Mariners News: Mariners Plan to Control the Zone


The Seattle Mariners twitter account posted a video on “Controlling the Zone”, their new organizational philosophy.

This video gives more of an insight into the organizations approach to how they plan on controlling the strike zone.  More specifically to have batters control the count and to have pitchers use the inside and outside corners to control the count.

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In the video, Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President and General Manager Jerry Dipoto, new Manager Scott Servais, and Director of Player Development Andy McKay talk about the approach at the organizational level to execute this philosophy.

The philosophy hinges on the approach with a “one ball and one strike” count.  Offensively the batting average is significantly higher when the count goes to two balls and one strike than when it goes to one ball and two strikes.  So on the offensive side preparing the hitters to approach at bats with this philosophy is the organization’s goal from the top down.  Jack Howell the Offensive Coordinator for the Mariners will help to make sure the program continues to work on this philosophy throughout the organization.

The same thing applies for the defensive standpoint.  Defensive Coordinator Dan Wilson is not just a catching coordinator anymore.  His role is to be the Defensive Coordinator for this philosophy and approach.  If pitchers and catchers can control the zone and get ahead of the hitters that will make the defense more effective.  If the strike zone can be controlled by the pitchers, they can then use an effective secondary pitch when ahead in the count.

Jerry Dipoto also indicates that there will not be multiple departments but one organization using the same terminology at every level.  Using these offensive and defensive coordinators will help the organization to apply the same program from the ground up.  Having a single program and a single department from their perspective will result in organizational success.

You have to give it to the new Seattle Mariners front office.  They are putting their philosophy out there.  They are being as transparent as they can be with the fans and the general public.  They are also executing this paradigm shift with their hirings and their player moves.  This video and philosophy reminds me of Jerry Maguire’s mission statement.  Only one person followed Jerry Maguire when he was fired for writing the statement and putting it out there.

Is this going to work for the Mariners?  Jerry Dipoto has more than Jerry Maguire did in the movie thankfully.  Mariners brass hired him.  Jerry hired a staff that is going to push this throughout the organization.  But the most important people have to buy in, the players.  Almost half of the players are new and that can only help.  They have to buy in and ultimately execute the philosophy on the field in order to make the team out of Spring Training.

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This sounds strikingly familiar to another coach and GM combination from Seattle.  The Pete Carroll and John Schneider combination from the Seattle Seahawks.  The moves that they made early in their Seahawks tenure were bold and unconventional.  They started by replacing almost the entire roster.  The moves continued to be bold over the next few years.  It continued until they had removed anyone who didn’t buy in.  This infused the organization with their philosophy.

The same things need to occur for Jerry Dipoto’s philosophy to work.  Jerry Dipoto needs to continue to be bold and swift with staff and player moves, especially at the Major League level.  Don’t be surprised to see bold moves in the future if the players do not buy in.  Moves that on the surface don’t make sense to the fans and writers, but make sense for the team and the future of the organization.  It took a few years, but it worked wonders for the Seattle Seahawks.  It can work with the Seattle Mariners as well.