Seen a lot of coveting thy neighbors dudes ‘round these pixelated parts and thought, hey, why not go in the opposite direction. With the impending “The Imminently Forgettable 1% Take Their Ball And Go Home,” looking to put a kibosh on those tasty, tasty yellow hot stove onions, it’s time to Take A Look At Our Guys.
We Bring To You Part 1 Of Maybe 2 (Shane is too busy Swimming In The Big Blog Bux) of what is a VERY stupid introspection on the State of Marineria. Some notes which are germane…
You’re going to want to know a general outline of 20-80, the Super Duper Insider Lingo, which is tossed around by Self Important Folks Like Myself to describe baseball players’ skills. It typically follows what would be an even distribution of talent and I think it is a pretty good way of thinking about baseball, and a lot of things, in general.
Going to introduce three components on how I view players (hey, you wanted some fantasy, we’re going to give you some fantasy) Sword, Shield, and Magic.
Sword: For hitters, a simple measure of how dangerous this player is with the bat in hand. Rolling Hit/Power/Eye all into one, a combination of Vibes & wRC+. For pitchers, if I may reference cricket, the ability to “take a wicket.” The ability to pick up strikeouts is a pretty good indicator of overall stuff for pitchers.
Shield: For hitters, the ability to add value while in the field. Combination of general vibes and DEF on FanGraphs. For pitchers, the ability to avoid walks. Good generalized barometer of the pitcher’s skill in manipulating the strike zone and getting hitters out while (sigh) Controlling The Zone.
Magic: That little extra flourish. For hitters, that’s the havoc that the player can create once they’re on the bases in the form of taking an extra bag or getting steals. For pitchers, it’s the ability to generate groundballs and avoid conceding home runs. I like to think of it as the certain je ne sais quoi which keeps the ball in the yard.
With that out of the way, Let’s Evaluate Some Guys.
SHIELD: 35-40 (positional adjustment here folks, put the tomatoes down there are supply chain issues, and jeez, there are better uses for tomatoes)
In Short– Probably the most significant development of 2021 was Ty France from a fringe regular to 1st division starter. His bat and (depending on your definition of “passable”) versatility with the glove make him something of a MuncyLite.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Everyone other than MAYBE the Bravos, Cardinals, and Dodgers but with FA upcoming, that all could change.
In Short– If anything, Crawford takes the “boring good player right on the edge of First Division Starter daggum right; it’s a tangible skill to stay healthy and play pretty doggone good defense” mantle from Kyle Seager. Plate discipline improvements convince me hitting advances will stick, and he’s also Pretty Darn Likeable. Not really a threat on the bases, and I wish the team would stop pretending he is.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Angles, A’s, Blue Jays (Bichette to 3B), Cubs, Diamondbacks, Guardians, Marlins, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Reds, Tigers, White Sox (Anderson slides to 2B). (Authors note, this feels light, but dang, there are a lot of good middle infielders in baseball right now.)
In Short– Cromulent middle of the rotation guy who heck, compliment time is absolutely one of the best 120 or so starting pitchers in baseball at this time. Hell may even be The Greatest Pitcher Ever Who Even Knows. Want to see if the 2021 DongerSuppressionGainz (I started saying it ironically, and now I’m stuck, don’t be like me) stick.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Angels, A’s, Cardinals, Cubs, Guardians, Nationals, Orioles, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Tigers, Twins, White Sox
In Short– Can mash, will play. Near 40 dingers and stayed healthy. Heck of a season for Mitchy. Trending towards unplayability in the outfield and may need to pick up a first baseman’s mitt to remain on the diamond and out of the video room.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Angels (OF), A’s (LF/DH), Blue Jays (OF), Bravos (DH), Brewers (1B/DH), Cardinals (DH), Cubs (1B/OF/DH), Diamondbacks, (1B/OF/DH), Guardians (1B/OF), Marlins (1B/OF/DH), Nationals (LF/DH), Padres (1B/LF/DH), Phillies (LF/DH), Pirates (OF/DH), Rangers (OF/DH), Rays (1B), Red Sox (1B), Reds (DH), Rockies (DH), Tigers (LF/DH), Twins (LF).
