Last night’s game was too depressing to write game notes about. Despite not having his stuff at 100 percent (and committing a terrible error in the first inning), King Felix still had us in position to win the game against a bad team in the Royals. Unfortunately for us, our offense loves to go into long stretches where everyone seems to forget how to hit. And so it was that the Mariners lineup made Kyle Davies, he of the 5.46 career ERA and 5.07 career FIP through 103 career games started, he of the 1.43 career K/BB ratio, look like Roy Halladay.
We’re now an eighth of the way through the season. Chone Figgins and Milton Bradley have been slumping for almost a month. If they’re still slumping two weeks into May, I’m going to get mighty close to calling it a drop off in talent level. If those two don’t hit (especially with our black hole of a DH-slot almost making me wish for the days of Jose Vidro), then Seattle doesn’t win. It’s that simple.
Here’s a quick look at the value of our roster so far this season, based on WAR, split into tiers to show my relative enthusiasm/disappointment. Fun!
Tier 1: Jesus
Franklin Gutierrez 1.2 WAR
Franklin is in a tier of his own. He’s been so good early on this season, it’s nearly unfathomable. A 1.2 WAR just 20 games into the season is insane. His BABIP is at an unsustainable .417 right now, but even so, his approach to the plate has just been flat out better this year.
Tier 2: Guys who would have even better records if our offense didn’t suck
Felix Hernandez 0.9 WAR
Doug Fister 0.8 WAR
Jason Vargas 0.5 WAR
It’s important to note that Felix has had one more start than Fister and Vargas this season. That’s how much better than expected they’ve been early on.
Tier 3: The rest of the offense that can actually hit on occasion
Casey Kotchman 0.3 WAR
Ichiro Suzuki 0.3 WAR
Rob Johnson 0.2 WAR
Okay, so Rob Johnson can’t REALLY hit, but he has been getting offensive value to the tune of a .378 obp this season. Attribute it to luck, or LASIK, or whatever else you want; I don’t particularly care as long as he keeps it up. Which he probably won’t.
Tier 4: Imagine what their WAR would look like if they could actually hit
Jose Lopez 0.2 WAR
Jack Wilson 0.0 WAR
Based on park adjusted runs above average (go to fangraphs.com if you don’t know what it is), Lopez has actually been the worst hitter on the team this year. Worse than Griffey. Worse than Sweeney. Worse than Adam Moore. Wilson’s UZR is actually rather low, but it’s early in the season, and UZR doesn’t work too well over small sample sizes, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into it.
Tier 5: We’re relief pitchers, it’s been 20 games and our value is too small to judge us!
Kanekoa Texeira 0.1 WAR
Jesus Colome 0.0 WAR
Brandon League 0.0 WAR
Sean White 0.0 WAR
Shawn Kelley 0.0 WAR
Mark Lowe -0.1 WAR
David Aardsma -0.2 WAR
I would suspect that Lowe and Aardsma, our two worst relief pitchers based on WAR this season, will be two of our three best relief pitchers based on WAR at season’s end (along with League). Sample sizes are small in general this early in the season, but with relief pitchers it’s simply too small to make any judgments whatsoever.
Tier 6: Start hitting our we’re screwed
Chone Figgins 0.0 WAR
Milton Bradley -0.1 WAR
I made my point earlier.
Tier 7: Man, our bench has been bad
Eric Byrnes -0.1 WAR
Matt Tuiasosopo -0.2 WAR
Adam Moore -0.2 WAR
I wanted Adam Moore to take Rob Johnson’s spot as our number one catcher. After 20 games, it looks like he’s secured Rob Johnson’s spot as our number one catcher. Tuiasosopo hasn’t hit, which is where all of his theoretical value lies. And as much as I love the fact that Eric Byrnes treats his body like he’s The Juggernaut, he hasn’t done much for us either. Bench players need to perform at least somewhat decently. Our bench has been valueless.
Tier 8: When pitchers pitch badly
Ian Snell -0.2 WAR
Ryan Rowland-Smith -0.5 WAR
Tonight will be Snell’s last start before he’s sent to the bullpen, making way for Cliff Lee. If he pitches well tonight, however, it could easily be argued that Rowland-Smith should be sent to the pen. RRS has been just terrible this season. Five strikeouts in 23.1 innings indicates to me that something’s not completely right with him. Hopefully his next start proves me wrong, but if not, then we may have a problem.
Tier 9: Retire. For the love of God retire.
Mike Sweeney -0.2 WAR
Ken Griffey Jr. -0.3 WAR
Ladies and gentleman, your 2010 Seattle Mariners DH’s!!!!