Game 39, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · September 5, 2020 at 2:34 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Justus Sheffield vs. Kyle Gibson, 6:10pm

After another win against the Rangers, the M’s are now 5-2 against Texas. There’s not a lot of mystery about why the Rangers are where they are: they have the worst group of position players in the game, and at least by Fangraphs’ metrics, it’s not even close. They’re the only group that’s racked up negative WAR, and they’re closing in on -3, so they’re not just fractionally into negative territory. The problems are widespread: nearly the entire starting line-up, from Shin-Soo Choo to Todd Frazier (since departed) to Rougned Odor was in negative territory. Veterans like Choo or Andrus, younger players like Willie Calhoun – it didn’t matter.

At the beginning of the year, league-wide BABIP was way down – lower than it had been in decades. That’s changed in recent weeks, and league BABIP is up around .290, just a couple of points lower than last year. The Rangers have not gotten the memo, as their team BABIP is still .257, by far the worst in the league. Optimists may point to this as a reason their offense hasn’t gotten going; they’re snakebit by BABIP luck. Their average exit velocity is middle of the pack, so there’s something to this theory, but it can’t explain all of it. They’ve hit for no power, have middling plate discipline, and this is what, the third year in four that Odor’s been nearly unplayable?

Kendall Graveman was electric out of the bullpen yesterday, averaging 97 on his sinker in a perfect inning. The M’s will have an interesting decision to make on him at year’s end. His contract’ll be up, and he may get some attention from other clubs, but his neck injury and arm issues the past few years will limit how much they bid. The M’s may want to bring him back as a bullpen arm.

Today, the M’s again face Kyle Gibson, the ex-Twins ground ball maven who’s been a regular punching bag in Texas. While the Rangers haven’t hit for power, opposing teams have done just fine against Gibson, who enters sporting a HR/9 rate of 2.13. The Rangers had done well in rehabilitating Mike Minor and especially Lance Lynn (who struggled a bit in Minnesota), but it hasn’t worked with Gibson, nor with Juan Nicasio. I think this year was always supposed to be a bridge year before their minor league pitching prospects could get their feet wet in the bigs, and ideally, swapping out vets like Minor or Lynn would help restock the farm system. I’m not sure any of that’s really going to happen now. They held on to Lance Lynn at the deadline, moved Mike Minor (whose ERA was 5.60), and made minor deals to move on from the disappointing Robinson Chirinos and Todd Frazier. That’s not exactly a big system restock, and without the minors, it’s hard to know how much progress their hurlers have made on the year.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Moore, LF
3: Lewis, CF
4: Seager, 3B
5: France, 2B
6: Marmolejos, DH
7: White, 1B
8: Ervin, RF
9: Torrens, C
SP: Sheffield


2 Responses to “Game 39, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. 200tang on September 5th, 2020 2:54 pm

    Mariners hold a $3.5M club option on Graveman next year.

  2. Sportszilla on September 5th, 2020 3:53 pm

    Re: Graveman – It’s even more stark than that, as they have to pay him $500,000 if they don’t exercise the option. Not sure how they DON’T pick up that option unless Graveman gets hurt again, because he can be a dominant bullpen arm and would likely fetch a serious premium at the 2021 deadline.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.