Your 2022 Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 09: The Seattle Mariners' logo is painted in throwback colors for their Sunday day game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on July 9, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 4-0. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

COVID-19 has done a number on us all. It has caused many of us to re-imagine the way we live and focus on what is most important. America’s favorite past time has been no exception. While the players union and owners try to come to an agreement on how to best move forward. Baseball fans are left missing the game they love. Some have taken to watching replays or the KBO, while others are playing and watching simulated games to get their fix. In this article, we will get our fix by looking ahead to the Seattle Mariners 2022 season.

Rebuilds are tough on loyal fans. Especially when the team rebuilding isn’t coming off of a world series run. In the Seattle Mariners case, their success has stopped short of the playoffs for 18 straight seasons. That is the longest steak of its kind in all of professional sports. Despite this drought, there is a reason for Mariners fans to feel optimistic. The organization has a top 10 farm system for the first time since the ’90s.

Nothing is set in stone when your future is depending on a group of players currently under 23 years old. We will inevitably watch some players thrive and others who will end up failing. I know missing baseball is going to help us enjoy the process more now than we would have without this delay. In the spirit of COVID-19, why not change how we are looking at this rebuild? Let’s imagine what the 2022 Mariners lineup and rotations will look like and get a glimpse of the future.

2022 Mariners Outfielders

Jarred Kelenic 22 If he is as good as advertised the Mariners have a player they can build a team around. If he reaches his potential, they have a generational talent. Everything we’ve seen thus far says Kelenic is a special player. Showed power and patience at the plate in his first full season as a professional. He also possesses some speed and a strong arm. For now, he is slated to be a corner outfielder, has the ability to play center-field. His left-handed bat will give opposing pitchers headaches for years to come.

Julio Rodriguez 21 He is a physically imposing young player. Listed at 6 4’ and 225 today, there is actually room to add muscle to his frame. He hits for power and average. Early on the conventional wisdom said he would need some time to work his way up to the big leagues. The word is he has impressed the organization with his maturity and leadership, which will not slow his progress. He will be ready for the big stage at some point for the 2022 Mariners and he’s sure to be a fan favorite when he arrives. His big arm will play well in right field.

Kyle Lewis 26 The feel-good story of the 2019’ season for the Mariners. Kyle was finally able to stay healthy for a whole season and it showed in his progress. After hitting just 11 home runs in a little more than 450 at-bats in Double-A. He showed power in his 71 major league at-bats with six home runs. Whether or not Kyle is able to be an everyday player remains to be seen. There are plenty of Mariners fans who would love to see that happen to the former 11th overall pick. Kyle’s versatility defensively is a plus, he can play all three OF positions.

Other options who are currently on the roster:

Mitch Haniger 31, Zach DeLoach 23, Mallex Smith 29, Jake Fraley 26, Braden Bishop OF 28

Shortstop

J.P. Crawford 27 The question was asked who do you want as the team’s shortstop of the future? Many in the Mariners front office chose Crawford. He did not disappoint in the field in his first year as a Mariner, making several spectacular plays. He benefited from the tutelage of veteran infield coach Perry Hill and had a .970  fielding percentage in 2019. At the plate, he was not as effective as the team would have liked posting a .226/313/371 line. They expect him to contribute more with the bat in his hand as time goes along. He will be given ample opportunity to show us what he can do thanks to his defense. It would be surprising to see them move away from J.P. any time soon.

Other options who are currently on the roster:

Dylan Moore 29, Noelvi Marte 20

Third Base

Austin Shenton 24 Right now the local product has the inside track to replace Kyle Seager at the hot corner. He grew up in Bellingham and attended Bellevue College before transferring to Florida International. His bat is why the M’s selected him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. He shows a knack for controlling the strike zone at the plate. The defense is a work in progress as he lacks range but has the arm strength you look for. At this point, Austin being the everyday third baseman is a long shot. Seager has been one of the most consistent Mariners of all-time. He won’t just hand his spot over to the youngster. Do not underestimate the possibility of this happening. If Shelton doesn’t succeed it won’t have anything to do with his effort. When Seager watches this kid work, its something like looking in the mirror.

Other options who are currently on the roster:

Kyle Seager 34, Kaden Polcovich 23, Tyler Keenan 23

Second Base

Shed Long 26 This is a position that the Mariners may look to add veteran talent to in-between now and the 2022 season. In his first taste of the big leagues, Shed looked solid playing well at second as well as in the outfield. His bat was not jaw-dropping but he looked like he belonged posting a .263/.333/.454 line. He may fit in more as a utility player long term as Shed has the ability to play multiple positions. If his bat continues to progress, he will be in the lineup most nights.

