Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mariners Quarter in Review

Otherwise known as "unluckiest quarter ever". The M's have singlehandedly managed to lose in just about every way possible. The offense won't hit. The starting pitching is mediocre. The bullpen blows leads. We haven't been able to find any sort of consistency across the board, which means we probably are a mediocre team, worse than I'd expected. Let's look at the contributors:

Catcher - Miguel Olivo (.144 BA, .174 OBP, .240 SLG, .415 OPS, 14 RBI, 31 SO)
Those are truly frightening numbers. Olivo, who has so much potential, is not showing a breath of it. He is struggling enough that Pat Borders is eliciting excitment from reporters. This is utterly absurd. He is better than this. I refuse to believe he is this bad. This is worse than Ben Davis. Olivo is not worse than Ben Davis. I look for the next quarter to be better, if only because it can't be worse.

First - Richie Sexson (.250 BA, .355 OBP, .549 SLG, .904 OPS, 12 HR, 37 RBI, 47 SO)
This is exactly the stat line I expected from Richie, with a slightly higher OBP. Richie doesn't make contact much, but when he does it goes a long ways. He has already hit more over the center field fence at Safeco this year than our entire team last year (at least when I was watching). He is instant offense, and has been more than worth the money.

Second - Bret Boone (.259 BA, .311 OBP, .398 SLG, .709 OPS, 4 HR, 22 RBI)
Bret is showing that he is close to the end and it's time to bring up Mr. Lopez sooner rather than later. Jose could at least match those rather poor numbers. Boone isn't drawing walks, he isn't hitting for power, and he isn't even turning the double play well. Boone still thinks it's 2001, but we have steroid testing now.

Shortstop - Wilson Valdez (.208 BA, .246 OBP, .267 SLG, .513 OPS, 8 RBI, 0 HR)
This is what I would like to refer to as a black hole. The problem with Valdez is that there's little upside. I don't see the potential. He's too aggressive, doesn't have power, doesn't turn the double play, and is a player that teams like the Mets would cut. I really don't understand why with the depth at shortstop we have we're letting this guy help wreck our season. Again, wouldn't Mike Morse or Adam Jones or Matt Tuiasosopo be at least this bad while giving them major league experience (yes and starting the clock on their big league time)? Make it so.

Third - Adrian Beltre (.238 BA, .263 OBP, .372 SLG, .635 OPS, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 30 SO, 5 BB)
Adrian is showing no patience at the plate (5 walks versus 30 K's). He is constantly swinging at the outside slider in the dirt, otherwise known as the Edgar Martinez special (when you knew his eye was going). The batting line has us wishing for the return of David Bell. Basically, that OBP is ridiculously poor, even with the change of leagues. I still think the guy has too much talent to struggle like this, but as is he is the biggest culprit for our slow start.

Left Field - Randy Winn (.275 BA, .355 OBP, .350 SLG, .705 OPS, 0 HR, 12 RBI, 19 BB)
Let's go through the good and the bad. This is a stereotypical Randy Winn line. 19 BB shows good patience (one of the few on our team who can work the count). The average and on base numbers are excellent and worthy of being moved into the number two spot in the lineup. However, the reason I continually would like to see Snelling or Choo instead of Winn resides in the fact that in the face of all those hits Randy has managed 12 RBI. That projects to less than 50 RBI for a season of starting. Terrible. No homers. Terrible. Why should we keep this guy around? Snelling will give us this but with power and better defense!

Center Field - Jeremy Reed (.253 BA, .335 OBP, .329 SLG, .664 OPS, 0 HR, 17 BB)
Reed for some reason has gotten what Snelling and Lopez haven't... the ability to progress in the big leagues. These numbers aren't great. The strikeout total (25) is not where it should be for someone with that good an eye. But it will get better. Reed has had a poor quarter and yet still has better stats than most of the starters. He will be fine.

Right Field - Ichiro (.333 BA, .386 OBP, .467 SLG, .852 OPS, 3 HR, 15 SB, 32 R)
Ichiro is Ichiro, but with a slightly lower batting average than we would like. He is striking out a few more times as well. We finally see some home runs out of our outfield, another reason Randy Winn should go. When your outfield combines for 3 HR in the first quarter of the season, your offense is pretty darn anemic. The higher stolen base total is nice. He has the speed and finally is putting the mechanics together with it. All in all, Ichiro is still our best offensive player.