SHIELD: 50 (pretty darn good for a 3B)
In Short– Kyle’s ending a run in which he was not only In In Pen in the current lineup but In In Pen as the all-time greatest 3B in Mariner history. Entering an interesting market where you need a little wishcasting to see him as an upgrade for contenders. wRC+ entered DaSockZone, but again, his glove remains fantastic. Runs like a guy in his mid-30s. Wish the Mariners would keep him on a one-year deal but alas…
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Blue Jays, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Guardians (If Franmil can play 1B, Ramirez moves to 2B), Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Red Sox (Devers to 1B), Reds (Moustakas to 1B, Votto to DH), White Sox (the stretchiest upgrade. Vaughn to 1B, Moncada or Hernandez to OF, Abreu to DH), Yankees.
In Short- Best starting pitcher drafted and developed by the organization since James Paxton. He can miss bats and doesn’t give in. He didn’t really have a case of gopheritis in the minors but did get a rude awakening RE: mistakes over the plate in his first season in the bigs. Building block for next playoff team; fingers crossed only other teams pitchers have wacky stuff happen to them haha……
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Logan would be in the rotation anywhere outside of Atlanta and The Actual Los Angeles Baseball Team (The Dodgers).
In Short– The Bullpen Dudes (Sandwiches NOT a dude, let me clarify, NOT a dude) could pretty much pitch anywhere. If you saw Sewald’s stats and had never seen him pitch, you’d think fastball/slider guy who sat 97 but hoooboyy, you’re in for a treat. Stecknrider took considerable leaps in the CTZzone and was actually pretty darn near-elite at keeping the ball in the yard. Much like the aforementioned Flexen, this trend is relatively new, and it’s going to be interesting to see if it’s not just the Luck Dragons helping our Lil Stecky. Sandwiches is your garden variety 6-7th inning guy, who we all think is terrible because of the unit’s strength as a whole in 2021. Sewald and Steckenrider could pitch on any team in the bigs, and you’d be surprised just how weak the back half of most major league teams bullpens are RE: TSandy.
“TOMMY DA TOOTHMAN” MURPHY
In Short– For a guy in his 30’s I have no idea what Tom Murphy actually is. He’s had seasons of what can be called “actual not just for a catcher prowess” with the bat but missed 2020 and hit like he has for most of his career (like a backup catcher) in 2021. There could be a 2nd gear here, but as of now, I’ve got him as a 1-B type catcher.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Marlins, Rockies (1-B), Tigers (also a bunch of catchers who hit nothing like they have in their careers previously)
ABRAHAM “DA POLARIZAH” TORO
In Short– As we move further away from “Abraham Toro: The Trade” as a fanbase, I think we need to start evaluating “Abraham Toro: The 25-year-old switch-hitting “2B”/3B” and what is here is mighty interesting. Toro did an excellent job of avoiding the strikeout (14.4%) and posted a nearly league-average 95 wRC+ in his most significant sample of big league work thus far. Toro hit for power in the minors, and though I know Fangraphs is overly rosy about his defensive prowess (yes JKrom, I used it in Bad Faith, he’s probably a just barely above playable second baseman), there’s room to improve. May end up realizing potential upside elsewhere, though…
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Angels (2B if they can stomach Fletcher at SS, A’s (2B), Blue Jays (3B), Diamondbacks (2B/3B wherever Ketel isn’t), Guardians (If Franmil can play 1B, Ramirez moves to 2B, would be an upgrade at 2B as is), Orioles (2B/3B), Phillies (3B), Red Sox (3B, Devers to 1B), Reds (3B, Moustakas to 1B, Votto to DH), Yankees (3B)
In Short- Tyler Anderson came in and did exactly what he was supposed to do. Pitch like one of the 120-150 best starting pitchers in the bigs and ensure competence during a playoff run. God bless him, and I hope there’s a neat 2nd act to his career, but I doubt it’s with the Seattle Mariners.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: A’s, Nationals, Orioles, Pirates, Rangers, Twins
In Short– This feels scarily low for a pitcher who’s given the team solid middle-of-the-rotation efforts since coming over from the Cardinals, but Marco’s 2021 was alarming. A 3.98 ERA hides a FIP darn near 6, and walks and dingers are going up while grounders are and K’s are going down. Still, Marco is one of the best 120 starters employed by big-league teams but closer to 120 than 90.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: Angels, A’s, Cardinals, Cubs, Guardians, Nationals, Orioles, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Tigers, Twins, White Sox (copy-paste of Flexen, think I’d take Chris over Marco, but they’re in the same bucket)
