Will a superstar's departure help the Mariners dominate an AL Rival?

Shohei Ohtani has been the Angels' headline for several years. His departure should allow the Mariners to focus better on other members of the team.
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Mariners vs Angels: Position Players / Batting

While the Mariners' utility players remain the same, there has been quite a bit of change in Seattle's expected starting lineup. For the cumulative statistics, I used Baseball Reference's 2023 statistics of "at-bats" and "hits" to calculate the cumulative batting average. I did the same with BR's projected 2024 data.

Starting Lineup

Cal Raleigh, Ty France, J.P. Crawford, and Julio Rodriguez are the only players in the starting lineup still with the Mariners from last year. I anticipate that 2nd base will go to Jorge Polanco. Third base may be manned by Josh Rojas, Luis Urias, Dylan Moore, or a platoon of these players. Luke Raley will take left field and Mitch Haniger will take right field. Mitch Garver will be the designated hitter.

The Halos' likely starting lineup has not changed significantly, personnel-wise: Logan O'Hoppe replaces Matt Thaiss as catcher; Nolan Schanuell at first base; Brandon Drury at second base; Anthony Rendon replaces Zach Neto at third base; Luis Rengifo replaces Anthony Rendon at shortstop; Taylor Ward in left field; Mike Trout in center field; and Jake Marisnick replaces Hunter Renfroe in right field. The Depth Chart lists Brandon Drury as DH but he cannot have multiple responsibilities simultaneously.

Several of the Angels' starting players had serious injuries: a broken leg, fractured facial bones, and a ruptured tendon. Taylor Ward who was HBP in the face is back. It appears that the others will be able to start the season with the team.

Substitute and Utility Players

I mentally put Josh Rojas on third base, making Moore and Urias utility players for the sake of these statistics. Other players include Sam Haggerty and Dominic Canzone. The Angles list Matt Thaiss, Michael Stefanic, Zach Neto, Kyren Paris, and Jo Adell as substitutes or utility players.

At first glance, Shohei's departure might seem to be a total loss, but he is also a distraction. The Angels and their opponents may focus better in the coming year on the rest of the game, This might help the Angels in some circumstances and their rivals in others. I look forward to the Mariners keeping or improving their win-loss record against the Angels. Go Mariners!