Examining the Mariners Lineup in More Depth
After a winter full of a flurry of different moves, the Seattle Mariners are heading into the 2017 season with playoff hopes and quite a bit of expectation among their fans. While it is uncertain whether or not the moves made by Jerry DiPoto will work out or not, one thing is for certain and that is the fact that the Mariners and their fans want to clinch a postseason berth this year.
While the Mariners have a lot of talent and veteran leadership on their roster, one of the biggest things that is going to benefit them during the entire 2017 season is their lineup.
At the top of the lineup, Seattle has Jarrod Dyson penciled in at the moment, but could also rely upon Jean Segura during certain games depending on various matchup situations. Both Dyson and Segura will bring the Mariners a lot of speed of the base paths during the entire season as well as energy at the top of the lineup, two characteristics of a prototypical leadoff hitter. Last season, Dyson stole 30 bases with 7 caught stealing occurrences, while Segura locked down 33 stolen bases and was thrown out 10 separate times.
Moving to the middle of the lineup, the Mariners have plenty of depth and talent with Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager occupying the 3-5 spots. Cano, Cruz, and Seager all have the ability to go out each and everyday, whack the baseball out of the ballpark, and rake up plenty of RBI throughout the course of the season. In fact, the trio ended last season with 30 or more home runs along with 90+ RBI.
Besides the offensive component of the Mariners first five spots, Cano, Segura, and Seager are going to combine to provide some stellar defensive plays up the middle in 2017. All three have the capability of making important plays at each of their respective positions and ending the season in the conversation for a Gold Glove Award.
After the 5th spot, comes the catcher position with, Mike Zunino, getting a brunt of the playing time this year at that position. In 55 games last season, Zunino hit: .207/.318/.470 with 34 hits, 12 home runs, and 31 RBI over that span. Besides Zunino, Carlos Ruiz also looks to fill this spot as the team's backup catcher.
In the 6th spot, will likely be the tandum of Daniel Vogelbach and Danny Valencia over at first base. Vogelbach is going to be a player to watch for the next several years and has a high potential to turn into a star, while Valencia quietly put together a nice season last year out in Oakland. Although some are concerned about this spot in the lineup and the uncertainty that both hitters present, both Vogelbach and Valencia should do just fine in a platoon role this coming season.
Finally, at the back end of the lineup are outfielders, Leonys Martin and Mitch Haniger or Ben Gamel. While all three outfielders would likely be considered part time players on any other major league club, they do have various levels of talent and should be able to contribute some to the offense although it won't be as much as the top 5 spots.
As the 2017 season continues to creep up and Spring Training quickly approaches, the season brings hopes of postseason baseball for the Mariners and their fans. With excellent health for all of the team's impact players as well as a team that gels together, Seattle could be the surprise team of the American League in 2017 and break one of the longest postseason droughts in the MLB.