5:02 AM Thoughts on the Mariners


Let’s see how coherently I can think (and write) after 4 hours of sleep.

  • It would be interesting to do a study on the effects of travel on a Major League Baseball player.  I would imagine that the teams least affected by time zone changes and long flights would be those in the AL East and the NL East, and those most affected would be those in the AL West.  There’s a reason why teams do better at home, and it isn’t just that the home fans are cheering them on.  Long home-stands allow a player to get in a groove.  Road trips force him to adjust to new time zones and deal with irregular sleeping patterns.  I wonder how much different the standings would be if all 30 Major League teams played their games in the same city.
  • I don’t think Ryan Rowland-Smith will pitch much better with the Astros in 2011 than he did with the Mariners in 2010.  Park factors are significant to a degree, but when you also need to consider how much better Seattle’s’ defense is than the Astros’.  Positive regression aside, RRS doesn’t have much going for him besides his golden personality.
  • Tom Tango once pointed out that the difference between a good hitter and a bad hitter is greater than the difference between a good pitcher and a bad pitcher.  A rookie pitcher is likely to perform closer to the median than a rookie hitter.  That said. I think Michael Pineda will pitch closer to the level of an average Major League pitcher in 2011 than Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak will to the level of an average Major League hitter.  Is a sub-4.50 FIP over 20+ starts out of the question?  I don’t think so.  We don’t really know if Pineda’s health or strikeout rates will stabilize in the majors, but he has the potential to be a rotational mainstay from the start.  As for Ackley and Smoak, my expectations are grounded.
  • 81 wins has been the general consensus for the 2011 Mariners with their current roster.  But remember, if Adrian Beltre signs with a non AL West team, that division will again be pretty weak.  The M’s don’t have much of a chance to win the West, but they do have a chance to remain in competition for the division title for a couple of months.  One of the problems with the blogosphere and the application of projected win totals is that we end up making up our minds about how a team will perform; and for the past two years, our predictions have been very, very wrong.  81 wins could end up being 77, or 85, or 71, or 89.  A lot of things happen over a 162-game season, so we may as well steal a phrase from Keith Myers with which to refer to our estimated win totals – a ” prediction guaranteed to be wrong”.  Either way, the 2006 and 2009 Mariners taught us that even mediocre baseball teams can be fun.  I’m not worried about 2011, nor should I be.

I’m currently on an airplane headed back to school.  I have no idea when this will post.