Tag: Seattle

Breaking Down the Twitter Buzz Surrounding the Mariners’ MLB Draft so Far

Before the 2015 season started, the Seattle Mariners were praised by many for their impressive pitching staff. With its first two picks in this year’s MLB draft, the Mariners boosted their rotation by adding more depth.

With the 60th overall pick in the draft, Seattle selected Peachtree Ridge High School (GA) pitcher Nick Neidert, per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Many scouts took notice of Neidert due to his intriguing fastball and plethora of accolades at the high school level. During his senior season, he received Perfect Game USA first-team All-American honors and ended up signing his collegiate letter of intent to play at South Carolina this coming fall.

Twelve picks later, the team selected another impressive pitching prospect in Oregon State right-hander Andrew Moore. Over his three-year career at OSU, Moore anchored one of the best pitching staffs in all of college baseball. Moore received first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2015 after posting a dominant 7-2 record to go along with a stifling 1.91 ERA.

While the picks may seem impressive on paper, some Mariners fans have responded negatively on social media due to the team’s underwhelming offense this season. Despite having star second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz, the Mariners rank 29th in MLB with just 196 runs scored through 57 games this season.

Some fans have questioned the first two picks by the Mariners, but some have been impressed with the team’s selections. Prep Baseball Report supervisor Nathan Rode pointed out Neidert‘s unique skill set.

Some fans were concerned about whether or not Neidert would play college baseball at USC instead of opting to play for the Mariners organization right away.

Charleston Post and Courier reporter David Caraviello was one of the first to clear the air on Neidert‘s signability.

What separates Neidert from most high school baseball prospects is his ability to throw a fastball that tops out at 96 mph. Perfect Game USA scouting coordinator Brian Sakowski said Neidert‘s fastball is impressive despite his small stature.

Similar to Neidert, Moore was seen as a reach by some due to questions about his signability. Despite being viewed by some as unready for the professional level, Moore has decided to sign with the Mariners and forgo his senior season, per Divish.

Some fans believe that Moore was taken far too early in the draft.

Contrary to fan opinion, Oregon State head coach Pat Casey said the Mariners’ selection of Moore will help the team win games for years to come.

While pitching was not seen by many as an immediate need for the Mariners, the team clearly wants to build on its strength rather than address glaring weaknesses. It is unclear right now how each of these pitching prospects will fit into the mix in the future, but there is no doubt Neidert and Moore bring a lot to the table.


Follow Curtis on Twitter: @CalhounCurtis

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Seattle Mariners: What to Expect from the Starting Rotation in 2015

It’s no secret: The Seattle Mariners regained relevance last season due in large part to their starting rotation.

As general manager Jack Zduriencik puts the finishing touches on 2015’s roster, however, that may not hold so true as the M’s make their first playoff push since the early 2000s.

Last year’s rotation was a veteran-laden group of pitchers, complemented by rookie surprise Roenis Elias and a revolving door that was the No. 5 spot. There’s more unknown about the 2015 group, but there’s far more potential, too.

That comes when you’re expected to run out three pitchers with a year or less of major league experience on their resumes. Let’s take a look at the group of six pitchers battling for the five rotation spots.

Name ’14 IP ’14 W-L ’14 fWAR ’14 FIP Proj. ’15 fWAR Proj. ’15 FIP
Felix Hernandez 256.0 15-6 6.2 2.56 4.6 2.75
Hisashi Iwakuma 179.0 15-9 3.2 3.25 3.0 3.42
Roenis Elias 163.2 10-12 1.4 4.03 1.2 4.11
J.A. Happ 158.0 11-11 1.3 4.27 1.2 4.13
James Paxton 74.0 6-4 1.3 3.28 1.6 3.88
Taijuan Walker* 38.0 2-3 0.4 3.68 0.3* 4.18


All stats via FanGraphs and projections by Steamer.

*Steamer projects 48.0 IP for Walker, resulting in lower projected WAR.

One thing the Mariners have going for them is the top of their rotation. They possess a perennial Cy Young candidate and one of the most effective No. 2s in baseball and certainly the American League West. However, just one pitcher in the projected rotation threw 200 innings last season.

The Atlanta Braves teams of the mid-1990s set the standard for the modern major league rotation: Combine for at least 1,000 innings from the starters. Excluding Walker, this group combined for just 830.2 last season—that’s a big jump to make for young pitchers.

