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Fantasy Impact Of The Seattle Mariners

By Brian Ailor

Felix Hernandez:

Pros- King Felix is a lock seemingly for 200 strikeouts and 200 innings once again. There are only a hand full of pitchers who can say that. The reining Cy Young Award winner is predicted to have a sub 3.00 ERA and a WHIP in the neighborhood of 1.20... Both of which are hard to come by.

Cons- Despite being baseball's greatest pitcher a year ago, Felix only managed a 13-12 record. The lack of run support for the entire Mariners' pitching staff was almost historically bad.

Advise- Aim to pair Felix with a pitcher who may not have the greatest stats but can produce 18 wins or so. Say A.J. Burnett for example. With Burnett you get a high 4.00 or above ERA, 200 strikeouts, and 17-20 wins with the Yankees' offense behind him. So when you average Burnett's 18 wins, 4.20 ERA, and 200 strikeouts over 150 innings with Felix's 15 wins, 3.00 ERA, and 220 strikeouts over 250 innings you have a pair of starters that would total a 3.40 ERA, 33 wins, and over 400 strikeouts. Can't complain with that stat line for your #1 and #2 starting pitchers. If you get Felix early in the draft you can wait a good 7 rounds before you target your next pitcher in A.J. Burnett.

Ichiro Suzuki:

Pros- Ichiro is .310 AVE, 40 Stolen Bases, and 200 Hits in the bag. The 37 year old has won 10 straight Gold Gloves and has been named to 10 consecutive All-Star Games. When you draft Ichiro you know what your getting... He's a low risk pick with next to no injury concerns.

Cons- Only a Seattle Mariner player could have 200 hits and 40 stolen bases and still only score 74 runs. The incredible lack of offense behind Ichiro has considerably lowered his value in fantasy baseball. When you draft a lead off hitter you want 2 things... A high batting average and runs scored. Ichiro is middle of the pact at best in the Runs department.

Advise- With Ichiro, just as Felix, his true value comes when you use his stats to help fix a hole in another player's stat line. For example, Adam Dunn fills all the holes in what Ichiro can't do. Adam Dunn hits 40 Homers and drives in 100 RBI every year. Ichiro and Dunn make a great pairing. Ichiro can average out Dunn's low batting average and no speed, while Dunn averages out Ichiro's lack of power.

Chone Figgins:

Pros- You heard it here first people, Chone Figgins will lead all Third Basemen in stolen bases. Last year Figgins had one of the worst offensive years of his career. In my opinion, last year's busts all ways turn into this year's diamonds in the rough. With Figgy moving back to his natural position at Third Base, I look for him to have a bounce back year. There was no question that Figgy had bad blood with former Manager Don Wakamatsu. Hopefully Eric Wedge will provide a much needed breath of fresh air for Figgy and all the Mariner's hitters.

Cons- Third Base is usually where you try and get power numbers for your fantasy team. Trying to get those numbers out of Figgins is like putting a square peg in a round hole.... It's just not gonna happen.

Advise- If you miss out on a top of the line Third Baseman the likes of Even Longoria and AROD then Chone Figgins is for you! Whatever you do, do not settle for mediocre at this position. In every league there will come a time when a contender for league champion will panic because their currently last place in the stolen bases department. Draft Figgins, get 20 steals out of him for a few months, then use him as trade bait for a power bat or hole in your pitching rotation.

David Aardsma-

Pros- He's a Closer....he gets the all important saves. Mariano Rivera he isn't, but trust me, there are never enough closers to go around in fantasy!

Cons-The D.A. as he's known had hip surgery in January, and won't be back till mid-April. He most likely will be the Mariner's Closer upon his return, but we all know the Mariners would love to trade his 4 million plus dollar contract to anyone that's willing. Worst case scenario for potential Aardsma owner's would be if he were traded to a mid season contender to be not the closer but the setup man for an already established closer.

Advise- I wouldn't touch the D.A. with a ten foot pole. He's a high risk, low reward player. The high risk of him being a bust in the closer role this year is far too great to draft him. But if you're desperate for a Closer of just like to gamble then take him as one of your last picks in the draft.


Miguel Olivo- The nine-year veteran will shoulder most of the load behind the plate for the Mariners this year. Assuming you missed out on a top tier Catcher then constant playing time is all you can hope for... Olivo should catch in the area 150 of the 162 games this year. Constant playing time means constant numbers for this middle of the lineup hitting Catcher.

Brandon League- With Aardsma being injured, Brandon League, the hard throwing right hander will likely have the closing job to begin the season. A save is a save is a save... Can never have enough Closers on your fantasy team.

Justin Smoak- There is always a lot of depth at First Base, but it never hurts to have a low risk, high return back up or corner infield spot player. The Smoak Monster for years now has been widely considered as one of the game's brightest prospects. It might not be this year he explodes offensively, but I would rather draft him and have him not explode then not draft him and he explodes for some other team instead.


Franklin Gutierrez- Unfortunately for Guti there is no Defensive Range Covered stat line in fantasy baseball. Gutierrez is a good but not great player, his fantasy value is quite low actually. He's nothing but average in almost all categories. Roster space is the key here, he just doesn't have enough value to waist a draft pick on... That being said, if you have an injury I'd pick him up in a heart beat. He may not help you, but he sure as well won't hurt you.

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