Seattle Mariners Spring Training Preview: The Outfield


So, here we are, at the conclusion of Sodo Mojo’s Spring Training Preview. At this point we’ve covered the infield… the starting pitchers…and the ‘Pen. In this one we’re covering outfield. Now that we’re recapped, let’s dive right in.

*Note that while Nelson Cruz is on the roster sheet as an outfielder, I’m assuming he will be, except for occasional outfield/first base spells, the DH most days. So I’m not covering him here, if he was pegged for the outfield, obviously he’d be a lock*

The Locks. So calling this group “locks” might be a stretch of the imagination. However, I feel the outfield is… tentativelylightly…somewhat set.

I think we’re looking at Austin Jackson in center, Justin Ruggiano & Seth Smith platooning in right, and Dustin Ackley in left.

The two holdovers from last year (Jackson and Ackley) both had plenty of struggles, so if there is some unforeseen spring breakout from another candidate, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if old Lloyd swapped out one of these guys…most likely Ackley, Ruggiano or Smith since Jackson seems to be the only natural center fielder in the bunch.

I really do think this group is going to get the most chances to prove themselves, I think Ackley specifically is getting the same nod that Justin Smoak got last year. One last chance to lock down a starting role with the M’s. 

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The Maybes. James Jones and Stefen Romero are the two I’m thinking about in this category. Rickie Weeks said after his signing that he was open, positionally speaking. He’s naturally a second baseman, so obviously he seems like a infield depth move.

However he did post three straight 20+ home run seasons from 2010-2012.

So if Ackley struggles extensively, and Weeks shows that pop, as well at least a competence for left, then, well…maybe.

Weeks’s bat has slid off in recent years (thus why he was a relatively cheap pick-up), and is better suited for the infield, plus Ackley has a decent glove, so this is a longer shot maybe.

Really, all of these guys are long shot maybes, meaning they’ve really got to put up great numbers, and count on one of “the locks” struggling badly to snatch one of the corner spots.

The Probably Not’s. Well…the M’s only have so much depth so this list is pretty much Julio Morban.

Honestly I haven’t heard a lot about this kid, but looking at his minor league numbers he has a more than decent bat.

In 2012 at (mostly) Single A High Desert was particularly good, posting a .308/17/55 line in 321 AB’s. 2013 was also solid with a .295/7/44 line in 295 AB’s. Last year however, his batting average dropped to only .248 in a year split between Double A Jackson and Triple A Tacoma.

If he had continued that solid production level as in previous years, then he might be in “the maybes”. However he’s likely going to spend more time in Jackson or Tacoma, depending on how his spring goes. Hope he has a great year in the minors and we see him in the maybes for 2016.

Well, that’s it for Sodo Mojo’s Spring Training Preview but… actual spring training starts tomorrow, M’s fans!