As a member of the Seattle Mariners Security Staff during the 2020 season we witnessed some unfamiliar situations. Namely, baseball games with no fans. With the pandemic taking hold in the spring of 2020, the MLB postponed a heavy portion of their season until protocols were agreed upon and made mandatory at every ballpark.
Mask up, smile wide and stay six feet apart was a our common motto during the 2020 season. Though the cardboard cutouts in the stands looked good and were quite creative, with some pets and wild animals and even a few cartoons joined the fan base. The energy of the fan base was sorely missed. The team was able to pipe in the sound of fans rooting from home, which was a neat feature, but the ballpark as a whole was hushed even quieter than a perfect game on the line in a one run game in the top of the ninth.
Some incredible moments took place at T-Mobile Park this season for our Seattle Mariners. To start, they were the youngest team in the MLB this season. Rookies Kyle Lewis and Evan White made dynamic impacts in turning the page on the days of old as our team is building to compete.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto has been slowly acquiring former first round draft picks as well as not as well known but highly reputable minor leaguers with upside. Our Mariners also have some of the brightest arms coming up. Justin Dunn made his rookie debut, though by watching him pitch, it may seem like he’s already a seasoned veteran. Logan Gilbert is a top pitching prospect we look forward to seeing at T-Mobile Park sometime in 2021. George Kirby is right on his heels.
And then there are the new acquisitions made this season that will help solidify the lineup and the infield going forward. Namely third baseman Ty France and catcher Luis Torrens who played with the team the last four weeks of the season. Catcher Tom Murphy is nursing a left foot injury, which made it imperative for the Mariners to receive a quality catcher in return from the Padres for RHP Austin Adams, C Austin Nola, RHP Dan Altavilla. Along with Ty France and Luis Torrens, the Mariners received RHP Andres Munoz and INF Taylor Trammell in the trade.
One of the longest tenured Seattle Mariners likely headed to free agency in 2023, unless traded beforehand, third baseman Kyle Seager now sits among the Mariners elite in a number of historical statistical categories. He continues to produce and share his knowledge of the game with his young teammates. Forever enshrined alongside the names of Ken Griffey, Jr, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner, Kyle Seager is the fresh face of Mariners folk lore.
Looking ahead to 2021, the Mariners could fend for a playoff berth. They were in the conversation with up to three weeks before the end of the season until the Angels and Astros turned on the jets. The debuts of a few more young prospects are likely in the year ahead. Namely starting pitchers Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. One of these two could start the season, but only time will tell. By the time the postseason comes around, they will likely both be in the rotation with Marco Gonzalez, Justin Dunn, and Justus Sheffield. The Mariners have more depth at the starting pitching spot than they’ve had the last seven seasons and that’s definitely something to feel confident about.
Strong defense up the middle with Luis Torrens, J.P. Crawford and Kyle Lewis builds a solid core. Evan White at 1B is perhaps the most exciting defensive first baseman in baseball today and his bat will come around. The jury is still out on RF Matt Haniger’s status, though Dipoto recently mentioned his good faith in Haniger returning to RF in 2021.
Top prospect Jarred Kelenic will likely make his MLB debut in 2021. Prospect Julio Rodriguez is making his way back from a wrist injury but with a strong showing in fall league baseball and his continued work ethic, he too will be in talks of coming up to the bigs sometime in the next two years. Jake Fraley is a solid defender, with room for improvement and his bat will come along. His plate awareness has improved since last season and he’ll likely be our 4th outfielder. Braden Bishop and Phillip Ervin will be in the mix. May the best man win in camp.
Dipoto mentioned his desire to build the bullpen deeper in depth and compatibility. Look fo the M’s to add a few lesser known but quietly productive arms from around baseball. Jerry Dipoto is slick and the Mariners baseball analytics team is one of the best in the game.
Just for fun, here’s a projected lineup for 2021:
SS J.P. Crawford
2B Dylan Moore
CF Kyle Lewis
3B Kyle Seager
DH Matt Haniger
C Luis Torrens
1B Evan White
LF Jake Fraley
RF Braden Bishop
Starting Rotation Projection:
This information is the opinion and written work of Will Wichterman, a passionate baseball fan, grateful employee of the Seattle Mariners, and continuing to share his thoughts with his love for baseball right here on WillGotItHere.com