Assessing the Mariner's Core

Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees
Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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Tier 2: Half Locks

This next group of players has shown flashes of greatness but needed to improve their performance or be in the game longer to make their mark.

J.P. Crawford came up to the big show at the ripe age of 20 years old. Six years later and in his prime, Crawford is starting to show an offensive approach that aligns with the stars of the position. The same stars Mariner fans clamored for this offseason. The former first-round pick made some swing adjustments and is now hitting the ball with authority (EV 89.6), spraying extra-base hits from line to line.

The only reason Crawford is in this tier is the amount of talent the Mariners have at the shortstop position down on the farm (Cole Young, Michael Arroyo, Axel Sanchez, Felnin Celesten). Those prospects' performance and rise through the system will play a significant role in Crawford's future.

Rookie righthander Bryce Miller has just seven starts, but he has already made history. The former second-round pick busted onto the scene, firing three consecutive quality starts. He is armed with one of the most unique four-seam fastballs you'd ever see. Teams are starting to figure out the pitch, forcing Miller to hone his secondary pitches. His last few starts have included more sweepers and changeups. If he continues this path, he'll join Gilbert and Kirby to form a dominant top of the rotation.

Manager Scott Servais uses his bullpen differently than traditional managers. Meaning he assigns relievers to certain pockets in the opposing team's lineup. But one thing is for sure, Andres Munoz always draws the short end of the stick. The 23-year-old flamethrower is a weapon out of the pen and continues to buzz through the late innings. While Paul Sewald usually gets the save opportunities, Munoz does the heavy lifting. He is the closer of the future, but he's making the eighth-inning must-watch television for now.