In Short-Hidden under some oogy peripherals and a shoulder injury, Dunn pitched like a bonafide back of the rotation guy when he was healthy. Yes, the metrics didn’t match the results, but it was a step forward for the soon-to-be 26-year-old in nearly all meaningful statistical categories (Strikeouts went up, walks down, dingers suppressed). If Dunn is healthy, he likely isn’t breaking camp with the team (Jerry, please) but doesn’t forget about guys who show they can miss bats.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: A’s, Nationals, Orioles, Pirates, Rangers, Twins (yup, copied Tyler Anderson. I’d take Dunn as he has options and the potential for a 2nd gear feels higher)
In Short– Played his way into someone’s plans in 2022 but not sure it’s the Mariners. Fantastic against right-handers (.815 OPS), platooning Dylan Moore is your best option against left-handers (.531 OPS). His 2021 effort against lefties is actually a marked improvement vs. his career numbers (.475 OPS). With his defense up for debate (Fangraphs hates him, Savant thinks he’s passable in the corners) and ability to add value on the bases, Fraley is a perfect addition for a rebuilding team to see if there’s something more. The Mariners are no longer a rebuilding team.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: A’s, Marlins, Phillies, Pirates, Rockies (4th OF/DH)
SHIELD: ?? (Have no idea at this point could be 35-55)
In Short- It was something of a pyrrhic victory season for our dude Luis. Lost the ability to catch, gained the fringy-50 bat. While this undoubtedly helped the 2021 edition of the Mariners (the .854 OPS against lefties put him In In Pen at least on the short side), this profile, after a prolonged slump, gets DFA’d. As it stands now, Torrens is a starting major league catcher if he can just pull off “not disaster” behind the plate while retaining some of the BatGainz. If he’s done at catcher, it’s gonna be a tour of North American baseball clubs.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: A’s (DH pile), Pirates (NL DH/2nd Catcher), Phillies (2nd Catcher),
SHIELD: “50” (polarizing)
In Short- Can go from Dud to Dude in one swing of the bat. Moore’s ability to generate some action on the bases and potentially fantastic defense according to Savant & some defensive metrics could leave us undervaluing the dynamic DMo. But alas, this is a guy entering an age 29 season with a career K% over 30 and coming off a 74 wRC+ season. I see why the Mariners would bring him back as you don’t find legit 45-50 grade power from someone who can play anywhere on the diamond. Mileage may vary at SS and CF.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: A’s (Util IF/OF), Diamondbacks (3B), Nationals (nothing at SS), Orioles (2B/3B), Phillies (3B/LF), Pirates (OF)
In Short– Weird year for our dude TayTram. Infectious enthusiasm, a burgeoning fan favorite, the power started to fill in (ISO of .199 in the bigs and .193 at AAA, both high water marks for him), did his thing on the bases, heck even threw out a guy!
Ghastly 42% K rate in the bigs. Did fine at AAA but didn’t set the world on fire. The words Quad A began being whispered. The bottom line is he’s gonna have to get the total bat package up to at least 45 (fringy, let’s call it 88 wRC+ ish) to stay in the bigs. This is still a 24-year-old (median AAA age is 27) who possesses both speed and fielding ability that aren’t entirely carrying tools but are close. Let’s not write him off just yet, but Trammell is not at all a log in the jam.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: A’s, Marlins, Pirates, Phillies
In Short– The worst possible scenario outside of long-term injury played out for Sheff in 2021. Shelled, hurt, bullpen, mixed results out of the bullpen, ick. Still, this is a 26-year-old who has had stretches of bonafide success suppressing hard contact at the big league level and has minor league options. Pitched his way out of the plan but very well could pitch back in it this year. It would be interesting to see what “sitting at 95” Sheffield looks like out of the bullpen.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR (as a SP): Pirates, Rangers
In Short– Kiefer Sutherland tackling a tree.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: How are the Pirates going to avoid losing 120 games next year?
In Short– This daggum lil’ possum almost played his way out of the plan but instead mixed his way into our hearts. Not a first division starter yet, and yes, it was BAAAAAAAAD for 90% of his time up, but the AAA slash line and his ability to provide value on the basepaths are really interesting for a guy entering an Age 22 season. Though metrics are mixed, there is some credence to the concern that CF isn’t where he ends up long term; there’s some evidence he can fake it there for the near future.
TEAMS HE’D BE A NOTICEABLE UPGRADE FOR: lmfao the A’s could be so bad next year, Marlins, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, White Sox (Vaughn to 1b, Abreu to DH)
Alrighty, Good People. Tell me how much of a dunce I am. I’d go a rare 80, but since nobody is a true 80, maybe a 70.