The Seattle Mariners are, as of Wednesday afternoon, in third place in the American League West division with a 23-26 record.
As incredible as it may sound, they are only 4.5 games behind the division leaders, the Oakland Athletics.
Any hot streak by the Mariners would put them in the conversation for the division lead.
However, if we analyze the roster of the Mariners’ direct competitors – the A’s, the Houston Astros, and even the Los Angeles Angels – it’s easy to see why they can’t make the postseason in 2021.
Theoretically, they can, but they have an uphill battle, to say the least.
Before Wednesday’s games, the Mariners weren’t particularly good in both facets of the game: pitching and batting.
The Pitching is Not Good Enough
The pitching staff is the ninth-worst in MLB with a 4.55 ERA.
The Mariners clearly lack an ace, and while they hope recent call-up Logan Gilbert can be one, it would be unfair to expect a prospect to blossom into a frontline starter that fast.
Gilbert has three major league starts already, and his ERA is 7.59.
The offense, at the moment of writing this piece, was also well-below average.
Seattle has scored 184 runs, the sixth-worst number in MLB.
It’s really hard for a team with a bad offense and middling pitching to enter the conversation for a playoff spot.
The infield has provided almost no production at all.
Kyle Seager has been one of the few bright spots with nine homers, and while he has a low .229 average, he has been good if we judge him by wRC+, or weighted Runs Created Plus.
He has a 113 wRC+, with 100 being considered average.
Things are much more interesting in the outfield, as Mitch Haniger (.257/.315/.546, 13 home runs, 138 wRC+) is performing admirably.
2 homers tonight and 10 on the season.
— MLB (@MLB) May 12, 2021
The Future is Coming
Seattle has the reigning American League Rookie of the Year in Kyle Lewis, who has lost time to injury and is still finding his rhythm.
Jarred Kelenic, the organization’s top prospect, spent the first few weeks of the season in Triple-A, but is now with the Mariners, where he belongs.
He is still adjusting to major league pitching (.174/.240/.348) but once he gets going, he can win the AL ROY award this year.
With such a bad infield, mediocre starting pitching, and an unreliable bullpen, it’s very hard to see the Seattle Mariners making major noise in 2021, let alone fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
However, keep an eye on the organization from 2022 on, as the best is yet to come.
Top prospects Julio Rodriguez, Noelvi Marte, Emerson Hancock, and George Kirby will likely join Sheffield, Dunn, Kikuchi, Kelenic, and Lewis in the next one-to-two years to form an exciting foundation for the future.
So excited for the future of the Seattle Mariners.
Building it the RIGHT way. pic.twitter.com/GIgikHAdtv
— Sports ON Tap Seattle (@SONTSeattle) February 1, 2021
Seattle is definitely a team to watch, just not in 2021.