How Big Was the Gap Between the 2013 Mariners and Contending? Hitting

682px-Brad_Miller_on_August_4,_2013

== Mariners 2014: The Fleet Arrives? ==

This article is the first of two introductory articles to a Special Report — a series of ten articles previewing the 2014 Mariners and comparing the 2014 roster to the 2013 roster.

These initial articles lay down the foundation:  how big of a gap was there to fill?

The next 10 articles examine the issue of how reasonable it is to expect the 2014 team to succeed in filling the gap.

Details on how to access the entire Special Report will be coming soon.

For the pitching part: go here.

Throughout, I employ my particular approach, which is a way (not the way) of measuring non-random skill elements that go into results on the field.  First, avoiding non-random outs (for hitters) or getting the same (for pitchers).  Second, producing non-random offense (for hitters) or denying the same (for pitchers).  Third, the combination of the two.  All the details are in these two articles, plus an additional note.

In each table, the very far right column is the key summary stat.

We’ll use the “three” Wild Card teams as our aspiration (Texas and Tampa Bay tied for the second Wild Card berth), since those were the teams the 2013 Mariners would have had to catch in order to make the playoffs.

First, let’s compare the overall American League averages with the three Wild Card teams, and Seattle:

Team HR%+ BB%+ K%+ XBH%+ PSA+ Conv+ Comp
AL average 100 97 90 97 93 96 88
Tampa Bay 98 112 96 99 105 100 105
Cleveland 103 109 84 101 97 97 94
Texas 105 89 104 95 96 98 94
Seattle 113 102 78 94 90 93 84

Now the first thing to note is that “100” is set at the 10-year MLB average, and, clearly, 2013 was a bad year for strikeouts, since the 2013 AL average is a “90.”  That drags the composite score for the average 2013 AL team to 88.

And we can see, then, that Tampa Bay was well above not just the 10-year MLB average, but the 2013 AL average as well.  Cleveland and Texas both ranked above the 2013 league average, but below the 10-year MLB average.  Seattle was below-average on both scores.

Breaking it down further, though, it is noteworthy that the Mariners were well above average in home runs, only to be drug down considerably by a very poor strikeout rate.

In fact, the key overall difference between the 2013 Mariners and the Wild Card teams was Seattle’s strikeout rate.

Now let’s look at each position:

Catcher

Team HR%+ BB%+ K%+ XBH%+ PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Tampa Bay as C 55 100 88 84 85 85 70
Cleveland as C 124 127 98 127 123 118 141
Texas as C 128 57 91 106 75 97 72
Seattle as C 95 93 64 67 71 74 45

First base

Team HR%+ BB%+ K%+ XBH%+ PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Tampa Bay as 1B 83 82 117 96 96 99 95
Cleveland as 1B 135 132 68 85 104 93 97
Texas as 1B 145 110 71 105 97 100 97
Seattle as 1B 131 119 83 102 107 102 109

Second base

Team HR%+ BB%+ K%+ XBH%+ PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Tampa Bay as 2B 78 120 117 97 118 104 121
Cleveland as 2B 93 132 81 103 109 99 108
Texas as 2B 66 97 134 88 110 100 111
Seattle as 2B 75 110 65 80 81 79 60

Third base

Team HR%+ BB%+ K%+ XBH%+ PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Tampa Bay as 3B 171 113 71 127 107 115 121
Cleveland as 3B 118 80 91 90 84 93 77
Texas as 3B 149 94 134 111 124 117 140
Seattle as 3B 115 117 102 101 114 105 119

Shortstop

Team HR%+ BB%+ K%+ XBH%+ PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Tampa Bay as SS 69 118 126 83 118 99 117
Cleveland as SS 96 65 102 109 82 98 80
Texas as SS 25 91 121 47 87 77 65
Seattle as SS 58 82 95 74 77 83 60

Outfield

Team HR%+ BB%+ K%+ XBH%+ PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Tampa Bay as LF 120 111 91 101 104 101 105
Tampa Bay as CF 88 123 92 102 108 102 110
Tampa Bay as RF 117 110 94 116 108 108 116
Cleveland as LF 66 84 135 93 104 101 105
Cleveland as CF 45 91 68 82 67 77 44
Cleveland as RF 141 111 52 112 89 97 85
Texas as LF 116 82 121 109 105 108 113
Texas as CF 48 83 95 87 78 85 64
Texas as RF 178 80 82 125 93 112 105
Seattle as LF 183 111 60 116 99 107 106
Seattle as CF 81 117 84 103 100 97 97
Seattle as RF 133 68 77 92 72 90 62

Designated Hitter

Team HR%+ BB%+ K%+ XBH%+ PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Tampa Bay as DH 115 135 72 92 107 94 101
Cleveland as DH 111 150 69 111 116 104 120
Texas as DH 107 100 93 84 94 93 87
Seattle as DH 140 105 85 111 102 106 108

Commentary

  • Cleveland got tons of mileage out of Carlos Santana behind the dish.  Mariners got zip.
  • Justin Smoak was the best all-around 1b among these four teams?  Why, yes he was.
  • Tampa got big production from its middle infield.  Mariners did not.  That ought to change.
  • Is that Kyle Seager stride for stride with Evan Longoria?  Yessiree.
  • Mariner outfield struck out too much, didn’t produce enough.  And it’s hard to compete without production from right field.
  • Kendrys Morales did well.  Too bad he’s unemployed on Opening Day.
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