Seattle Mariners 2019 Season Preview: Fantasy Analysis
2018 Record: 89-73
Projected 2019 Record: 74-88
2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook
The roster looks miles different from 2018, as Seattle turned into a rebuilding team. However, they have not gotten younger. Offloading Edwin Diaz, James Paxton, and Robinson Cano was somewhat of a surprise. They also let Nelson Cruz walk. They were a competitive bunch in 2018, but fell short to the A’s and Astros within the division. Another above average pitcher, Seattle might have made the playoffs. Looking at the projected 2019 record, the Mariners are in trouble. Although they are in first place after this Japan series. With a below average staff and an older boom or bust offense, they will easily fall under the win total from last season.
All the Seattle storylines were in the beginning of the offseason, trading away their star talent in return for names that could help teams more in the hunt. That is where we look to ask what this lineup will look like after the deadline? Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion are two names that should be on the move at some point. Also, we need to look at this rotation. Marco Gonzales was better last season, and they did bring in Yusei Kikuchi from Japan. Outside of that, this is not a promising rotation. They will need to quickly build that rotation back up to what it was earlier in the decade. The only big storyline is how this rebuild is going to finish, and how quickly it will happen.
Mariners Starting Pitching
We are now looking at a Mariners rotation that has the corpse of Felix Hernandez, and no more James Paxton. Marco Gonzales is coming off an improved 2018, where he started to limit damage. He isn’t an ace, yet Seattle has him set as one. He sat an even four ERA last season, but averaged less than a strikeout per inning. Seattle has lackluster strikeout arms, as Mike Leake and Felix Hernandez are pitch to contact type arms. New York traded Justus Sheffield to them in the Paxton deal. There is some upside there, but overall he still has a ways to go.
Yusei Kikuchi is a 27-year-old rookie from Japan. He is a southpaw, who has potential to be a 2-3 guy in the rotation over the next few seasons. Kikuchi fit in nicely given the opening that Paxton left. He isn’t a big strikeout arm, but has potential to lead Seattle in strikeouts. His overall numbers aren’t going to standout at the end of the year, but he is going to give Seattle what they need, which is a solid reliable arm.
Edwin Diaz left a lot of saves up for grabs, and Seattle had a fairly subpar bullpen outside of him. Hunter Strickland will get first cracks, although his velocity has dropped off a bit. He was a setup man in San Francisco, failing to assert himself as a future piece. It is a tough group of guys to get excited about, as names like Cory Gearrin, Anthony Swarzak, and Roenis Elias are names setting up Strickland at the moment. Because Seattle isn’t trying to win this season, it is not a huge deal. Both the bullpen and starting rotation will need work moving forward.
Seattle replaced Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano with names that are close in age. Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion were involved in trades, and ended up sticking around. Mitch Haniger, Encarnacion, and Domingo Santana are names that can bring some power to this lineup. They won’t be big contact bats, but Seattle will have some pop. Santana is a name that could thrive in Seattle. Mainly because he is actually getting at-bats, now that he is not in Milwaukee.
They looked to fill some positions through free agency, adding Omar Narvaez and Tim Beckham. Both flashed some solid plate skills at times last season, but are still unattractive options in the long run. Dee Gordon spent much of his time in the bottom of the order last season, but opens up projected to be the lead off bat. He is their best contact hitter, and is the only name projected for double-digit stolen bases.
Mariners Projected Lineup
- Dee Gordon
- Mitch Haniger
- Jay Bruce
- Edwin Encarnacion
- Domingo Santana
- Omar Narvaez
- Ryon Healy
- Tim Beckham
- Dan Vogelbach
2019 Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers
Marcos Gonzales – None of these guys are going to jump off as more than depth guys in drafts, or AL Only arms. Marcos Gonzales fixed his pitch arsenal, and started to get on the better side of the luck spectrum with allowing home runs. Gonzales is a crafty lefty who has to rely on placement to get guys out. He doesn’t have blow it by you stuff, and will flirt with average strikeout stuff.
Yusei Kikuchi – Kikuchi is a name that should help your ERA category, and produce a strikeout per inning. He will enjoy a favorable ballpark to pitch in around the division, and at an older age we tend to see these types of players have steady success. He projects for under a four ERA, and has potential to lead this rotation of rag tag arms. Don’t be afraid to round out a rotation with Kikuchi.
2019 Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters
Domingo Santana – As mentioned above, Domingo Santana needed to get out of Milwaukee after they reloaded their outfield. He found his way to Seattle, and now he projects to get 500+ AB. This is great news for Santana, who has a ton of power and fantasy value. His ADP has steadily been on the rise over the last few weeks, and hit a grand slam on during the Japan series. His contact needs work, and at this point he is another boom or bust HR bat.
Mitch Haniger – Mitch Haniger is coming off a strong season, and this was his first full season after playing 96 games in 2017. Haniger was a late bloomer, but has rounded into a very good right-handed bat. He should continue to flirt with 25 HR, and the team around him is still good enough for him to rack up runs and RBI. Most projections sources don’t have him hitting over .280 again, but hitting over .260 is good enough for his line.