5 Tweaks the Mariners Must Make ASAP
Tweak 2: More At-Bats for The Best Hitter
Quick, how many everyday players have a higher wRC+ than Denard Span? On the Mariners, just 2, Nelson Cruz and Mitch Haniger. So why, until recently, has Span been hitting 6th or 7th? It doesn’t make sense.
Seattle is giving one of their worst hitters significantly more opportunities to hit than one of their best. Just say that out loud. Or better yet, think about when you played. If the coach asked you if you would rather have one of your best hitters get 5 plate appearances a game, or an inferior hitter who runs fast, you are going to take the hitter. Even a little leaguer could tell you that.
Span should not be hitting any lower than 5th for the rest of the year. In fact, if he is in the lineup, hitting him third might be the best spot for him. But certainly not 6th or 7th. Span is slashing .287/.330/.454 as a Mariner, and .265/.346/.423 overall.
Span hits both LHP and RHP well enough that you shouldn’t worry too much about a platoon partner either. Assuming the Mariners don’t go full lineup maximization, Span still fits the mold of a solid 5th hitter. He has some pop, gets on base, and can even swipe a bag or two if needed.
Personally, the everyday lineup should look something like this going forward:
- Mitch Haniger
- Jean Segura
- Robinson Cano
- Nelson Cruz
- Denard Span
The rest of the lineup can go by matchups and availability but would, on most nights go with Kyle Seager or Mike Zunino in the 6th and/or 7th spot, with Cameron Maybin and Dee Gordon flipping between 8 and 9.
If you hit Maybin/Gamel 9th, this lineup configuration would give the Mariners 6 best hitters (by wRC+) consecutive at-bats (9-5), while using your 6-8 spots on your streakiest hitters. This configuration gives the most chances to your best hitters, which is the whole purpose of the lineup anyways.
This would take some getting used to. But in the grand scheme of things, it might give the Mariners an edge they currently don’t have. Anything is better than what we have seen lately right?