3 reasons why Mariners will win 2023 World Series

Sustained excellence requires the perfect blend of talent, culture, and mentality. The last one is crucial. Every team will of course enter a season with the mindset that they are going to compete for a championship, but that is a mere fantasy for half of the MLB. Just having a surprise year that might culminate with a wild card playoff berth would have a monumental impact on the franchise and fan base. But only the elite have what it takes to build off that. The Seattle Mariners have this very test in front of them.

Seattle reached the postseason in 2022 and even won a round after an unfathomable 21-year drought. The futility belongs in a class of its own just due to the pure improbability of it. During that span, rarely were the M’s among the worst teams in the league. In fact, they won 85 games or more eight times (three 90-win seasons). And yet, franchises known today as perennial cellar-dwellers like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds reached the second week of October multiple times. It almost felt like fate.

Consider the fact that the Mariners’ ultimately unsuccessful 116-win season in 2001 marked their last trip to the playoffs, and one can reasonably assume the Grim Reaper has a special affinity for this organization. Though, his itinerary should be much different for the foreseeable future. Now Seattle must figure out to snatch the life from other teams.

They have a young star to build and market around, a stout pitching staff and underrated manager, all of which add up to a championship-caliber team. Last year was not about ending the drought. It was about growing pains. This season is about a coronation.

Do not scoff at that seemingly bold notion. Here are three reasons why you should buy into the Mariners as legitimate World Series winners in 2023.

1. Julio Rodriguez is the next superstar

Let’s get the obvious reason out of the way immediately. Julio Rodriguez already feels like one of the faces of baseball at just 22 years of age. He is in commercials and looks very comfortable in the limelight. Those are overlooked but essential qualities indicative of player who is ready to fully embrace his status as a franchise cornerstone. If that is not enough, then just take a gander at his production.

Rodriguez enjoyed one of the better rookie seasons in recent memory. He batted .284 with 28 home runs, 75 RBIs and a .509 slugging percentage. His 6.2 WAR and 147 OPS+- which was top 10 in MLB- are a sabermetrician’s dream and bode well for his future success. He also stole 25 bases and is poised to blow that away with the new rules expected to help baserunners. Rodriguez is the five-tool player who can take the M’s to the top.

With the recent launch of Topps Series 1 Baseball, Topps teamed up with Julio Rodriguez to launch, The J-Rod Show

We love seeing athletes cross over into the hobby, who do you want to see star in a Topps commercial next? pic.twitter.com/jmwODjHSLv

— CardTalkPod (@CardTalkPod) February 22, 2023

The organization clearly believes the All-Star center fielder is the guy after they locked him up with a 14-year contract worth $400 million. Pitchers will be more prepared for Rodriguez, but he has the composure and supreme talent to account for any sophomore slump that may await him. Very rarely has one star been able to carry a team to the Fall Classic alone, but Rodriguez will be the centerpiece of a strong Seattle supporting cast.

2. Mariners collective offensive talent

Now, you could say that I’m cheating by not just combining reasons No. 1 and 2, but I think Julio Rodriguez deserves special consideration due to the complete package he flashed in his rookie campaign. 2023 could be a true crowning of a household name just as 2021 was for Fernando Tatis Jr. That being said, there are intimidating bats all around him who could make for one of the best lineups in the American League.

First baseman Ty France continues to fly under the radar, despite earning his first career All-Star selection last season. He has quietly been one of the more consistent hitters in the league the last two seasons, doing well in almost every area. His contact prowess is a good compliment to the homer-or-bust style of veteran slugger Eugenio Suarez. Even so, he third baseman hit .236 in 2022, nearly 40 points higher than his last years with the Cincinnati Reds. The 30-plus homers will remain, and if he could stay around .240, Suarez could maybe get close to his 2018-19 form.

The Mariners’ shining offseason accomplishment was acquiring outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from the Toronto Blue Jays. He posted a .267 batting average and had 25 dingers and 35 doubles last season. He was not at his peak 2021 level, but he provides even more power to a deep offensive attack. Former top prospect Jarred Kelenic has been virtually unplayable the last two seasons but had a great Spring Training and appears to have gained a lot more confidence behind the plate.

This a offense befitting of the modern game. Luckily, players like Rodriguez and France will ensure they can also adapt to the new style of play brought on by the MLB rule changes.

1. Mariners deep starting pitching

An impressive lineup is not enough to get you into the World Series conversation. As they say, pitching is king in October. And the Mariners have more than one arm who can ascend to the AL Cy Young throne. Robbie Ray already has. Luis Castillo could be next. The middle and backend of their starting rotation consists of promising young talent in Logan Gilbert and George Kirby, both of whom broke out last season and could be headed for strong follow-ups.

Ray led the team with 212 strikeouts, which is probably the only discernible weakness in the staff. Though, Gilbert seems to be a likely candidate to reach 200 as well as he hones his repertoire. They are deep and have a healthy mix of proven All-Stars and budding stars. Simply put, Seattle should have the best starting pitching in the AL and will be able to go four-deep come the postseason.

The Mariners will immediately get a head start on their championship quest by engaging in what figures to be a grueling AL West war with the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros. That motivation will not peter out in the playoffs, though.

Last year’s Mariners’ history will be nothing compared to 2023’s.

The post 3 reasons why Mariners will win 2023 World Series appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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