Seattle Mariners: Projecting the 2018 Starting Lineup
The Seattle Mariners were a middle-of-the-pack team on offense in 2017. Collectively they batted .259 with 750 runs scored and 200 homers. They finished 78-84, though they put together a solid run towards the end of the season and they were in contention of a Wild Card spot. Now, we’re some offseason additions, the Mariners look to be in good shape heading into 2018.
1. Dee Gordon, CF
Leading off will be the Mariners newest acquisition, Dee Gordon. The Seattle Mariners sent Minor League pitchers Robert Dugger and Nick Neidert, as well as shortstop Christopher Torres to Miami for Gordon. 2017 was a bounce-back season for Gordon. He was suspended for much of the 2016 season. In 158 games he batted .308 with 114 runs scored and an MLB-leading 60 stolen bases. Gordon will provide a spark on the base paths for a Mariners team that swiped just 89 bags as a team. Gordon will also take on a new role with the Mariners as an outfielder.
2. Jean Segura, SS
Batting second will be the Seattle Mariners big acquisition from 2016, Jean Segura. Segura put together a second straight solid season, his first in a Mariners uniform. The quick shortstop batted .300 on the nose with 11 homers, 45 RBI, and 22 stolen bases. Batting in the two-spot with a true leadoff hitter in Gordon in front of him should help increase his run production.
3. Robinson Cano
On the other side of the second base bag and in the three-hole is Robinson Cano. The eight-time All-Star put together yet another great season. He played in the fewest games in a season since 2006 with 150 games. That just goes to show how consistent he’s been over his 13-year career. Cano batted .280 with 23 homers and 97 RBI. While his numbers may seem a bit down by Cano’s standards, it was still a solid season nonetheless. Expect more of the same from the 36-year-old heading into his 14th season.
4. Nelson Cruz, DH
Cruz fell just short of a fourth-straight 40-home run season in 2017. His 39 bombs and 119 RBI both lead the team. His .288 average to go along with it just further proves that Cruz has been and still is one of the game’s premier clean-up hitters. Despite the fact he’ll be turning 38 this season, there’s no reason not to believe he can’t keep it up. His legs may not allow him to play in the field anymore, but his power from the clean-up spot isn’t going anywhere.
5. Kyle Seager
While Seager’s seasons may have seemed like a disappointment, he was still very productive at the plate. Despite batting just .249, Seager still managed to hit 27 balls out and knock in 88 games. The 27 bombs were the second highest total of his young career. The 30-year-old third baseman will look to remain more consistent at the plate in 2018. A big part of Seager’s game has been staying on the field. Since his rookie season in 2011, he hasn’t appeared in fewer than 154 games. He’ll look to keep that durability up while batting in the five-spot.
6. Mitch Haniger, RF
2017 was supposed to be Haniger‘s big, breakout full-season. Unfortunately, he was limited to 96 games due to various injuries. However, it was a step in the right direction because when he was on the field he performed well. In 96 games he batted .282 with 16 homers and 47 RBI. His impact in his limited appearances shows just how talented a player Haniger is. He’ll likely bat in the six spot for the Mariners to start the season. If he can stay on the field, expect a big season from the young outfielder.
7. Mike Zunino, C
The former top prospect finally put together a solid season after struggling thus far. In 124 games he batted .251 with 25 homers and 64 RBI. He posted career highs in every offensive category and was solid behind the plate. The 26-year-old may not be the future superstar he was once expected to be. However, if he can stay on the field and perform the way he did in 2017, the Mariners will gladly take it. The catcher should provide some pop batting in the seven spot.
8. Ryon Healy, 1B
Before the dust from the World Series had even settled, the Seattle Mariners were making moves. They sent prospects Emilio Pagan and Alexander Campos to Oakland in return for Ryon Healy. The 25-year-old split time at DH and both corner infield spots in 2017. He’s set to be the everyday first baseman with Seattle. In his first full season, Healy batted .271 with 25 homers and 78 RBI. He has a ton of power and should provide a nice jolt as the lineup turns over.
9. Ben Gamel, LF
Rounding out the Mariners lineup will be the young, well-rounded Ben Gamel. Gamel forced his way into the starting lineup in 2017 and didn’t disappoint. In 134 games he showed off his tools, batting .275 with 11 homers and 59 RBI. He also swiped four bags, though he’s much quicker than those numbers indicate. Gamel should have no problem hanging onto his starting job and should set the top of the order up nicely from the ninth spot.
The acquisitions of Gordon and Healy give the Seattle Mariners some much-needed flexibility. Not only have they bolstered their already powerful lineup with Healy but they added a ton of speed with Gordon. They’re in a better place offensively than they were a year ago and could very well compete for a Wild Card spot in 2018.
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