Well, we have finally reached perhaps the worst position in Mariners history and we have to crown one player as the best left fielder of the decade.
Well we have officially reached the position Mariners fans dread the most. The seemingly inevitable void every season that we simply call, left field. It is crazy that this one position has been so difficult to find a stabilizing force for, especially when considering its neighbor, center field, has been the home to some franchise icons.
But sometimes you have to watch a prequel to appreciate a good movie even more. So with that in mind, let’s go ahead and talk about the left-fielders. Well, after we set our parameters for the discussion.
First, you only need 1 game in a Mariners uniform at the position to be eligible. But only the stats accumulated during their time in Seattle from 2010-2019 are considered. So while playing a lot of games in Seattle can help, it isn’t a guarantee to win you the spot.
Second, while our analysis will be heavily weighted towards statistics, we will award bonus points for fan “favoritness” and producing memorable moments. Sometimes statistics will be outweighed by these categories. But with all that in mind, let’s meet the candidates.
Now, if I asked you who the most productive LF in Seattle for the decade was (by fWAR) would you answer Dustin Ackley? Probably not. But unfortunately, that is the case. Ackley appeared in 587 games for Seattle, slashing .243/.306/.366 and a 6.9 fWAR.
While statistically the best player at the position, his major draft bust status and inability to adjust have left most of the fan base sour on him, leaving him with few memorable moments to his credit.
Nipping at the heals of Ackley is Michael Saunders, who finished the decade playing 507 games for the Mariners, slashing .231/.304/.392 and producing a 6.1 fWAR. Saunders did finish with more HR and SB than any other candidate.
Saunders did have a sizable fan backing, and “The Condor” did take off for a while. But the injuries really took a toll on his chances.
Other candidates include Seth Smith, who survived two seasons and earned the nickname of “Dad” while producing a solid .248/.336/.429 triple slash along the way.
Denard Span was only around for 94 games but made quite an impact at that time. He quickly became a fan favorite, but his relatively short time in Seattle makes it hard to pick him over others. But we need to pick somebody, so let’s go ahead and name our champion.
Mariners All-Decade Left Fielder: Ben Gamel
Ben Gamel got 2 full seasons and spawned numerous memes, a Ben Gamel Hat night, and actually produced one of the more memorable moments of the decade as a rookie. You may remember it looked a little something like this:
Gamel also made numerous flashy catches and absolutely rocked the “Turn Ahead the Clock” uniform as nobody else could.
Gamel also produced at the plate, slashing .270/.333/.395. There are no good options in left field. So giving the spot to a decent player with a handful of memorable moments and a solid fan following is the best option. And it is hard to argue against Ben Gamel in those categories.