Felix Hernandez is a relatively known commodity. Barring injury, the King will throw more than 200 innings of exceptional baseball. The rest, however, are more mysterious. Yes, even Hisashi Iwakuma.

In his five September starts last season, Iwakuma allowed 21 runs (all earned) in 23.2 innings. He averaged fewer than five innings per start.

At 33 years old, Iwakuma is exiting his prime years and entering the back end of his career. In 2013, his second MLB season, he threw a career-high 219.2 innings—don’t expect those kinds of numbers again. Iwakuma could hit 200, but he only did so twice—201.2 and 201.0—in his 10-year Nippon Professional Baseball career.

That’s not to cool anyone’s jets on the Mariners’ chances in 2015. By all means, they are the favorites in the AL West. And they have the luxury of starting pitching depth, which could alleviate the need for their young starters to drastically increase their innings.

It’s essentially the same group as last season, except with J.A. Happ replacing Chris Young. Regardless of your thoughts on the Michael Saunders-Happ trade (here are Lookout Landing’s Matt Ellis’), it provided the M’s a more projectable middle-of-the-rotation starter. 

Young was a huge surprise last season, but that sparkling 3.65 ERA can’t be expected to be maintained for another season, especially not with a 5.02 FIP. Young remains unsigned on the free-agent market.

It doesn’t sound like Happ will need to compete for his rotation spot.

“We didn’t acquire J.A. Happ to pitch in the bullpen,” manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters at the winter meetings. “We gave up an everyday player for a starting pitcher. We expect him to be in the rotation.”

A spring training battle is unavoidable, though. Barring injury, there are six starters for five spots. There’s another name in the mix, too: Erasmo Ramirez.

The 24-year-old right-hander has had stints with the big league club every season since 2010. Each one has been progressively worse, though—not what you want to see from a young pitcher. Those results have resulted in Ramirez having exercised all of his options. 

This forces the Mariners’ hand a bit. Based on previous results, he shouldn’t be in the competition for the rotation. But he’s also still a young pitcher, who has had limited major league success—usually a commodity organizations don’t want to give up.

But in order to keep him and not on the big club, he’ll have to pass through waivers.

Ramirez would likely be claimed, so if the Mariners don’t want to lose him, they could either keep him as a long reliever and spot starter or their No. 5 starter.

Although the decision seems trivial on the surface—keep or cut a mediocre MLB pitcher—it will result in a domino effect.

If Ramirez makes the roster, that’s one of 25 spots, and at most, one of 13 pitchers’ spots. It means whoever of that aforementioned group of six doesn’t make the rotation will almost certainly start the season at Triple-A Tacoma.

The rotation is similar to the team, as a whole. It’s safe to be excited—you should—but do so with cautious optimism. Personnel-wise, this is an upgraded group. However, it may not outperform last year’s because, well, last year’s significantly outperformed its talent level.

With so many variables in the rotation and significant upgrades offensively, the Mariners, for the first time in about a decade, could find themselves relying on their bats rather than their arms.


Evan Webeck is a junior at Arizona State University, studying journalism at the Walter Cronkite School. He’s interned at Sports Illustrated and covered ASU football. Follow him on Twitter or email him at ewebeck@asu.edu.

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King Felix Hernandez Having a Season for the Ages

If only one word could describe Felix Hernandez‘s performance this season, it would be “dominant.”

As King Felix exited Monday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, he came away with a stat line of seven innings pitched, three hits, one earned run and eight strikeouts. Perhaps he would have gone longer if the Seattle Mariners had not been ahead by a score of 11-1.

And so, Hernandez continued his awe-inspiring streak.

What streak is that you ask? Well, for 16 straight starts, Hernandez has gone at least seven innings while allowing two earned runs or less. He broke Tom Seaver’s record of 13 straight such starts in 1971 three starts ago. In fact, it has been exactly four months since Hernandez has allowed more than two runners to cross the plate. On May 12 he surrendered four runs to the Tampa Bay Rays.

In the 16 starts Hernandez is now 8-2 with a 1.41 ERA and 134 punch outs. The M’s are 12-4 in that span.

Overall, the King is having a royal season, one that will almost certainly earn himself some hardware. After Monday’s win, Hernandez is now 13-3 with a 1.95 ERA. Opposing hitters are making fools of themselves, as they are batting just .191 against him. Not to mention he has struck out 194 of those guys.

