The Mariners Must Tweak Their Line-Up If They Want To Start Winning Games
By Asher Young
Not a lot has gone right for the Mariners so far. Their hitting is in shambles. After six games they only have one batter hitting over .210. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager, the Mariners 3,4, and 5 hitters are a combined 10 for 66. Before last night’s loss, the Mariners were batting .093 with RISP. Although this is most likely just a run of bad luck for the Mariners hitters, maybe it’s time to tinker with the line-up.
Traditionally, before sabermetrics, line-ups were pretty standard. Your leadoff hitter was a contact hitter who could get on base and steal. The batter who hit second was a contact hitter, who usually wasn’t all that good.
The guy who batted third was your second best player, and your clean-up hitter was the power hitter.
However, with the increase in data and advanced stats, that is no longer the traditional way a line-up is created. Look at Joe Maddon and the Cubs and how he is batting Kyle Schwarber lead-off. Fivethirtyeight.com wrote an
Fivethirtyeight.com wrote an excellent piece in 2014 about how to construct the most potent offense using sabermetrics, and they suggested using your best hitters in the 1,2 and 4 spots.
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Now Mitch Haniger has actually been one of the only offensive contributors so far this year, but maybe it’s time that he doesn’t bat second. The Mariners have 4 legitimate stars on offense; Jean Segura, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager.
Segura seems to be doing a good job leading off but perhaps it’s time to try someone else in the 2 spot. Maybe put Kyle Seager there who does have a .346 OBP this year. Obviously, if Cano and Cruz can’t get hits this won’t make a difference, but the research shows that a team’s best hitter should be in the 2 slot.
Maybe that means Seager slides down to 3, and Cano bats in the 2 spot, but this idea is worth exploring. Haniger is maybe the number 5 or 6th best hitter on the M’s, if even, and I think the question must be asked why he is batting the most important spot in the lineup?
If the M’s truly want to compete this year and break out of this 1-5 slump, they have to be smart about it.
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I love Scott Servais but sabermetrics have been helping many many teams, and it’s time that the mariners jumped on board fully and improved their slumping lineup. Give Cano or Seager a crack at the 2 spot, and see the difference it could make.