4 reasons Mariners have attention of MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger

Feb 6, 2022, 10:03 AM | Updated: Feb 8, 2022, 2:11 pm

Mariners Mitch Haniger Ty France...

Mariners RF Mitch Haniger is greeted by Ty France after hitting a home run against Oakland. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Over the years on Bob Stelton’s 710 ESPN Seattle shows, Mariners fans have enjoyed the regular check-ins with MLB Network host Greg Amsinger.

Next step for Mariners to turn top farm system into World Series contender

On Wednesday, Amsinger joined Stelton – this time in the afternoon on Wyman and Bob with co-host Dave Wyman – to provide a look toward the upcoming 2022 MLB season. And perhaps more than ever, Amsinger was excited about the direction the Mariners are heading after their 90-win campaign in 2021 and splashy signing of American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray.

“I can’t wait for the 2022 season for the M’s,” Amsinger said after listing off a litany of things that make the Mariners a team to watch this year for him.

Here’s a breakdown of those things Amsinger had to say about the Mariners.

Patience pays off

Not only did the Mariners win 90 games last season for the first time since 2003 and landed one of the biggest available free agents, but their crown jewel right now may be their farm system. Not only do they have five players in Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list, including four in the top 50 and three in the top 20, but they landed the No. 1 spot out of the 30 MLB franchises on Baseball America’s farm system rankings that came out this week.

Why the Mariners have Baseball America’s top farm system

Amsinger pointed to the patience the franchise has allowed general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais, who are entering their seventh seasons with Seattle, for everything seemingly coming together.

“To me, this is what happens when you give a front office and a manager patience,” he said. “And as we’re seeing right now in the NFL, that’s hard to find in professional sports. To give those roles patience? When you let guys develop a farm system and do it their way, which might not be what everyone’s used to – if you give them time (then) they could actually execute the game plan, and that looks like it’s the case in Seattle.”

‘Baby Edgar Martinez’

That’s right – Amsinger actually used that term to describe Mariners first baseman Ty France. And he knows that is very high praise here in the Pacific Northwest.

“One of my favorite young hitters in the game is Ty France. He’s only going to get better,” Amsinger said. “He’s a baby Edgar Martinez to me.”

France, 27, had a breakout year in 2021, which was his first full season in the big leagues. He slashed .291/.368/.445 for an .813 OPS, hit 18 homers and 32 doubles, and drove in 73 runs in 152 games. He even led the majors in one category: hit-by pitches with 27.

France has always shown an incredible ability to hit ’em where they ain’t through college and the minors, and Amsinger thinks that’s going to result in him leading the league in a more notable statistic.

“I love the way he swings the bat. I think he’s going to win a batting title before his career is over.”

The new Mariners ace

The addition of Ray gives the Mariners something they were certainly missing: an ace atop their rotation. Amsinger noted that not only is he impressed that the M’s convinced Ray to come to Seattle, but Ray is somebody who has personally impressed him.

“When I heard that they went and spent big money there to bring in Robbie Ray, I was beyond thrilled. And there were people that were apprehensive on him. Listen, he figured it out. And he’ll walk you through it.”

Amsinger went on to explain why there’s no need for concern about Ray, who had a dramatic turnaround from a dismal 2020 season to a dominant 2021 performance with Toronto.

“I was hosting the Cy Young Award show live on MLB Network, and he walks through with (veteran baseball reporter) Tom Verducci exactly how he changed mechanics, what he did differently, his balance – all of it. He’s figured it out,” Amsinger said. “Guys that know the game better than me (always say) left-handers take a bit longer to develop. Everyone always saw the swing-and-miss with Robbie Ray; everyone knew that he was a strikeout machine. But now you take that incredible velocity, that natural giddy-up on all of his pitches, and now you’ve got pinpoint location, you’ve got a great balance, he can replicate his mechanics through seven, eight innings. I’m telling you, you guys get a clear-cut ace. You’ve got a No. 1.”

The outfield talent

Though the Mariners don’t have a surefire center fielder for 2022 – at least not yet – they’re not hurting for talent in the outfield.

For starters, Jarred Kelenic is entering his first full MLB season and showed some of the promise late last season that made him one of the biggest prospects in baseball. Then there’s Julio Rodríguez, Baseball America’s No. 2 overall prospect who has been getting astronomical projections from some of the more notable prospect analysts around the game. And don’t forget about Kyle Lewis, the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year who is hoping to return from knee surgery that ended his 2021 season early.

Oh, and there’s another guy the Mariners have out there: Mitch Haniger.

“It’s not breaking news to all of you – it might be the most exciting young outfield for 2022,” Amsinger said. “Everyone will be watching these young studs. And when Mitch Haniger is an afterthought – 39 home runs and 100 RBIs (in 2021) – (then) what in the world are we talking about? I mean, this is how good and talented their outfield is.”

You can hear Amsinger’s full conversation with Wyman and Bob in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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