Predicting the M’s Opening Day Lineup

The current M’s opening day lineup has only one thing set in stone–Felix Hernandez will be starting. Everything else is up in the air.

But my mission as a Mariners fan and blogger is to try and grab each of those puzzle pieces from the air and slam them down on to an orderly piece of paper in the same way that Eric Wedge will do in two months.

Where will Michael fit into the opening day roster? Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Where will Michael fit into the opening day roster? Image from Wikimedia Commons.

So we begin.

First we need to know who the M’s will be facing on opening day. They are facing the Oakland Athletics, and the A’s number one starter is Brett Anderson. The M’s will be facing a big lefty. This lineup needs to be geared to knock around a southpaw.

The M’s have several players who do not fare well against lefties, notably Kyle Seager and Kendrys Morales. They should bat seventh and eighth, as the nine spot is always reserved for defensive wizard Brendan Ryan.

  1. Kyle Seager
  2. Kendrys Morales
  3. Brendan Ryan

Pitcher: Felix Hernandez

Justin Smoak also doesn’t knock lefties around the park, so we’ll slide him in the six-hole.

  1. 1B- Justin Smoak
  2. 3B- Kyle Seager
  3. DH- Kendrys Morales
  4. SS- Brendan Ryan

Pitcher: Felix Hernandez

Jesus Montero absolutely murdered left-handed pitching in 2012 to the tune of a .322 batting average, so he deserves the clean-up spot. Mike Morse will follow him in the five-hole, as he hit .290 against lefties last year.

  1. C- Jesus Montero
  2. LF- Mike Morse
  3. 1B- Justin Smoak
  4. 3B- Kyle Seager
  5. DH- Kendrys Morales
  6. SS- Brendan Ryan

Pitcher: Felix Hernandez

Now that leaves us with Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, and Franklin Gutierrez all vying for the top three lineup spots.

Franklin Gutierrez absolutely smacked lefties last year, and despite the small sample size (71 plate appearances) I still entrust the three hole to Guti.

  1. CF- Franklin Gutierrez
  2. C- Jesus Montero
  3. LF- Mike Morse
  4. 1B- Justin Smoak
  5. 3B- Kyle Seager
  6. DH- Kendrys Morales
  7. SS- Brendan Ryan

Pitcher: Felix Hernandez

Now only the last two spots are available. Ackley and Saunders are interchangeable at the one and two spots in the lineup, however, since Ackley hit lead-off more than Saunders last year, I’ll assume that Wedge won’t change his mind. That leaves us with the final lineup of:

  1. 2B- Dustin Ackley
  2. RF- Michael Saunders
  3. CF- Franklin Gutierrez
  4. C- Jesus Montero
  5. LF- Mike Morse
  6. 1B- Justin Smoak
  7. 3B- Kyle Seager
  8. DH- Kendrys Morales
  9. SS- Brendan Ryan

Pitcher: Felix Hernandez

It’s a good idea to look at M’s backups to see if anyone could potentially sneak into the starting lineup over the current starters. Raul Ibanez and Eric Thames both do not hit well versus lefties, however, Casper Wells is intriguing due to his .364 OBP against left-handers. If an outfielder gets hurt in Spring Training, look for Casper Wells to sneak in and take his lineup spot.

That’s my prediction for the M’s Opening Day Lineup. What do you think? What changes would you make?

About Josh Gibbs

Josh Gibbs is the mastermind behind baseballblaze. He's 16 years old and lives in Seattle. He's an avid Mariners and Seahawks fan. He hopes you likes this blog and thinks you should comment on every post he writes. He also wrote this bio in the third person because he's awesome.
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