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Predictions for the second half of the Mariners season

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What will the back half of the season have in store? The LL staff takes their best guesses

Los Angeles Angels v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

So far the 2021 Mariners have been a happy surprise, over-performing pre-season expectations and providing moments of genuine excitement and delight. It seems greedy to hope for even more in the second half of the season but hey, it’s okay to be a little greedy sometimes. It’s hard to predict what this team will do on any given night, but we took a staff poll on our best guesses for the second half of the season (and you can vote too, because who doesn’t love a poll?).

At the trade deadline, the Mariners are:

Both buyers and sellers

Just “buyers” got one vote and “neither” got a couple from our more nihilistic staff members, but the majority of staffers expect to see the Mariners both adding talent for the future while dealing away from positions of strength.

Your turn:

Poll

At the trade deadline, the Mariners will be:

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Buyers!
    (215 votes)
  • 9%
    Sellers!
    (145 votes)
  • 59%
    Both!
    (879 votes)
  • 15%
    Neither.
    (232 votes)
1471 votes total Vote Now

Who will end the season playing for a team other than the 2021 Mariners?

Kendall Graveman

A whopping 10 staffers voted for Graveman, who despite slipping a little from his dominant early-season self, still holds intrigue for a contender needing bullpen help. The other bullpen pop-up stars, Paul Sewald and J.T. Chargois, received a vote each; Jake Bauers got two votes, Jake Fraley got one, and “nobody” got two. Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager received zero votes, either because of difficulty to move or because the team is actually trying to win games.

Poll

Who ends the season Not a Mariner?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Kendall Graveman
    (435 votes)
  • 10%
    Sewald/Chargois
    (141 votes)
  • 20%
    Jake Bauers
    (281 votes)
  • 7%
    Jake Fraley
    (107 votes)
  • 10%
    Mitch Haniger
    (146 votes)
  • 5%
    Kyle Seager
    (75 votes)
  • 8%
    No one is moved
    (124 votes)
  • 5%
    Other
    (69 votes)
1378 votes total Vote Now

Which Mariner will have the highest wRC+ over the second half of the season? Who will lead the team in HRs?

Mitch Haniger

Hanimal (four votes) took the vote for highest wRC+ in a narrow victory over J.P. Crawford and Ty France. Jarred Kelenic also received two votes because WE BELIEVE. Or at least, two of us do. Shed Long Jr. also got a vote from longtime Shed Supporter Amanda. Surprisingly, Jake Fraley didn’t get any votes on staff, but I’m betting he shows up as a dark horse on these polls. Part of Haniger’s strong showing to be wRC+ champ comes from the fact that most staffers (6) see him as leading the team in homers over the second half; Luis Torrens also got a fair number of votes to be team HR leader, although it’s unclear if that was five different staffers voting or just Connor voting five times.

Poll

Which Mariner will have the highest wRC+ over the second half?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Mitch Haniger
    (469 votes)
  • 5%
    Kyle Seager
    (70 votes)
  • 21%
    J.P. Crawford
    (263 votes)
  • 13%
    Jake Fraley
    (172 votes)
  • 16%
    Jarred Kelenic
    (202 votes)
  • 5%
    Other
    (74 votes)
1250 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Mariner will lead the team in HRs in the second half?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Mitch Haniger
    (872 votes)
  • 13%
    Kyle Seager
    (174 votes)
  • 9%
    Luis Torrens
    (119 votes)
  • 3%
    Jake Fraley
    (47 votes)
  • 6%
    Other
    (86 votes)
1298 votes total Vote Now

J.P. Crawford end-of-season fWAR:

Between 3.0 - 3.5

Crawford is currently at 1.8 fWAR and the majority of staffers see him coming out on the lower end of this particular bracket (no one was willing to go above 3.5), but if you told me during spring training when J.P. failed to hit one (1) ball out of the infield that he’d be a three-win player by the end of the season, I would have rocketed right out of the Peoria Sports Complex in rapturous delight.

Poll

J.P. Crawford end-of-season fWAR:

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    3.5 or higher
    (374 votes)
  • 45%
    3.0 - 3.5
    (524 votes)
  • 18%
    2.5 - 3.0
    (214 votes)
  • 3%
    2.5 or lower
    (41 votes)
1153 votes total Vote Now

Dark horse second-half team MVP candidate:

Jarred Kelenic

As you can see, we’re buying big into the idea of the JK Revenge Tour, or at least five of us are. Two remain faithful to the idea of the Shed-surgence, and one (you can probably guess which one) to a Torrens-tial Downpour of Offense. Chris Flexen also got a couple of votes, and Jake Fraley got one.

