SECOND BASE « 13
Age: 25 Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 195 B-T: L-R
Did you know? He posted a .989 fielding percentage last year (5th in AL) while committing seven errors in 639 total chances, and ranked third in AL in Ultimate Zone Rating.
Upside: Maybe he’s not a young Chase Utley. But it’s still too early to say Ackley can’t be. A .280/.350/.450 season would be a best-case scenario after 2012’s flop.
Downside: A .240 and over 120 strikeouts. And comparisons are to Gordon Beckham and not Utley.
INFIELDER « 3
Age: 28 Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 195 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Was a regular for Baltimore the past two seasons (841 of 1,244 career at-bats); hit .416 in six AL playoff games last season.
Upside: Continues super-utility ways as reserve at shortstop, second and third base; valuable pinch-runner off bench.
Downside: On days he’s called upon, he does not hit or play the field well at all. If that happens, is he a still a better option than Nick Franklin?
OUTFIELDER « 12
Age: 34 Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 210 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Three-time Tip O-Neill winner as Canada’s top individual player was a member of Canadian Junior Olympic team in 1996.
Upside: On four separate occasions he has hit 30 HR, driven in 100 runs and hit at least .265 in a season.
Downside: See what he’s done the past two years? He’s been hurt, and his reputation as a power bat has diminished.
STARTING PITCHER « 49
Age: 24 Ht.: 6-7 Wt.: 255 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Former Baseball American All-American pitched for Team USA in 2006 World Junior Championships, tossing a complete-game shutout against Cuba.
Upside: Back-end starter gives M’s 200 innings, 3.50 ERA and wins 15 games.
Downside: Gets hit around early, banished to bullpen or minors and is passed up in pecking order by young guns in Triple-A Tacoma.
RELIEF PITCHER « 58
Age: 22 Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 220 B-T: R-R
Did you know? As the ace pitcher at Mount Olive (N.C.), Capps set an NCAA Division II record with 24 consecutive victories from 2010 to 2011. He was named the NCAA Div. II player of the year at the end of it.
Upside: The hardest thrower in the organization (97-100 mph) has all the tools to succeed - permanently or in case of emergency - Tom Wilhelmsen as the closer.
Downside: Sometimes he generates so much movement on his fastball, he loses control of the strike zone. Those issues could certainly hold him back.
RELIEF PITCHER « 41
Age: 25 Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 215 B-T: L-L
Did you know? Furbush led the Mariners in lowest opponents batting average at .176 in 2012.
Upside: Before being injured in July, Furbush had a 2.17 ERA while limiting hitters to a .147 average. If he can do that over an entire season, he would be the premier left-handed setup man in the league. That’s all well and good, but could he handle an even more prominent role?
Downside: He doesn’t return to his pre-July form and winds up in Triple-A for an extended time.
CENTER FIELD « 21
Age: 30 Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 195 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Once a prized Los Angeles Dodgers prospect, before he was included in a 2004 deal to Clevelad for one former M’s player (Milton Bradley), he was deemed untouchable for another ex-Mariner (Richie Sexson).
Upside: For starters, he could play in 150-plus games like he did in 2009 and 2010. Twenty home runs, 20 steals and a reliable glove in center field would be dreamy.
Downside: He could continue to miss games (four separate disabled list trips since 2011), which would severely hurt the team’s up-the-middle defense.
STARTING PITCHER « 34
Age: 26 Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 230 B-T: R-R
Did your know? His five shutouts last year not only led the AL but set the Mariners team record for most in a season.
Upside: We’ve seen Felix at his best – Cy Young Award season, perfect game, etc. – so that can be expected again should all go right in 2013.
Downside: If the wear and tear of pitching so many innings so young were to cause an injury. Don’t go there.
OUTFIELDER « 28
Age: 40 Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 225 B-T: L-R
Did you know? As a prep star in Miami, Ibanez was a catcher - and received counsel from current Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, who worked as a security guard at Sunset High School.
Upside: Is there any more magic in Ibanez’s bat? The M’s could use 10-15 home runs - most coming late in games as a pinch hitter.
Downside: He really has turned 40, which means all of his effectiveness has essentially retired.
