Tuesday, October 18, 2005

M's Season in Review, Part I

While Jason covers the AL West in series, I'm going to tackle the M's in a 4 part series. Mostly looking back at 2005 with a quick peek ahead for the future. We'll start today with the Outfield.

LF Randy Winn 275/337/391 12/6 14.5
RF Jeremy Reed 254/320/352 12/11 4.7
CF Ichiro 303/349/436 33/8 45.0

Singles are the most variable type of hits in the game. In 2004 Ichiro hit more singles (227) than anyone. Ever. This year, while still getting more than most, he 'only' hit 158. Give him half of those missing singles and he would have had a hell of year. His Isolated Slugging (SLG-AVG) was the highest of his MLB career. Until his legs go, I think that's what we can expect from Ichiro. Some years he'll be awesome, some he'll be merely very good. Think Olerud, only way cooler. In any event, no matter what some knuckleheads think, he's a fixture in right field.

Reed is also a guy who has a lot of his value tied up in his batting average, which was not so good in his rookie year. I'm optimstic he'll improve based on his minor league track record, but JR's not going to turn into Junior out there (the good Junior, the one that played in Seattle). As discussed previously, his defense has been tremendous in center, a real plus thaat I think helps Grover stick with him. He's above replacement level, cheap, and has upside.

Randy Winn was not in any way part of the problem for the M's last year. In fact he was very Randy Winn like. Pretty decent with the stick, pretty decent with the glove, handy as long as you are not overpaying for him. The problem was two-fold. First, someone is going to overpay for him in 2006 and the M's didn't want it to be them. Second, its okay to have an outfield with less than 40 homers if you've got A-rod at short and/or the "enhanced" version of Bret Boone at 2nd. Since the M's are going young in thre middle infield next year, LF probably represents the best spot to get some "left handed sock" as Bavasi puts it.

So for 2006 Reed and Ichiro will be back, Ichiro should bounce back some, but probably nowhere near his 2004 or 2001 form. Reed has a good chance to to improve and the M's are shopping for a left fielder. If they cannot find a LF they like, they could move Ibanez to left and find a big time DH, but that's probably a worst case scenario. With Snelling getting hurt and Choo stinking up the joint, there probably are no internal options for left field. Mike Morse and Jamal Strong could make the club as a 4th OFs, Morse having the advantage of being able to play the infield as well, though he's unlikely to be an asset anywhere defensively.

Up next: The Infield.


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