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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

September 17, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Another way to look at Mariners’ wretched offense (WARNING: Lots of numbers)

While recently reading an essay by Steven Goldman of Baseball Prospectus on, among other things, the epic ineptness of the Mariners offense (which he calls “among the hundred-worst offenses of all time, the 40-worst offenses of the postwar period, and the 10-worst offenses of the last 20 years”), I was struck by one sentence: “None of their positions has enjoyed aggregate production superior to the league average.”

I decided to check that out more closely. So calling up ESPN’s position-by-position ranking of American League offenses, it was re-affirmed just how low the Mariners rank across the board.

Ichiro, not surprisingly, is the lone exception, but only to a certain extent. Yes, he leads all American League right fielders in batting average and hits, but because he is not the typical thumper most teams have in that position, he (as virtually the exclusive Seattle right-fielder) ranks low in power stats, and 11th in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).

The following chart, which lists the American League average in various stats for each position, followed by the M’s average at those positions and their ranking in the league, vividly displays why the Mariners are struggling to reach 500 runs scored. They are particularly abysmal, statistically, at catcher, shortstop, third base and designated hitter, but they’re really not very good anywhere, relative to the rest of the league. At no position, for instance, do they rank higher than 11th (among 14 teams) in OPS, and in seven of nine, they’re 13th or 14th.

Read it and weep.

CATCHER

American League average:

516 AB, 57 R, 126 H, 27 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 193 TB, 62 RBI, .243 BA, .312 OBP, .373 SLG, .685 OPS.

Mariners average and AL ranking:

485 AB (13th), 47 R (10th), 93 H (14th), 21 2B (11th), 13 3B (T8th), 10 HR (T8th), 144 TB (14th), 39 RBI (14th), .192 BA (14th), .256 OBP (14th), .297 SLG (14th), .553 OPS (14th)

FIRST BASE

American League average:

538 AB, 76 R, 141 H, 32 2B, 2 3B, 22 HR, 240 TB, 79 RBI, .260 BA, .347 OBP, .444 SLG, .791 OPS.

Mariners average and AL Ranking:

539 AB (9th), 49 R (14th), 118 H (12th), 22 2B (13th), 1 3B (T6th), 14 HR (11th), 184 TB (13th), 66 RBI (T9th), .219 BA (12th), .285 OBP (14th), .341 SLG (12th), .626 OPS (13th).

SECOND BASE

American League average:

551 AB, 72 R, 146 H, 28 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 217 TB, 61 RBI, .265 BA, .328 OPB, .392 SLG, .721 OPS

Mariners average and AL ranking:

551 AB (8th), 56 R (13th), 142 H (10th), 17 2B (14th), 2 3B (T8th), 1 HR (14th), 166 TB (14th), 33 RBI (14th), .258 BA (10th), .339 OBP (4th), .301 SLG (14th), .640 OPS (13th).

SHORTSTOP

American League average:

550 AB, 68 R, 142 H, 25 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 197 TB, 50 RBI, .258 BA, .310 OBP, .357 SLG, .667 OBP.

Mariners average and AL rank:

493 AB (14th), 36 R (14th), 119 H (14th), 22 2B (11th), 3 3B (T4th), 1 HR (13th), 182 TB (13th), 30 RBI (14th), .238 BA (14th), .276 OBP (14th), .275 SLG (14th), .551 OPS (14th).

THIRD BASE

American League average:

554 AB, 68 R, 147 H, 31 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 230 TB, 73 RBI, .264 BA, .319 OBP, .415 SLG, .734 OPS.

Mariners average and AL rank:

578 AB (3rd), 44 R (14th), 133 H (11th), 30 2B (T6th), 0 3B (T12th), 7 HR (13th), 184 TB (T12th), 52 RBI (12th), .230 BA (14th), .262 OBP (14th), .318 SLG (14th), .580 OPS (14th).

LEFT FIELD

Amercan League average:

550 AB, 76 R, 149 H, 30 2B, 3 3B, 16 HR, 235 TB, 71 RBI, .271 BA, .336 OPB, .427 SLG, .762 OPS.

Mariners average and AL ranking:

482 AB (14th), 55 R (13th), 103 H (14th), 21 2B (11th), 2 3B (T8th), 17 HR (5th), 179 TB (14th), 58 RBI (9th), .214 BA (14th), .317 OBP (T10th), .371 SLG (13th), .688 OPS (11th).

CENTER FIELD

American League average:

565 AB, 79 R, 148 H, 28 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, 229 TB, 62 RBI, .262 BA, .324 OBP, .407 SLG, .731 OPS.

Mariners average and AL ranking:

554 AB (8th), 58 R (14th), 136 H (11th), 25 2B (T8th), 3 3B (T10th), 13 HR (8th), 206 TB (11th), 60 RBI (T5th), .245 BA (11th), .306 OBP (12th), .372 SLG (12th), .678 OPS (13th).

RIGHT FIELD

American League average:

553 AB, 75 R, 152 H, 32 2B, 3 3B, 18 HR, 242 TB, 76 RBI, .274 BA, .349 OPB, .438 SLG, .787 OPS.

Mariners average and AL ranking:

607 AB (1st), 66 R (13th), 188 H (1), 27 2B (T12th), 3 3B (T5th), 6 HR (13th), 239 TB (10th), 40 RBI (14th), .310 BA (1st), .361 OBP (T3rd), .394 SLG (12th), .754 OPS (11th).

DESIGNATED HITTER

American League average:

515 AB, 68 R, 129 H, 27 2B, 2 3B, 20 HR, 221 TB, 75 RBI, .251 BA, .331 OPB, .430 SLG, .761 OPS.

Mariners average and AL ranking:

520 AB (5th), 51 R (14th), 99 H (14th), 17 2B (14th), 1 3B (T7th), 21 HR (T6th), 181 TB (14th), 53 RBI (14th), .190 BA (14th), .267 OBP (14th), .348 SLG (14th), .615 OPS (14th).

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