Today, the Seattle Mariners play their 16th game of 2011, and since that's roughly 10 per cent of the season, it's an easy spot to stop and project what this team may do.
And that's frightening.
Last year, for instance, the Mariners offense was dead last in the American League, batting .236. At the moment, they're hitting .214. Last year their run production was the lowest in the AL since the advent of the designated hitter.
They scored 513 runs. This year, through 15 games, they've scored 49 times, just over three a game and on pace to score 529. One can factor out home runs,walks and all other stats.
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The fatal flaw in projecting the season out from 16 games is – aside from the small sample size – the team will change, perhaps drastically, between not and the end of the year.
Will David Aardsma, for instance, help stabilize the bullpen more than rookie Tom Wilhelmsen? If Franklin Gutierrez returns from the disabled list, he will likely impact more games with his defense than Ryan Langerhans?
Erik Bedard in June will be a decidedly better pitch than he’s been in April, or there’s a good chance he won’t be here. Jack Wilson knows his time as the starting second baseman will last only until the Mariners bring rookie Dustin Ackley up.
By the All-Star break, this team may well have replaced Milton Bradley and Chone Figgins, depending upon a) whether general manager Jack Zuriencik is willing to acknowledge acquiring those players didn’t help the team and b) he can find another team willing to take them on.
How they do it doesn’t matter as much as changing this roster and determining which players are – and aren’t part of the future here.