The Mariners ace finds himself among the best in just about every major pitching category. No pitcher in the American League has more Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement (6.0) than Hernandez, who also leads the majors in Adjusted Pitching Wins (4.6) and is tied for the lead with 25 starts. His wins, ERA, strikeouts, WHIP (0.86), H/9 (6.139), innings pitched (180.1), Adjusted ERA (191) and Fielding Independent Pitching (2.07) are all second best in the majors.

The 28-year-old also find himself in the top 10 in BB/9, K/9, K/BB and HR/9. Only six other pitchers in baseball have faced more hitters than Hernandez (686).

On its own, the body of work Hernandez has put together this season is nothing short of brilliant. Now, add in the fact that the Mariners are vying for a playoff berth, and Hernandez’s dominance becomes all the more special and meaningful. If he keeps doing what he is doing, the Mariners have a chance to make the postseason for the first time in over a decade.

As of now, Hernandez is the clear-cut favorite to bring home the American League Cy Young Award. Despite the impressive seasons of others, no one can touch what he has done to this point.

Come the stretch run, fans at Safeco Field will be showering the pitcher with MVP chants as yellow King Felix K signs fill the seats.

If the Mariners are still playing in October, Hernandez may just get both awards.


All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.com.

Question or comments? Feel free to follow me on Twitter @GPhillips2727 to talk Major League Baseball.


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Seattle Mariners’ Deal for Robinson Cano Sends a Message to MLB

The Seattle Mariners are back. That’s the main message that one can take away from their signing of Robinson Cano. The deal was first reported by ESPN Deportes‘ Enrique Rojas. 

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the deal is for $240 million over 10 years. While the years and the numbers are stunning, they are almost besides the point. The Mariners are telling MLB that they are back to being a relevant franchise again.

The Mariners vastly overpaid for Cano, but they know that. It was the only way that Cano was going to leave the New York Yankees. This is about setting a new tone for a franchise, one that has drifted toward mediocrity and irrelevance over the years outside of Felix Hernandez.

Seattle has the money to make this type of deal without crippling the franchise long term based on a new $2 billion television deal that Forbes’ Mike Ozanian breaks down here. The Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, have spent heavily since signing their new television deal last season. 

Having prospects and a highly ranked farm systems is great, but no one was watching or talking about the Mariners last season. On Friday, everyone was talking about Seattle, talking about the deal, talking about other moves that the Mariners might be able to pull off this winter.

I would compare this deal to when the Boston Red Sox signed Manny Ramirez after the 2000 season. The Red Sox signed Ramirez to an eight-year deal worth roughly $160 million. It was a deal that no other team was offering. When the deal was announced, it immediately put a buzz back into the city of Boston and started the Red Sox back toward being a contender. Boston eventually won a World Series in 2004.

The Mariners remain an untapped gem of a franchise in a great market that hasn’t been able to reap the benefits of not having to compete with an NBA or NHL franchise for consumer dollars. The fact that attendance was dwindling shows that the product on the field wasn’t very exciting or interesting.

Last year, attendance was 1.76 million people, the third season in a row that attendance has been below 2 million. It’s a far cry from 2002 when the Mariners led the American League in attendance at 3.5 million, more than twice as much as they drew last season. 

Signing Cano is just as much about what he can provide off of the field than what his numbers might look like at the end of this deal. As great as Hernandez has been for Seattle, it is really tough to have a pitcher be the face of the franchise.

Other free agents will now take Seattle more seriously when the offer a deal. Corporate and business partners might be far more likely to invest now that the team has a daily face of the franchise.

Cano’s success in New York is something that can be sold as promise for the Mariners. Cano’s brand comes with him winning a World Series in New York, receiving MVP votes during six different seasons, five-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger and a two-time Gold Glove winner. 

I am normally against teams signing players to this type of contractthere is normally just too much downside. In this case, I understand the reasoning behind it. Seattle wanted back in to the AL West, back to being in the playoff conversation, back to its fanbase having hope in spring training again. 

If Cano’s contract results in the Mariners becoming relevant again, then it will be well worth it.  

Information used from Enrique Rojas/ESPN Deportes, Jon Heyman/CBS SportsBaseball Reference, Mike Ozanian/Forbes and Baseball America.

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Seattle Mariners: Making the Case for Player Kyle Seager as an All-Star

If you had to sum up the 2013 Seattle Mariners in one word as we approach the end of June, which one would you choose?




For a team still searching for answers, it’s hard to stay positive these days.  

Beyond the M’s one-two punch of Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the top of their starting rotation and the promise of recently promoted rookies Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino, is there anything or anyone else worth rooting for as we inch towards the halfway point in the season?

