The Experts Weigh In: The Mariners will be Scary Good


The Seattle Mariners won 87 games in 2014, and missed out on the postseason by just 1 game. With the 2015 season set to begin on Monday afternoon, many of the national media have made their predictions for how the season will transpire. As many would have expected, the M’s have been pegged as one of the best teams in baseball by nearly everyone.

Sports Illustrated released their annual MLB preview issue last week. SI thinks so highly of the Mariners that they picked Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano to grace the cover of the West Coast issue. Joe Sheehan of Sports Illustrated predicts the Mariners will win the American League West, and will post the best record in the AL at 95-67. Sheehan believes the Mariners will cruise past the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, but will come up just short of the World Series, losing in the ALCS to the Cleveland Indians.

MLB Network Radio released their predictions on Friday afternoon. There are 11 experts on the panel, and all 11 picked the Mariners to make the postseason for the first time since 2001. 7 have crowned the M’s the champion of the American League West, and 5 have Seattle representing the AL in the World Series. Jon Morosi, Matt Diaz and Scott Miller all think the Emerald City will be glimmering with shiny new World Series rings at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

ESPN is widely regarded as the top sports network in the United States, and they have high hopes for the Mariners’ this season. Baseball guru Buster Olney predicts the Mariners will make their first World Series appearance in club history. Karl Ravech, Tim Kurkjian and Curt Schilling of Baseball Tonight all picked the M’s to win the AL West. Dan Szymborski also pegs Seattle to raise the AL West banner. David Schoenfield believes Cano and Kyle Seager will both finish in the top 5 of AL MVP voting. Schoenfield also lists King Felix as the heavy favorite to take home his second Cy Young Award in 2015.

Mar 26, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Will Leitch of Sports on Earth anticipates that the Mariners will be the last men standing in the American League West when the regular season comes to a close. He is a little less enthusiastic about Seattle, but still projects a respectable record of 87-75. Leitch is excited to experience the “riotous, crazy explosion of giddy noise” when the Mariners play October baseball for the first time in over a decade. He also expects to see a cameo or two from Robinson Cano’s agent Jay-Z and his superstar wife Beyoncé at Safeco Field this fall. Leitch predicts the M’s will beat the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS, but get swept by the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS (East Coast bias).

The MLB Network TV analysts are some of the biggest believers in the M’s. Of the 11 experts polled, only 2 have someone other than Seattle winning the AL West. All 11 have the Mariners making the postseason, and 6 have Seattle making it all the way to the World Series. Todd Hollandsworth, Jeff Joyce, Mike Stanton and Brad Lidge have all tabbed the M’s as the 2015 World Series Champions.

CBS Sports joined the prognostication party by assembling their panel of experts to break down the American League. 4 of the 5 pundits have the M’s winning the AL West, but all 5 picked the Mariners to be playing October baseball. Jon Heyman, Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder have Seattle playing in the Fall Classic, but none of them have the M’s hoisting the Commissioner’s trophy. Mike Axisa has Robinson Cano winning the AL MVP. David Brown and Snyder are both in agreement that Felix will win the AL Cy Young Award. Perry and Snyder have both picked Mariners’ skipper Lloyd McClendon to be the AL Manger of the Year. Heyman has highlighted M’s backstop Mike Zunino as his surprise player this season, and Perry has selected Brad Miller to turn some heads in 2015.

Even the chain-smoking mathematicians at FanGraphs are on board the Mariners’ bandwagon. According to FanGraphs, the M’s will win the American League West in 2015 after finishing 88-74.

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It is hard not to get caught up in all of this adulation, but a wise man once said, “with great expectations comes great responsibility” (or something like that). The players need to remember that winning the World Series on April 3rd is entirely different than actually being crowned champs at the end of October. The fans will not tolerate this club missing the playoffs in 2015. This is the Mariners’ best team since the early 2000’s, and this is their best chance to bring playoff baseball back to the Pacific Northwest for the first time since 2001.

I am a pessimistic person by nature, but even I can admit that this is shaping up to be a historic season for the Mariners. I would be thrilled just to see the M’s put an end to their 14-year playoff drought in 2015. I think this club has more than enough firepower to win the AL West, but who knows what happens in October. The playoffs are a different animal, however Seattle has as good of a chance as anybody to win it all this season.

Last year was a remarkable season of baseball for the Mariners and their fans. In my opinion, if 2015 provides the same kind of joy; it cannot be considered a failure regardless of the final outcome. Opening Day is on Monday, and according to these experts, it should be a very exciting summer for us Mariners’ fans!

Next: Mariners Ink LHP Joe Beimel to Minor League Deal

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