The Seattle Mariners have not played well thus far in the 2005 baseball season. They stand at 18-29, third place in the AL West and one game ahead of Oakland. The record is slightly worse that what would be expected given their runs scored and runs against.
The big problem is the Mariner’s offense. Three players (Sexson, Ichiro, and Raul Ibanez) are above average at their positions, three players (Winn, Reed, and Boone) are below average, and three players (Beltre, Valdez, and Olivo) are below replacement level. Replacement level is estimated to be the level at which an available stiff from AAA could be expected to play. Of the last group, Valdez and Olivo are performing at nearly historic bad levels.
Mariner’s pitching has been marginally better than the hitting. The best starter has been Ryan Franklin, pitching 62 innings with a 4.45 ERA. Franklin found himself in the bullpen at the beginning of the season, but replaced Bobbby Madritsch when the latter suffered a season-ending injury halfway through his first start. Jamie Moyer, Aaron Sele, Joel Pinero, and Gil Meche have all performed on the low side of mediocrity, especially given the effect of Safeco Field, which is one of the best parks in the Major Leagues for pitchers.
On the upside, the bullpen has been quite good, as has the defense.
My pre-season prediction now seem to have been on the optimistic side. Let’s revisit those:
Record: 78-84, 4th in AL West
Adrian Beltre Home Runs: 34
Ichiro Batting Average: .343
Felix Hernandez Call Up: July 14
Felix Hernandez wins: 4
Jamie Moyer ERA: 4.21
Jamie Moyer wins: 12
Gil Meche starts: 16
And here are the predicted values, assuming that things continue along the track laid thus far:
Record: 62-100, third in AL West
Adrian Beltre Home Runs: 17
Ichiro Batting Average: .321
Jamie Moyer ERA: 5.70
Jamie Moyer wins: 14 (!)
Gil Meche starts: 34
At least Felix Hernandez is devastating the PCL. Something to look forward to.
The biggest disappointment, as discussed by Derek Zumsteg, has been the performance of Adrian Beltre. Beltre’s performance has been incredibly bad, although it’s worth noting that he’s still been an improvement on Jeff Cirillo. Two months isn’t all that long of a time, but it’s hard to imagine a player as good as the 2004 Beltre ever having a couple of months as bad as these. I’ve heard the steroid argument (which I don’t buy), and I’ve heard the contract-year argument (which I’m skeptical about). Frankly, I really can’t explain his performance, and it’s making my opening day purchase of an Adrian Beltre t-shirt seem, well, optimistic.
But hey, at least I have the Reds to look forward to.