year he raked at AA, then moved up to AAA _very young_ and took awhile. Franklin is not on the patient side as a hitter, which is exactly what gets exploited as you move up the levels. This is a steady picture on Nick Frank: when he learns a level, he hits. The ball jumps off his bat, and he’s an intense competitor. Now he’s not really going to stick at SS in all probability and to me this is why, rather oddly, folks mark him down, they don’t know what position to project him at so he’s somehow made into a tweener. There is somehow an odor of ‘failure’ around that which is entirely undeserved based on his actual performance.

      The obvious positional switches for the Ms infield never get suggested, which are to put Franklin at 3B, move Seegar back to his natural position at 2B, and to move Ackley down the road to Tacoma to decide if he has what it takes to adjust his approach and compete in MLB. Moving Ackley to 1B is to me The Ridiculous Thing That Won’t Die. I mean nearly all of Ack’s value is on defense at this point, he’s made himself into an above average defensive 2B, which speaks well to his deservedly reputed athleticism. His batting line put at first isn’t even a joke however (unless compared to the dud who was put out there all last year). Seegar’s bat at 2B is _very_ handsome, and Bendy Ryan’s D at SS is worth far more, even now, than Ackely’s D at 2B. I strongly suspect Nick Frank hits better than Ackley no matter where he plays, and I’d sure like to find out.

      Pedigree, smedigree: performance is what counts in the Bigs. Ackely’s hitting perfromance to date is an intense disappointment. I have no idea whether he’ll play up to his best ability or continue to play passively and overmatched. That he’s on the lineup card and other guys with potential are sitting is to me way the wrong message, and part of why the Ms played so badly last year: guy’s were in there no matter what they did. Let Ackley play his way back onto the roster; if he does, I’m ecstatic. I’m not talking about this as ‘Ackley’s problem’ it’s the the front office’s misjudgment to keep sending in there a guy who isn’t really getting it done. And to me, this is a selfish move on the FOs part rather than some putative interest in player development. Ackley was a big move for the Ms; it hasn’t worked well; sending him down admits that, and the FO doesn’t want that. Jack Zd. is very, very careful regarding anything that might smatter his personal reputation if any of you have been following this. But Ackley _is_ a disappointment, and something rather than ‘just look away’ needs to be done in my view.

      Concering whom, Mr. 1400 has got to go. Smoak has that many ABs at the major league level, and has never performed as a major league hitter. One hot three weeks in 2012. A hot September in 2012 (and why should anyone trust September numbers?). ‘Hits well on the road?’ Big games in Arlington, Denver, and Chicago really tell us the story on him, or should: small games everywhere else.

      A prime reason the Mariners have stunk so badly over the last ten years is an inability to admit when something is wrong and to move on. The fences needed to be moved in from the first year at Safeco, in Detroit, in the Mets’ new park. The latter two organizations made the move in just a few years; the Ms took ten. Smoak is a busted dud. Move on. Ackley hasn’t performed. Move him down till he moves himself up. Figgins play lost all its substance when he got the $$$. Move on, PLEASE (and finally). I like Jesus Montero, but I’d be perfectly happy if he’s dealt before spring training 2013. For gods’ sake, cut the anchor line and get a move on. Orgs that win don’t keep playing losing hands.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mike Newman says:

        balthazar,

        I appreciate your passion. In a way, it supports my overall point. You can shift the chairs and make moves, but there’s no guarantee it will add wins. My only contention with your argument is Franklin to 3B. He just doesn’t have the arm for me to profile there. I don’t consider him to be a tweener, but a solid 2B in the end.

        As for Ackley, I’d like to see him at 100%. To my understanding, he was hurt for most of last year and played through it. Nagging, season long injuries often make it impossible to really judge a player. Think Jason Heyward in 2011 and how he rebounded.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Balthazar says:

        So Mike, I’m passionate—and also prolix. I know the difference but can’t always control myself when killing time at (night) work.

        So good to know that on Franklin’s arm then if it’s clear. That does change things.

