Loud Contact Essential To Mariners Championship Aspirations





Reaching the postseason for the primary time in twenty years was a milestone second for the Seattle Mariners. Nonetheless, merely making the playoffs isn’t sufficient for a company with championship aspirations. To make the last word purpose of successful the World Collection extra attainable, upgrading offensive productiveness should be a high precedence. 

Though this yr’s run manufacturing was usually higher than it had been in 2021, the Mariners’ lineup was solely average-ish in most classes. Seattle was among the many finest at drawing walks and top-10 in residence runs. Then again, it was bottom-five in batting common and doubles. Total, 2022 was an uneven season for a workforce that managed to attain simply two-or-fewer runs in 35% of its video games.

M’s 2022 Offensive Numbers & MLB Rankings
RS/G
Okay%
BB%
2B
HR
AVG
OBP
SLG
SEA
4.26
22.8
9.7
229
197
.230
.315
.390
Rank
18
17
2
26
10
27
17
15

Contemplating the present standing of the farm system, the Mariners might want to purchase established hitters from outdoors the group to turn out to be a perennial contender. Sure, I used plural type. Because the roster sits at present, the addition of a number of bats is required to appreciate considerable offensive enhancements in 2023.

And what sort of hitters may administration pursue this offseason?

Mariners GM Justin Hollander not too long ago shared his ideas on the workforce’s method in direction of acquiring new offensive contributors with Seattle Instances beat author Ryan Divish and different media members.

“I don’t suppose we’re going to restrict ourselves to only a bat-to-ball man or only a man who controls the strike zone or only a man who hits homers. There’s a whole lot of alternative ways to be an excellent offensive participant.” – Justin Hollander

What Hollander mentioned makes full sense – no less than it does to me. There’s no cause to take a myopic view when looking for high quality hitters. Having mentioned that, I do consider buying hitters proficient at making loud contact might be essential to the Mariners’ 2023 success.

Hitting the ball laborious issues

Suggesting all of the Mariners must do to succeed is hit the ball tougher could sound overly simplistic to you. However as we famous in our regular season roundup, the workforce’s 36.7% hard-hit fee ranked twenty third. It was the fourth consecutive yr Seattle was within the bottom-third of MLB.

A “hard-hit ball” has an exit velocity of 95 mph or larger. The “hard-hit fee” of a participant or workforce represents the share of batted balls with a 95+mph exit velocity.  In 2022, the typical hard-hit fee was 38.4%. – Statcast

Certain, yow will discover gamers who loved success with out making a ton of laborious contact. Notable examples embrace Steven Kwan, Jose Altuve, Jeff McNeil, and Luis Arraez. Regardless of having a hard-hit fee of 30% or decrease, every produced an AVG of .298 or better with McNeil and Arraez successful batting titles. Nonetheless, these people had been outliers – not the norm.

Realistically, hard-hit balls sometimes result in one of the best outcomes. To see what I imply, check out how AVG and SLG explode as soon as exit velocities attain and exceed the 95 mph “hard-hit” threshold.

Clearly, creating extra loud contact may also help jump-start the Mariners’ offense in 2023. In my thoughts’s eye, there are two offseason steps administration can take to make this occur.

Fewer plate appearances for soft-contact hitters

This yr, Mariners with a hard-hit fee beneath the 30% degree talked about earlier accounted for practically one-third (30.9%) of the workforce’s 6,117 plate appearances. This disproportionate share of alternatives must be considerably curtailed subsequent season.

Highest % of PA’s Going to Comfortable-Contact Hitters
CLE – 36.7%
SEA- 30.9%
WSN – 26.2%
COL – 25%
CIN – 24.8%

Six Mariners had a hard-hit fee under 30% this yr. The next illustrates their AVG and SLG on batted balls. When reviewing these stats, pay shut consideration to the MLB-averages. Keep in mind, we’re taking a look at manufacturing created when the hitter made contact. What could initially seem like an excellent AVG or SLG really isn’t when in comparison with the remainder of the league.

