By Jon Heyman With a year to go before the end of the regular season, Seattle Mariners fans are hoping that the franchise’s three players who will be playing a key role for them through the remainder of the season will continue to show their class, not only in front of the camera, but off the field.
In their first two games of the 2017 season, the Mariners have scored a combined 22 runs (5.6 per game) while averaging 7.5 hits per game.
They are in first place in the AL West with a 2.0-game lead over the Houston Astros.
The lineup is headlined by two of the team’s top prospects in center fielder Nick Franklin (20) and right fielder Danny Valencia (19), and both have been outstanding so far.
Franklin, in particular, has been a strong presence for the Mariners’ pitching staff, posting a 1.95 ERA over the past five starts.
Virgil Garcia (22) and Nelson Cruz (20), meanwhile, have been the most productive outfielders for the club.
The Mariners’ young sluggers have been dominant both offensively and defensively, but it has been their defense that has been the biggest difference.
They rank fourth in MLB in fielding percentage (.639), while also limiting opposing teams to a .197 batting average.
While Franklin and Garcia have both played extremely well, the rest of the lineup is showing more promise.
While Felix Hernandez, who is expected to be in the lineup in place of Franklin, has had a disappointing first half, he has been more than up to the task of taking over for the injured Franklin.
Hernandez has hit .320/.383/.580 with 11 home runs in his last 11 games.
In his last 10 games, he is batting .421/.452/.588 with seven home runs and 15 RBI.
If Hernandez continues to hit like this, it will be difficult to keep him from being a valuable player for the rest, and he should have a spot on the roster as the Mariners continue to build toward the postseason.