Friday, December 13, 2019

Uncustomed Heroes of 2019: Mariners

 I don't really know what else there is to expect from the Seattle Mariners except for heartbreak. Because that's what keeps happening. After an impressive start, the Mariners reverted to their old ways, unshelled Leake, Edwin and Bruce, and failed to recover from Mitch Haniger's injury.

Dee Gordon was left to be the veteran leader of this team. He's down to 22 in terms of steals, which is a far cry from his season high of 64 in 2014, and hit .275, which is his best in Seattle but nowhere near his Miami average. At least he was able to rock those awesome Pilots uniforms this year.
Why Him in 2019?: One of four to get 100 hits in Seattle.
2020 Prediction: He's gonna decide whether he wants to hit more for power next year, and his steals are gonna go down further.
 Mitch Haniger was expected to lead this team with power in 2019, and while he did that in April, his numbers lessened in May and June and he was on the IL from June on. Yes, his 15 homers are an impressive first-half number, but without a sturdy second half, it's not much.
Why Him in 2019?: You can argue that the Mariners' complete dissolution is because of his injury.
2020 Prediction: Will hit 30 home runs, but as he's on the trade block, not sure if it'll be for Seattle.

 Domingo Santana came to Seattle in a trade for Ben Gamel, and while Gamel had the more prolific bench year, Santana was embraced as a member of the outfield, leading the league in RBIs at one point despite finishing with only 69. His homer total, 21, is also dwarfed by his 2017 total.
Why Him in 2019: Came through in the wake of Haniger's injury, and was the most potent power performer in the outfield in 2019.
2020 Prediction: The Haniger-Santana-Smith outfield is so mismatched that it won't last. Santana could be hitting off the bench midway through the year.

 The Mariners finally managed to get themselves a decent catcher in 2019, as Omar Narvaez hit .278 with 22 homers and had a 2.1 WAR, which must have been a relief after years of people like Miguel Olivo, Kenji Johjima and Mike Zunino failing at that position. Unfortunately, Narvaez was traded, just like that, to the Brewers.
Why Him in 2019?: Best Mariners catcher in years.
2020 Prediction: Will bring similar numbers to Milwaukee; they won't exactly be screaming for Grandal.
 Mallex Smith finally made a game appearance for the Mariners (after being traded there only to be traded to Tampa a day later), and became a speedy, hit-piling outfielder for them. Smith led the team in stolen bases, and led the non-Narvaez Ms in hits.
Why Him in 2019?: Proved the team can win games on speed without exhausting Gordon.
2020 Prediction: Another similar season, but will once again be bogged down by plate woes.

 Austin Nola's brother is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but Austin himself finally made it to the bigs and made a nice name for himself in Seattle. 31 RBIs in 79 games isn't bad, especially considering that Nola was essentially the starting 1st baseman after Edwin left.
Why Him in 2019?: Probably the most prolific rookie addition to the lineup
2020 Prediction: A bit more impressive on a full season, but something will prevent him from being seen as legitimate.

 In Narvaez' absence, the Ms will have to start Tom Murphy, which won't be a problem, seeing as Murphy led the lineup in WAR. Murphy also hit 18 homers and 40 RBIs in 75 games, and led the team in SLG with .535. A guy like Murphy, if he keeps it up, could be a solid offensive tool for Seattle.
Why Him in 2019?: Cause he did more in 75 games than most of the team did in 162.
2020 Prediction: Will hit 30 homers, but his defense will slow down a chance of legitimacy.
 Shed Long was the guy who was traded for Sonny Gray, then subsequently traded to the Mariners at the beginning of 2019. So some eyes were on him immediately. Long was a pretty impressive swingman, being pristine in the outfield and pretty durable in the infield, as well as hitting 15 RBIs in 42 games.
Why Him in 2019?: One of the few call-ups that made a gradual impact in Seattle.
2020 Prediction: Might get lost in the shuffle with Kyle Lewis and Austin Nola surging, but will still post 100 hits.

2019 was Felix Hernandez' last year as a Mariner after 15 strong ones throwing fire. It's become evident that the fire that one powered Felix's fastball has gone out, as he threw a career-low 57 strikeouts over his 15 starts. He also had a 6.40 ERA and only one win, but the fans still gave him a memorable send-off, which says a lot about that fanbase.
Why Him in 2019?: Last year of a Mariners HOF tenure.
2020 Prediction: Likely retirement, but someone could sign him to a minor league deal.

Coming Tomorrow- Some Miami Marlins. I didn't expect to need to make this many pitchers for this team for Uncustomed Heroes this year.

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