The Seattle Mariners made headlines by making franchise pitcher Felix Hernandez the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. Lost in all of the commotion were the moves that Seattle made to fortify the third lowest scoring offense. They don’t have the talent to compete in a loaded AL West this year but a top farm system has Seattle on the right path. They make up for the lack of standout hitters by fielding a team that has no glaring weakness. Aside from Hernandez, Seattle only features a few low-end fantasy baseball players.
The additions of Michael Morse and Kendry Morales will give Seattle the punch that they have lacked in recent years. Both have shown that they have the potential to hit 25 home runs which will allow the rest of their lineup to play to their strengths.
In a horrific offensive season, no Seattle starter surpassed a .260 average or .320 on-base percentage. Their youth was the culprit with none of their top five leaders in at-bats over the age of 26. As an offensive unit they ranked in the bottom third of every relevant stat. With experience and help from off-season transactions, should come more consistency in 2013.
The brightest talent in the Seattle lineup is catcher Jesus Montero. In his rookie season at the age of 22, Montero hit .260 with 15 home runs. He will be a solid fantasy player within the next few years but projects outside of the consensus top-10 fantasy catchers in 2013. He is the catcher to target if an owner misses out on the top few options. Top catching prospect, Mike Zunino, may reach the majors at some point but Montero will have enough time behind the plate to maintain catcher eligibility.
At pitcher, Felix Hernandez was the primary reason that Seattle ranked well in several team statistics. Jason Vargas, the secondary reason for their success, is now in the past after having been shipped away in the Morales trade. Joe Saunders will attempt to fill his role as the soft-tossing, left-handed number two starter.
Hisashi Iwakuma thrived when he moved into the starting rotation after the all-star break. He pitched to a 2.50 ERA once he joined the rotation and is an intriguing player to grab in the last few rounds of fantasy drafts.
Seattle’s top five fantasy hitters: 1. Jesus Montaro, 2. Kendry Morales, 3. Michael Morse, 4. Kyle Seager, 5. Dustin Ackley
Seattle’s top three fantasy pitchers: 1. Felix Hernandez, 2. Hisashi Iwakuma, 3. Joe Saunders.
Seattle projected record: 70-92
Stay tuned over the next month while I preview one team each day in preparation for the 2013 baseball season.