Nice cup on the bat there LoMo. And he's aiming it cup high. Love the white knuckles. Baa-aad intentions, bab-eh.
The ugly reality of Jered Weaver looms tonight. Here's another reality check, with the center column giving you the HQ "takeaway ideas" on each player's 2014 prospects.
|Almonte, CF||Impact 4th outfielder||Okay OBP, nice SB, some HR|
|"Bradley" Miller, SS||Will impact from Opening Day||$19 roto!|
|Cano, FK (fort knox)||Will age gracefully||$35 roto (!!)|
|Smoak, 1B||Ready to step up||240/330/420 with 35 HR upside|
|Seager, 3B||High "floor," power maturing||$20 roto|
|Morrison, DH||If healthy, will hit RHP||UP: .270 AVG, 20 HR|
|Saunders, RF||meh AVG but good everything else||$14 roto in 400 AB (!)|
|Zunino, C||Don't touch him for 2014||.206/.294/.350|
|Ackley, LF||Treat 2013 as floor, with UP||4.1 runs per 27 outs|
Hm. Taking all of these players as roto individuals, Shandler sees 8 of them as solid contributors in 2014, all except Zunino. As we mentioned, that would be a recipe for a top-5 offense.
Let's see Ron's RC/27 for each player. That is, a lineup full of Dustin Ackleys would score 4.1 runs per game. This table gives a strikingly optimistic take on the 2014 season:
|Hart||5.6 See the point now?|
Such a lineup would be one of the better offensive machines in the AL, particularly if you got any one player to bust out. The above numbers are carefully regressed to a 750-player industry pool.
You and I both know the downside scenarios. It's easy to imagine the bullpen imploding, even and especially Rodney. It's easy to imagine Erasmo Ramirez giving up 7 runs against a resurgent Hamilton, Pujols and Trout. It's VERY easy for me to imagine Jered Weaver just firing a 4-hit shutout tonight, and rending all the above numbers moot.
We all realize that you can expect somebody to disappoint.
But! the 2014 Mariners are deliciously Oakland in their Stars-and-Scrubs configuration. If one guy doesn't hit, you do have Romero, Franklin, etc. to swap out. This fungibility is everything to Dr. D. Billy Beane says it's more important than big payrolls, his ability to flip players when he needs to.
In theory, the Mariners' Stars-and-Scrubs flexibility should weigh more heavily than the probability theory, that some guys will be up and some will be down.
The point is, though --- > you and I think of Ackley, Smoak, LoMo etc as longshots, with our "spring training thinking" being the only reason for optimism. Actually, from Ron's perch in St. Louis, ALL of these talented players SHOULD be contributing by now.
Let's see if the Curse of Safeco overwrites Ron's projections.