Who has the Better Team: the Mariners or the Angels?

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Updated: February 6, 2017

As we all know, former Angels general manager and current Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has made a plethora of moves up north in Seattle. The Mariners have gone under a complete makeover over the offseason, but his former team has also been active during the offseason. So here’s the question: who built the better team? Have Dipoto’s moves made Seattle an AL West contender? Or has Billy Eppler made enough moves to put the Halos ahead of Seattle in the standings? Let’s go position by position to see who has the stronger team.

Starting Pitching

Seattle has a clear cut ace in Felix Hernandez, but everyone after him has question marks. Hisashi Iwakuma can be nice piece in the middle of the rotation, but his FIP has rose by more than a run over the past few seasons. He’s also had his injury concerns in the past. There’s really no telling how James Paxton will perform as he can be a stud or a bust depending on his health. Drew Smyly had an ERA and FIP north of four last season. Yovani Gallardo had a disaster of a season in 2016. But when it comes down to it, the Angels have five question marks in their rotation. How healthy are Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards? Which Matt Shoemaker will we see? Can Ricky Nolasco maintain his success from late 2016? And who will be the fifth starter? Having four question marks is slightly better than five. Advantage: Mariners

Catcher

Mike Zunino will most likely be the Opening Day catcher for Seattle and that’s not a good thing. Zunino’s career average is below the Mendoza line at .195 in four seasons. Chris Iannetta is gone and Carlos Ruiz is in. If this were 2008, that’d be a promising sign. It’s 2017 and Ruiz is 38. The Angels have a Gold Glove nominee in Carlos Perez and a great pitch framer in Martin Maldonado. Neither will blow you away with the bat, but they should both keep their batting average above .220. Advantage: Angels

First Base

Both teams signed new players to man first in Danny Valencia and Luis Valbuena. Danny Valencia hit .287 with an OPS of .792 in 130 games last season. He was worth 1.4 WAR and will be their full time first baseman. Valbuena hit .260 with an OPS of .816 in 90 games. He was worth 2.6 WAR and will play DH or first full time during the first few weeks of the season then platoon with CJ Cron the rest of the season. Advantage: Angels

Second Base

Danny Espinosa hits for power and nothing else. He won’t hit .250, but he will give you 20+ home runs per season. He’s a good fielder and will save some runs. Robinson Cano is a seven-time All-star, a top five MVP candidate four times, a five time Silver Slugger, and a two time Gold Glover. Advantage: Mariners

Third Base

Yunel Escobar is good with the bat. That’s about it. He has a terrible glove and he can’t hit for power. Kyle Seager is the lesser known Seager after his brother Corey won the NL Rookie of the Year, yet Kyle had a higher WAR at 6.9 compared to Corey’s 6.1. Escobar had a 1.6 WAR. Unless Escobar finds a magic glove and bat, he won’t surpass 2.5 WAR next season. Seager will give you at least 2.5 WAR. Advantage: Mariners

Shortstop

The Mariners traded for Jean Segura in late November and gave up a big rotation piece in Taijuan Walker. Segura is a former Angels farmhand and he has the ability to hit .300 and steal 30 bases. He’s a prototypical leadoff hitter. His glove is decent, as his Rdrs is at exactly zero for his career at shortstop. Andrelton Simmons won’t hit .300, but he will stay around .270. He has a little more pop than Segura, but Segura’s speed makes up for that. What really sets Simmons apart from Segura though is his glove. While Segura has zero defensive runs saved in 632 games and parts of four seasons, Simmons has 131 in ten less games. If you take Jean Segura’s career wRC+ of 91 and add it to his career Rdrs/year, you get 91. Do the same with Simmons, you get 114. Advantage: Angels

Left Field

Another offseason addition is set to start in left this season in Jarrod Dyson. Dyson was overshadowed by Lorenzo Cain in Kansas City, but he hit .278 with an OBP of .340 last season. He’s fast and will create runs with his legs. He’s a great defender as well due to his blazing speed. Cameron Maybin is the Angels’ starting left fielder. Last season, he was helped by a .383 BABIP to obtain a slash line of .318/.383/.412. Assuming we see more of a 2015 Maybin, he should give the Angels production around .270/.330/.360. Both Dyson and Maybin are similar hitters and fielders, but Maybin has a lot more pop and can give a team 10+ home runs as compared to Dyson’s four to eight homers. Advantage: Angels

Center Fielder

Next. Advantage: Angels

Left Fielder

The Mariners are set to let Mitch Haniger roam right field next season. He showed promise last season in Arizona and was shipped to Seattle along side Jean Segura. Haniger shows promise and can actually be a quality player down the line, but it’s still too early to tell how he will play this season. He hit well over .340 in AAA last season, but just .229 in the majors. Kole Calhoun, on the other hand, has proven himself over and over again. He’s a bonafide stud in the field and can hold his own with the bat. I’ll take proven over promise any day of the week. Advantage: Angels

Designated Hitter

Albert Pujols is getting older and more injury prone. He can still hit, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s problems with him staying on the field. Nelson Cruz has big power and is better at staying healthy than Pujols. Advantage: Mariners

Bullpen

Both bullpens have some unproven arms. The Angels have no idea who will be their closer and are weak when it comes to early- to mid-innings guys. The Mariners have a good, young closer in Edwin Diaz and some quality late-inning guys in Steve Cishek and Nick Vincent. They still have some question marks in Shae Simmons and Evan Scribner, but should be good to go once the season starts. Advantage: Mariners

Bench/Depth

In terms of production, some players on both benches cancel each other out. Cliff Pennington and Sean O’Malley will both be non-factors. Ben Gamel and Ben Revere will both be decent or better fourth outfielders. Carlos Ruiz and Martin Maldonado will both provide similar offensive numbers. The X-Factor here? Jefry Marte. The super sub will provide a huge spark off the bench and can play multiple positions. Also, either CJ Cron or Luis Valbuena will be on the bench on a given day. They both can come in and make a difference with the stick. Advantage: Angels

Overall

The score on paper: 7-5 Angels. A lot of these positions are toss-ups, such as left field, but the Angels look to have the better team. We’ll see the finished product on field soon. Only then will we see who truly has the better team. I smell the beginning of heated rivalry.

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