For most MLB teams, the focus is now officially on 2012. You can probably say the same for most fans, too. So here at MLBDD we're spending some time projecting each team's 25-man roster for Opening Day 2012. We're not projecting trades or free agent signings here, so this is purely focusing on the talent that each team already has in-house. The 2012 season may not start soon, but we can still think about what it might look like.
Starting Lineup (ages are based on April 4, 2012)
Catcher: Miguel Olivo - Age 31
First Base: Justin Smoak - Age 25
Second Base: Dustin Ackley - Age 24
Third Base: Kyle Seager - Age 24
Shortstop: Brendan Ryan - Age 30
Left Field: Trayvon Robinson - Age 24
Center Field: Franklin Gutierrez - Age 29
Right Field: Ichiro Suzuki - Age 38
Designated Hitter: Mike Carp - Age 25
1. RF Suzuki 2. 3B Seager 3. 2B Ackley 4. 1B Smoak 5. DH Carp 6. C Olivo 7. CF Gutierrez 8. LF Robinson 9. SS Ryan
C Adam Moore, IF Alex Liddi, IF Chone Figgins, OF Casper Wells
1. RHP Felix Hernandez - Age 26 (as of 4/8/12)
2. RHP Michael Pineda - Age 23
3. RHP Jason Vargas - Age 29
4. LHP Charlie Furbush - Age 26 (as of 4/12/12)
5. RHP Blake Beavan - Age 23
Closer: RHP Brandon League - Age 29
Others: RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, RHP Shawn Kelley, RHP Josh Lueke, RHP Chance Ruffin, LHP Cesar Jimenez, RHP Dan Cortes
Some Quick Thoughts
- No, Mariners fans, the lineup won't be good next season. But there should finally be hope, as many of the team's key players- Ackley, Smoak, Carp, Seager, Robinson- are all 25 or under. And this ignores some other intriguing names that could come up later in the year, such as Michael Saunders, Carlos Triunfel, Carlos Peguero, Greg Halman, Liddi, and Wells.
- They would likely prefer to have a back-up infielder that's capable of playing shortstop, but their current options are very, very weak. Luis Rodriguez was brutal in 2011 and Triunfel will likely be stretched in any MLB role at this point. A back-up shortstop will presumably be a key target for Seattle next year.
- I'm going with Robinson in left field for now, but another young player like Saunders, Peguero, Halman, Wells or even Johermyn Chavez could end up being a factor. He struggled with Seattle this year but has the tools and Triple-A performance to earn another extended shot.
- Pitching should once again be a solid strength for Seattle. Hernandez is a boss, and they could actually be building some depth in solid back-of-the-rotation arms like Beavan and Furbush. They could add a cheap, high-reward pitcher like Bedard, though.