Found February 21, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Ichiro Has A New Role

Reports out of the Seattle Mariners spring training facility in Peoria, Arizona on Tuesday morning have Mariners manager Eric Wedge moving Ichiro Suzuki to the number three spot in the batting order for the upcoming season.

Wedge has stated that Ichiro gives the club the best chance at scoring runs this season, a spot that the Mariners desperately need to improve upon from the past few seasons.

Wedge also went on record saying he is giving Chone Figgens “the first shot” at hitting lead off for the Mariners this season.

With that in mind, I give you five things to expect out of Ichiro Suzuki batting third for your Seattle Mariners in 2012!

1. Runs galore

With the proposed 1-3 lineup of Chone Figgins, Dustin Ackley, and Ichiro, there will be ample opportunities for runs to be scored this season for the Mariners.

If Figgins can get his bat going once again, and Ackley proves to be the big league hitter that he showed us  a glimpse of last year, Ichiro will have multiple chances per game at knocking in runners. His gappers will be things of beauty, especially when two runs cross the plate.

2. Lethal speed one through three

As noted above, get Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley on, and they will be a force to be reckoned with. Ichiro is such a dangerous hitter that the hit and run can almost be on during every situation. Or even a base hit through the infield will score at least one run.

Speed in hitters 1-3 can disrupt a pitchers timing, the defenses timing, and become very exciting baseball to watch. It will be strange at first to see Ichiro at the three spot, but I think Wedge is on to something good here.

3. Better pitches for the two and four guys

Depending on what Figgins does leading off a ball game, with Ichiro hitting third, Ackley will most likely see better pitches. If Figgins gets out, instead of Ackley seeing pitches in the dirt trying to induce a ground ball, he will see pitches up in the zone.

Chone Figgins Seattle Mariners Breaking News: Figgins to lead off Ichiro now hitting 3rd

With the 1-4 combo of Figgins, Ackley, Ichiro, and Carp, those one runs losses will turn into two run wins.

Same goes with the number four hitter. If Ichrio does his job of moving the runners up, the number four batter (whom I think will be Mike Carp), will see balls up in the zone with the pitcher trying to get Carp to pop up.

And we all know what happens when a breaking ball gets hung over the sweet spot of the zone. It gets crushed! This lineup will help the power numbers of whomever Wedge decides to go with at number four.

4. Power numbers increased

We have all seen the magnificence of Ichiro’s long ball in batting practice. Now, for the first time in his career, he will have a chance to showcase that power in live ball games.

His RBI totals will go up exponentially. Especially with the speed on base in front of him, one of his signature line drives will surely score two runs.

I’m most looking forward to seeing what his homerun total will be after this season though. I’m predicting anywhere from 25-30 HR’s this season, with an RBI total of 121. And maybe finally an appearance in the homerun derby!

5. More wins

The Mariners have one of the better defensive teams in baseball, and if they can score an average of even two more runs a ball game, that will come close to doubling their win total from last year.

The M’s lost a majority of their games by two runs or fewer. Starting pitching is good, and the bullpen is even better this year. The only thing lacking is run production.

With the 1-4 combo of Figgins, Ackley, Ichiro, and Mike Carp, those one runs losses will turn into two run wins.

Want to read more of my thoughts on this topic? I touched on this in a prior article: Chone Figgins to lead off for the Seattle Mariners?


© Clinton Bell for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

Follow NWSB on Twitter or join US on Facebook for real-time updates OR... | Share This on Twitter | Share on Facebook

Post tags: 2012, 2012 Seattle Mariners, Baseball Predictions, Chone Figgins, Dustin Ackley, Eric Wedge, Ichiro, Ichiro Suzuki, Jesus Montero, M's, Mariners, Mariners batting order, Mariners blog, Mariners Bullpen, Mariners headlines, Mariners News, Mariners Predictions, Mike Carp, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Mariners blogs, Seattle Mariners Prediction, Seattle Times


Chone Figgins, Leadoff Hitter

The Seattle Mariners are looking for any way to get some value out of Chone Figgins. Since joining the team, the 34-year-old has been one of the worst regulars in the game. So to salvage what’s left of his contract, the Mariners are making Figgins a leadoff hitter — again. It’s a last ditch effort to improve his value, though it’s unclear whether Figgins’ contract can be...

