3. Have an Unexpected All-Star or Two
The Seattle Mariners have stars on this roster. What they need are more stars to emerge from this 2018 roster. Let’s get this straight right away: they don’t need to make an All-Star. They just need to play like they could make an All-Star team.
We saw this in spurts from a few guys in 2017. Mitch Haniger, Taylor Motter, and Ben Gamel all had stretches where it looked like they could be perennial All-Stars. Of the 3, only one had staying power for more than a month. The Mariners will need this kind of breakout, but they will need it to last more than 6 weeks.
There are a few obvious candidates. Obviously, if Haniger stays healthy in 2018, he is the most likely to get there. After all, he was worth 3 bWAR in just 96 games in 2017. If he can play 150, he could hit the 5 win plateau. Same goes for Mike Zunino.
Ben Gamel is another candidate, although that task got more challenging since he will miss all of April with his back injury. Jean Segura has done it before (more on that later), and nobody would be shocked to see Cano, Cruz, Seager or Gordon do it either.
Perhaps the darkest of dark horses is new first baseman Ryon Healy. Healy has posted a career total 3.1 bWAR. However, this is with the massive caveat that his WAR was dragged down by his atrocious defense at third. If he plays solid defense at first, and puts up his 2016 pace to a full season, he could come close to that 5 win mark.