Is Michael Saunders Poised to Break Out in 2013?

By Gareth McBride
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Although Canada was officially eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, the Seattle Mariners have got to be very happy with the performance of MVP Michael Saunders.

Saunders had shown flashes of brilliance in the minor-league system, but unfortunately that did not translate to the major leagues during his early time with the club.  Knowing that last season was a make or break for him, Saunders diligently reworked his swing and produced a solid season for the offensively challenged Mariners.

Continuing his unorthodox off-season hitting training, Saunders has looked impressive in camp aside from his power coaches and fans alike have noticed that he is now hitting the ball to all fields and has a much more relaxed and confident approach at the plate.

Defensively, Saunders is very valuable as he can play any of the outfield positions and has diligently filled in for Franklin Gutierrez when he has experienced numerous health issues the past two seasons.

The Mariners though are counting on Saunders to deliver at the plate. With a revamped lineup that includes long ball threats that the team has coveted the past few years, Saunders may be looking at a breakout season in 2013.

Saunders is a very likable and easy-going player who hails from scenic Victoria British Columbia.  The proximity of the Mariners to his hometown is something that is very special to him and he makes no secret about his joy in being able to play for a rising team that is located close to home.

If Saunders can hit in the to .270 range and provide 20+ home runs and 80+ RBI, the Mariners will be getting exactly what they hope for when he made the club.

His quick stroke has shown an ability to hit some impressive home runs during his time in the majors. The key for him has been to maintain plate discipline and not swing at bad pitches.

Early in his career he would struggle to hit for average but would show flashes of power in between.

The radical changes that he has made to his swing have enabled him to have a shorter and more disciplined approach without losing his power and ability to make contact.

It’s often said that nice guys finish last, but one thing is for sure, Saunders is a very easy guy to root for and Mariner fans and ownership would like nothing more than to see him become a fixture of the team for the next decade.

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