== Not a very pretty picture so far ==
Who’s on the leaderboards?
- Brad Miller — tied for 10th in hit by pitch! (with 2)
- Robinson Cano — tied for 6th in intentional walks received (with 3)
- Abraham Almonte — tied for 10th in AB (85)
Almonte is also on the “leader”boards for strikeouts (tied for 2nd with 31) and total outs (tied for 6th with 68).
Here’s some traditional stats:
So the Mariners are below league-average in … everything except triples.
Way to go, hitters of triples!
They are also, by the way, almost two years younger on offense than the average team. FWIW.
Here’s a few other things to factor into the analysis:
“AIR” is a measure of whether the park environment has favored pitchers or hitters. The M’s have played, on average, in “pitcher parks.” Their BABIP reflects some bad fortune, although, as can be seen in the next column, they aren’t necessarily hitting the ball hard, either. Nor are they helping themselves much on the basepaths.
So maybe the offense isn’t quite as bad as it looks, all things being equal. But not that much.
And some ratios.
The home runs aren’t too bad, and the extra-base hit ratio is actually above-average. The home-run-per-fly-ball rate indicates there might be a bit of upside to the HR% as well.
And there’s nothing out of the ordinary in the ground-ball and line-drive rates.
But the Plate Skills are way out of whack, with almost four times as many Ks as BBs, and that’s not sustainable.
Now our Brainstorm Designer Stats in order of plate appearances:
The first four columns are rate stats re-scaled to the 10-year MLB average set as 100.
The final three columns are my measure (PSA) of avoidance of non-random outs, my measure (Conv) of production of non-random offense, and the composite (Comp) of the two. All are rescaled to the 10-year MLB average set as 100.
Admittedly, “it’s early” and this is a small amount of data — particularly for the non-regulars from Zunino down.
But the only hitter grading out as “above-average” is Hart.
The only regular above-average in walks is Seager — and he’s not doing much else well.
The only hitter above-average at avoiding strikeouts is Cano — and he’s not doing much else well either.
There is really only one thing that’s very encouraging so far, and that’s that several guys are hitting the ball hard. You see that with the blue in the “XBH+” column.
But … both Zunino and Miller have buried whatever positive attributes they’ve achieved from their above-average ISO in an avalanche of awful Plate Skills.
Cano has been decent, but far short of what he needs to be.
And the only other hitter showing remotely all-around ability? The much-maligned Smoak.
Despite the grumbling, Smoak’s ISO is above-average (.188), his XBH rate trails only Hart, and his walk rate is well above team average (though still below MLB average). If he can pull his BABIP up from .265, then his 67 points of patience and 188 points of ISO will show up pretty well.
Other possible upside?
- Both Miller and Zunino showed ability to draw walks in the minors. In fact, they were both among the organizational leaders in 2012.
- Seager’s BABIP can’t stay in the dumps forever (.213!), though he hasn’t been hitting the ball as hard as he used to either. But there’s also no reason to think he’d just “lose it” at age 26.
- Cano, obviously, ought to be doing everything better.
- Almost anyone would be better than Almonte at this point. A mass of strikeouts, and nothing much positive to offset them, except with the glove. Well, Endy Chavez has a glove, I suppose.
- As you can see, not a single home run from the non-regulars.
Cano was always the key to turning this around. Smoak and Ackley have already shown they can’t carry an offense. This was supposed to be their year to be role players to Cano and Hart. Miller and Zunino can be strong complementary players too.
So it starts with getting Cano to be the Hall of Fame hitter that he is. Maybe some of the rest will follow.