STARTING PITCHER « 18
Age: 31 Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 210 B-T: R-R
Did you know? After one year in the majors, the Mariners re-signed Iwakuma to a two-year, $14 million deal with an option for 2015.
Upside: A No. 2 starter with a knack for getting ground balls and a low 3.00 ERA.
Downside: Two concerns: The league catches up to him, or a shoulder injury that bothered him in Japan returns.
RELIEF PITCHER« 31
Age: 31 Ht.: 6-8 Wt.: 245 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Loe played high school baseball with Ryan Braun at Granada Hills in California. The veteran played five years with the Texas Rangers (2004-2008) and three with the Milwaukee Brewers (2010-2012).
Upside: He provides an experienced option in middle relief, able to pitch multiple innings.
Downside: He can’t get outs consistently, which means he would probably be an ex-Mariner.
RELIEF PITCHER « 44
Age: 26 Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 205 B-T: L-L
Did you know? His streak of 25 consecutive games to start a career without allowing an earned run is the second-longest in history behind only Brad Ziegler.
Upside: He handled the lefty-on-lefty role well as a rookie, holding lefties to a .193 average and stranding 84 percent of runners he inherited (7th best in the AL). If he can keep doing that – and helping out in longer appearances when the pen is gassed – the Mariners will be quite pleased.
Downside: He can’t get lefties out, and struggles with walks, he would probably be forced to take a trip down I-5.
STARTING PITCHER « 37
Age: 22 Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 215 B-T: R-R
Did you know? He was picked in the 23rd round of the 2008 draft out of Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif.
Upside: It’s hard to expect too much from a rookie who hasn’t pitched in Triple-A, let alone the majors, before. The spring’s success story would become the season’s success story if he stays in the rotation the entire year.
Downside: He’s sent to Tacoma for more seasoning.
*Minor League statistics
CATCHER « 63
Age: 23 Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 230 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Signed at 17, he was invited to Spring Training in 2008 by the New York Yankees. He had one at-bat - a home run.
Upside: The table is set for him to join the AL’s fraternity of elite catchers (25 HR, 80 RBI, .350 on-base percentage).
Downside: If he is a mess defensively, it could reinforce the idea he is better-suited as a designated hitter. In that, he would have company.
FIRST BASE« 8
Age: 29 Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 225 B-T: B-R
Did you know? Born in Fomento, Cuba, he defected to the Dominican Republic in June 2004. That December, the Angels signed him to a six-year deal. He made his MLB debut on May 23, 2006. Acquired from the Angels in the Jason Vargas trade.
Upside: Morales could be the middle-of-the-order hitter that the Mariners have lacked recently. Think 25 homers,95 RBI and a .290 average.
Downside: He emulates another former Angel who moved to Seattle – Chone Figgins, anyone? – and fails to live up to his previous numbers.
OUTFIELDER « 38
Age: 31 Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 245 B-T: R-R
Did you know? After being traded to Washington for Ryan Langerhans in 2009, Morse hit 67 of his career 70 home runs in three-plus major league seasons.
Upside: He already set the M’s Cactus League record with nine home runs. How about 40 dingers (and 120 RBI) in the regular season?
Downside: He’s shown to be prone to injury (started last year on the disabled list with a strained back) and hitting contact, on occasion. Fewer than 15 home runs won’t cut it.
RELIEF PITCHER « 59
Age: 31 Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 220 B-T: L-L
Did you know? Before being promoted to Seattle last year, Perez led the PCL in strikeouts per nine innings pitched at 12.19 (42 strikeouts in 31 innings).
Upside: Talk about found money. Perez, after almost 2 years away from the majors, showed he still had the fastball to get big league hitters out and no sign of the control issues that plagued him in the past. A valuable middle reliever, he could play a bigger role if he pitches like he did last year.
Downside: He can’t find the plate with a map and a GPS, which would put him on a path out of town.
RELIEF PITCHER « 46
Age: 23 Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 250 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Nearly a week after his major-league debut (June 2), Pryor became the third pitcher to win his first game as part of a no-hitter, joining Bobo Holloman (1953) and Wilson Alvarez (1991).