Chone Figgins taking all the heat off of Ichiro as Mariners go in bold new direction

We've all heard the stories about how, in many a pro sports locker room, you'll have a veteran player or two who takes the heat off younger players by taking on all the media questions and deflecting blame. Right now, inadvertently or not, the same thing is going on with Chone Figgins and Ichiro. In fact, if the Mariners planned things this way, they'd be accused of brilliance...

Mariners' Chone Figgins may be bound for leadoff spot

Figgins is feeling healthy again, having rehabilitated a torn hip labrum. And soon he should gain a newfound freedom: a long-awaited return to the leadoff spot in the order where he achieved his greatest success before joining the Mariners two years ago.

Understanding the limits of "sunk cost" theory when it comes to the Mariners, other ballclubs

Lots of talk the past 48 hours or so about Chone Figgins and the playing time he'll get this year. I went on ESPN 710 Seattle yesterday and chatted with the on-air hosts about Figgins, his contract and what the M's can reasonably expect to re-coup. But there's this line of reasoning I keep seeing cropping up online in both the mainstream media and the blog world. It has...

The Battle For Third

Ok. We need to find out where Kyle Seager fits in the plans for the Seattle Mariners in 2012 don't we? There's three guys trying to grab one spot the way I see it. Chone Figgins, Kyle Seager and Carlos Guillen. Figgins is finally healthy, and we're hearing talk about him possibly hitting lead -off too. Last we heard though Wedge told reporters Monday he had...

Baseball notes: Ichiro will hit third; Chone Figgins to lead off?

Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge announced Tuesday he will move Ichiro Suzuki from his traditional leadoff spot to No. 3 in the batting order.

Do the Mariners want Ichiro to have a bounce back season?

24K per bat…NICE! The final player to report to the Seattle Mariners Peoria sports complex training grounds this spring was none other than Ichiro Suzuki.  Ichiro, who transitioned from the Japanese to American League in 2001 has a trail of stats and awards that have been the envy of every major league team for the past decade. Ichiro has been one of the only reasons that Mariners...

Ichiro to Hit Third, Try to Slug in 2012?

For the last 11 seasons, Ichiro Suzuki at the top of the order has been the one constant in Seattle. Ichiro isn’t leaving Seattle, but as Eric Wedge announced today, he won’t be leading off for the Mariners any more: #Mariners manager Eric Wedge just announced that Ichiro will hit 3rd in the lineup this season. — Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) February 21, 2012 For most of his...

Eric Wedge Has Lost His Mind

There are not too many occasions during a baseball off season when a story makes your jaw drop to the floor. The Pujols signing by the Angels and the Pineda/Montero deal were two such occasions. Now there's a third. Eric Wedge has told the press that Ichiro Suzuki will be moved out of the lead off spot to third in the line up and Chone Figgins will lead off for the Seattle Mariners...

Ichiro dropped out of top spot in Mariners' lineup

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -- Seattle manager Eric Wedge says he will begin the season having Chone Figgins bat leadoff and hit Ichiro Suzuki third in the Mariners batting order.

Ichiro retooling swing?

According to a recent story in the Seattle Times, Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has changed his swing, presumably because of his move to third in the batting order. Said the Times’ Larry Stone: For one thing, in batting practice Ichiro has unveiled a much wider, and more balanced, stance. For another, he’s not lifting his front leg, not perceptibly. His hands are lower...

Mariners move Suzuki out of leadoff spot (AP)

Seattle manager Eric Wedge says he will begin the season having Chone Figgins bat leadoff and hit Ichiro Suzuki third in the Mariners batting order. Wedge made the announcement on Tuesday. It will be the first time in his career that Suzuki will not bat leadoff on a regular basis, having hit somewhere else in the batting order only a few times in his decade-long career with the Mariners.

Gallery: Mariners photo day at spring training

Spring training is in full swing for the Seattle Mariners, and it hasn’t been without news. The biggest item of interest — so far — came Tuesday, when M’s manager Eric Wedge confirmed that Ichiro Suzuki will no longer bat in the leadoff spot, where he’s been for 11 years. Instead, Ichiro will hit third [...]

AL West update: Mariners move Ichiro Suzuki out of leadoff spot

(source feed provided no summary content for this entry)

Mariners manager Eric Wedge says playing time will be factor in whether Kyle Seager makes club

The Mariners haven't played a single game this spring, so, clearly, much of the Kyle Seager conversation is speculative at the moment. But many of you have show interest in the topic today, especially when it comes to whether or not the young infielder will break camp. In the end, unless Seager rips the cover off the ball with his bat, his fate -- at least for the early part...
Mariners News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.