Putting the microscope to four Mariner hitters

Kyle Seager .167. Justin Smoak .167. Jesus Montero .160 Dustin Ackley .087.

Should Mariner fans be concerned? After all, those are four young bats management has banked on for the future. The averages are presented as evidence, not to unduly give cause to worry, but to show how a fast start alleviates worry.

After the first week of the season numbers reflect either a hot start, as in the case of Michael Morse with his home runs, or the batting averages of those who are struggling. If during the course of an eight game stretch in July the four hitters listed above, assuming they were all hitting between .250 to.270, were struggling as they are now, chances are now one would notice, at least not with the scrutiny of the opening week where the numbers are naked. Plus if they were all hitting well, no one would worry.

Dustin Ackley

Dustin Ackley (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

But for Mariner fans worry comes with the ocean waves. Consider that Smoak has not hit since he arrived from Texas in the trade for Cliff Lee. He will hit well for a week or two then go into long dry spells. If he is still hitting below the Mendoza line at the end of April, Mariner GM  Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge have to bench him or send him to Tacoma. Enough is enough. He must get hot, then stay consistent. But history tells me not to get excited by a hot week. He is what he is, that is not much.

Dustin Ackley in his first 20 at bats, had one infield single. He came up during the 2011 season and hit .273 in 333 at bats. Much was expected from the Mariners number one pick. But in 2012 he hit .226 and now a slow start gives pause to wonder what is wrong. Have pitchers found his weakness and he is unable to adjust? Is it something mechanical with his swing?

Montero is on the Zunino bubble. While Zunino has yet to experience major league pitching, it is clear he is a better hitter and has better catching mechanics. At some point during the season, if he continues to pound the ball as he is now, he will be brought up. To delay his arrival, Montero must hit, forcing the Mariners to keep Zunino in Tacoma.

Seager had a solid 2012 season, hitting .259, and with more power than expected, belting 20 home runs. He worked on a new stance and timing mechanism during spring. Is it working? He has less to worry about than the other three because of his numbers and play last year. But if he has a 2012 Ackley type season then it will time to worry.

Opening week everything is laid bare for all to see. Now we will watch to see who gets hot, who stays consistent, and who rides the pines.


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