2016 Seattle Mariners Preview & Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep
The 2015 Seattle Mariners disappointed once again, finishing out of the playoff hunt at 76-86. With multiple changes made in the front office and on the field, the Mariners are hoping their stars can carry them to the top of a difficult AL West. Which players should have the biggest fantasy impact?
(Note: When a player’s fantasy draft status is mentioned – e.g., "he’s an SP4" – the number is based on 12-team mixed leagues. ADP references are from NFBC drafts.)
Key Additions: Adam Lind, Nori Aoki, Nate Karns, Wade Miley, Steve Cishek, Jaoquin Benoit
Key Losses: Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, Austin Jackson, Mark Trumbo, Roenis Elias, Fernando Rodney, Mike Zunino
The heart of Seattle’s lineup should be dangerous, but we’ve said that about them before. Nelson Cruz leads the way and is currently being drafted as the OF15. Cruz is a bad bet to repeat last year’s batting average due to an unusually high BABIP, but the power should stay on track. There are more inspiring options at the end of the fourth round … Kyle Seager has put up very consistent numbers three seasons in a row now. You can mark him down for about .265 and 25 homers every year, which isn’t bad to lock down at 3B … Robinson Cano is still a .300 type hitter, but the 30+ HR days are gone. He’s currently going off the board at the beginning of round five, which feels like good value so long as you temper expectations a bit … Adam Lind crushes right-handed pitching and gets on base at a high clip. I don’t think there are 20 first-baseman that are better hitters. He’s very undervalued right now … Ketel Marte is creeping up draft boards after hitting .283 and stealing 8 bases in the last 57 games. Given the lack of real depth at SS, I have no problem selecting him in the top-10 at his position given his upside … Now 34, Nori Aoki isn’t the burner he once was .. Leonys Martin is the better cheap source of steals (31 in 2014 as a full-time player).
CL: Steve Cishek
Felix Hernandez had his personal worst season in a long time, and there are signs he’s on the decline. Don’t bury him yet, though. SP17 is ridiculous value for a workhorse like King Felix. There are a lot of great pitchers that will come off the board in the fourth round, but I wouldn’t feel obligated to reach if I know Felix will fall … Hisashi Iwakuma is underrated as well. Many drafters will opt for sexier names, but Iwakuma rarely walks batters and will put up lots of quality starts, health willing … Taijuan Walker (SP48) is the best sleeper candidate in staff. His 4.56 ERA will scare a lot of people off, but his xFIP was 3.82. With his strikeout power a big year could be coming … We’ll see if James Paxton can revert back to his 2014 form. There’s some bounceback potential here … It’s hard to tell whether Nate Karns or Wade Miley will nab the last rotation spot. That’s a camp battle to monitor closely … GM Jerry Dipoto is on record saying that Steve Cishek will be the team’s closer, so draft accordingly. Joaquin Benoit lurks as his replacement if Cishek struggles, but I’ll take Cishek all day as the RP29, which is where he’s currently going.
Sleepers: Marte and Walker. Both could become trendy picks as your draft day draws closer, but Marte’s 30+ SB potential makes him a worthy investment. There’s some risk in Walker, as he’s prone to blow up every now and then, but he’s a high potential pick that won’t cost you much, and you can’t ignore the strikeout power.
Alex Jackson, OF
He was considered one of the best bats in the 2014 class, but he’s struggled a bit in the minors. If he starts to heat up, it’s not hard to imagine him taking over a corner outfield spot towards the tail end of the season.
Boog Powell, OF
If Leonys Martin doesn’t get it done in center, Powell is waiting in the wings. He’s not a highly regarded prospect and shouldn’t make a big fantasy impact, but he has gotten on base at a high clip in the minors, which is something Seattle needs at the top of their lineup.