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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Seattle Mariners: 3 Stats Say You Can Trust AL West Leaders

By meerna Jun12,2024

It may seem difficult for Seattle Mariners fans to be convinced that their team is in a good place.

Rick Rizzs radio talk about Cal Raleigh’s big salami is an instant classic

This is understandable. Since joining MLB in 1977, the M’s have made the playoffs just five times, and several good Seattle teams over the years have come agonizingly close to making the playoffs but failed to do so.

As for the team’s era at T-Mobile Park, the offensive woes only deepened frustration that has been going on for more than 20 years.

The 2024 team appears to fit that bill, as of Wednesday, ranking 21st in MLB in runs scored, 24th in OPS, 28th in doubles and first in hits allowed — and that last mark isn’t great . Yet the Mariners are in first place in the American League West with a record of 38-30, the largest advantage of the three AL leaders. So even though Seattle has the lowest winning percentage of the six MLB teams, the Mariners have a 77% chance of making the playoffs and a 68.5% chance of winning the AL West, according to FanGraphs.

Is this a team fans can believe in? Or are there signs that M’s actions are unsustainable? At least when it comes to winning the league, I tend to side with the former camp, and here are three stats that I think add weight to that argument.

1. Strength of schedule – both current and remaining

Let’s start there because I think it’s the most telling indicator of where the Mariners are and what lies ahead.

Through the first 68 games, Seattle’s strength (according to ESPN’s relative strength index page) is .506, meaning the Mariners’ opponents thus far have a combined winning percentage of 50.6%. That’s eighth in the MLB. Is that good? Well, yes, and here’s why: No team with a tougher schedule has a better record than the Mariners, and only one of those seven teams has a record above .500.

It is worth mentioning that the Mariners are not far behind in the table compared to several teams that have better records. The National League Central leading Milwaukee Brewers are 39-27 (.591) and their .505 schedule ranks 10th in baseball, while the AL East leading New York Yankees are 47-21 (.691) and the MLB team is ranked 11th best schedule strength at .504.

The situation here looks really promising. If you look at the Mariners’ remaining game schedule heading into Tankathon, they are just .473, the lowest of all 30 MLB teams. The Mariners’ toughest rival for the AL West crown, the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers (31-34, or 5 1/2 behind Seattle), are in 18th place with a .499 percentage remaining in the standings. With that in mind, the Houston Astros (30-37, or 7 1/2 behind Seattle) rank 27th at .486.

Let’s quickly return to the relative power indicator. ESPN uses a basic formula of 25% team winning percentage, 50% average opponent winning percentage, and 25% average opponent winning percentage to calculate the RPI number. The Mariners RPI is .519, good for sixth in baseball. The only teams ahead of them are basically the real powerhouses in the league – the Yankees, Orioles, Phillies, Brewers and Dodgers. Just below the M are three teams competing in the much-improved AL Central – the Royals, Guardians and Twins.

2. Seattle Mariners division record

If you want to win the AL West, a great way to do it is to take care of business when you play division rivals. So far, so good for the Mariners.

The M’s lead 3-0 against the last-place Los Angeles Angels. Their record is 4-2 against the fourth-placed Oakland Athletics. Against the third-seeded Astros, they are 5-2. In the three games against Texas so far, the Mariners have a slight 2-1 advantage.

That’s a 14-5 overall record against the rest of the AL West.

Seattle has 10 games left against the Angels and Rangers, seven left against Oakland and six left against Houston.

3. Home success

Finally, the T-Mobile Park neighborhood has been friendly to the Mariners this season.

Seattle is 22-11, good for a .667 home hit in 2024, with a plus-27 run differential. That’s significantly better than last year, when Seattle’s M was 45-36 (.556), and in 2022, when it was 46-35 (.568).

However, the sailors have a lot of work to do on the road. They have been over .500 on the road in each of the last two seasons, while they have struggled a bit this year and are 16-19 (.457). I think this leaves room for improvement for the team behind the wheel in the AL West.

More on the Seattle Mariners

• Mariners’ Luke Raley says he has the “perfect pitch” for a bold mutiny
• Watch the highlights of the Mariners’ chaotic game against the White Sox
• Seattle Mariners roster move: Dylan Moore to father list
• Mariners Insider: Rookie Ryan Bliss’s transition to the big leagues
• How top-ranked Seattle Mariners show ‘level of urgency’

By meerna

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