Anticipating the Mariners Versus the Rangers in 2023: Our Batters, Their Pitchers

Wild Card Series - Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays - Game Two / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

In a previous article about this matchup, I evaluated the success with which the Mariners’ pitchers threw to right and left-handed batters in 2022 and researched how well the Rangers’ batters did against right and left-handed pitchers. In this article, I similarly look at the Rangers’ pitchers and the Mariners’ batters. I also consider the types of pitches that the Mariners’ batters best hit in 2022 and assess how often the Rangers’ pitchers threw them.

In that previous article, I anticipated that in the contest between the M’s pitchers and the Rangers’ batters, the Mariners’ pitchers would have the advantage. I am interested to see what the statistics suggest when the Mariners are up at bat. Note that I made my best guess as to which players would pitch and bat according to the Rangers and Mariners MLB Depth-Charts.

How the Mariners hitters splits look

Mariners’ batters fall into three groups.

  • Several players have just a slight difference in their OPS (total of on base percentage and slugging percentage) against left and right-handed pitchers: Ty France, J.P. Crawford, Julio Rodriguez, Cal Raleigh, and Dylan Moore.
  • These players favor or hit more frequently against left-handed pitchers: Geno Suarez, Sam Haggerty, Teoscar Hernandez, and A.J. Pollock.
  • Those who favor or hit more frequently against right-handed pitchers are Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Tremmell, and Kolten Wong.

In summary, including our first “ambidextrous” group who bat well against both types of pitchers, nine of our players can successfully bat against left-handed pitchers and eight can successfully bat against right-handed pitchers. Having several switch-hitters on the team is very helpful.

How the Rangers pitchers might fare

The Rangers have four new starting pitchers in a potential six-pitcher rotation. Four of them have the same success throwing to left-handed batters as they do to right-handed batters, but two of them have greater success with one or the other. OPS is a statistic created by adding a player’s batting average percentage to his slugging percentage. For batters, a high OPS is good. For pitchers, a low OPS is good.

  • Jacob deGrom (RHP) has an OPS of .506 with left-handed batters and .543 with right-handed batters.
  • Nathan Eovaldi (RHP) has an OPS of .732 with lefties and .769 with righties.
  • Jon Gray (RHP) has an OPS of .731 with lefties and .602 with righties. (Fewer right-handed batters hit his pitches.)
  • Andrew Heaney (LHP) has an OPS of .669 with lefties and .725 with righties which is remarkably close.
  • Jake Odorizzi (RHP) Okay, this is amazing! Odorizzi’s OPS for lefties is .720 and for righties is .721.
  • Martin Pérez (LHP) has an OPS of .556 for lefties and .664 for righties. (Fewer left-handed batters hit his pitches.

Because four of the Rangers’ pitchers have remarkably similar success in pitching to right-handed and left-handed batters, and the Mariners have a core of players who do not favor right-handed or left-handed pitchers, they will match up fairly evenly in this regard.

Types of pitches from Rangers Pitchers vs how the Mariners hit them

Baseball Savant enables a viewer to see how often pitchers throw various types of pitches. In 2022, as a group (de Grom, Eovaldi, Gray, Heaney, Odorizzi, and Pérez), the Rangers’ pitchers threw 4-seam fastballs 50 percent, sliders 24.9 percent, changeups 8.40 percent, curveballs 3.13 percent, splitters 6.25 percent, cutters 5.18 percent, and sinkers less than one percent of the time.

These pitches are listed in descending order, beginning with the pitch that the Mariners’ lineup hit best last year and ending with the pitch they hit least.

  • 4-seam fastball - Kolten Wong and Teoscar Hernandez are excellent here.
  • Cutter –Kolten Wong and Julio Rodriguez hit this pitch successfully.
  • Curveball
  • Changeup – Teoscar Hernandez hits these well.
  • Sinker – Geno Suarez and Julio Rodriguez are kings of the sinker.
  • Slider – Ty France is strong against this type of pitch.
  • Splitter – the Mariners do not have great strength here, but Cal Raleigh, A.J. Pollock, and Geno Suarez are our best.


The Mariners hit the 4-seam fastball frequently which is fortunate because the Rangers’ pitchers threw these pitches half the time. Unfortunately, Ty France cannot be up at bat every time they throw sliders. This could be a weakness in the Mariners’ lineup since the Rangers’ pitchers throw sliders 25 percent of the time. The pitchers use the other pitches less frequently, so I anticipate that these will be hit or miss, literally and figuratively.

It could be that the Rangers’ pitchers have a slight advantage over our batters because of the pitches they choose to throw and avoid. Time will tell. I did not assess the pitch preferences of players who could be designated hitters for the Mariners but if other players hit sliders effectively, games against the Rangers might be the place for them to excel.