Utility-man Sam Haggerty was the lone above-average Mariner. Nevertheless it’s necessary to notice the switch-hitter crammed a restricted function (simply 49 begins). Outfielders Taylor Trammell and Steven Souza Jr. had even fewer alternatives than Haggerty. The trio’s small pattern measurement of stats had been inconsequential to the large image.

Then again, J.P. Crawford and Adam Frazier had been on a regular basis gamers with every having 600-plus plate appearances. Moreover, Abraham Toro made 82 begins and went to the plate 352 occasions. All instructed, the trio mixed for 1.557 plate appearances – 25.4% of Seattle’s whole in 2022. This inefficiency is in dire want of correction previous to Opening Day.

Simply to be clear, I’m not suggesting Crawford, Frazier, and Toro must be passed by Opening Day. However subsequent yr’s lineup can’t afford to be weighed down by a number of regulars, who’re additionally soft-contact hitters.

Substitute anticipated departures

The second step the entrance workplace can take to ensure extra laborious contact in 2023 entails discovering replacements for pending free brokers. Barring unexpected circumstances, two of Seattle’s hardest hitters – Mitch Haniger and Carlos Santana – might be former Mariners shortly after the World Collection concludes.

M’s Exhausting-Hit Charges+
Julio Rodríguez – 50.7%
Mitch Haniger* – 47.2%
Carlos Santana* – 47.2%
Luis Torrens – 46.6%
Eugenio Suárez – 43.5%
Cal Raleigh – 43.5%
MLB Exhausting-Hit Fee – 38.4%
Ty France – 36.7%
Dylan Moore – 36.4%
Jarred Kelenic – 35%
Jesse Winker – 34.3%
Abraham Toro – 29.7%
J.P. Crawford – 29.2%
Sam Haggerty – 24.6%
Adam Frazier* – 24.5%

*Pending free agent
+100 batted ball minimal

It’s necessary to notice Frazier can also be a pending free agent. Primarily based on feedback made by Hollander and President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto in the course of the workforce’s end of season media scrum, retaining the second baseman doesn’t seem like a precedence. His departure would offer the workforce with the chance so as to add a stronger bat at second base or shortstop.

Assist Wished

Since Scorching Range season is upon us, I scratched collectively an incomplete listing of free brokers probably able to filling the loud contact void created by the anticipated departures of Haniger, Santana, and Frazier. The trio is included that will help you make comparisons.

Exhausting-Hit Charges of Recognizable Free Brokers
Aaron Judge – 61.8%
José Abreu – 51.8%
Mitch Haniger – 47.2%
Carlos Santana – 47.2%
Dansby Swanson – 46.3%
Carlos Correa – 44.7%
J.D. Martinez – 41.7%
Trea Turner – 41.6%
Anthony Rizzo – 41%
Brandon Nimmo – 39.8%
Xander Bogaerts – 39.5%
Andrew Benintendi – 38.7%
MLB Exhausting Hit Fee – 38.4%
Wil Myers – 37.6%
Kolten Wong – 35.5%
Adam Frazier – 24.5%

A few of these gamers is probably not perfect matches for the Mariners. That mentioned, it’s a place to begin for a dialog that might be ongoing all through the offseason. Within the close to future, we’ll do a extra complete evaluate of potential free agent and commerce candidates Seattle may pursue this offseason.

Within the interim, I recommend having fun with what’s left of the World Collection.

It’s shaping as much as be a enjoyable offseason within the Emerald Metropolis.

My Oh My…

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Luke Arkins

Luke is a local New Yorker, who grew up as a Mets fan. After the US Navy moved him to the Pacific Northwest in 2009, he determined to make Seattle his residence.

In 2014, Luke joined the Prospect Insider workforce. Throughout baseball season, he can typically be discovered observing the native workforce at T-Cell Park.

You possibly can observe Luke on Twitter @luke_arkins

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