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Marks of Futility

Looks about right
Looks about right

There are many many many ways to point out how bad this team was at offense this year. Here's another one. Remember this piece? Who cares, I'll give you the gist of it. Split OPS+ (sOPS+) is a measurement of how a player does in that split compared to the rest of the league in that split. This way you can compare how Dustin Ackley hits with runners in scoring position compared to how everyone else hits with runners in scoring position. Or, you can even use team-level splits instead of player-level and compare how the Mariners hit with runners in scoring position versus how everyone else hits with runners in scoring position.

That is the usual type of split seen. One type of split that I enjoy perusing is positional splits. What kind of production teams get out of the players at X position while that player played that position. It's the focus of what I did here looking at Mariner catchers and what I will do in the future, looking at the rest of the defensive spectrum. For now, I bring it up because in that first post, the subject was about the worst overall sOPS+ in Mariner history. It was in left field during the 1999 season when Brian L Hunter and a few others (but mostly Hunter) achieved a split OPS+ of just 52. Major League left fielders that year hit .279/.353/.462 while Mariners taking the field in left conspired to hit .240/.282/.333. 

There are nine offensive positions and the Mariners have 34 years in their history. That's 306 individual position-years and left field in 1999 was the absolute pinnacle of suck by this measure. That was the point of that post. The point of this post is to alert you all that the 2011 Mariners are going to reset that bottom. And they may, incredibly, do it twice. Right now, Mariner center fielders have a .215/.269/.291 batting line which is a 53 sOPS+.  Thanks mostly to Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders, they have a chance to knock Brian L Hunter from ignominy. 

But those two have nothing on the third basemen. Six different players have tried out at hot corner and right now they collectively own a .191/.247/.252 batting line. That's a 43 sOPS+. Forty-three! This isn't just breaking the old suck record, this is annihilating it. Unless Kyle Seager turns into Barry Bonds, there's no way the record doesn't fall easily. 

The Seattle Mariners: reminding you again and again that there is no floor.