Reasons For Optimism
This season has sucked. The team has played badly and provided almost no entertainment value. Their playoff chances are gone, and at this point, there’s not much left to root for. Fans are angry, players are frustrated, and there’s only so many posts you can write about how poorly this team was constructed.
So, I’m throwing a curveball. Here are the reasons to believe that this team will play better the next four months than they did in the first two.
1. Jarrod Washburn and Carlos Silva have LOB% of 61.5% and 61.6% respectively. Those are the 4th and 5th lowest totals in the American League. Thankfully, LOB% isn’t very predictive, and there’s no reason to think that this is a true change in ability for either of these guys. Both guys have true talent strand rates of closer to 70%, and when their ability to leave runners on base regresses toward the mean, both guys will improve their ERAs quite a bit.
2. Adrian Beltre has a .239 batting average on balls in play despite a line drive percentage of 20.5%. His career BABIP is near .300, and considering how well he’s hitting the baseball, there’s no reason for the ball to continue to find fielders gloves at this rate. Beltre’s skillset makes it likely that his performance will improve as the year goes on.
3. The Mariners are hitting .228/.323/.390 as a team with runners in scoring position, 13th out of 14 AL teams. While the offense isn’t good, it’s better than that, and there’s no reason to believe this is a line-up of unclutch hitters who can’t perform well in scoring opportunities. That number should also improve as the year wears on.
4. Brandon Morrow.
The cloud is dark, but there are some silver linings. This isn’t the worst team in the AL, and they won’t continue to play this badly all year long.