Other options who are currently on the roster:

Tim Lopes 27, Donovan Walton 28, Austin Nola 32, Kaden Palcovich 23

First Base

Evan White 26 This past offseason the Mariners locked up the young first baseman to a six-year deal. He is expected to make his major league debut when the 2020 season begins. A standout defensively, he has the potential to be one of the best of all-time in that department. First baseman are normally known for their hitting and Evan has had success at the plate as well. He embodies the organizations “control the zone” philosophy as much as any of these young players do. Look for Evan to be a leader in the clubhouse immediately in 2020. He will be the first baseman for the 2022 Mariners and beyond.

Other options who are currently on the roster:

Daniel Vogelbach 29, Austin Nola 32, Tyler Keenan 23

Catcher

Cal Raleigh 25 The Mariners selected Raleigh with their third-round pick in 2018 and he fits the mold of what the organization looks for in a backstop. He can hit for power and will take a walk. Cal has worked extensively on game calling and framing his pitches, showing big improvements behind the plate. He was not gifted with the strongest arm but is very accurate with his throws. If Cal is not ready for the 2022 season the Mariners will still have a few veterans on the roster to work with. The fact that teams brass did not reach in the draft to bring in another young backstop seems to be a vote of confidence in Raleigh.

Other options who are currently on the roster: 

Tom Murphy 31, Austin Nola 32

2022 Mariners Starting Rotation

The veterans under contract

Marco Gonzales LHP 30 After signing a four-year extension this off-season we know he is going to be part of the rotation moving forward if healthy. In 2019 he improved on his first full season as a big-league pitcher, earning his new deal. He may not be graded as a number one starter yet, but he’s the closest thing the Mariners currently have on the roster. He will be reaching his peak for the 2022 Mariners.

Yusei Kikuchi LHP 30 The Mariners believed in the Japanese pitcher enough to offer him a four deal last off-season, including team options that could make a seven-year deal. He did not overwhelm major league hitters on a regular basis in his rookie season. He inconsistently showed flashes of brilliance. Worst case scenario is he doesn’t live up to expectations during whatever is left of the 20’ and then the 21’ season. At that point, the organization can opt-out of the contract and after the 2022 season, the Mariners can go there separate ways if they choose.

Young Pitchers With Promise

Logan Gilbert RHP 25 By the time the 2022 Mariners season rolls around, expect Logan to have at least a full major league season under his belt. The Mariners were able to nab a top-five talent in the 2018 draft with the 14th overall pick. His draft stock dropped after a nasty bout with mono during his junior season at Stenson University. He moved up quickly to Double-A Arkansas in his first year in the minors. At 6’6 and has the velocity you’d expect from that frame. Has also showed pinpoint control averaging only 2.2 walks per nine innings.

Justin Dunn RHP 26 He came to Seattle in the New York Mets trade in December of 18’. He was used as a closer for most of his college career. Justin was made a starter in his junior season at Boston College and fared well. Last season in Double-A he led the Texas League in strikeouts and WHIP. Relying mostly on his plus fastball and slider, Justin must develop his changeup in order to stick in the big leagues as a starter. He made his ML debut late last season. Justin should actually have a little polish on him by the time the Mariners play in 2022.

Emerson Hancock RHP 23 When it comes to upside, Emerson leads this group of talented arms. If he reaches his potential in 2022 he will be called up at some point. At the University of Georgia, Emerson had some success. He was dominant during the first half of his Sophomore year in 2019 and then a lat issue threw his season off course. His fastball is special and he knows it. He is not afraid to attack hitters and would rather give up a hit than walk a batter. This will work well for him if he is able to get ahead in counts against big league hitters. Being down 0-2 to Emerson will spell doom for most.

Other possibilities currently in the organization:

Justus Sheffield LHP 26, George Kirby RHP 24,  Brandon Williamson LHP 24, Isaiah Campbell RHP 24, Juan Then RHP 22, Sam Carlson RHP 23

2022 Looks Like a Good Year for Mariners Fans

Even if the 2020 Season went according to plan, the Seattle Mariners main objective was to develop talent. It wasn’t at all likely that this would be the season that ended the playoff drought. Many things have yet to be determined, not the least of which is will there even be a season this year?

Jerry Dipoto and company have shown us they are not afraid to deal if they believe it will improve their team. They will make some trades, there will be a few signings and pickups here and there. Expect most of that first wave of talent to get the call by 2022 if they haven’t already. As scouting director, Scott Hunter put it “We want to create waves of talent, no matter if its in the pitching or hitting ranks“. If they succeed in doing that, the drought will end and they may start a streak of a different kind.

When we arrive in 2022, the Mariners roster will be young, talented and under team control for some time. This is a good place to be. No longer paying huge veteran salaries to be somewhere in the middle for another season. This 2022 Mariners team will be about tapping into potential and raising the bar for future expectations. The creme that rises from this group of 20 somethings, will be the core of Mariners baseball for the current decade.

Main Image
Embed from Getty Images