Rather than lament the Mariners misfortunes, I figured it might be nice to take a break and focus on one of the few positive developments that may have fallen through the cracks during this season so far. 

To anyone who knows and loves the M’s, third baseman Kyle Seager is arguably the team’s best offensive building block.  What’s funny is that depending on your point of view that’s either good news or a sad commentary on the current state of the franchise. 

For today, I happen to take it as a positive, as Seager continues to grow on me with each passing game. 

Perhaps what’s most impressive about him is that he continues to thrive under some pretty trying circumstances in Seattle.  No matter how poorly the M’s are playing, Seager just keeps doing his thing. 

Move him up in the order. Move him down in the order. Play him anywhere in the field. He always gets the job done, while hustling every step of the way.

Fact is, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. 

Last year, Chone Figgins was supposed to finally earn his keep at third base, while Seager would fight for playing time as a utility player. 

This year, veterans Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse were supposed to help spur an offensive renaissance, while Seager would serve in a complementary role.  

Meanwhile, college teammate Dustin Ackley was supposed to emerge as the face of the franchise among a crop of young prospects the organization trotted out not only this season, but last season as well.   

Instead, Seager, the proverbial runt of the litter, a guy who I’d imagine quite a few people still see as miscast at third base—not to mention within the top half of the batting order—continues to quietly carry on while leading the M’s in several offensive categories again this season, according to ESPN. 

While one could argue that Seager has benefited because so many of his contemporaries have given us an endless stream of doubts, is that really fair to him and what he has accomplished?

Couldn’t one argue that he deserves even more credit given the circumstances?

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that you can pencil in Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma as the Mariners representatives at the All-Star Game in roughly a month’s time.

But is Seager also worthy of a trip to New York’s Citi Field?

If so, he has a lot of ground to make up based on the current vote, via MLB.com. Miguel Cabrera is running away with the voting at third base. Sadly, Seager doesn’t even show up in the top five as Manny Machado, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria and Oakland‘s Josh Donaldson round out the voting.  

For now, I suppose it’s hard to argue about any member of that quintet as all of them are worthy candidates, especially Cabrera, who is once again posting MVP-worthy numbers. 

Hopefully over time, though, Seager will continue to develop his game and begin to make a dent in the voting process. Yet, even if his popularity never really expands beyond the Pacific Northwest, I like to think that the M’s have someone in Seager worth building around over the next several seasons.

Crazy as it may sound, who else would you propose the M’s hitch themselves to starting tomorrow?

Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders may rebound, but only Ackley and maybe Saunders strike me as capable of being solid contributors at this point.  

As for Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse, I’m hesitant to place too much stock in them long-term given their age, durability and potential contract issues.  

Finally, as we learned all too painfully with Ackley, Montero and Smoak, it’s much too soon to attach such lofty expectations to Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino. Right now, let’s simply enjoy watching them cut their teeth as pros before putting them front and center with the task of saving baseball in Seattle.  

Right now I’m simply trying to hang on to the hope that a few of the players we are seeing now will eventually become every day fixtures, with Seager, over time, becoming the most “senior” among them.

In an ideal world, three years from now I’d like to think that Felix would still front the starting rotation with some help from the likes of Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Brandon Maurer.  While I doubt all of them will make it, at least two of them should be solid major league starters. 

Beyond them, Seager will still be at third base, Franklin at second, Zunino behind the plate and perhaps Brad Miller at shortstop?

First base could go to Kendrys Morales if he opts to stay at the right price, but would also be happy seeing the recently drafted DJ Peterson or maybe even Dustin Ackley nail down the job?

Where things get really cloudy is in the outfield, but, hopefully, candidates will emerge between now and then to fill the void through both the farm system and in free agency. 

The point I want to drive home though is that whether or not Kyle Seager becomes an All-Star this year is irrelevant. What’s more important is that he continues to cement his spot within the M’s lineup as the team continues their endless quest out of the wilderness. 

Seager is the hustling, gritty and high-energy player this franchise desperately needs. Someone who can withstand the highs and lows, while steadily making a positive impact both on the field and in the clubhouse. 

If he can continue to bring that kind of effort to the good folks in Seattle, eventually the time will come where he will become an All-Star. 

Until that day, I feel we owe it to Seager to give him our support—both at the ballpark and at the ballot box. Maybe he won’t catch Miguel Cabrera this year, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore or under value the M’s most valuable every day player.  

