Mariners Midseason Report: Hope is on the Way

Week 15 Recap

Date Home Team Score Away Team Score Result
7/8 Mariners 11 Red Sox 4 W
7/9 Mariners 8 Red Sox 11 L
7/10 Mariners 4 Red Sox 11 L
7/11 Mariners 7 Red Sox 8 L/10
7/12 Mariners 8 Angels 3 W
7/13 Mariners 6 Angels 0 W
7/14 Mariners 4 Angels 3 W
  • Well that was a fun week. The Mariners lost three of four against the best team in baseball, the Red Sox and then swept the Angels in three games just before the All-Star Break. During this seven game homestand, the Mariners scored 6.86 (!) runs per game and hit eleven home runs. It also included two excellent performances by King Felix and the return of Erasmo Ramirez to the rotation. The Mariners head into the All-Star Break having hit a home run in twenty-two straight games and having won three of their last four series.

Player Performances This week I’m going review each positional group for the Mariners and their first-half performance. If you want to see the methodology behind these statistics, check out this page. I’ve added a few new stats to the normal ones I include:

  • wRC+ (adjusted weighted runs created) – Indicates the value a player adds with his bat, where 100 is league average.
  • Fld (Fielding) – Indicates the number of wins a player adds with his fielding. This stat is one of the components of WAR.
  • BsR (Base Running) – Indicates the number of wins a player adds with his work on the basepaths. This stat is a one of the components of WAR.


Mike Zunino 94 .230 .277 .299 23.4 6.4 58 0.5 -0.1 0.1
Henry Blanco 27 .174 .296 .304 25.9 14.8 54 -1.8 0.0 -0.2
Jesus Sucre 29 .192 .241 .192 3.4 6.9 18 0.0 0.0 -0.1
Jesus Montero 110 .208 .264 .327 19.1 7.3 60 -3.6 -1.3 -0.5
Kelly Shoppach 125 .196 .288 .346 36.0 12.0 75 -0.7 -1.1 0.1
  • In his brief time in the majors, Mike Zunino has accumulated the same amount of value with his bat as Jesus Montero yet he’s been much more valuable because of his stellar fielding. It’s clear Zunino was not ready to face major league pitching but he has contributed to the team none-the-less and should continue to improve  as the year progresses.
  • I can’t believe that the Mariners are currently employing a catcher who also serves as a pseudo-coach. I’m not sure what went down with Kelly Shoppach, but he’s was a perfectly serviceable catcher.

First Base

Kendrys Morales 380 0.280 0.337 0.463 17.4 7.9 119 -0.9 0.2 1.2
Justin Smoak 269 0.272 0.372 0.431 21.6 13.8 124 -1.3 -2.1 0.9
  • Smoak now owns the third highest wRC+ on the active roster. He’s hitting for average, drawing walks, and flashing some power too. I know he’s had streaks where it looks like he’s put everything together but since returning from his injury his swing, especially from the left-side, has looked much better. His line drive rate has jumped up to 24.7% in July which tells me he’s making solid contact more consistently.
  • Kendrys Morales has shown that he has completely recovered from his freak ankle injury and has accumulated the second most wins on the team. With the trade deadline approaching quickly, Morales’ time as a Mariner might be quickly coming to a close. Smoak’s resurgence has made him somewhat expendable and he’s probably one of the Mariner’s most valuable trade chips. I would prefer to keep Morales and offer him an extension or at least a qualifying offer so that we’re able to gain a compensatory draft pick if he does leave. I have a feeling the Mariners are going to test the trade market and he’ll be gone before the trade deadline.

Second Base

Nick Franklin 169 0.268 0.337 0.451 21.3 9.5 117 -4.8 0.6 0.6
Robert Andino 85 0.184 0.247 0.237 31.8 8.2 36 -0.3 0.7 -0.2
  • After setting the world on fire after his promotion, Nick Franklin has cooled off recently, hitting just .195 in July. His strikeout rate has also spiked to 37.8% in July which is one of the main reasons he’s struggled. I’m not sure if pitchers have adjusted their approach if he’s just slumping. Either way, his continued improvement is dependent on his ability to control the strike zone.


Brad Miller 68 0.246 0.324 0.393 22.1 10.3 97 -0.3 1.3 0.4
Brendan Ryan 255 0.195 0.251 0.268 21.6 25.9 43 -0.1 -0.8 -0.6
  • In just sixteen games, Brad Miller has been worth more than twice as much as Brendan Ryan. Swapping Miller into the lineup has essentially earned the Mariners an extra win. He’s been the spark plug that has given the top of the lineup the jolt it needed and his style of play is a joy to watch. I believe we are witnessing the emergence of the next great Mariners double-play duo.

Third Base

Kyle Seager 407 0.293 0.359 0.488 16.0 9.6 132 3.9 0.9 3.7
  • Kyle Seager has quietly collected 3.7 WAR, a mark higher than Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman, and Pablo Sandoval. He’s surpassed his 2012 mark and is on pace for a total of 5.1 WAR. That’s an amazing feat and would be the seventh highest total for a 25-year-old third baseman in the last 20 years. Kyle Seager has turned into who we thought Dustin Ackley would turn into. The Mariners need to sign Kyle Seager to an extension as soon as possible.


