KFFL answers some important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Seattle Mariners?
What happened to Chone Figgins?
Well, his steals were fine, but Seattle slew his plate crossings thanks to its inept sticks. In theory, that has nowhere to go but up - but has Seattle improved by adding Jack Cust and Justin Smoak? Plus, the thumpless Figgins typically posts high BABIPs; he dipped there, too, as justified by his season-long line-drive rate.
But he made better contact in the final three months, so there's room for him to rebuild one of his assets. He'll have a fling with second base eligibility in a year of a deep keystone class. Despite the runs scored insecurity and his limited fantasy profile, there's mixed middle-round swipes value here. Some might let him fall to a middle infield spot.
Ackley is knocking on the door
How's David Aardsma feeling?
He wants to start throwing in about two weeks, at the four-week mark from his surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left hip. The procedure was more complicated than originally projected, though, and Aardsma might miss some time at the start of the season.
If he falls to No. 3 mixed territory, he might be worth it, but it's risky. In ALs especially, you'd have to use another pick on Brandon League, who by himself is a prime speculative candidate, given his closer-capable skill set, Aardsma's injury history and trade rumors that have surrounded the closer. It's hard to draft the league's alphabetical apex comfortably. Look elsewhere.
When should we expect to see Seattle's door-knocking prospects?
Keystoner Dustin Ackley should arrive sometime this season - maybe on opening day, if he impresses. It sounds like the organization wants him to spend a few months at Triple-A, but the way this offense is, that tune could change quickly. It'll take time for him to develop power, but he tore up the Arizona Fall League and has above-his-years batting average skills that would warrant an instant fantasy pickup.
Included in Seattle's spring rotation battle will be Michael Pineda, who displayed filthiness in the form of 154 K's and 34 walks combined at Class AA West Tennessee and Triple-A Tacoma last season. He's a triple-digit arm with tremendous upside that'll be on most informed AL cheat sheets.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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