Month One Evaluation of the Seattle Mariners


Ryan Hanna, Managerial Editor

Jerry Dipoto, Scott Servais and their staff entered the 2021 MLB season with a growth mindset for the Mariners in the first half of the year, though ultimately this season is about competing for a postseason spot in the latter half of the year. Although it is never wise to heavily judge a team by the results of April in an MLB season, the Mariners’ front office and coaching staff could not have possibly dreamed up a better first month of the season than what has happened. 

Finishing April with a four game series in Houston against the Astros, the Mariners dropped the series to a revitalized Houston team. This dropped their record to 14-12, and while they are still a pair of games over .500, we are seeing more flaws in the team than in previous weeks. Regardless, the have still had a relatively strong month of April and there have been several instrumental factors in their early season play. 

The first and most prominent factor in their standing has been a revamped bullpen. A relief corps that saw an American League worst 5.92 ERA last season has been all but lights out in 26 games this season. Led by closer Kendall Graveman, the M’s bullpen features several key power arms such as Rafael Montero, Rule 5 pick Will Vest and off season signee Keynan Middleton. What many thought to be another atrocious relief staff has proven to be quite the opposite early on. 

Another key component to the Mariners’ strong start are their three best hitters: Mitch Haniger, Ty France and Kyle Seager. Of the three, Mitch Haniger is the best player on the field, as he has one All Star Game under his belt and looks to add another this season. Seager is nicknamed “Mr. Reliable” due to his low injury risk as well as consistent and quality production on the field. Then there’s Ty France, one of the players acquired in the Austin Nola-Taylor Trammell trade with the Padres last August. France proved out of the gate that he is one of, if not the best hitter on the team in terms of approach, quality at bats and overall productiveness. These three have lead the charge, but given the length of this normal season, it is reasonable to expect that they won’t be able to hold this lineup on their shoulders the whole year. 

Ultimately, as they enter May and await the inevitable debut of no. 1 prospect Jarred Kelenic, it should not be a surprise that the team has cooled off from their hot start. We have seen significant flaws with the bottom of the lineup as well as a defense that has actually regressed since 2020. Due to Jerry Dipoto’s complete faith in his young players as well as a lack of starting pitching depth, if should not be a shock if the Mariners dip below .500 by the All Star Break, even when they do call up Kelenic and no. 1 pitching prospect Logan Gilbert. 

However, despite all the inherent flaws of this current roster, it would also be unwise to make too much of their early May struggles. There is plenty of time for them to turn it around with the help of top prospects and a few moves at the Trade Deadline by Dipoto. Heck, if the chips fall right here on out, they might even be in the playoff conversation come September!