Raul Ibanez 296 0.264 0.311 0.574 23.3 6.4 141 -8.0 -2.2 1.0
Dustin Ackley 219 0.205 0.265 0.255 17.4 7.8 44 -2.0 2.3 -0.6
Michael Saunders 265 0.223 0.302 0.361 26.8 10.6 81 -3.9 1.7 0.1
Jason Bay 226 0.214 0.310 0.413 27.0 12.4 99 -4.4 0.2 0.1
Endy Chavez 234 0.279 0.299 0.347 12.4 3.4 76 -5.5 -1.3 -0.7
Mike Morse 227 0.251 0.313 0.454 25.1 8.4 109 -7.2 -1.9 -0.2
Franklin Gutierrez 63 0.267 0.286 0.583 23.8 3.2 136 -3.0 0.0 0.2
  • Let’s just stare in awe at what Raul Ibanez has been able to accomplish this year. It’s beyond ridiculous and, at this point, anything more is just icing on the cake. Raul Ibanez, 41-year-old left fielder, might be the most valuable trade chip the Mariners have right now. Baseball!
  • Jason Bay hasn’t been a complete disaster. Most of his value comes from his ability to take a walk and his rediscovered power stroke. He’s been a perfectly capable fourth outfielder. Casper Wells has played for three different teams this year and his greatest accomplishment was pitching an inning of relief in a blowout game. This outfield is just full of ridiculous stories this year.
  • Endy Chavez has fooled some people into thinking he’s a valuable player on this team. He is not. His -0.7 WAR is lower than Dustin Ackley, Brendan Ryan, and Jesus Montero. His roster spot is safe as long as Mike Morse is on the DL but he should be the next victim of the Zduriencik Roster Churn.
  • When Franklin Gutierrez has been on the field, he’s been awesome. He’s only been on the field for a total of eighteen games. I fear we may have seen the death of Death to Flying Things.

Starting Pitcher

Felix Hernandez 138 2/3 25.5 5.1 10.3 2.47 2.72 4.1
Hisashi Iwakuma 131 1/3 22.3 4.1 15.2 3.02 3.94 2.0
Joe Saunders 114 2/3 12.4 7.5 11.9 4.24 4.48 0.9
Aaron Harang 83 2/3 17.7 5.2 11.9 5.38 4.43 0.8
Blake Beavan 39 2/3 15.5 4.6 14.0 6.13 4.97 -0.1
Brandon Maurer 49 1/3 14.5 9.0 15.6 6.93 5.65 -0.2
Jeremy Bonderman 38 1/3 9.4 11.2 8.2 4.93 5.11 0.1
  • Felix Hernandez might be having the best season of his career. He’s striking out batters and is limiting walks more than ever before. In 2010, the year he won the Cy Young award, he accumulated 5.5 WAR. He’s just a measly 1.4 WAR away from that mark and is on pace to post the highest WAR mark of his career. I’m still not sure we appreciate just how good Felix his yet, even after eight years of seeing his brilliance.
  • Joe Saunders and Aaron Harang have been essentially identical according to FIP and WAR. Their allowed BABIP (.298) and their home run rates (11.9%) are exactly the same. They have both lost eight games. They’re highly likely to be traded away in the next few weeks. They’re both starting pitchers for the Seattle Mariners. These facts lead me to believe that Joe Saunders and Aaron Harang are one and the same. An official investigation is ongoing.

Relief Pitcher

Tom Wilhelmsen 41 18.5 13.1 4.8 3.95 3.83 0.3
Oliver Perez 36 34.5 12.4 7.9 1.75 2.91 0.8
Charlie Furbush 37 2/3 31.3 14.1 11.8 3.58 3.60 0.6
Yoervis Medina 34 1/3 24.7 15.1 0.0 2.36 2.93 0.7
Danny Farquhar 23 1/3 34.0 9.7 14.3 6.94 2.50 0.4
Lucas Luetge 13 1/3 17.5 7.9 15.4 6.08 4.53 0.0
Carter Capps 35 1/3 25.9 9.3 20.5 6.37 5.31 -0.2
Hector Noesi 19 17.4 12.0 4.5 4.74 3.84 0.2
  • Who could have predicted that Oliver Perez would be the most valuable reliever on the Mariners this year. There were plenty of more likely candidates-Tom Wilhelmsen, Carter Capps, Stephen Pryor-but Perez has emerged from the pack as the leader. His K% is twelfth in the majors. Oliver Perez probably won’t be a Mariner much longer.
  • Yoervis Medina has developed into a decent bullpen arm. He’s walking too many batters but his ability to strikeout batter and keep the ball on the ground has allowed him to thrive. He’s the perfect example of why paying for bullpen arms is completely ridiculous.
  • Our bullpen is an interesting case for valuing pitchers based on runs allowed versus defense independent pitching. The Mariners have a number of relievers who have an excellent FIP but a high ERA as well. You could make the argument that relievers should be valued based on how many runs they allow since they’re usually pitching in situations where allowing runs means losing the game. This is the prime reason leverage is important to consider. As a game nears its end, the more valuable a run will be. By RA9-WAR (WAR calculated based on runs allowed) the Mariners’ bullpen is 24th in the majors. That rating jumps up to 12th by traditional WAR (calculated using defense independent pitching metrics). Maybe that’s why the bullpen has seemed like both a disaster and a strength for this team.

AL West Standings

Team Win-Loss Win% Games Behind
Athletics 56-39 .589
Rangers 54-41 .568 2.0
Angels 44-49 .473 11.0
Mariners 43-52 .453 13.0
Astros 33-61 .351 22.5

The Week Ahead

Date Away Team Probable Pitcher Home Team Probable Pitcher
7/16 American League R Max Scherzer National League R Matt Harvey
7/19 Mariners L Joe Saunders Astros R Bud Norris
7/20 Mariners R Hisashi Iwakuma Astros TBD
7/21 Mariners R Felix Hernandez Astros TBD

All-Star Game festivities will take up the first half of this week. After the break, the Mariners will begin the second half of the season in Houston, taking on the Astros in a three game set. The Astros have continued to play poorly and are proud owners of the worst record in baseball. This should be an easy series for the Mariners as we trot out our top three against them.

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