Michael Saunders: The Benefit Of Keeping Him


At the end of the 2014 season, Jack Z made some interesting comments about Michael Saunders not being able to stay healthy, and hinted that some of that was Saunders’ fault. Since these comments, there has been a lot of speculation about the Mariners outfield, both on the offensive and defensive side.

The Condor’s name has come up as the primary bit of trade bait. I’m here to convince you that we need to keep him.

I wrote an article a while back about why we should keep Chris Taylor, and in summation, I said that it was the “Adam Jones” factor that Chris Taylor had that made him an asset. Saunders is a little bit of a different story, having been in the league for six seasons. Regardless, lets do what we always do and take a gander at some batting stats for the last year.

AB: 231

Hits: 63

RBI: 34

On top of that, he hit for .273/.341/.450

Okay, i’m going to try my hand at making a new statistic, the extra base hit ratio, abbreviated XBR, by taking xbh/h. This stat is meant to show how often a player hits for power, when he does get on base. Saunders had 22 extra base hits last year.

Sidebar: 34 RBIs on 63 hits?! Color me impressed.

Saunders’ XBR would come out to  .389. For comparison, Robinson Cano‘s XBR in 2014 was .283, and Miguel Cabrera‘s was .409 during his triple crown season in 2012.

So by this metric, when he did get on base, Saunders hit more consistently for extra bases than Cano (I’d like to point out at this point that I’m not saying that Saunders is better than Cano).

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On top of Saunders being a decent power hitter (which the XBR stat would seem to convey), Saunders is also a base-stealing threat. In 2012, the season that he played the most games, Saunders stole 21 bags and was only caught four times.

Now lets look at the outfield as a whole. Over the last couple months, Dustin Ackley finally showed us the potential he had when we drafted him ahead of Mike Trout, and Saunders, in light of the information presented above, is a valuable asset at the plate.

Our starting center fielder, Austin Jackson… well, suffice it to say that he can’t bat efficiently right now. The game that he hit the winning run in during extra innings, sparking a late-season playoff push? He was 0 for 5 in that game.

Dear Jack Z:

In all sports, injuries are unavoidable. Please don’t make it look like it’s the players’ fault for not working hard enough.