Mariners Shortstops, Through the Years

By Blaidd Drwg

At a Mariners game recently, I overheard a conversation about Alex Rodriguez and it got me thinking. Shortstop has been a black hole essentially since he left and I was wondering just how truly bad the Mariners shortstops over the last 11 seasons have been in light of Brendan Ryan’s sub 200 BA. The below chart, taken from the data on baseball-reference.com, contains the composite batting and fielding stats for all Mariners SS since 2000. The primary SS is the player who started the most games in a given season and DWAR is the fielding wins above replacement total (0 being replacement level, higher is better). I didn’t run the exact numbers, but the average season from the shortstop position for the Mariners since Arod’s departure is something like .254 BA, 6 HR and an OPS of .656. That is fine if you SS is batting in the Yankees, Red Sox or Rangers lineups, but not acceptable when you are in the Punch and Judy lineup the Mariners have trucked out there for the better part of the decade.

YEAR Primary SS BA HR OPS OPS+ DWAR
2012 Brendan Ryan .194 3 .555 61 3.6
2011 Brendan Ryan .250 5 .659 90 2.5
2010 Josh Wilson .230 5 .570 65 1.0
2009 Yuniesky Betancourt .231 10 .597 65 -0.4
2008 Yuniesky Betancourt .274 7 .680 89 -0.5
2007 Yuniesky Betancourt .284 9 .713 92 0.3
2006 Yuniesky Betancourt .286 8 .708 91 0.7
2005 Yuniesky Betancourt .265 4 .684 91 0.4
2004 Rich Aurilia .239 9 .630 73 0.5
2003 Carlos Guillen .269 4 .680 91 0.5
2002 Carlos Guillen .262 11 .719 100 0.2
2001 Carlos Guillen .265 5 .698 94 1.7
2000 Alex Rodriguez .318 42 1.011 172 2.3

Let’s put it this way – the last time the Mariners had a league average hitter at SS was when Carlos Guillen was still young and playing almost every day. The Mariners have a ton of holes in their lineup right now, so SS is probably the least of their concern. There may be some help in the farm system if Nick Franklin can stay healthy, although I am not sure he is going to stay at SS long term, and if Carlos Triunfel can regain some of the promise he had a the Mariners top prospect a couple of seasons ago (both Franklin and Triunfel are under the age of 23, so there is a chance they might improve). Until then, I would love to see the Mariners get someone into the SS position who might be able to hit, just a little.

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