Mariners Offense Projections



This off-season, as we all know, the Mariners brass tried to improve the offense-- at great cost to the defense and the Jaso Fan Club. Last year the Mariners scored 619 runs, had a wOBA of .291, and hit 149 homers. In an attempt to drastically alter those categories, as well as the W column, the M's brought in Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales, as well as the corpses formerly known as Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay. Last year the Mariners were 75-87 with a Little League offense.

Most of us don't like the costs involved with bringing in Morse (Jaso), Morales (Vargas), Bay (potentially Casper Wells) and Ibanez (his atrocious defense). However, at the end of the 2013 season we may feel differently. Even if you hated all or some of these moves there is certainly an amount of production where these players, and the guys currently on the roster who frustrate us, will have been worth it. What I wanted to do was find out what all of the various projection systems said the Mariners hitters would do in 2013, and see who's performance would be worth the cost of acquiring them, playing them everyday, or keeping them.

I averaged the five different projection systems on Fangraphs and what I want to know from all the readers is, what you would feel if the players did what ZiPS, Oliver, Steamer, the fans, and the Bill James projections say they will. I know the fans projections are not based on any number systems, but I decided to leave them in to represent the gray area of baseball. Also, remember, the fans don't always wear the rose colored glasses. In any case, I put an asterisk next to the numbers in the 'high' projection column if it was the fans.


Average Projected Key Stats



Ackley, Dustin

.255 AVG

.333 OBP

.314 wOBA







Bay, Jason

11 HR

385 PAs

.312 wOBA

.149 ISO









Ibanez, Raul

12 HR

405 PAs

.301 wOBA

.700 OPS









Montero, Jesus

20 HR

.171 ISO

.330 wOBA

6.9 BB%









Morales, Kendrys

20 HR

.339 wOBA

.192 ISO

.787 OPS





23* (2)




Morse, Michael

20 HR

.188 ISO

6.3 BB%

502 PAs

.341 wOBA

.792 OPS



5.8% (2)




23* (2)






Ryan, Brendan

.229 AVG

.272 wOBA





Saunders, Michael

16 HR

.241 AVG

.312 wOBA







Seager, Kyle

16 HR

.420 Slugging

.325 wOBA







Smoak, Justin

17 HR

506 PAs

.165 ISO

.238 AVG









The first thing I noticed when doing this was that ZiPS hates the Mariners, and USS Mariner has more on that, and so does Fangraphs. ZiPS hates the Mariners like it has been watching them on days where Noesi starts like this. It is understandable that the ZiPS projections, or any projection system, would dislike the Mariners' hitters.

Take Michael Saunders for example; ZiPS sees a regression from him to the tune of .231/.303/.381 triple slash line for an OPS of .684, which in terms of 2012 players puts him in the Jesus Montero (.685), Carlos Pena (.684), and Michael Young (.683) range. Ouch. The computer sees 204 games of .196/.263/.306 batting from him from 2009-2011. So it makes some sense that his 2012 might not be sustainable.

On the other hand, real people know that Michael Saunders has been working really hard to make his career a success, real people know that Michael Saunders was a former top prospect, and real people know what he just did for team Canada.

But I digress, on to the numbers; I would be pretty happy if Jesus Montero turned in a .330 wOBA and 20 dingers. I also think that if Morse produced to the level of his average projections the Jaso trade stings very little, unless Montero looks like a bull fighter behind the plate-- too often. Kendrys Morales' projected wOBA of .339 would make his 2012 comparison be... wait for it... Kendrys Morales!!!

I don't have any faith that Smoak would 'rebound' to post a .238/.324/.403 and 17 homeruns. Ackley hitting .255 would be a bit of a disappointment, but he falls into a category where the computer can't reasonable project any better than that, and it is propped up already by the fans' faith in his potential.

I think the projections show that this offense could be drastically improved, but is it enough to make up for the horrendous defense that Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay, and Mike Morse will play? Will the Mariners win more than 75 games this season? Are the seasons that we can expect from Morse, Morales, Ibanez, and Bay worth the costs of not playing the young guys and trading away valuable pieces? After looking at the numbers, and obviously understanding that any one of these players could fall apart or take off, I'm not sure if I can make a definitive answer yes or no. Stuff tends to fall apart for the Mariners. I think that at least Morales and Morse will be worth it.

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