PEORIA, Ariz. – As you know if you listen to “Danny, Dave and Moore,” my batting average on predictions is around .200, perhaps even lower than that. I wouldn’t call the Smokin’ Lock of the Week during the football season a disaster, but it certainly hasn’t turned out well.
I like to think I will be much better with baseball predictions because I know more about baseball, and when I say I know more about baseball, it’s not that I’m God’s gift to baseball knowledge, it’s just that I know more about it than football.
I also know more about baseball than Shannon Drayer, though that contention took a blow Wednesday night at Salty Senorita in Peoria when Shannon did not know who the Mariners’ third baseman was in the team’s first season in 1977. I proudly told her it was Jim Presley only to find out it was actually Bill Stein.
You also should not forget that I was the only person to correctly predict that this year’s Super Bowl would go to overtime, and while I’m reminding you of that, I’m also hoping you’ve forgotten that I made the same prediction last year when it didn’t happen. And if it hadn’t happened this year, I probably would have made the same OT prediction next year, and so on, until I got it right.
Given my lack of success at correctly predicting much of anything, I’m surprised that my editor, Brady Henderson, asked me to come up with 10 predictions about the Mariners’ 2017 season.
I think I did this for the 2016 season too and guessing I went 0 for 10 (Editor’s note: Jim went 4 for 10 in his Mariners predictions last year). This year I’ll make up for it by going 5 for 10, and if I go 0 for 10 again this year, hopefully Brady won’t ask me to write 10 predictions for the 2018 Mariners and I can go golfing instead.
1. Felix Hernandez will win 20 games for the first time in his career. Might as well start with a bold one. We all know he lacks the velocity from his prime, but he really has to pitch now, and he has enough veteran savvy and motivation to prove he’s still the King. Improved run support will help his bid for a 20-win season, too.
2. Mitch Haniger will be the AL rookie of the year. The Mariners’ starting right fielder is hitting over .400 in Cactus League play and projects to be a star. Also looking forward to watching him gun down runners trying to advance from first to third.
3. The heart of the order – Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager – will combine for 100 home runs and 300 RBIs. The exact breakdown: Cruz, 40 HRs and 100 RBIs; Seager, 35 HRs and 105 RBIs; Cano, 25 HRs and 95 RBIs.
4. Jerrod Dyson, Jean Segura, Leonys Martin and Haniger will combine for 100 stolen bases. The exact breakdown: Dyson, 35 SBs; Segura, 28 SBs; Martin, 21 SBs; Haniger, 16 SBs.
5. (Tie among four bad-news predictions) At the age of 36, Hisashi Iwakuma will not make it through the entire season because of an injury or poor performance; Dan Vogelbach will never play another inning at first base for the Mariners; Yovani Gallardo will be designated for assignment on May 28; Drew Smyly will draw comparisons to Charlie Furbush by April 1 – hey, that’s today!
6. With his long hair and zest for the game, Taylor Motter will be a fan favorite and destined to have a Taylor Motter Bobblehead Night next year.
7. James Paxton will throw a one-hitter against the Marlins and appear in his first All-Star Game.
8. Aside from Edwin Diaz, the bullpen will struggle all year long.
9. Mike Zunino and Carlos Ruiz might be the catchers now, but Tuffy Gosewisch will replace one of them by the All-Star break, likely Ruiz but maybe Zunino if his April and May are like September of last year.
10. Because of pitching issues, the Mariners will go 81-81 and fail to make the playoffs for the 16th straight year.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for SeattlePI.com and KitsapSun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.