Breaking News
More () »

Silvi Says: Here's who to watch as the Mariners head into the 2023 season

Who is going to be this biggest player out of the gate? How will the Mariners handle the success they had last season? We're about to find out.

SEATTLE — There is a whole lot of optimism surrounding the Mariners going into the season.

Let's start with pitching. The Mariners' starting rotation ranks as high as fifth-best in the majors. The top three starters have become household names in Seattle - Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert. Ray and Gilbert ranked in the top 10 of the American League in innings pitched last season and Marco Gonzales was 11th. That kind of durability will be a big key to the Mariners' success.

We've learned what to expect from those four pitchers, but the wildcard comes in at number five. George Kirby is just 25 years old. He's coming off a rookie season where he threw 130 innings with 133 strikeouts. He will benefit greatly from being around the veterans in the rotation. He'll also face less pressure pitching out of the five spot, which will only help him develop into the pitcher the Mariners thought he would be when they drafted him in the first round in 2019.

The M's bullpen gets even higher praise than their starting rotation. Andres Munoz is the fireballer in the pen. His fastball clocks in at 102 miles an hour and his slider is one of the best in baseball. Munoz told us at spring training he wants to be the team's closer. He wants to come on in the ninth and bury opponents - they hit just .189 against him last season.

As strong as the Mariners' pitchers should be this season, the Astros' staff ranks ahead of them going into the season and surprisingly, the Rangers' pitching staff is getting high praise, so runs may be tough to come by during those matchups.

This brings us to the Mariners' offense. The M's had the AL's second-lowest batting average last season, finishing at .230. They needed to get better at the plate in the offseason and getting Teoscar Hernandez from Toronto was a good start. He hit .270 last season with 25 homers, giving the Mariners some much-needed power in the heart of the order.

Hernandez and Julio Rodriguez fill two-thirds of the outfield. Will Jarred Kelenic be the missing piece? From all reports, he tore it up during off-season conditioning and reworked his batting style which helped him to a strong spring in which he led the Mariners' starters hitting .353.

I get it. It's the Cactus League. But if there's any player on the roster who wants to prove he's more than just Mr. March, it's Kelenic.

The Mariners need Kelenic and the other young players on the roster to take that next step at the plate, but strong hitting can only take a team so far.

The old adage is true - pitching and defense win championships.

We already know the Mariners have the arms, but they also have the gloves.

The M's committed the fewest errors in the American League last season and led the league in fielding percentage.

They only got stronger up the middle with a guy I've been a fan of for a while - Kolten Wong. The 32-year-old second baseman came to Seattle in a trade with the Brewers and while he's solid at the plate, this guy brings a lot of flash in the field. Be prepared to see some highlight-reel plays from Wong.

162 games on the docket along with hundreds of questions throughout the season.

The biggest one out of the gate? How will the Mariners handle the success they had last season?

We're about to find out.

Before You Leave, Check This Out