Seager may be Mr. Consistency, but what if he improves his OBP by walking more after drinking the new Koolaid in the clubhouse? Lind? Well his upside is just his recent performance over LoMo's. That's huge. Marte for a whole season? And DH, don't you think the non-Cruz DHs will perform better than 2015? How could they not? OK, but no top prospects beating down the door. No one expects Deej to be the best player on the roster in ST, nor Romero win a starting lineup spot vs only possibly making the 25. Maybe next year.
Greg Johns has a list of 7 players that, DiPoto hopes, will rebound in 2015. So, we report you decide. Here are a few of 'em with the HI (2014), the LO (2015), the MID (halfway in between), the comps, and Dr's Diagnosis. Buying low and reaping high? It's a cliche that the saber blogs perpetuate, but they're not in on their own joke. Many Gillicks are called; few are chosen.
The MID does nothing but presume a 50% trampoline jump back up from 2015 towards 2014. Just da numbers in Marcel fashion.
CHRIS IANNETTA, C
High (2014): .250/.370/.400 (!), 123 OPS+. Comp at the plate: Carlos Santana.
if MID (2016): .225/.335/.350. Comp: any aging C or 2B.
Low (2015): Batted .188 but walks boosted him to an 80 OPS+. Comp: Justin Smoak at his worst.
Dr's Diagnosis: Iannetta, like most catchers of his type, probably has some gas left in the tank and figures to catch part time for several years. But the goal is to fight an 80-90 OPS+ type rearguard action.
LEONYDAS MARTIN, CF
High (2014): .270/.320/.370 with XLNT speed - adding to an average/mediocre offensive commodity. Comp at the plate: Mookie Wilson, a faster Marlon Byrd.
if MID (2016): .250/.290/.330 and fast. Comp: Alcides Escobar. A 2-3 WAR season with another 1 WAR out of his platoon partner.
Low (2015): Well below the waterline. Comp: You.
Dr's Diagnosis: It's possible, but I'll be pretty surprised.
IN THE BULLPEN
Johns nimbly throws 4 different RP's out there as bounceback candidates: Steve Cishek CL, injury case Furbush and fringe candidates De Fratus and Cook. If it would help us to set their MID points for 2016, that's what we'd do. We trust you can easily see a couple of reasons this would be a waste of pain:
(1) None of these guys are going to bounce halfway back and freeze in midair. Furbush will sling his slider or he won't.
(2) De Fratus and Cook are 2 draws at a 10-card-deep deck. They're not ossified as team members like Iannetta and Martin are.
The RP's are designed by the Mariners to be fungible this year. All that said, if Steve Cishek cobbles a rescue shot out of the bunker and manages to pitch halfway like he used to, you're left with:
STEVE CISHEK, CL
High (2014): 11.6 strikeouts, 2.9 walks, 0.4 homers with 30+ saves. Comp: Wade Davis. Maybe even Carson Smith if you want to get ridiculous.
if MID (2016): 9+ strikeouts, 3.5 walks, 0+ homers. Comp: Tyler Clippard, the aging Joe Nathan.
Low (2015): 7.8 strikeouts, 4.4 walks, 0.7 homers. Comp: hold it. That's Tom Wilhelmsen.
Dr's Diagnosis: taking a second look at it here ... slap me silly if this guy doesn't look like he can get three outs with a two-run lead. Even the Low is doable if you just keep clam and let the odds work for you.
REST OF THE HITTING LINEUP
No bouncebacks needed anywhere else. The only apparent threats for collapse would be Seth Smith and Franklin Gutierrerez, and they're hardly white-knuckle. You could call Jesus Montero a "bounceback candidate" if you squinted hard, but the word is that Dae-ho Lee needs only throw his weight around a little to win the job.
You don't expect Nelson Cruz to be epic again, and Ketel Marte could be a mild disappointment. Other than that, you can't ask for a more reliable lineup. Aoki is very modest in his ambitions; Kyle Seager's REL score is A+, Adam Lind will be hitting righties, etc.
The flip side of this is that --- > who has the upside? Where's the Brad Miller or Michael Saunders or Dustin Ackley who could jell and give you the Weeks-Braun-Fielder upside? You stop and you realize there isn't ANY offensive upside ANYwhere.
THE INESCAPABLE CONCLUSION
Having charted the hills and valleys, let's fly over and map the terrain.
(1) For your offense, grab three stars. Then load up on hot dogs, suds, and Steady Eddie hitters the rest of the evening.
(2) For your pitching, grab an aircraft carrier to anchor. Then roll the dice on $1 gambles to go with him.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME THAT IS 1991 ROTISSERIE 5x5
We're just comparing Kyle Seager's room for growth to --- > Miller, Saunders, Montero, Ackley, etc.
From an overal RELiability standpoint -- how likely is a player to float up or down? And how far? -- the M's have an unusual number of players who can be pencilled in for MID performances. But yeah. ANY of these guys (except Cruz and Aoki maybe) could have strong seasons by their own standards.
I like the approach. Remember, the phase of getting 8-9 Steady Eddies onto your roster occurs after the phase of getting Trout, Batista and Harper onto your roster :- )
There isn't any offensive upside, if you're asking guys to improve on their established games. Well, if you figure Cano hits in '16 like he did during the 2nd half of '15, then you have some upside. But everywhere else "upside" dries up pretty quickly.
