First off, I’m sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. My other life has been extremely busy and I simply haven’t had time. Hopefully you’ll all forgive me.
I’ve decided to combine 2B and 3B for this post, simply because there’s a lot of overlap. This isn’t normal, but the Mariner’s don’t seem to be very normal these days.
Chone Figgins: Most M’s fans think of Figgins as a third basemen who was playing out of position as a second basemen in 2010. The truth of the matter is that Figgins is an outfielder who played out of position at third in Anaheim before coming to Seattle and being asked to play even more out of position at 2B. However you want to describe Figgins, the results in 2010 weren’t pretty. It’s looking more and more like his future in Seattle is back at third.
Jose Lopez: Lopez is gone; traded to Colorado hours before he was going to be officially non-tendered. He wasn’t much better than a pylon defensively at 2B, never developed a remotely reasonable approach at the plate, and couldn’t keep up the power mirage that was his 2009 season. Ultimately, he wont be missed.
Dustin Ackley: Ackley is the future at 2B for the M’s. The 2nd overall pick of the 2009 draft, Ackley will be in a M’s uniform sooner rather than later unless he’s traded. His offensive numbers from AA don’t jump off the page at you, but much of that was because of a very slow start as he transitioned to pro ball. After a couple of good months he moved up to AAA where he made the transition a bit faster, but still had a couple very poor weeks holding down his stats. He ended the season with a wOBA of .340. Interestingly, his slugging percentage was 58 points higher in AAA than in AA. Expect Ackley to start the year in Tacoma and move up to Seattle in June unless either he lights up the pitching in spring training or gets off to a very slow start in Tacoma.
Matt Mangini: Mangini is a bit of an enigma to me. If you look at his minor league stats, he seems to have gotten better as he moved up through the levels. So there’s reason to believe he might develop into a decent major leaguer. Still, he’s already about to turn 25 so he’ll have to break into the majors soon or he might not be given a chance. Plus, his 28 errors in 117 games isn’t something that is easy to overlook. Personally I think he’s a better fit for 1B, but he doesn’t have the pure offense talent for the position. Ultimately, he’s a lot like Mike Carp in that he has a chance to be a decent major league player, but doesn’t hit well enough for his position (assuming 1B), and doesn’t play enough defense to play elsewhere.
Matt Tuiasosopo: Tui is a player w/o a position; utility player that doesn’t really do anything well. He’s yet to show that he can hit (except during spring training which he seems to excel at) and he doesn’t look comfortable at any of the positions he plays. Still, Tui is a great athlete and there’s always a chance that will suddenly translate into results when given enough playing time. I’ve placed Tui on here because he’s a candidate to “hold down the fort” at 2B while we wait for Ackley.
Josh Wilson: Wilson is a utility middle infielder, and a replacement level player, and nothing more. There’s a certain subset of M’s fans that like to believe that he should be starting over Jack Wilson at SS, but the numbers certainly don’t support that. His .263 wOBA in 2010 is about at his career average, and his -2.1 UZR (-2.9 UZR/150) wont exactly open any doors for more playing time. Still, Wilson’s ability to play all the infield positions has some value. Perhaps his mildly decent defense will give him a shot at a chance to play 2B for a couple months while the team waits for Ackley to be ready.
Overall Analysis: Ackley is the future at 2B, and Figgins is likely to be at 3B for at least a couple more years. Other than those two, there isn’t much talent in the organization. If Ackley doesn’t transition into the majors quickly, or if Figgins can’t rebound back to near his 2009 numbers, the M’s will struggle to compete in the competitive AL West.
Prediction Guaranteed to be Wrong: Figgins at 3B seems seems like a given, as does Ackley coming up in June from Tacoma. I flipped a coin and it came up that the player who’ll start the year at 2B while the team waits for Ackley to be ready isn’t currently on the roster. I have no idea who that will be.