Bench - Why even go into this crap? They are awful. They give us nothing. Yet Hargrove continues to trot them out in clutch situations. No! Bad Hargrove! We should cut them all and start from scratch.

Overall Lineup Thoughts - Low batting average (.250 combined), plus terrible slugging (.379) means that we are still a singles hitting team this year after the additions of Sexson and Beltre. Essentially, Beltre has given us nothing, Boone has regressed, Winn and Reed have no power, Ibanez has been okay, and the bottom of the order is the worst in the league. Not a lot of solid numbers. If they don't improve, we will get a high draft pick next year too.

Starting Pitching:
1. Joel Piniero (2-3, 44.0 IP, 8 HR, 17 BB, 24 SO, 5.93 ERA, 1.59 WHIP)
This is our ace? He looked completely out of it last night (great suck up job Seattle PI) and hasn't looked good all year. He either misses the corners or hits the middle of the plate. That ERA is mediocre. He's not striking people out. He's walking way too many to be successful. This is not an ace.

2. Jamie Moyer (4-1, 45.2 IP, 5 HR, 16 BB, 30 SO, 6.11 ERA, 1.82 WHIP)
Wow. To realize how bad these numbers are we have to remember how well Moyer started. This says that Moyer gives up almost two base runners PER INNING that he pitches. His room for error is not that great. After showing that he could work from behind in his first few starts, Moyer now is shooting that slow changeup over the plate and hitters are feasting on the bounty. That's our number one and two starters, folks. Not very impressive.

3. Gil Meche (4-2, 54.0 IP, 7 HR, 20 BB, 30 SO, 5.00 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)
This is where the WHIP statistic can be more revealing. The ERA is inflated and should go down. Meche has been killed by the big inning, 3-5 earned runs, and shuts down lineups the rest of the time. In starts where his one inning in one run he dominates. He is starting to show his true form, but I think still has a long way to go. Finding the darn plate instead of walking that many guys will be a great start.

4. Ryan Franklin (2-5, 55.2 IP, 9 HR, 23 BB, 23 SO, 4.53 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
That's right... Ryan Franklin has the lowest WHIP of all our starters. All with the incredible 1-1 walks to strikeouts ratio. This means that Ryan, for all the unluckiness of run support, is one lucky dude. He is putting a bunch of balls in play and if they don't leave the yard (which they will... and do) they are finding someone's glove. There will be a stretch this quarter where that luck completely runs out. Mark my words.

5. Aaron Sele (3-4, 50.2 IP, 4 HR, 25 BB, 23 SO, 4.62 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
Sele confounds me. The only stat he has that is respectible is that he is the only starter keeping the ball in the ballpark. He walks a man for every two innings that he pitches. He doesn't strike people out. Yet he has three wins, including the recent complete game shutout. The hand of the Lord is upon Aaron. Yet hopefully that hand will be removed and replaced with Campillo or Hernandez.

Bullpen:
The bullpen has been the source of many highs and lows. Eddie Guardado (11 saves, 2.12 ERA) has been brilliant, while Julio Mateo (1.95 ERA, .87 WHIP) has been All-Star quality. Shiggy Hasegawa has enjoyed an understated resurgence (2.61 ERA, .92 WHIP). However, Hargrove keeps trotting out Jeff Nelson (8 BB in 14 IP), Matt Thornton (0-3, 6.52 ERA, 6 HR) in clutch situations and they (gasp) are blowing leads. JJ Putz has gotten homer friendly, losing three games for us in the past week alone (two grand slams and the home run last night to Baltimore). Ron Villone has had a rough past two weeks as well. All in all, they've performed okay, not great.

Overall pitching thoughts: That starting rotation is weak. We need to take Ryan Franklin and Aaron Sele out of it and replace with Campillo and Hernandez. Again, it'd be at least as good as what we're getting now, and they are both ready (AAA ball isn't a challenge anymore). That moves Franklin into the bullpen, where he, Mateo, and Hasegawa can be a solid relief core to Guardado, with Villone and hopefully George Sherrill providing the support from the left hand side.

Have you noticed a consistent train of thought? It's that it's time to let the kids have a shot. Why stick with veterans who aren't even being that worse from previous years? Bring on Felix, bring on Sherrill, bring on Campillo, bring on Lopez, bring on (insert shortstop prospect), bring on Snelling and let's get some excitement going. Otherwise I don't see a quarter much improved from the last and the M's sliding back in the pack.

posted by Gavin @ 2:54 PM  0 comments

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