As part of Prospect Insider’s prospect coverage of the Seattle Mariners, I’ve always projected a future lineup and starting rotation. It’s fun to take a 3-year snapshot glance at what the team might look like, based on what the club has now and what’s on its way.

Free agency and trades are not considered and undoubtedly will impact the eventual roster in 2018, but here we go:

Seattle Mariners Projected 2018 Lineup
POS PLAYER
1B D.J. Peterson
2B Robinson Cano
3B Kyle Seager
SS Chris Taylor
C Mike Zunino
OF Brad Miller
OF Austin Wilson
OF Alex Jackson
DH Nelson Cruz

Note the move of Brad Miller to the outfield. In this scenario I have the more sure-handed glove at shortstop, Chris Taylor, taking the gig full-time. Dustin Ackley, Seth Smith, Rickie Weeks and Justin Ruggiano, the Mariners’ current collection of corner outfielders, all will see their current contracts expire. In the case of Ackley and Ruggiano, each will achieve free agent status based on service time, barring new multi-year deals that extend beyond 2017. This is why Miller is listed in the outfield, despite the fact he’s a capable shortstop. If both he and Taylor remain in Seattle, this is the likely end-result.

If prospect Ketel Mate can clean up his work defensively, he has a shot to be the shortstop, too, but at present I don’t project him to beat out Taylor in three years.

And yes, I realize the above projection lacks a center field option. I do not see Miller making that specific transition. Stay tuned, I have something coming on this subject in a week or two.

Seattle Mariners Projected 2018 Rotation
POS PLAYER
No. 1 Felix Hernandez
No. 2 James Paxton
No. 3 Taijuan Walker
No. 4 Roenis Elias
No. 5 Danny Hultzen

Hultzen is the obvious question mark here and this is an entirely homegrown rotation, albeit one that probably never will be intact for extended periods of time. The Mariners, if they do not re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma before next season, may be in the market to add a veteran starter to fill a No. 2 or No. 3 role — the one Iwakuma is charged with this season — and keeping all of these arms healthy and producing is a tall task. Not impossible or implausible, just not likely.

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

3 Comments

  1. Jack,

    I just commented on this kind of statement a few days ago. Saying you “aren’t sold” on a prospect ever having a successful career in MLB is… not saying anything. I’m not trying to pick on you, but think about it for a second. Saying what you said is like saying you aren’t sold on the chances you have to even win $25 if you bought a lottery ticket. Well, of course… the odds are against it, pretty heavily. The odds are always against prospects hitting their ceilings, or coming close. Always. That’s why it’s such huge and amazing thing to see when they do — Mike Trout, for example.

    No prospect is a sure thing. Trout wasn’t, or he would not have been passed up by 20 teams in the 2009 draft. Harper was the best prep prospect in decades and while he’s a major leaguer, has not even come close to what most thought he’d be, or still hope he will be.

    If you are basing your statement off the opinions of others, well, shame on you for taking those opinions as gospel as well as not explaining WHY.

  2. I’m not sold on Peterson or Austin Wilson ever having successful MLB careers. I hope I’m wrong.

  3. I like that lineup and especially the rotation. I think the M’s are going to be contenders for the foreseeable future. Exciting times.

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