Seattle Mariners Lineup: the Best in Major League Baseball?

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With the addition of Nelson Cruz on a 4-year contract, the 9-years left on Robinson Cano‘s contract, and the 7-year extension given to Kyle Seager, is the Seattle Mariners lineup one of the best in Major League Baseball? Specifically, how good is their 3-4-5 in the middle of their order?

It seems most likely that Cano will bat third, Cruz fourth, and Seager fifth in the middle of the M’s lineup.

First let’s look at what the 3-4-5 hitters have averaged over the duration of their careers:

Robinson Cano (10 years):

.310/.358/.499 with 218 home runs, 904 RBI, and 412 doubles.

162 game average: .310/.358/.499 with 23 home runs, 96 RBI, 44 doubles, 43 walks, 80 strikeouts.

Nelson Cruz (10 years):

.268/.328/.501 with 197 home runs, 597 RBI, and 203 doubles.

162 game average: .268/.328/.501 with 33 home runs, 100 RBI, 34 doubles, 51 walks, 143 strikeouts.

Kyle Seager (4 years):

.262/.328/.429 with 70 home runs, 264 RBI, and 107 doubles.

162 game average: .262/.328/.429 with 22 home runs, 88 RBI, 33 doubles, 55 walks, 119 strikeouts.

For Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, they are at the point in their careers where numbers start to dip. But Kyle Seager, only 27 years old, has improved with each new season in the MLB.

So what can Mariners expect from this trio in the middle of the lineup?

In 2015 I expect the three of them to be worth a combined 250 RBI and 70 home runs. Those numbers far surpass any Seattle Mariners lineup 3-4-5 in recent memory.

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With Cruz batting between the two lefties, the Mariners now have a greater handedness balance, while provided front and back-end protection for their hitters. This forces opposing pitchers to ‘pick their poison,’ as walking one of these three batters only gets you so far in avoiding the power surge.

Will this 3-4-5 trio be the best in baseball in 2015? That remains to be seen, but I don’t expect them to be number 1. Maybe top 5.

The Red Sox will have a menacing middle of the order with David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, and Hanley Ramirez. The Detroit Tigers, with Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, will be fierce as well. But I think the Blue Jays fat of the order, led by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion— plus recent addition Josh Donaldson— could rake the league in 2015.

But when all is said and done, there won’t be a doubt around baseball that with the addition of Nelson Cruz in the middle of the Mariners lineup, the team will have one of the most dangerous and potent 3-4-5s in the MLB.

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