A Comparison

Offense
Seattle: .238/.311/.348, 1.6% PA/HR, 9.3% BB/PA, 29% XBH/H
San Diego: .241/.321/.360, 1.8% PA/HR, 9.7% BB/PA, 30% XBH/H

Defense
Seattle: 27 DRS, 7.6 UZR
San Diego: 35 DRS, 19.9 UZR

Rotation
Seattle: 3.78 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 4.39 xFIP
San Diego: 2.88 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 4.08 xFIP

Bullpen
Seattle: 3.70 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 4.27 xFIP
San Diego: 2.91 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 3.19 xFIP

Record
Seattle: 18-28
San Diego: 28-18

Okay, to the commentary.

No, I’m not saying Seattle and San Diego are equals. I do think Seattle will play better than they’ve played so far – which is to say better than one of the worst teams in baseball – and I think San Diego will play worse than they have so far – which is to say worse than one of the best teams in baseball – and I think most people would agree with that.

Seattle and San Diego are basically playing with the same blueprint: good-to-great defense, above-average pitching, and an offense that chronically struggles to scrap out a few runs per game. And it’s working beautifully for one and horribly for the other. Obviously, the comparison using raw statistics is imperfect. Safeco is tough on batters, but Petco is tougher. The Padres are without access to a designated hitter and that has the tendency to affect offensive statistics.

My point is, though, that Seattle’s paltry offensive efforts are well-publicized and mocked. San Diego’s efforts aren’t much better, and would do little to inspire that certain poultry staple of the area. Seattle has a number of struggling batters right now that seem unlikely to be this bad going forward. Jose Lopez, Milton Bradley, Casey Kotchman, and Chone Figgins, for starters, and maybe not all of them come around like we’d expect, but by the end of the year, Seattle should end up outhitting San Diego. That’s largely irrelevant though, since both are below average offenses.

Teams can compete without hitting for a lot of power or hitting a lot in general. Ask San Diego. They’re just doing what a lot of folks thought Seattle would do.

We hoped you liked reading A Comparison by R.J. Anderson!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




newest oldest most voted
Red Matter
Guest
Red Matter

I’ve been waiting for an update about the #6 franchise in baseball. I think you touched on one point very well: bad luck (or at least banking on several high risk players.) But you really missed the other point which is that the Mariners have to play in the AL West. Not only is it the American League, but half of the teams in the division are over .500.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B

“Not only is it the American League, but half of the teams in the division are over .500” ? You seem to be implying that having 2 out of 4 teams above .500 is evidence of a difficult division. I mean…in any given season, roughly half of teams will end up above .500, roughly half below. Having exactly 2 teams above .500 is the most likely outcome in a four-team division.

Also, it makes a difference if you’ve got four teams that are .520/.515/.510/.350 (three teams above .500, but an average winning percentage of .474) or four teams who are .720/.490/.480/.475 (only one team above .500, but an average winning percentage of .541). The second example is a significantly better division despite having only one team above .500 rather than three.

The first part of your premise (being in the AL generally makes life a little tougher) – is generally true, although that effect may disappear entirely outside of the AL East.

Drakos
Guest
Drakos

So if the Mariners get credit for 2 of the 4 teams in their division being over .500 what sort of credit do the Padres get for 4 of the 5 teams in their division being over .500?

Ivdown
Guest
Ivdown

So we should forget about the fact that the NL west has 4 teams at least 2 games above .500? We probably should because HALF of the 4 teams in the AL west are over .500…