Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer
One might argue that the Seattle Mariners might have the contention to be the worst team in baseball this year. Aside from looking at the win and loss record, the Mariners hold the least favored statistics in Major League Baseball. While they have played well recently, they are statistically the worst defensive team in baseball at the time of this article’s publication. They lead the majors in errors, and are last in just about every other defensive metric as well.
The team began their season well, coming off a hot start in Japan and first week of baseball. If the Mariners could have 5 months of their first three weeks of baseball this season, they would arguably be the best team in the league. In those brief and joyful three weeks, the Mariners led almost every offensive category in the majors, and players such as Tim Beckham and Domingo Santana were floating around in the MVP whispers. So what happened? Baseball happened.
Every avid baseball fan knows that it is a game of averages, so of course the hottest team in baseball in April will inevitably cool off and maybe become somewhat average, and among the passionate fans that Seattle has, it was expected. Yet, when the Mariners started to lose, they were losing in bunches. Series wins started to turn into series losses, and it soon became series sweeps. While much can be said about how poorly the Mariners have played, there are many bright spots on the roster.
The Mariners are not expected to be World Series contenders until 2021, and after seeing the prospects the Mariners have boasted, the future seems bright. In an interesting article about the newest call – up Jake Fraley, “Fraley will be the 63rd player used by the Mariners this season — one away from the record of 64 players used by the 2014 Rangers. He will be the 17th player to make his MLB debut for Seattle this season,” according to the Seattle Times. The team’s biggest asset is now their prospect system and they are definitely using it to their advantage. The Mariners front office seems to just be using the season as a sort of tryout to see who will eventually succeed for this team.
Fans can feel a bit better after watching top-prospect J.P Crawford make some nice plays. A key bright spot in the minor league season is top-prospect Jarred Kelenic. The 19-year old looks ready to take on the bright lights in just a few years. In a game that now features players as young as 19 or 20 years of age, it would not be surprising if in the next year or two, the M’s will most likely call up this top prospect. According to general manager Jerry Dipoto, Kelenic seems to be ahead of schedule.
These prospects will not go anywhere either, as they have been vital trade pieces, especially with players like Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion departing. As the old saying goes, the Mariners are out with the old and in with the new.
When it comes to the off season, the Mariners won’t be losing many players to free agency as they all either have club-options or still have years left on their contracts. This season may not be looking too bright for Mariner fans, but don’t lose hope, because the best is yet to come.