Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 7/19/13
Led by the ageless Raul and the King The Seattle Mariners are not in an ideal place. With 43 wins under their belts and another fourth-place finish in the AL West looming, the team is forced to look ahead again. What better way to look ahead than to access the past again and again? #TrueToTheBlue Grading the Mariners may have been a poor title for this piece, but either way, below are a few players and their production on a scale from 1-10 based on productivity, room for improvement and ability to help the team in the future. Mariners mid-season scales Raul Ibanez - 7 Let’s begin with the ageless one Raul Ibanez. With 24 home runs, the returned fan favorite is on pace to surpass his age with dingers. Eclipsing 41 HRs at this age may cause some eyebrows to be raised, but no player has enjoyed the new confines of SafeCo Field more than Ibanez. Does anyone else remember his April? When he hit .158? I wrote that it was time to let him go; since then his month averages have gone .297 in May, .262 in June and a lofty .367 so far in July. Felix Hernandez – 10 What do you want to read here? He’s amazing, and it’s embarrassing that he didn’t start the All-Star game for the AL. Felix Hernandez‘s CY Young chase will be the best part of the second half for Mariners fans. Hernandez has been a major bright spot for the Mariners’ season. (Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty) Hisashi Iwakuma – 8 The Prince has been everything the Mariners could have wanted in a No. 2 starter behind the King, and despite a few bumps in the road, his consistent play landed him a spot on the All-Star team. High praise. Kyle Seager – 7 Out of all the young hitters, few expected Kyle Seager to be the best, but that is all he has been for this team. His batting splits are on pace for career highs, and he is one of only three players in baseball to have three different 10-plus-game hitting streaks. Now that is a nerdy baseball stat. Justin Smoak – 4 The number is low for one reason, and one reason alone. He has done this to me before and I am not falling for it again. Since coming back from injury, Justin Smoak is hitting for average and power, and this whole season he is getting back on base with walks. This is good, maybe great news for the organization, but the fans and the front office need to see consistency through September to crank this number up. Michael Saunders – 3 His hot start made some people dream of the Condor being the greatest and tallest leadoff hitter in baseball history. Alas and alack, the World Baseball Classic and month of April were a long time ago, and his flat-lining .225 BA is reminding too many fans of Dustin Ackley. Speaking of which… Dustin Ackley – 2 This low grade is as much the organization’s fault as it is Dustin Ackley’s, but they can’t take all the blame. For months, Ackley forgot how to hit the ball to the opposite field — a strength of his throughout his collegiate and professional career. Then, the team decides they were wrong and stick him in the OF. Ya, that’ll boost the kid’s confidence (sarcasm inflection). Look at how well he is doing — we should definitely do the same thing to Jesus Montero and move him to first base so he can be laughed at all the time instead of just when he is jogging (more sarcasm). These scales are depressing. I might have to do a part two of this idea. We didn’t even touch on how first baseman Kendrys Morales and OF Michael Morse are as good as gone before the deadline. Unless of course the Mariners win every remaining game in July. That would be awesome. Go M’s! CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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