Poll

Second half team MVP, non-Haniger/Seager/Crawford edition:

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Jarred Kelenic
    (326 votes)
  • 4%
    Shed Long Jr.
    (59 votes)
  • 6%
    Luis Torrens
    (83 votes)
  • 31%
    Chris Flexen
    (390 votes)
  • 21%
    Jake Fraley
    (257 votes)
  • 8%
    Other
    (108 votes)
1223 votes total Vote Now

Cal Raleigh batting average at the end of the season:

.220ish

Despite Cal burning down ballparks across the former Pacific Coast League in Triple-A, a clear majority of staffers (7) see the Beef Boy struggling to adjust to major league pitching in his first shot at the bigs. A couple even see him falling completely flat and hitting sub-.200, and those two will be getting a talking-to. Two brave souls were willing to stake a claim on Calboy hitting more .250ish, and one (I promise it wasn’t me) went so far as to see a hot start for Raleigh in the bigs, hitting around .270, at which point they would be forced to re-play the All-Star Game with Cal in as catcher for the AL.

Poll

Cal Raleigh batting average:

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Below .200
    (230 votes)
  • 41%
    .220ish
    (525 votes)
  • 35%
    .250ish
    (444 votes)
  • 4%
    .270 or higher
    (62 votes)
1261 votes total Vote Now

Jarred Kelenic batting average, end of season:

250ish or 270ish (TIE)

While staffers are evenly split about whether Kelenic will hit around major league average (or at least, what used to be average) or well above, no one sees him repeating his early-season failures. A couple think he might hit around .220ish, but we don’t really talk to them.

Poll

Jarred Kelenic batting average:

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    .200 or below
    (129 votes)
  • 36%
    .220ish
    (460 votes)
  • 37%
    .250ish
    (476 votes)
  • 15%
    .270ish or higher
    (188 votes)
1253 votes total Vote Now

Highest WAR for a member of the rotation, second half:

Logan Gilbert

Big Bert took this one easily, with eight votes; Flexen and Kikuchi got two votes each. Since Gilbert has already racked up 1.2 fWAR in just a handful of starts, tailing Flexen by .7 and edging out Kikuchi, that feels like a safe bet.

Poll

Highest WAR for a member of the rotation in the second half:

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Logan Gilbert
    (610 votes)
  • 28%
    Yusei Kikuchi
    (332 votes)
  • 18%
    Chris Flexen
    (214 votes)
  • 2%
    Other
    (24 votes)
1180 votes total Vote Now

Number of bullpen games in the second half:

10-15

Like other things, bullpen games will happen, but hopefully the rotation will stabilize in the second half so we’re not seeing that bullpen door swinging open quite as often. Adding Logan Gilbert to the mix has been huge as he’s been both effective and able to eat innings in his starts so far, and hopefully Justin Dunn will be able to rejoin the rotation in the second half so the team only has to absorb one of a bad Marco/Justus outing per week. Missing Hector Santiago for ten unreplaceable days doesn’t exactly help, though, and we’re still mad about it. HECTOR INNOCENT.

Bullpen ERA in the second half:

Between 3.5 - 4.0

Most staffers see the steady ship SS Bullpen sailing merrily on through the second half, even if it gets lightly dented by some deadline trades. It’s funny because although Seattle has the second-most-valuable bullpen in the bigs (4.3 fWAR, trailing just the Yankees at 4.5 and easily ahead of the Rays at 3.9), they’re very middle-of-the-pack with a 4.13 ERA. That’s probably a function of Seattle’s poor run differential; when the Mariners lose, they tend to lose big, with the bullpen shouldering a lot of the burden. In games labeled as “late and close” by B-Ref, though, the bullpen has been nails, restricting batters to a sub-.200 average and striking out about 25% of batters seen. Hopefully they can keep that up, because the majority of staffers see the Mariners engaging in more than 10 more of those extra-innings/walkoff-type games over the remainder of the season.

Poll

Bullpen games in the second half?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    20+
    (70 votes)
  • 19%
    15-20
    (165 votes)
  • 35%
    10-15
    (306 votes)
  • 36%
    10 or fewer
    (313 votes)
854 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Bullpen ERA in the second half?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    5 or above
    (20 votes)
  • 5%
    4.5 - 5
    (52 votes)
  • 26%
    4 - 4.5
    (236 votes)
  • 43%
    3.5 - 4
    (382 votes)
  • 21%
    3.5 or lower
    (194 votes)
884 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Over/under 10 extra-inning/walkoff games in the second half?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Over
    (352 votes)
  • 60%
    Under
    (534 votes)
886 votes total Vote Now

Finally, just for fun:

Poll

Julioooooooo debut

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    August
    (45 votes)
  • 33%
    September
    (407 votes)
  • 62%
    I hate fun, 2022
    (762 votes)
1214 votes total Vote Now

Obviously we almost all voted for the realistic but no-fun option of 2022, but a few hopeful souls did vote for September. Hey, it doesn’t cost anything to dream.