        And on Dustin, yes, there is the Heyward comparison. I cling to that. Ackley has the tools. His strike zone judgment is excellent; bat speed good; he’s smart. Safeco hurt his performance badly, and he’s young enough for that to color his year, but at the same time there was no point after the first few weeks in Spring Training that he looked like he had life in him. What really bothered me last year was just how passive he looked. Yes, that may be just the way he looks, but it was too similar to how his results _played_. Does he really WANT to be an elite major leaguer? I’m damned if I know, and because of that i suspect he doesn’t know. He’s a good dude, and I like him personally; it bugs me to be down on him. Professional sports is about _performance_ though. Dustin needs, to me, to take that to heart.

        Something that I wondered last year during Spring Training for the Ms is this: chronic fatigue syndrome. Yes, really, and not as a joke, and I have my reasons to suspect it’s pathogenic in origin (you can catch it) though that isn’t proved. Ackley, and Catricala, and several others got ‘the flu’ just coming back from playing in Japan—and never, ever looked like the same guys the rest of the year. To me, this condition profiles far more to the symptoms which Franklin Gutierrez descibed too than IBS. . . . It’s a though, and not an entirely idle one. I sure hope all three get past some mystifyingly bad years that were largely or completely unexpected based on past performance.

        And btw Mike, I like your write ups and read them religiously. You’re always well informed with a fair and evidenced point to make.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mike Newman says:

        Thank you for the kind words Balthazar,

        Funny you mention Ackley and his being passive. Living in Atlanta, the exact same thing was said about Heyward in 2011. On some level, I think some guys have the ability to make baseball look easy. I often wonder how much fluidity is confused for a player being passive. Not saying this is, or is not the case with Ackley, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

        I’m not going to comment on medical issues I know little about. it is an interesting theory though.

        One contact also discussed Ackley at length with me and felt his landing hard on his front foot was the root cause of his hitting issues.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Newman says:

      Franklin is a fine prospect, but not an elite guy. The picture of him you are painting is if he develops to his absolute fullest.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Melo says:

        I’m not really painting a picture of the future, I’m more stating who he is now. He has a .326/.392/.498 in 300+ ABs as a 20/21 year old in AA. That’s elite, sorry, for any position, never mind a middle infielder a guy that is playing SS with a low E rate. I don’t think I’m overtly generous when I give him a bit of a hall pass for his AAA #s this year, especially when his stats from the left side were very good. He was 21. I’m just saying there seems to be a bit of bias against a guy that scouts like technically and stats bear out. Your reply/disclaimer (if he develops to his fullest) could be said about any prospect, including Ackley still at this point, but for some reason you prefer due to ‘pedigree?’

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mike Newman says:

        Melo,

        My issue your your posting stats is that I’ve seen him in person a couple of times. In seeing his best and worst, I do think he will hit at the MLB level. However, I also have concerns about his ability to adjust to quality off-speed pitches and his overall approach right-handed. Additionally, his lack of size limits his physical projection and power potential. I love his pop compared to his size. What I don’t love is his power compared to other power hitters I’ve seen. He has limitations.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Mr. Obvious says:

    If all it took was a JAG like Vargas to land Morales where were teams like the O’s and Rays? I know the Angels wanted an innings eater, but why not just pay someone like Marcum who’s actually good and collect a prospect for Morales from someone. Lannan was out there for a song, too. Maybe I’m too down on Vargas, but Morales seems to have legit upside, whereas Vargas has, at best, a chance not to suck.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Ruki Motomiya says:

    Well, Morales was surprising and quite well timed. Mariners lineup will be interesting to watch…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. Adam says:

    Pedigree doesn’t really matter, Albert Pujols didn’t have any pedigree and how did that turn out? A good hitter is a good hitter, regardless of the pedigree.

    And last time I checked Ackley played outfield in college (He played first base his last year due to TJ surgery). If Franklin hits his way up that could always be an option I’d assume. At least one or two of those guys should be trade bait though.

    On a side note, Zunino can’t be traded until a year after he signed, which is in July

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Newman says:

      Pedigree does matter in the sense players with it will be given many more opportunities than players who don’t have it.

      Ackley was moved to 2B with the goal of increasing his value and he has performed admirably there. Sliding him back to the OF at a time when they need to assess whether or not he’s a part of their future makes little sense. The goal is to maximize value.

