Mariners #4: Omar Vizquel – 8.6 fWAR
When you think of Omar Vizquel (on the baseball field, I’m not getting into the supposed other stuff), you think of the barehanded plays, the great glovework, and the fact that he was an all-timer on defense.
Sure, maybe some of the flash played into it, but he was definitely incredible. What many people may not realize is that he may have been at his best while he was in Seattle. The bat was never anything good, but the glove was incredible.
Stats were a bit different back then for defense, but a good measuring tool is TZ (Total Zone in Runs above average). They stopped using it in 2001 because they had better tools available, but it is a good indicator of ability for the previous millennia. When you get to a “15” that’s gold glove caliber.
After Vizquel’s rookie year in 1989, he would turn in 13, 14, 13, 16 for TZ. It makes sense why he won gold gloves all the time. His best year in Seattle came in 1992, and it’s no contest. He would amass a 3.4 fWAR thanks to a .294/.340/.352 slash line with 15 steals and a paltry 7.2% K rate. It may not seem like much, but it’s the second-highest non A-Rod fWAR in M’s history at short.
It sure would’ve been nice to keep Vizquel around, but some kid named Alex took over at shortstop for him.