Cactus League Game 6, White Sox at Mariners

marc w · February 28, 2019 at 11:45 am · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Lucas Giolito, 12:10pm

Happy Felix Day to you and yours. I don’t know how many more times I’ll get to type that, so I want to make sure I don’t miss any now.

Looking at the M’s 2019 projections from Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, and Clay Davenport, there’s a consensus that the M’s won’t be very good. There’s disagreement about where the M’s are on offense, but the real question mark – the thing that could see the M’s ending with some solid growth and a nearly .500 record or crash and burn to 70 wins – is their pitching. The bullpen’s been torn down, but more than that, the rotation’s still somewhat of an unknown, which is fascinating when you think how experienced all of these guys are. There aren’t any rookies, besides Kikuchi, who shouldn’t really count as one. The guys that the projections can’t agree on are guys like Marco Gonazales.

There’s one guy, of course, that all projection systems think they’ve got sussed. Essentially everyone now assumes Felix will be hide-your-eyes awful, and seeing Felix come back strong is perhaps the biggest thing that would help the M’s overachieve. It pains me to say it, but Felix won’t be on the next M’s team that’s an actual contender, so you could argue that his performance in 2019 is completely meaningless to the M’s franchise. That’s a really nihilistic thing to say, though. More accurately, if the overhauled M’s coaching staff, now armed with racks of Rapsodo and Edgertronic cameras, can make meaningful improvements in Felix, then that’s a really good sign that guys like Marco really will become better than the projection systems could dream of.

Lucas Giolito is one of several high-risk/high-reward prospects the White Sox got when they committed to a rebuild and sold off their star players like Adam Eaton and Chris Sale. A rebuild takes time, say GMs, but I’d be pretty worried if I was a Sox fan. Giolito isn’t yet 25, but he’s coming off a below-replacement-level season, and has now thrown 240 abysmal innings in the big leagues. He doesn’t miss bats, the walk rate is awful, and the projection systems see him making only minor improvements in 2019. Yoan Moncada was disappointing-but-average by Fangraphs, but sub-replacement level by BP’s measures. There are serious problems all over that roster, and it’s not clear who you’d identify as the core stars who will lead them back to redemption and contention. As much as the Cubs or Astros are now seen as the models for how to rebuild successfully, I think they’re also paradoxically showing that rebuilds are no longer needed. That player development doesn’t hinge on a transformative #1 overall draft pick but rather with turning some random org-depth guy into Josh James or getting the absolute most from your 17th-overall guy (Forrest Whitley) than your 1-1 (Mark Appel). The White Sox should be a cautionary tale, and while it’s a little early to call the whole thing a failure, it’s starting to look like one.

1: Gordon, 2B
2: Haniger, RF
3: Bruce, LF
4: Encarnacion, 1B
5: Seager, 3B
6: Narvaez, C
7: Crawford, SS
8: Fraley, CF
9: Ackley, DH


3 Responses to “Cactus League Game 6, White Sox at Mariners”

  1. LongDistance on February 28th, 2019 11:16 pm

    “It pains me to say it, but Felix won’t be on the next M’s team that’s an actual contender, so you could argue that his performance in [ ] is completely meaningless to the M’s franchise.”
    A devastatingly true sentence if there ever was one… but, unfortunately, there are way too many years we could swap in for 2019…

  2. Stevemotivateir on March 1st, 2019 6:22 pm

    Couldn’t agree more about the White Sox. I couldn’t understand the interest in Machado or Harper, considering they need so much more than either one (or both!) to really pose a threat. By all appearances, they look like the Reds of recent years.

    My hope for Felix is that he can rebound and find himself on a contending team so he experiences the post season at least once. It’s really not important how much money Seattle would have to eat, or that he finishes his career in one uniform. He’s still a Mariner for life.

  3. raul_podzednick on March 2nd, 2019 10:34 am

    Sad to see the King Felix era come to an end

    If only ownership had let Z sign Nelson Cruz one year earlier….

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