Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners have so far played 30 games this season. Normally, this would account for 18.5% of the regular seasons games they would play in a season. However, in a COVID-19-stricken world, 30 games now account for 50% of their regular season games.
The Mariners sit 11-19 and in fourth place. They sit two games above the last-place Los Angeles Angels and one game behind the third-place Texas Rangers.
As I wrote in my season preview for the Mariners, 2020 is another season in their rebuilding project and the best action was to stay the course. Luckily for Mariners’ fans, the team has done so, showing signs of progress for the future in their youth.
Young outfielder Kyle Lewis continues to be a gem on the squad, hitting a batting average of .315, On-base plus slugging (OPS) of 1.041, ranking him ninth in the MLB and has the third-most hits in the MLB with 39. His breakout season after his strong September last year gives the Mariners the first piece in a potentially strong outfield for years to come.
The Mariners’ top-ranked prospects according to mlb.com are outfielders Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic. Neither have made an at-bat yet for the Mariners. With Lewis’ success, the Mariners’ outfield could look deadly in a couple seasons.
The fifth-ranked prospect on the Mariners, first-baseman Evan White, has showed signs of promise this season. He has hit five home runs (tied for second on the team) and ranks fourth on the team in runs batted in (RBIs) with 15. However, his batting average (BA) is a poor .143 and is tied for first with Minnesota Twins’ first-baseman Miguel Sano in strikeouts with 43, meaning he has struck out 47.2% of his 91 plate appearances (PA). He has power and can produce for the team but it will take time for him to improve his plate discipline and contact.
As expected, the pitching rotation leaves a lot to be desired. They have the fifth-worst team earned run average (ERA) and have given up the fifth-most home runs in the MLB. No pitcher has more than two wins with four each picking up two wins this season. Marco Gonzales and Justus Sheffield (who the Mariners acquired in the James Paxton trade with the New York Yankees) lead the team with a 3.34 and 3.51 ERA respectively. One great aspect is the development of closer Taylor Williams, who has a 3.00 ERA but has six saves on six save opportunities.
White represents the team perfectly, one with potential but are suffering numerous growing pains. The rotation shows just how far the Mariners are from competing.
The Mariners are fifth worst in the MLB in both BA and OPS. They simply lack talent to compete with teams in playoff contention, which is fine for the time being. They are rebuilding and there is no need to force trades for stars and compete. They traded designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations, a power-hitter who has struggled since his hot start in 2019. This will free up more opportunities for prospects to receive much-needed reps.
The Mariners have stayed the course this season as they continue to rebuild. I am excited to see the further development of their farm system and if the Mariners make any more moves, free up cash and adding to the prospect pool.