WAR Cry Part II - Seattle Mariners

Welcome back to the idiotic world of taking a subjective, artful game and reducing it to cold, lifeless statistics!

This time around, we're going to see what WAR has to say about the Seattle Mariners, and who gave them the best years at each position on the field. Having grown up on Whidbey Island, I supported the Giants but was always subjected to SODO MOJO. Their consistently goofy commercials are matched only by their consistently goofy front office decisions, robbing their fan-base of future Hall-Of-Famers Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Alex Rodriguez - all of whom were in or near their primes - in consecutive years. Then, in typically goofy Mariners fashion, they wandered into Ichiro Suzuki and seven other all-stars in 2001, en route to a record 116 wins...and an early post-season exit at the hands of the Yankees. I've been close enough to it all to know that being a Mariners fan is an emotionally trying experience - but not in the perpetually-pathetic-Kansas-City-Royals kind of way - it's more frantic than that. Expectations are constantly skyrocketing or plummeting, and the team's performance from year-to-year rarely syncs with those expectations, whatever they may be. Through it all, they've seen a caliber of individual play and star power usually reserved for teams with longer histories and a busier October schedule. I present to you the best of the best, beginning with the hitters:


C: Dan Wilson, 1996 (27)
WAR: 3.9 // .285 - 18 HR - 83 RBI // .774 OPS // 1 SB // 14 FLD

1B: Alvin Davis, 1984 (23)
WAR: 5.8 // .284 - 27 HR - 116 RBI // .888 OPS // 5 SB // 8 FLD

2B: Bret Boone, 2001 (32)
WAR: 7.8 // .331 - 37 HR - 141 RBI // .950 OPS // 5 SB // 12 FLD

SS: Alex Rodriguez, 1996 (20)
WAR: 9.8 // .358 - 36 HR - 123 RBI // 1.045 OPS // 15 SB // 8 FLD

3B: Edgar Martinez, 1992 (29)
WAR: 6.7 // .343 - 18 HR - 73 RBI // .948 // 14 SB // -6 FLD

LF: Phil Bradley, 1985 (26)
WAR: 5.3 // .300 - 26 HR - 88 RBI // .862 OPS // 22 SB // -1 FLD

CF: Ken Griffey, Jr., 1996 (26)
WAR: 10.2 // .303 - 49 HR - 140 RBI // 1.020 OPS // 16 SB // 32 FLD

RF: Ichiro Suzuki, 2004 (30)
WAR: 7.2 // .372 - 8 HR - 60 RBI // .869 OPS // 36 SB // 20.5 FLD

DH: Edgar Martinez, 1995 (32)
WAR: 7.5 // .356 - 29 HR - 113 RBI // 1.107 OPS // 4 SB // -2 FLD



Notes:
-A-Rod played 5 seasons for the M's; they are the Top-5 seasons by any M's shortstop. From there, your leader is a young Omar Vizquel. As for the greatest Mariners season in center by anyone not named Griffey, that distinction goes to the '09 incarnation of Franklin Gutierrez.
-Pretty funny that in his 1995 season, Edgar Martinez managed to cost the M's an estimated 2 runs just by playing defense in 7 games. Nothing funny about that 1.107 OPS, though, the highest ever by a Mariner.
-Griffey's 10.2 WAR in '96 is the high point for a Mariner at any position. Junior received high marks for his baserunning, managing to swipe those 16 bases while only being caught once. Furthermore, 32 FLD ranks Griffey's '96 as the fourth-best defensive season by a center-fielder for any team in the 34 years since the M's inception.
-It's one of baseball's great mysteries: What could Ichiro Suzuki have done with a full career in the MLB? His most productive season came at age 30, and while he remained a strong force at the plate, on the bags and on D through 2010, one can't help but imagine the kind of career numbers he'd be putting up had he joined the Mariners prior to age 27, when many players on this roster had already peaked. Nonetheless, he owns all of the Top-8 seasons by an M's right-fielder (with Leon Roberts & Jay "Bone" Buhner following).


And now, the pitchers...

Rotation:
1. Randy Johnson, 1995 (31)
WAR: 9.5 // 18-2 2.48 ERA // 2.08 FIP // 12.35 K/9

2. Randy Johnson, 1993 (29)
WAR: 7.1 // 19-8 3.24 ERA // 3.05 FIP // 10.86 K/9

3. Randy Johnson, 1997 (33)
WAR: 7.0 // 20-4 2.28 ERA // 2.82 FIP // 12.3 K/9

4. Erik Hanson, 1990 (25)
WAR: 6.9 // 18-9 3.24 ERA // 2.74 FIP // 8.05 K/9

5. Felix Hernandez, 2009 (23)
WAR: 6.8 // 19-5 2.49 ERA // 3.09 FIP // 8.18 K/9



Notes:
-I love that despite a dominant run by The Big Unit, Felix is represented in the M's rotation. Interestingly, though, it's for his 2009 season, which ranked a bit higher than his 2010 Cy Young campaign.
-I had anticipated an appearance from Jamie Moyer, but he really wasn't close. The fan favorite makes just 2 appearances in Top-35 - '98 & '99.
-Other starters who made Top-20 appearances include Mark Langston, Freddy Garcia, Floyd Bannister & Aaron Sele.
-Meanwhile, in a dimly-lit room somwhere in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Bosio grooms his mustache with a bowie knife, plotting his revenge on the sabermetric community.


Bullpen:
1. JJ Putz, 2006 (29)
WAR: 3.6 // 36/43 SV 2.30 ERA // 1.73 FIP // 11.95 K/9

2. Bill Caudill, 1982 (25)
WAR: 3.1 // 26/30 SV 2.30 ERA // 2.75 FIP // 10.44 K/9

3. Arthur Rhodes, 2002 (32)
WAR: 2.9 // 27 HLDS 2.33 ERA // 1.94 FIP // 10.46 K/9

4. Mike Schooler, 1989 (26)
WAR: 2.8 // 33/40 SV 2.81 ERA // 2.13 FIP // 8.06 K/9

5. Arthur Rhodes, 2001 (31)
WAR: 2.5 // 31 HLDS 1.72 ERA // 2.14 FIP // 10.99 K/9



-If, like me, you're wondering where Kazuhiro Sasaki is, he just barely cracked the Top-20.
-Also conspicuously absent is Jeff Nelson, but he just missed out - his '95 season ranks 8th. Remember this is despite his situational use as a reliever, which knocks his WAR lower than some less-effective closers. This, however, doesn't prevent Arthur Rhodes from making the team twice, back in the days when even right-handed hitters couldn't touch him



That brings us to the Mariners' All-Time WAR Team Total WAR: 116.4. For comparison's sake, we'll break that down per player, as AL teams have an extra player in the DH spot. So that 116.4 total WAR becomes: 6.13 WAR per player. So in the Iowa conrnfield of our well-informed imaginations, smart money is on the Giants WAR squad and their 6.63 WAR per player. Still, Mariners fans can hold their heads high with a very respectable team, despite a history that only goes back as far as 1977, 19 years fewer than the San Francisco Giants.

That is, 19 years and one world championship fewer. Sorry, couldn't resist.



Up next, Red Sox Nation gets an audit...

No comments: