Seattle Mariners: Shortstop Battle Is The One To Watch
It will be one of the more closely-watched battles of the spring in Seattle Mariners camp. Yes, people will be watching the battle for the 5th spot in the rotation between Taijuan Walker, Erasmo Ramirez and Roenis Elias.
We will also be watching the backup catcher battle between Jesus Sucre, John Hicks and John Baker. But the main battle will be centered on the position between Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano.
Just like Spring Training last year, the shortstop battle will have all the attention. The winner gets the job, the loser likely starts at Triple-A Tacoma. With one small difference…there are three players battling for the spot this year.
With Brad Miller and Chris Taylor as the likely main contenders, all eyes will be on Ketel Marte. The 21-year old Dominican prospect has spent the last four years in the Mariners organization, splitting 2014 between Double-A Jackson and Tacoma.
Last year, Marte combined for a slash line of .304/.335/.411 with 4 HR, 32 doubles, 55 RBI and 79 runs scored. Marte only played 19 games in Tacoma and many say that because of that, he will more than likely start the season there and be called up later.
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But if Marte comes out of the gate on fire offensively AND defensively, it is going to be hard to hold him back. But that’s just it, defensively he still needs a lot of work.
Last season, he committed 29 errors in 109 games in Jackson. He then added three errors in his 19 games in Tacoma.
So, it’s pretty safe to say Marte is not quite ready. But how many people thought after the 2013 season that Roenis Elias would be ready to make the jump from Jackson (6-11, 3.18) to the majors?
What happens if he DOES impress? What happens to Miller and Taylor? More than likely, one player will start in Tacoma and one could be used as trade bait to a team looking for a shortstop, like the Mets.
But, more than likely, Miller or Taylor will win the job with Marte starting out in Tacoma. But as the spring games begin, all eyes will be on these three men to see who will step up and secure that spot.
Keep in mind that Miller won the job last year with a MONSTER spring, only to fall flat for most of the regular season.
Let the games begin!