      Yes, I know Zunino can’t be dealt until a year after he signed. And while he could be included as a PTBNL, I can’t think of an instance where a draft pick was dealt this far in advance.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. maqman says:

    Oddly last night I suggested they should trade Capps or Pryor and scraps for Morales and it was surprising to wake up this morning and see it happened. I’m fine with it being for Vargas, given what he was going to cost and the effect of the moved in fences would have on him. I wouldn’t have been shocked if they non-tendered him. Now they can trade Pryor, Capps and scraps for Morse from the Nats or Capuano from the Dodgers, or add more scraps and get them both.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Sam Fowler says:

    The expectation that young players like Ackley and Montero are going to step into the league and be instant superstars is sooooo unrealistic. Montero was near the top of all offensive categories and caught a no hitter behind the plate. If that is not a good enough start of a career for some people than they have unrealistic expectations. Ackley has had what….1.5 years and people are throwing the bust word around. Players seldom come to the big leagues ready made All Stars. These are the same folks who scream and cry when our traded players become stars elsewhere. Smoak is the only one I would have on the hot seat this season.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Balthazar says:

      So Sam, in general I agree with your remarks; however, one has to compare that view against _how_ the players in question actually do or don’t produce. For instance, I’m much in agreement with you on Jesus Montero, and I’m neither turned off on him nor surprised at his overall slash line for 2012, though obviously one would want better. He’s very young, and has some history of needing to adjust to a level of competition when moved up. He doesn’t walk much, and if pitchers’ know you’re going to swing they can exploit that, and certainly they do so at the major league level. Montero was going to have to adjust to working for a pitch to hit against the highest level of competition, so he should _never_ have been expected to be an immediate success. He was in a park where like everyone else he hit poorly, and RHP gave him more trouble at this level too, with two in three of his ABs coming against righties. He _did_ hit LHP well; he did hit on the road. Montero, as you say, is going to have to adjust to the level.

      Ackley, however, was in a different position. He was older _whe drafted_ than Montero was _when put on the 25 man_. Ackley has quite good strike zone judgment, and so putatively should have been able to be selective out of the gate. Ackley also adjusted fairly quickly to higher levels of competiton. Ackley’s first few months in the big leagues also showed that he could hit pitching at this level against a generic pitching pattern. So the bar for Ackley going into 2012 was set highter _by his own performance_, plus his age, plus his track record as a hitter previously. Maybe we can pick apart why Ackley failed so miserably at the plate in 2012, but there’s no way the performance wasn’t a disappointment.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. flightrisk says:

    I guess I don’t understand the point of this: “…are they true upgrades over what’s already in Seattle?” How can we possible know? Ackley, Smoak and Seager (to a lesser extent) were well-regarded prospects, and only Seager has panned out, so far. Franklin, Miller and Romero are also highly regarded prospects, but Ackley’s career arc isn’t a predictor for Franklin. If Ackley’s struggles continue and Franklin arrives and performs well, he’d be a major upgrade at 2nd (or short, if he sticks).

    The point for the Mariners is that having a LOT of reasonable possibilities on hand for the infield means they have a better chance of landing someone who really CAN play. At this point, mostly because the major league guys haven’t performed as well as hoped, everyone involved is just a “possibility.” And anyone who performs well, would be a big upgrade, including an improved Ackley over last year’s version.

    So, no, it’s not a bad thing to have a cluster of promising young players for your infield positions, which seems to be your point. (Unless, of course, they all turn out to be bad.)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Newman says:

      I don’t think any reasonable person would consider a glut of prospects as a bad thing. The point of the article is to temper enthusiasm about Romero, Miller and Franklin as they are not elite guys.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. Justin Whitlock says:

    Not dealing King Felix is and always had been the problem. In my opinion, you build a franchise the way the Nationals have. Before them, the Phillies did it the exact same way. You stockpile a massive farm system, forget about the losses, stare at the future, and wait until your core is established stars at The Show. Then, you trade the extra and dip into free agency to frost the cake. To have a few elite players that are preventing you from stocking the system as well as providing wins which prevent your picks from grabbing a Strasburg is just irrational.

    Felix would net exactly what this system has been painstakingly searching for. Could you imagine the bidding given the deal we just saw? Shields at 14M+ with one year left is an absolute joke compared to Felix. I would say more than one Top 50 prospects near the majors plus a couple nice complimentary pieces.

    Personally, I would build the franchise wholly around speed. Small ball your heft spending opponents into their couches come October.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>