My Way Too Early 2017 Seattle Mariners Awards
By Anthony Hill
Even before the 2017 campaign begins, I am already looking at the end of the season. After the Mariners hoist that World Series trophy, which players will earn which team honors?
As Spring Training gets underway, there is no better time to predict the team award winners for the Mariners in 2017. Who on the Mariners will make the biggest impact on their playoff run?
Comeback Player of the Year – Felix Hernandez
This one is obvious. After years of consistent excellence, the King finally proved he was (slightly) human. But I guarantee you that he will prove in 2017 that he is still the King of the American League. For the 9th time in his career, I predict Felix will pitch 200 innings and eclipse 10 wins.
Although the team fared well without their workhorse, everyone knows how vital he is to our success.
If you look at Hernandez’s stats, his 2016 wasn’t that bad. He still had a positive win-loss record and a below 4.00 ERA. For most pitchers, that’s a dream season. But when you sport a below 3.50 ERA in 10 seasons, people will have high expectations for you.
2017 will be the time that all baseball fans have dreamt of. M’s fans will finally get to see the King reign over the playoffs and prove why he is still one of the best.
Rookie of the Year – Jean Segura
Yes, I understand that Jean Segura is not a rookie. However, he is a rookie as far as his playing time with the Mariners.
Jean Segura is the acquisition I am most excited to see. There is no doubt he is one of the most talented players in baseball. To lead the National League in hits and have over 30 stolen bases is a player every team would love to have.
Add Segura next to Robinson Cano up the middle, and that’s just plain unfair. That is by far the best middle infield in the game. Segura will thrive like he did in Arizona because he will not have to be the only source of offense.
Segura will be comfortable knowing he is our shortstop and no one will take his job. Mariners are not expecting numbers like he had in Arizona. But anything remotely close will have M’s fans excited the entire season.
Silver Slugger – Mike Zunino
Some of you may be surprised by this pick, but allow me to explain.
Zunino has unreal raw power. He could hit a ball out of Yellowstone park. That has been blatantly obvious since his days at the University of Florida.
But as all Mariners fans know, the problem was consistently making contact. Pitchers figured out to pitch him outside because he only wanted to pull the ball. But we sent him down to the Minors and now he has figured out how to be a better holistic hitter.
That raw power along with the ability to make consistent contact is terrifying to other teams. Zunino will finally have all the tools to be a complete major leaguer. Since he doesn’t have to be the main run producer in the lineup, he can just relax at the plate and watch it fly.
Gold Glove – Kyle Seager
Kyle Seager has always been a solid defender at the hot corner. Nothing in his track record says he has any signs of slowing down
Seager made a career-high 22 errors last season. Something tells me he will look to improve on that number and return to solid defensive form.
On a team full of defensive studs, Seager will remain the defensive gold standard.
Cy Young – James Paxton
97-100 MPH from the left side. Big burly lefty with a pitcher’s body. 2017 will be the year he finally puts it together. Not only will he win the Mariners Cy Young, but he will be the AL Cy Young award winner.
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The other lefties who can throw 97 from the left side; Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw.
Paxton is working on his arm slot in Spring Training and will learn to dominate batters in 2017. He has shown his signs of brilliance. With this new rotation, he will no longer feel the pressure of having to always be healthy.
I predict that Paxton will have 20 wins and 2.50 ERA and when the Mariners make the playoffs, he will pitch behind the King.
If people were wondering who the next Felix will be, I think we have had him all along, we just needed to wait for him to develop.
Most Valuable Player – Robinson Cano
Everyone remembers 2014. The Mariners had just out paid the New York Yankees for their Jeter 2.0 and everyone was shocked.
The line at Fanfest that year was humongous. People camped overnight to get Robbie’s autograph. And since that day, Cano has done nothing but bring us close to the playoffs.
In my opinion, he was the true 2014 MVP, if you listen to the literal definition of Most Valuable Player. In 2017, Cano will lead the Mariners to the promise land and will be forever loved in Mariners faithful.
Cano will be spectacular as always on the diamond, and that glove will forever be golden.
Appreciate what Cano gives the Mariners, Many teams don’t have a player of his caliber.
If all of these players come out and play in the way in which I believe they will, M’s fans should be very excited that the Mariners are going to play deep into October.