Seattle Mariners – Predicted Finish: Fourth Place, AL West
This was written before the Mariners acquired Mike Morse from the Nationals. Rather than re-write this, we decided to handle the fantasy spin of that trade in an individual piece. Click here to see how that trade impacts Morse, as well as the rest of the Seattle Mariners.
*END OF UPDATE*
The Mariners threw their name in the hat with some big names this offseason (notably Josh Hamilton), but as of this moment, the 2013 version of the Mariners will look a lot like the 2012 team did.
Unfortunately for the fans of the Pacific Northwest, that doesn’t bode terribly well for their chances. They did upgrade the offense when they moved Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales, but unfortunately lost a very good pitcher in Vargas. The addition of Raul Ibanez should give Seattle some much needed punch, as well.
They are not the worst team in the league, not by a long shot. But if they are to compete in their division, they’ll need a lot of fantastic seasons.
Let’s take a look at what to expect.
|Casper Wells||All OF||28||R||290||38||9||32||4||.224|
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Ackley, Morales, Montero, and Seager, for sure. Gutierrez, Saunders, and Jaso all have value in deep leagues, especially ones with individual outfield positions, as Gutierrez and Saunders should carry center field eligibility. It will also be interesting to see how that lineup is split up. Statistically, that lineup makes sense to me for a team that will need to maximize offense, but it could struggle late in games against tough lefties if they can’t stagger those guys, especially if Bay misses some time.
Wells and Bay were included because while neither really should start, it’s very possible that both will at least see some quality playing time. Still, I wouldn’t let either anywhere near a fantasy team.
|1 Starter||Felix Hernandez||27||R||235||61||15||225||0||2.76||1.09|
|2 Starter||Hisashi Iwakuma||32||R||180||64||13||145||0||3.45||1.24|
|3 Starter||Blake Beavan||24||R||170||28||9||75||0||4.29||1.26|
|4 Starter||Erasmo Ramirez||23||R||150||32||8||120||0||3.96||1.35|
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Felix is the obvious here. Along with Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander, he’s in the elite group of elite pitchers. As for the starters, I like Iwakuma, but I would remind you that he’s never had a full major league season as a starter. Still, when he started in 2012, the numbers were pretty strong. Ramirez was strong in 2013, but in very limited time. If he has a good start to the year, I’d latch onto him, too.
Wilhemsen is also a good pitcher and has found a spot as the team’s closer. You have inherited risks when you bring in a closer of a sub-.500 team (as Seattle will likely be), but he carries a career ERA of 2.73 with a WHIP of 1.125. When you consider how little needs to happen for those stats to inflate for a reliever, those are pretty good numbers. Keep him in mind for late in drafts and/or free agency.
Fantasy Star: Felix Hernandez
You’ve seen the teams I’ve done to this point and I’ll spoil the remaining ones of mine right now. This will be the only team with a pitcher in this spot. I don’t trust the offense and don’t like that other than Ackley, their best hitters are at pretty deep positions and aren’t anywhere near elite at them (Seager may carry second base eligibility, depending on your league settings).
Also, Felix is just too good. Over the last three years, he’s had a combined ERA of 2.92 and WHIP of 1.138, striking out just under a hitter an inning. We saw last year that he has perfect game stuff every time that he steps on the mound, and he’ll only be 27 next season.
Fantasy Bust: Kyle Seager
I was stuck between Seager and Ackley, but I think Ackley is a lot more likely to bounce back from a down 2012. He also draws more walks and can still do some damage even with a bad average.
Seager plays a better position and while he hits for decent power, he was a .258 hitter in 53 2011 games. He got a full 155 games under his belt and bumped that average up to .259 in 2012. I like his chances at around 20 homers again, but that’s not enough at that position. I’d only bring Seager in if I had some really strong average hitters to pick up the slack.
Fantasy Sleepers: Iwakuma
His overall numbers in 2012 were really good, but he was phenomenal in the second half as a starter. Being on the Mariners and pitching half of 2012 as a reliever, it’s possible that his value will dip a little. Don’t make that mistake, this should be a pretty good pitcher this year.
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