Seattle Mariners: Mid-Season Report Card
Team: Seattle Mariners
Record: 43-52 (11 GB)
Biggest Surprise of First Half:
The biggest surprise thus far has to be the “Ageless Wonder” Raul Ibanez who has mashed 24 home runs in the first half of the season. The 41-year old is 5 homers shy of the elusive 300 Home Run plateau and has already eclipsed the 19 round trippers he hit last season. Not even the most optimistic Mariners fan could have foreshadowed that Ibanez would dial long distance 24 times and be on pace for nearly 50 bombs. Pretty good bargain for $2,750,000 bucks.
Biggest Disappointment of First Half:
Canadian born Michael Saunders was poised for a big campaign after a breakout 2012 season and a monster World Baseball Classic tourney. However Saunders fizzled the first half batting .225 with 6 home runs and a disappointing .667 OPS. Saunders did miss some time with an injury but has not lived up to the lofty expectations that the Mariners had for him. If healthy Saunders should rebound in the second half and try to salvage his season.
No surprise here, the honours once again go to the Mariners ace pitcher Felix Hernandez. King Felix heads into the break with an impressive 10-4 record and an American League leading 2.53 earned run average. Hernandez has just been plain nasty fanning 140 batters and joining with fellow hurler Hisashi Iwakuma for a formidable one-two punch in the rotation.
Prospect Ready to Make an Impact:
The Mariners have two prospects on their current roster who are poised for great major league careers. Both second baseman Nick Franklin and catcher Mike Zunino are the faces of the future for the Mariners. Franklin stepped in for the struggling Dustin Ackley and has shown good pop blasting 6 homers in his rookie campaign. Zunino is getting his feet wet behind the dish after the struggling Jesus Montero was demoted.
Contender of Pretender:
The Mariners are still a pretender but have made drastic improvements and should eclipse the Los Angeles Angels in the standings finishing third in the AL West. Still a year away but getting closer.
Overall Team Analysis:
The building blocks are in place for the Mariners to be competitive for years to come however they are still a piece or two away. They are in tough with the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics but should make ground on the top teams in their youngsters talents come to fruition. Its and exciting time to be a Mariners fan once again.