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MLB: Selecting the AL West’s Quarter-Pole All-Star Team

As the 2013 Major League Baseball season race reaches the quarter pole, it becomes time to take stock of where teams and players are in terms of production. 

In the American League West, the Texas Rangers have taken their customary position of being the front runner, largely due to tremendous pitching and consistent power in the lineup. The A’s and Mariners have both been largely inconsistent, with the A’s scuffling back to .500 since starting the year 12-4. 

However, the biggest story has been the lack of success in Anaheim as the Los Angeles Angels are not fighting for an expected spot at the top, but trying to keep clear of division newcomers the Houston Astros. In the basement.

There have been solid performances from individuals on all five teams. But sometimes, overlapping positions keep deserving players from receiving deserved accolades. This will likely be no exception. 

So instead of lamenting who is not, we shall spotlight who is. Starting with catcher and ending a pitching rotation (relievers included), here is the AL West’s Quarter-Pole All-Star Team.

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Seattle Mariners: The Show Must Go On, It’s Dustin Ackley Bat Night!

Did you know that Saturday night at Safeco Field is Dustin Ackley Bat Night?

All kids 14 and under will receive a full-sized Dustin Ackley Louisville Slugger, complements of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. 

Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

Don’t believe me?

Feel free to check the official 2013 promotions and special events schedule at Mariners.com.

Honestly, sometimes you need to laugh to keep from crying with this team.

However, if you’ve already given up all hope, feel free to simply take the bat home to smash your “Smoakamotive” (eBay) from last year to pieces with it to vent your frustration. 

That’s assuming you will make the journey to Safeco in the first place.   

If I had to venture a guess, I’d imagine that more people in the region probably watched the NFL draft the past two days to see who the Seahawks selected in their quest for a Super Bowl than any of the Mariners’ games.

Making matters worse as we approach the month of May it appears we’re already potentially on course for an expansion team performance this season, according to Larry Stone at the Seattle Times.

I suppose it didn’t help that beyond Monday night’s offensive outburst in support of Felix Hernandez‘s 100th career victory and Hisashi Iwakuma‘s 11-strikeout performance the next night, the trip to Texas was a complete disaster as the Mariners dropped five of six games.  

Things got so bad that manager Eric Wedge decided to bench one of his players (Seattlepi.com) and scold the team (Seattle Times).

Whether these moves have any meaningful impact remains to be seen, yet I suppose Wedge is simply trying to work with what he has at his disposal given that the list of potential reinforcements fail inspire much confidence, according to Stone in another report filed this week:

At Tacoma, there are several players with major-league experience who are off to decent starts. The problems is that in most cases, they are players who have already had struggles at the major-league level. Now, that doesn’t mean they are doomed to have their weaknesses exploited for perpetuity. But it gives you pause.

Perhaps then, I should pause in wondering whether the demotion of Brendan Ryan in favor of Robert Andino is really just the M’s way of paving a path for Brad Miller to take over in the second half?

Regardless, it just doesn‘t make sense to get too far ahead of yourself this season with this crew, especially when you look at the upcoming

After finishing up this homestand against Los Angeles and Baltimore, the M’s will head to Toronto and Pittsburgh, then come back to Seattle for a three-game set to face Oakland before swinging back east to play New York and Cleveland. They will finish off their road trip with two mid-week games against Los Angeles before having Texas show up at Safeco for a weekend series.

I’m feeling jet-lagged just typing that, I can only imagine how the M’s will deal with it in real time.

Oddly enough though, that brutal stretch could set the tone for the remainder of the season.

Coming out of spring training, I had hoped the Mariners would avoid this level of desperation, assuming (more like, hoping) the veterans brought in this winter could help bridge the gap until the team’s top prospects could be integrated into the lineup over the course of the season.

However, beyond the occasional solid pitching performance from Hernandez and Iwakuma, along with the recent hitting streak of Kyle Seager, the rest of the team has generally failed to show any sort of consistency. 

With no solid options to promote, does that mean Wedge and general manager Jack Zduriencik get to take the fall instead if things continue to spiral downward?

As always, Dave Cameron at USS Mariner, is one step ahead of us:

If it happens, I’m not going to be against the decision, and I don’t think having an interim manager or GM would lead to impending doom. But, I don’t know that it would really help anything either.

During a season, there’s only so much an organization can really do. The Mariners made this bed when they let the front office try and build a winning team around dingers and voodoo. It has blown up in their faces in a comical way, and it’s probably going to cost the people in charge their jobs. But, I don’t know that it needs to cost them their jobs in a RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE I DEMAND CHANGE kind of way.

