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Seattle Is Poised For 2015 Dominance: But Off To A Slow Start

 

Seattle was everyone's pick to win the American League it seemed. A slow start mirrored the beginning of the 2014 season as well.  There are some outliers though, as they spent 10 of their 1st 13 games on the road.  The club has looked a lot better of the last week. included in that were awesome starts by Felix Hernandez.  Nelson Cruz has also picked up where he left off in 2014, with an MLB leading 9 HRs and 18 RBI in the teams first 16 games.

Seattle was everyone’s pick to win the American League it seemed. A slow start mirrored the beginning of the 2014 season as well. There are some outliers though, as they spent 10 of their 1st 13 games on the road. The club has looked a lot better of the last week. included in that were awesome starts by Felix Hernandez. Nelson Cruz has also picked up where he left off in 2014, with an MLB leading 9 HRs and 18 RBI in the teams first 16 games.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer)

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Forgive me for a second while I didn’t lose sleep on the Mariners losing Chris Taylor for some time early this year  I actually think that Brad Miller may have a chance to breakout this year.

But more importantly Seattle had themselves a great offseason.  Yes.. you read that right.  I am endorsing Jack Z. for a job well done, even though he saw fit to sign Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez for yet one more year.  But since the club is full with depth, I am hoping the guys wont be counted on.

Last year the club had to start the year without Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker for the majority of the 1st half, and while Paxton has still been bothered my a flexor strain early in the year, his arsenal speaks to the of an ace.

Kyle Seager had a rough 10 games to begin the campaign, before he has reeled off 9 hits for his last 24 AB. With Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz hitting ahead of him, he should get plenty of opportunities to drive in runs.  His success may dictate whether or not they make the playoff coming out of the Al West this year.  The gritty 3B signed a big 7 Year extension prior to this season

Kyle Seager had a rough 10 games to begin the campaign, before he has reeled off 9 hits for his last 24 AB. With Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz hitting ahead of him, he should get plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. His success may dictate whether or not they make the playoff coming out of the Al West this year. The gritty 3B signed a big 7 Year extension prior to this season.  With that pact done, their 3 – 4 – 5 hitter combination (plus Hernandez) will all lead the team for a minimum of the next 4 years.

The club brought in the reigning AL HR champ Nelson Cruz.  While he may not hit 40+ HRs for the Mariners, I think his usual 25 HRs would be a realistic achievement.  Cruz is also familiar with the AL West, with spending all of those years in Arlington, Texas,

Under the radar, were the moves to pick up Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith.  Both are prolific hitters against their opposite hand pitchers.  If you have these guys as a platoon, than this could workout nicely.

Of course Smith could also pick up some reps at 1B should Logan Morrison see some time on the shelf, like he has done so much.

The flexibility is a lot better, with Cruz potentially taking some innings in the OF as well.

Lloyd McClendon also has Austin Jackson for the whole year in 2015.  He should be a lot more comfortable in his surroundings this year.

While I would never count on  Jesus Montero for anything, at least he showed up in shape this year, and by all accounts he looks decent in camp so far.  He could add depth at 1B or DH as well. The man did have a .839 OPS last year in Tacoma, even though he was pushing 250 LBS. He does start the year in Tacoma, but with Morrison’s injury history, his number may be called quick.

The club has a solid Bullpen, anchored by another year of Fernando Rodney manning the position.  Tom Wilhelmsen, Yoervis Medina, Danny Farquhar and Charlie Furbush return again, and all they lost were Brandon Maurer and Joe Beimel (the latter brought back on a Minor League deal.)

The Starting Rotation also saw Chris Young vacate his slot, but the team did J.A. Happ for depth in a trade that saw Michael Saunders go the other way.

The Mariners were 1 win away from a playoff spot in 2014, even after they struggled with their offense all of last year.  When you add the Rotation and the Relief Core together, the Pitching Staff is the best in the American league this year.

With Texas losing Yu Darvish for the season, the Mariners will not have to face many aces within the Division.

There is no doubt the Angels will still be a strong adversary in the Division.  But they are without Howie Kendrick, Josh Hamilton, and they will start the year minus Tyler SkaggsGarrett Richards is also coming back from injury, and should take some time to round into form.

I would say the M’s and the Angels will both make the playoffs this year but I am picking the PAC NW club to take the division.

The lineup is nicely balanced more than it has since the franchise has Edgar Martinez in the last years of his service, with a productive  Bret Boone, Ichiro Suzuki, Mike Cameron and Jay Buhner at the early stages of the millennium.

Robinson Cano has started to hit, and so has Kyle Seager – although both started badly in the 1st 10- game.

The Seattle squad started 9 – 14 in 2014, before finishing 78 – 61 to end the campaign. This year the results are looking the same.  The good news is the Houston Astros are on top the Division, and they are just a few games back,

Good news is that the Halo’s have jumped out of the gate slow too.  The Rangers and A’s are also under .500 to begin the year. It is only a matter of time for this club to kick.  When they do, it will have a lot of writers and reporters fist bumping and chest pounding.  

Felix Hernandez has been the face of the Seattle Mariners since 2009 when he won 19 games for the Mariners.  He followed up with a CY Young season in 2010.  Last year, the King was having another typical Hernandez campaign - 12 - 6, with a 2.63 ERA.  He was recently handed a 7 Year/$175 MIL extension.  The club has never given him ample run support.  Hernandez has a career 3.16 ERA - but is only 110 - 83 (.570).  he is also a workhorse.  He leads the AL with IP (184.2) and will top the 200 frame mark for the 5th straight year.  It would be nice if the franchise could get to the point where they compete around him.

Felix Hernandez has been the face of the Seattle Mariners since 2009 when he won 19 games for the Mariners. He followed up with a CY Young season in 2010. The last few years he has dished out some more of the awesome.  This year he is off to another great start.  The RHP has a 1.61 ERA and a WHIP of 0.79 in 4 starts, in which he is a perfect 3 – 0.  The rest of the Starting Staff hasn’t fared as well, but I foresee great things out of Iwakuma, Paxton and Walker going forward.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.

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Posted on April 25, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Seattle Is Poised For 2015 Dominance: But Off To A Slow Start.

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