Thursday, August 24, 2006

2006 has been a pretty good year, at least in my book

A co-worker asked me if I had any way to put a positive spin on the 2006 Mariners' season. Not to sound corny, but of course I did!

-Raul Ibanez' next home run will be his 25th, giving the Mariners two players with 25 HRs for the first time since 2001 (Boone + Cameron).
-The emergence of Yuniesky Betancourt as one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball, and his outstanding offense this year -- he's currently batting .300 on the season. Several publications have mentioned him as the best defensive shortstop in baseball.
-The development of Jose Lopez as our everyday second baseman.
-The development of JJ Putz into the everyday closer.
-The pitching staff ranks 6th in the American League in ERA, sixth in saves, second in complete games, and fifth in strikeouts.
-We are the 2nd youngest team in baseball currently.
-The solidification of the catcher position - with Kenji Johjima ranking in several Top 10 offensive categories among rookies. (Last year we had 8 different catchers.)
-The continuing development of Felix Hernandez -- he leads the team in wins currently.
-Ichiro is on pace for well over 200 hits this year - marking the 6th straight season to do that.
-Our bullpen has the third best ERA in baseball - George Sherrill, Mark Lowe, and Rafael Soriano have become some of the top setup men in the league.
-Prior to this past week, we had only used 5 starting pitchers while every other team had used at least seven.
-Injuries have been very low this year.

So it hasn't been a perfect year, and we won't make the playoffs, but clearly it hasn't been without some good things. And when you focus on the good things, more good things tend to happen.

Go Mariners!


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