State of Mariners Analysis

Runs Created by Batting Order
Order Number Runs Created
1 24.0
2 28.3
3 25.2
4 24.4
5 17.1
6 23.4
7 24.3
8 17.1
9 6.1

While I should be working on class assignments and watching lectures, I can’t help but be distracted by the Seattle Mariners. The roster construction problems from the off-season have played themselves out and some were recently corrected. There are still a few glaring issues. Before I detail them, let me say this analysis is through game 45 and the team is playing 59 tonight.

Part of the data collection I am doing this year involves getting the batting order and the position players are playing. For the table on the right, I wanted to look at the runs created by batting order. Six of the nine slots (1 through 4 and 6 and 7) are remarkably close in creating runs. I would expect the eighth slot to be a little low since there are already a few games played in National League parks and this would be where the lowest producing position player would get slotted. The fifth slot is a problem. The ninth slot is a serious problem. The ninth slot makes me think this is a National League team and the pitcher has been batting. While I won’t detail who is getting the at bats in the ninth slot, most have been going to Brendan Ryan. He has created 5.6 runs so far or 1.6 per game. Defensive genius or not, that isn’t going to be sufficient to generate wins. I mentioned this numerous times last year, but Ryan isn’t helping the team win if the only part of his game is preventing runs. Some of the recent roster changes were bringing up Carlos Triunfel and Nick Franklin. I hope to see both playing shortstop and second base, respectively, more often until they prove that Ryan is a better option. For now, the offense is handicapped with a pitcher equivalent in the ninth slot.

The Fifth Slot
(greater than 10 AB)
Player AB RC per Game Overall RC/G
Bay 13 6.0 5.0
Ibanez 24 1.4 4.7
Montero 13 0.3 2.8
Morse 26 11.2 5.0
Smoak 72 3.6 4.6

The fifth slot should be a power slot and runs created should be near the top of the list for batting order. Well, should be won’t get you far when reality rings the bell.
The table on the right shows every player through game 45 who has at least ten at bats in the fifth slot. I also show their runs created per game in the fifth slot and their runs created per game overall. I am using runs created per game because it is normalized and comparing the two figures does not need further interpretation. The Mariners have a bit of a curse regarding the fifth slot in the batting order. Ibanez, Montero, and Smoak play better outside of the fifth slot than in. Bay is doing modestly better in the fifth slot. And then there is Michael Morse. Twenty-six at bats is a very small sample size, but wow! play him in that slot until he proves it really is a small sample size oddity.

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Author: dmcnic

Educated as an economist, I now work as an Analytical Professional for a manufacturing firm. I have have a second job as a part-time lecturer at the University of Washington in Bothell. While all baseball interests me, the Mariners are my home town team. Married with one dog.

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