Well, Martin has some, if he's a 90+ OPS+ guy. But his upside is really in his ability to shag flies. Aoki brings some defensive upside in RF, as well.
But both Aoki and Lind bring considerable upside if you compare them to the guys we ran out into their positions last year. Lind is a real improvement, as Lee will be, and Aoki promises to give us some OBP at the top of the lineup.
And we're certainly getting more offensive production out of the catching position.
The potential for some decline certainly exists in LF, as you pointed out. Guti is not going to be Lou Gehrig again: No way, no how!! Ergo, decline. Smith isn't Methusalah at 33, but you could see him decline some in his vR PA's. But if I close my eyes and squint real hard, I could see him improve his .801 vR to .830, or some such--if Aquarius aligns with Mars. His career .274-.356 fell to .255-.343 last year. Age related decline? Don't know, his .204 career ISO fell all the way to .203 last year. Let's give him .800 again.
Oh, figure some decline for Cruz next year, too. He careered in in '15, at age 34. He was .936 last year, does he fall to .900, .850 or .810? The further he slides the more pressure on Lind/Lee to mash.
Top to bottom, we may be better offensively, if we get a Boomstick season out of somebody.
There's certainly room for some offensive slide, but then there's that shiny stable of rotational arms sitting there, too.
Oh, no Rodney throwing gas on the fire, as well.
The offense is SO predictable (and functional) we probably don't need any. Instead of wringing our hands over the likes of Ackley and Smoak, what do we have left to find out in spring training? Lee or Montero? Who hits second? That's about it.
On the other hand (to repeat myself), I can't remember the prospects for a SINGLE player being more important to a season than Cishek's. Doc is right, just give me the midpoint here and we can figure the rest of it out.
Bonus round: Tai Walker is 23. 23! Doesn't it seem like ten years ago when we almost traded him for Upton? He's too young to have an outlier...so if the second half of last year is who he really is...yeah, I'll take a decade of that.
But also I do think there's offensive upside in some others:
and even Cano and Seager. Cano for obvious reasons. Seager has plateaued at 4.something WAR now? I can see a case for him busting out at 28 with this cast around him.
Hitting is contagious? With more stable producers all over the field and coaching that seems to give reasons to dream we may get to test that. There's a lot of ifs still. I think what there isn't as much of is offensive downside.
... esp. about Cano and Seager. I have a feeling that Cruz won't drop off much, and Cano will be back at his better-than-.900 self.
And the team, and Lloyd especially, talked up Seager as about to make a leap last year. Maybe they weren't blowing smoke, just off by a season?
Isn't it about time for an M or three to have breakout season(-s)?
( ... I know, probability don't work that way ... )
We're going to have a banner season if the bullpen holds up. I like the Cishek-Benoit-Scribner-Cook-DeFratus mix o' 5 RH RPs. Would it really be all that strange if 6 bounce-back candidates, or 6 of the 10 I count on the 40-man (including Furbush, Hultzen, and Peralta; I figured that I am missing a couple o the roster, so I added two NOT on the roster) succeeded?
That's four necessary for the bullpen, but remember that they don't have to be the same four, all season. Cishek all season would be a good start. But the other three can mix and match with Zych, Peralta, Guaipe, et. al.
I really feel like we need Iannetta's bat to go back to normal and could swallow another bad-bat year from Martin, with Robertson, and further off, Powell, as well as O'Malley.
So for me, we need 1 of the 2 position-player bounceback bets to hit. And we need Cishek + 3 out of the RH RP mashup. Or its equivalent, presuming Benoit continues being Benoit.
Note that I am sadly not counting on either Furbush or Hultzen. With Nuno, Montgomery, and others, I am satisfied with the depth there.
I guess my overall point, aside from naming my numbers 1-2 breakout candidates (Seager-Cano), was that I think that we have a gamble on our hands at C and closer, and the other positions, no more so than everyone else. Very impressive to build what appears to be such quality depth at the ML/AAAA level over one offseason.
We don't NEED no stinkin' upside!
No longer are we RELYING on a Smoak or Ackley or LOMO to defy odds and become what we HOPE... everyone in the offense just need to be WHO THEY ALREADY HAVE BEEN and we will be a top 10 offense easily.
Seriously its beautiful... no one NEEDS to have a career year, they just need to be themselves. Martin already WAS, IS AND HAS BEEN 90 with the bat and golden with the glove.... he just needs to repeat that, yes he has upside above that but he doesnt need to get there for us to succeed he just has to be who he has been.
Sure Seager could go bonkers and have a 6 WAR season but he doesn’t NEED to... just give us the steady 3.5 - 4 WAR and we are good to go!
Etc, etc, etc all the way through the lineup and several deep in Tacoma!
You Go Di Po To!
P.S. I love this time of year… 162-0 here we come! :) :) :)
... if this isn't the right forum, but I wanted to ask,
1) How can I turn off this new predictive-text thing, it's driving me batty; and
2) Can I set the page to send me notifications when people reply or add to a thread?