In a recent post I talked about the Seattle Mariners having 18/1 odds to win the 2015 World Series (good enough for 8th best odds in baseball).
And today I happened across a tweet from Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan that really grabbed my attention:
I had to check it out for myself. And, in fact, the Mariners have the second highest team-WAR totals in the MLB behind only the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have a 2015 projected WAR of 41.1. The Mariners are right on their heels with 39.3 WAR.
Here is how Steamer breaks down those values, with an additional opinionated sentence or two from yours truly:
Catcher WAR: 3.0:
Mike Zunino had a 1.7 WAR for the 2014 season. Assuming he bats over the Mendoza line and his defense maintains, it wouldn’t be any great surprise that he gets over the 2.0 WAR mark in 2015. This number will be heavily dependent on how his backup(s) perform on his off days.
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First Base WAR: 1.8:
In only 365 plate appearances Logan Morrison had 1.0 WAR in 2014. If he gets 600 PAs at the same production level, that WAR would likely sit right around the 1.8. Considering the volatility of the Mariners’ first base situation, this is a fair number.
Second Base WAR: 5.3:
Hmm, wonder why this one is so high? That’s because the Mariners have Robinson Cano playing second base (it still sounds so sweet to say it). He was worth 5.3 WAR on his own last season, so even with a slight regression in contribution, a dozen or so games by a backup would get the M’s that 5.3. This seems a reasonable if not slightly generous total.
Third Base WAR: 4.4:
Projecting Kyle Seager for a 4.4 WAR on his own is entirely reasonable. In 2014 he led Mariners position players in WAR at 5.5, and he struggled through the tail end of the season. If he continues his professional approach at the plate and improved defense, there’s no question the Mariners can get even more that 4.4 WAR out of third base in 2015.
Short Stop WAR: 3.4:
This one is a bit troubling. Brad Miller struggled mightily throughout the beginning of the season and was replaced by Chris Taylor with a few months left to play. In his short time with the M’s Taylor had a 1.4 WAR, but his .398 BABIP is unsustainable. In a longer stint at short, Miller also provided 1.4 WAR as his numbers had a considerable uptick at the end of the season. That right there is 2.8 WAR. If Miller can improve offensively, and if these two both can step it up out in the field, 3.4 WAR is possible, though a bit generous for the two young short stops.
And on to the outfield…