Can The Mariners Score Runs This Season?


Do you know how hard it is to come up with something to write about, that is Mariner specific, day after day? It gets old. Don’t get me wrong I love writing and I love Seattle baseball. They are two things that I’ve spent the better half of my 27 years thinking about and wasting my time analyzing.

But in the middle of winter when all anyone and Keith’s mom want to talk about is either signing Prince Fielder or trading Felix Hernandez there reaches a specific boiling point if you will. There is just not a lot of positive things that are going on with this team right now and that’s largely due to conjecture.

People keep saying things like we need to do A (or we need to do B) because the Mariners suck right now. I mean regardless of how we would fix “it” we can all agree that “it” needs to be fixed and the team that is currently standing needs to be retooled to a degree.

But the degree is widely disputed.

Some people say that Casper Wells is merely a fourth outfielder wear as I believe he can be a suitable CF or even RF given the chance. Some people think that Mike Carp is solid in left, citing that despite his defense that his bat will allow him to stay there. I prefer him to stay at the DH. Some are worried about Justin Smoak and what the future may hold and I think he’s a stud.

We all have different opinions on this team and that’s what makes it so much fun to talk and argue with one another.

So I thought let’s stir this pot up a bit and talk about getting this Mariner team back to scoring runs, which is a real focus and one of the main points to acquiring Prince Fielder. So I thought it fun to play with Tom Tango’s simple Markov Run Estimator calculator.  

If you want background on this calculator or the, Marklov principle itself, than you are speaking with the wrong man, as I’m plain stupid when it comes to mathematics. I’m still struggling with Algebra II concepts, that said the idea behind it is extremely cool and if you got some extra time take a look.

Now obviously while dabbling with projects there are some clear caveats that come with it. What did to ascertain the projected numbers was review and added together what I believe to be the current line-up for the Mariners according to Bill James and Fans Scouting Reporting on Fangraphs.

The number you get back from Tom Tango is the number of runs that line-up would score per game, along with additional probably of certain players scoring in certain positions,  obviously all you have to do is multiply runs scored per game times the number of games in a season (162). This number is right around 700 is very close to what would be considered a league average offense last year.

Now the point of this exercise is not to see how many runs James, or even the fans, think that they will score. Rather to see if the Mariners are currently fielding a competent line-up, that when compared to the league average offensive production numbers generated last year last year, and where it is currently on the map of “good”, “meh” or “crap”.

Let’s not kid ourselves, last year’s offense was barely better than what was fielded in 2010. An addition 150 runs over the course of the season could lead the Mariners to an easy 75 wins and quite possibly into .500 territory.

But let’s talk about what would need to go right for that to occur:

(a)  Dustin Ackley would need to continue being awesome. This isn’t hard to envision.

(b) Justin Smoak would have to turn back to what he was in early April-June and forget about what happened in July/August.

(c)  Mike Carp would have to continue being the uncanny spectacle that he has become.

(d) Miguel Olivo would have to not suck.

(e)  Kyle Seager would have to learn to hit left handed pitching.

(f)   Franklin Gutierrez has to be healthy

(g)  Franklin Gutierrez has to be his 2009/early 2010 version.

(h) Casper Wells has to hit for power that we saw in August.

(i)    Ichiro doesn’t have to great, doesn’t have to be good just has to be decent.

(j)    Brendan Ryan should never, ever hit #2 in the line-up ever, ever again. Other than that he’s a fine #9 hitter.


None of these things are outside the realm of possibility, though, it’s hardly believable that all of them would happen in one season. This only continues to fuel my belief that this team is just barely an under .500 team. Prince Fielder of course helps the Mariners but nobody has yet to convience me that he helps push us into that 90-win territory.

The Mariners are already in a better position than they were in 2010 and 2011, though, the problem is you never know what is going wrong. That’s a huge concern of mine right now with this team. There isn’t much depth for this team and the talent that they have isn’t overwhelming but it could be good enough to at least keep things interesting. Thinking about last year, Eric Wedge and the front office took a team that wasn’t very good and managed to keep them around the .500 mark until they crashed and burned miserably with that ugly losing streak.

While the end of last season left a bitter taste in the mouth of fans, this team has promise and they certainly should be able to score more runs than what they produced last year, that of course should mean a higher win total too. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.