Upside: He throws pure gas, in the 94-97 mph range. As the primary seventh-inning guy, if he can consistently locate his slider, he can start the reliable bridge to closer Tom Wilhelmsen, averaging 12 strikeouts per nine innings.
Downside: Shortly after last year’s promotion, batters began sitting on his straight fastball. If that repeats, he could see himself back in the minors.
SHORTSTOP « 26
Age: 31 Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 195 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Because he weighed nearly 10 pounds at birth, Ryan was given the nickname “The Boog” by his father, Jim - after former hefty first baseman Boog Powell, of Baltimore.
Upside: By most metrics, he is considered the best defensive shortstop in baseball. Now if he could add 30 points to his batting average, he would match his lowest batting average (.223) before last season.
Downside: Of course, the bad could go colder, yes? His offense could get so bad, the M’s would be forced to use Robert Andino more.
STARTING PITCHER « 23
Age: 31 Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 215 B-T: L-L
Did you know? The Mariners are his fourth team (Angels, Diamondbacks, Orioles) since 2010. Since 2008, he has not pitched less than 174 innings in a season.
Upside: Think good Jason Vargas, dependably pitching into the seventh inning consistently.
Downside: Think bad Jason Vargas, baseballs flying out of the park, runners on base and calls to the bullpen in the third.
OUTFIELDER « 55
Age: 26 Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 225 B-T: L-R
Did you know? It seemed pre-destined this up-and-coming talent would play for this organization. His high school team was the Victoria (B.C.) Mariners.
Upside: “The Condor” easily could take flight to a 25-homer, 25-steal season - and also hit .275 if he can cut down his strikeouts (132 in 2012).
Downside: One of the darlings from the WBC regresses, and is undone by his free-swinging ways - 175 strikeouts and .220 average.
THIRD BASE « 15
Age: 25 Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 215 B-T: L-R
Did you know? Is the oldest of three brothers who play baseball. His middle sibling, Justin, plays at UNC-Charlotte while youngest brother, Corey, was drafted in first round last year by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Upside: Shows last year’s power bat was no fluke, and improves his batting average closer to that from the minors (.328)
Downside: Continues to swing really hard, and miss.
CATCHER « 7
Age: 32 Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 220 B-T: R-R
Did you know? Well-regarded for his defensive prowess, the former All-American from Baylor committed just seven errors in 953 chances (.993 fielding percentage) in college.
Upside: Controls the opposing running game on defense, and shows a little pop on offense as backup – all while keeping the seat warm for prized Mike Zunino.
Downside: Whiffs a lot, can’t get in sync with M’s pitching staff - and has fans missing Miguel Olivo.
FIRST BASE « 17
Age: 26 Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 220 B-T: B-L
Did you know? In 211 career at-bats in September and October, Smoak has hit .327 with 11 home runs.
Upside: At this point, most would be satisfied with a 20-homer, 85-RBI season with a .270 average. The question remains if there’s more.
Downside: A repeat of last year, although if he struggles again, it’s highly unlikely he would log 483 at-bats in Seattle.
RELIEF PITCHER « 54
Age: 29 Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 220 B-T: R-R
Did you know? He was the sixth pitcher in last season’s six pitcher no-hitter.
Upside: With his stuff, Wilhelmsen has what it takes to be an elite closer. It’s OK to imagine 40 saves, a sub 2.00 ERA and an All-Star appearance.
Downside: While recording 29 saves last year, he did have five blown saves. More than that would be a disappointment.
Age: 45 Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 215 B-T: R-R
Did you know? He belongs to eight Halls of Fame – Wichita State, the Indiana HS Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Kinston Baseball, the Arizona Fall League, the North East Indiana Baseball Association, the Great Lakes League, the Northrop HS and Cape Cod League.
Outlook: The Mariners made an eight-game improvement from Wedge’s first to second year. New on staff is hitting coach Dave Hansen, who replaces Chris Chambliss. Of note: Wedge’s first three Indians teams made big jumps in wins – from 68 to 80 to 93 victories.
|Career||1,458||703-755||.482||1 Div. title (2007)|