Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto was apparently pretty upset about barely missing the postseason in 2016. He has made a flurry of moves (no snow storm pun intended … but it is there) to improve the aging team and get them into the playoffs sooner, rather than later.
I am taking a brief break from talking about football playoffs due to disappointment with the Seattle Seahawks losing in Atlanta over the weekend to talk baseball. This is actually fairly refreshing and less stressful!
Anyways, the Mariners have had as busy as an offseason as anyone – maybe not landing the big targets, i.e. Aroldis Chapman, Dexter Fowler, Kenley Jansen, etc. – but they have made the right moves to improve their team.
My favorite move surfaced recently when they traded Nathan Karns to Kansas City for speedy outfielder, Jarrod Dyson. Dyson, with his spoiler alert Twitter handle @mrzoombiya, was a platoon player in Kansas City and not getting every day at bats. Now he’s in Seattle and I project him to be the leadoff hitter and an everyday player on opening day.
Likely to play in a corner outfield role with Leonys Martin taking most of the starts in center, Dyson very simply, does one thing to improve the Mariners right away.
He brings speed and speed never slumps.
I remember watching an interview with Dyson when he was fresh to the big leagues at like age 24 or something on MLB Network. He has such a fun personality, he works hard and will be a great fit with the Mariners teams. For whatever reason that interview stuck in my brain, and the now 32-year old is here in our backyard. Super cool.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
In 2016 with the Royals, Dyson had 299 at bats and 30 steals. Easy math – that’s 10% of the time he makes it to the plate, he steals a base (not counting walks since they don’t technically count as an AB). Baseball is a game of numbers, averages and percentages and in a full season with normal, projected plate appearances, Dyson can steal 60 bases without even thinking about it. That’s Dee Gordon good (minus the steroid suspension).
Unlike Cincinnati Reds center fielder, Billy Hamilton, Dyson actually can put the ball in play. Dyson’s batting average last year was a respectable .278 with an on-base percentage of .340. Dyson’s career average is a streamlined .260 with 176 steals in only 1365 at bats. I need to use a calculator for this one…and I did the division the wrong way initially…hold on….12.89% of his career at bats results in a stolen base.
Hamilton of the Reds meanwhile, hit an improved .260 last year, stole 58 bases in 411 at bats for a higher percentage, but struck out 93 times compared to Dyson’s 39. Hamilton’s career average is .248 with an OBP of only .297. Hamilton hit a mere .226 in 2015 and frankly – doesn’t get on base. Is he fast? Yes. Does he steal bases? Yes. Can he get on base? No.
Dyson can get on base and that’s essentially my point. Is Jarrod Dyson a better player than Billy Hamilton? I assume most of the general population would tell me no, but he’s never had an opportunity to play full time.
Welcome to Seattle.
WHY DO STOLEN BASES MATTER?
Seattle was…without looking it up…one of the worst teams in stealing bases last year. That probably means they were among the worst in going first-to-third on singles to right field, infield hits, sac bunts, sac flies, ect. In a game where statistically anything is possible I don’t know if they keep track of teams being able to go first-to-third on singles.
The Mariners were old (and still are) but Dipoto has made some moves to improve that by adding Jean Segura (likely to hit in the No. 2 spot) and Dyson (projected to lead-off) ahead of the aging sluggers Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. If they have Martin hit ninth, that’s a lot of speed in front of the heavy hitters, which unfortunately includes Kyle Seager hitting fifth. I’m not a fan of Seager, but I have no idea why – it’s probably fantasy baseball related.
Anyways, the Mariners are going to be dynamic. If catcher Mike Zunino can finally reach his potential and Dyson can play every day, they look a lot like a playoff team.
Oh crap, the M’s have to pitch too, right? Yeah, I got wrapped in my obsession with stolen bases that I temporarily forgot about that. Well, that sounds like a column to be named later, but for now the offense looks fun. I love the active off-season. It gets us all excited for spring training and I have always been a huge Jarrod Dyson fan, so him coming to Seattle is awesome. Maybe he will follow me on Twitter after this article. If not, I totally get it. No one follows me (enter emoji of choice here).
Good luck in the rain, snow and ice pacific northwest. Thanks for reading.