Ranking the Best First Baseman in Mariners Team History
I started this off with catchers, and I move over to what be my second favorite position in baseball. There is just something about a good first baseman that is fun to watch. Yeah, you can have a monster out there who hits bombs, but a guy that can swat the ball all over the place AND has a great glove, it just sits differently. I’ll take Jim Thome all day, of course, but when you have that combo, it’s special. Luckily, even if it was a short stretch, the Mariners have had some of those.
This is also a really fun list. All of these guys stand out, and I think as you read each one of them, you’ll have some type of memory pop up.
Maybe it’s Edwin Encarnacion (1.7 fWAR) carrying a pretend parrot around the basepaths. He was a fun guy with the Mariners, even if he wasn’t here for very long, at just 65 games.
Then there’s a couple of 90s guys. Paul Sorrento (3.2 fWAR) came to the M’s for just two seasons, but had the best offensive years of his career, belting 54 home runs and hitting a handful of grand slams. David Segui (3.7 fWAR) came next, and had a career year in 1998, hitting well, and having just a single error at first base that season, although his range was quite poor.
Last, it’s Russell “the muscle” Branyan (3.5 fWAR). He had an incredible 2009 season, hitting a career-high 31 HR with 76 RBI, and a slash line of .251/.347/.520. Unfortunately, as has been the theme with all four of these guys so far, they couldn’t play defense.
There’s actually a tie at 5th for the Mariners in all-time fWAR. One of them was an awful defender, while the other is thought of as a good defender… even though the numbers say different.