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3 MARINERS

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OVERALL RANK 5

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP SEATTLE

I see the Mariners as the favorites in the division. Their offense is better than the Rangers', and I like their pitching depth. With Jean Segura, Robinson Canó, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager at the top of the order, they'll beat you to death offensively.... Cruz is so consistent. With that uppercut, the rhythm and timing, and the leverage he produces, he can hit 'em out of Yellowstone.... Seager's not quite in the class of Manny Machado, Adrián Beltré or Josh Donaldson but he's the next third baseman you talk about. He can rake.... Mike Zunino handles the staff well. He learned some things in the minors last year and now he's capable of 25 home runs.... People compare Dan Vogelbach with Kyle Schwarber, though Schwarber has a better body and Vogelbach can only play first base. I like the big guy's presence, energy and affection for the game.... They wanted to get more athletic in the outfield. With Jarrod Dyson, Mitch Haniger, Guillermo Heredia and Leonys Martín, all they have out there are athletes—not much power.... Félix Hernández has put on 20 to 25 pounds of good weight. He didn't have the same zip last year. I don't know if he ever really recovered from a calf problem last spring.... James Paxton throws 97 with some effort, with a power breaking ball—unhittable. But we always project a guy like that to have some arm injuries.... Hisashi Iwakuma is going to sink the ball, pitch to contact and get a boatload of ground balls.... They were grooming Edwin Díaz to be a starter, but they turned him into a two-pitch guy and told him to let it go—nasty, filthy stuff.

MANAGER SCOTT SERVAIS

2ND SEASON WITH SEATTLE

B-T BA OBP SLG WAR

LF JARROD DYSON [NEW ACQUISITION] [DEFENSIVE STAR]

L-R .278 .340 .388 3.1

SS JEAN SEGURA [NEW ACQUISITION] [BARGAIN]

R-R .319 .368 .499 5.7

2B ROBINSON CANÓ [TEAM MVP] [DEFENSIVE STAR]

L-R .298 .350 .533 7.3

DH NELSON CRUZ

R-R .287 .360 .555 4.7

3B KYLE SEAGER [DEFENSIVE STAR] [BARGAIN]

L-R .278 .359 .499 6.9

RF MITCH HANIGER [NEW ACQUISITION] [ROOKIE]

R-R .229 .309 .404 0.1

1B DAN VOGELBACH [ROOKIE]

L-R .292 .417 .505 - [MINOR LEAGUE STATS]

C MIKE ZUNINO [DEFENSIVE STAR] [RISING]

R-R .207 .318 .470 1.8

CF LEONYS MARTÍN

L-R .247 .306 .378 1.2

BENCH

B-T BA OBP SLG WAR

UT DANNY VALENCIA [NEW ACQUISITION]

R-R .287 .346 .446 1.4

C CARLOS RUIZ [NEW ACQUISITION]

R-R .264 .365 .348 1.8

W--L ERA K/9 WAR

RH FÉLIX HERNÁNDEZ [INJURY RISK] [DECLINING]

11--8 3.82 7.2 1.6

RH HISASHI IWAKUMA

16--12 4.12 6.6 2.6

LH JAMES PAXTON [INJURY RISK] [BARGAIN] [RISING]

6--7 3.79 8.7 1.0

RH YOVANI GALLARDO [NEW ACQUISITION] [DECLINING]

6--8 5.42 6.5 0.2

LH DREW SMYLY [NEW ACQUISITION]

7--12 4.88 8.6 0.0

SV ERA K/9 WAR

RH EDWIN DÍAZ [BARGAIN] [RISING]

18 2.79 15.3 1.4

RH DAN ALTAVILLA [ROOKIE]

0 0.73 7.3 0.5

NEW ACQUISITION

2016 STATS

(R) ROOKIE

*MINOR LEAGUE STATS

TEAM MVP

DEFENSIVE STAR

INJURY RISK

BARGAIN

RISING

DECLINING

MODEST PROPOSAL

Edwin Díaz was a revelation in the pen last season, striking out 40% of the batters he faced as a 22-year-old rookie. He's the one reliever Seattle has who can dominate an inning. Manager Scott Servais has to resist the temptation to overuse him, however. During one stretch in August, Díaz threw a total of 134 pitches over five outings in two weeks. At the end of the season, Servais went to Díaz for 89 pitches over seven days. Díaz had a 1.64 ERA when the heavy duty started on Aug. 17, and a 4.82 mark after. Tap the brakes, Scott.

BOTTOM LINE

In a tough division, they are better and deeper than in 2016; a 16-year playoff drought could end.