I can’t argue with any of that, although part of me would like to see Cameron given a shot to see if he could turn things around.

Meanwhile, I can only imagine what will be going through Dustin Ackley‘s mind tonight at Safeco as his teammates likely joke with him about the fact it’s his bat night.  Hopefully, in spite of their struggles, the players will still have a sense of humor. 

Truth be told, I almost pity this team.  As we saw in spring training, they seem to be a decent bunch, but bless their hearts, they can’t quite get their act together.

For his sake, I hope Ackley can at least give Saturday night’s crowd something to cheer about.  It may not be much, but at this point, any small gesture is welcome. 

To think that only two years earlier, Ackley was still struggling at Tacoma before catching fire prior to his arrival in Seattle.  I remember him continuing his impressive stretch after joining the M’s in what looked like the beginning of a promising career. 

Deep down, I still think there’s a solid ballplayer in Ackley searching to rediscover that spark, as evidenced by what we’ve seen the past week. 

Once again though, I’d like to avoid getting too far ahead of myself and take this one step at a time. 

Yet, if you’re of the tender age to receive a bat on Saturday night, you may be left to wonder why the adult accompanying you struggles to find the joy that he or she once had for the game and this particular franchise. 

It’s not that anyone should expect the Mariners to win, it’s more that a ticket to the ballpark should afford you an experience worth savoring, regardless of whatever swag/trinket the team hands you at the turnstile.  

It doesn‘t necessarily have to be this way, but the “dingers and voodoo” approach that Cameron described, has struggled to generate wins or excitement; therefore fans are staying away.

Could things change?

Anything is possible, yet barring a minor miracle, I think this team will look very different by midsummer. 

Until then, the show must go on. Just don’t expect anyone to show up to watch unless a bobblehead, key chain, hat or T-shirt is involved with bonus points on night’s like tonight when King Felix is pitching. 

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Seattle Mariners: Predicting the First 5 Prospects to Earn a Promotion in 2013

Welcome to the big leagues Brandon Maurer.

Thursday afternoon, fans of the Seattle Mariners had hoped to see the rookie hurler make the leap from Double-A to the majors unscathed following his impressive showing at spring training.  

Unfortunately, the Oakland A’s had other plans (Yahoo!Sports).

Over the course of six innings, Oakland scored six runs on eight hits, two of which were home runs, against Maurer. Yet, what may have seemed like a step backward for the young Maurer, was actually an important step toward the future for the Seattle Mariners.

After all, one bad outing does not make a season, and Maurer will likely have his fair share of ups and downs while in Seattle. More importantly, though Maurer’s appearance should be the beginning of a new era for the Mariners, as they hope to move past a decade of mediocrity.

Ever since general manager Jack Zduriencik took over the ballclub back in late 2008, the team has been stockpiling prospects (MLB.com) that fans have been eagerly awaiting to see in action for the M’s. After years of seeing a slow trickle of talent make it to Seattle, this year, quite a few potential stars appear to be knocking at the door.   

Yet after Maurer, who turned out to be the biggest surprise this spring, who will the Mariners be tempted to promote this season?

While I can’t imagine the M’s being in any major rush, here are the first five players I can see the team promoting to the big leagues in 2013.   

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10 Early Season Seattle Mariners Storylines to Follow Most Closely

As the 2013 season begins, the Seattle Mariners, like many teams, have several story lines to monitor moving forward. Whether they are at the major league level now, or on the verge of being there, Mariners fans will have plenty to think about other than the win-loss record.

It is far too soon for fans to start worrying about anything since it’s only one series into the season, but there are still plenty of things that could be taken away after just four games in Oakland.

With that in mind, here are the 10 story lines Mariners fans should be keeping an eye on early in the 2013 season.

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Seattle Mariners: 5 Key Takeaways from Spring Training

This spring, the Seattle Mariners have been, dare I say, entertaining. 

As an organization, there are quite a few positive signs to point toward for the future, but what about this season?

With a mix of youth and experience, the team seems keen on taking a positive step forward toward competing in the American League West.  

Do they have a shot to put up a fight against the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s? 

Or will they be fighting to stay out of the division cellar with the Houston Astros?

Although it’s always hard to place much value on what happens in spring training, for fun I wanted to see what are some of the key takeaways we’ve seen from Mariners camp as we approach Opening Day. 

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