A Deep Dive into the Mariners Top of the Lineup Struggles

Fifteen games into the season, the Mariner's offense has been off to a sluggish start. That’s been mostly due to the five guys who were hitting 1-5 on Opening Day. JP Crawford, Julio Rodriguez, Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver, & Cal Raleigh are all hitting below the Mendoza line, and all have an OPS below .600. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: that’s bad. Today, let’s break down the advanced metrics on each player, and discover why they have each been struggling at such a high clip. 
Julio prepares for his at-bat
Julio prepares for his at-bat / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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Mariners Lineup Struggles: The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the Mariners' best five hitters are striking out too much, not walking enough, can’t hit breaking balls, and are hitting into a lot of hard-ground ball outs. Overall, Julio and Cal are probably the least concerning based on the underlying numbers, while Polanco is the guy causing the most doubt, due to his long-term trends in K% and exit velocity. 

The “spin-it-to-win-it” mantra has so far paid off for opposing pitchers against the M’s, and my guess is that it will continue to pay off until the Mariners learn how to lay off breaking balls and wait for a better pitch. Yes, it is still early, and yes, many of these trends will get better as the season goes on. But 1/10th in the season, the Mariners presumed top-5 hitters have failed to carry the weight, and the result has been the mediocre 6-10 record to start the year.