Mariners getting more out of their power numbers this season
May 13, 2016, 1:35 PM
In a lot of ways, the Mariners look like a brand new ball club this season. But in one way, they look a lot like last year’s team – and that’s actually a good thing.
The Mariners rank fourth in the MLB and second in the American League with 47 home runs entering their weekend series against the L.A. Angels, which is actually ahead of their power output a year ago when they smacked 198 homers to finish fifth in the majors. So even though Safeco Field has long been known as a pitcher’s park, the Mariners’ offense is doing its best to change that perception, which is all according to general manager Jerry Dipoto’s plan.
“I think we were built a little bit more for the ballpark than many realized, especially with the left-hand power,” Dipoto said Thursday during his weekly visit with “Danny, Dave and Moore” on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Jim Moore: Plenty of reasons to think Mariners success will continue
Where the power numbers are making a difference for the Mariners is how they’re pairing up with a .319 on-base percentage that is up eight points from last year, when the team went 76-86. The Mariners also own a .415 slugging percentage that is four points better than last year, and even though those percentages seem like modest improvements, they’ve resulted in a lot more runs crossing the plate. The M’s are 15th in the majors with 100 runs, which has them on pace for 476 on the year, and they own a plus-32 run differential. Last year they were last in the MLB with 441 runs and 22nd in run differential at minus-70.
As for the power itself, a lot of it is coming from three players Dipoto inherited – AL home runs leader Robinson Cano (12), Kyle Seager (seven) and Nelson Cruz (six). But there’s also been contributions from pieces he added in the offseason, like Dae-Ho Lee and Leonys Martin, who each have five.
“Robbie, Nelson, Kyle Seager, just to name three – those guys have done that (hit home runs) in this ballpark,” Dipoto said. “Kyle’s improved his power numbers every year since he came to big leagues, and he’s a bona fide 25-30 homer guy. Robinson Cano’s been a 30-homer guy in this league, and right now he’s on a phenomenal tear. And Nelson Cruz has been one of the premier power guys in the league for the last handful of years. You couple that with a handful of guys, none of whom who I think are exceeding their own skillsets, this is what they do.”
The Mariners may not even be at the top of their power game, either. Dipoto expects Adam Lind, who has just one homer as the left-handed half of the platoon at first base with Lee, to eventually find the same stroke that has produced five seasons of 20-plus homers in his career.
“Adam Lind has yet to get going, and when he gets going, that’s another left-hand power bat that should fit nicely in our ballpark,” said Dipoto.