Evidently Carlos Guillen was getting looks at first base as the Mariners continue to try to figure out something for what is usually the easiest offensive position in baseball. Guillen has just 39 starts (31 complete games, 71 total appearances) at first base in his career, but has been good in that limited sample, with 3 “runs saved”. In the last 3 years, mainly playing 2nd base with some outfield, Guillen has saved 2 runs (in 699 PA, a little over a full season). Mariners’ first baseman had an OBP of just .308 in 2011, 5th worst in baseball. The Yankees-Astros-Marlins were about middle of the pack in 1st base OBP with .339. Guillen does have a career OBP of .355, but just a .323 over the last 3 seasons (along with being unable to stay healthy).
Other Mariners Notes: Reports are that the Eric Wedge is prepared to name Chone Figgins as the lead-off hitter and starting 3rd baseman despite the fact that Figgins’ 2 years as a Mariner have been horrible.
Former Mariners center fielder Mike Cameron has decided to retire. Cameron spent 4 years with the Mariners and is the clubs 8th best position player of all time according to Wins Above Replacement. He is among one of the 13 players in Mariners history with a .350 OBP. Cameron had a .798 OPS (112 OPS +) with 87 home runs as a Mariner. In his 17 year baseball career (1955 games), Cameron had a .249/.338/.444 slash line. Even though I care very little about Hall of Fame arguments, Cameron has a better WAR than Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Lou Brock, Kirby Puckett, Ralph Kiner, Chuck Klein, and Hack Wilson. Cameron spent 2011 with the Red Sox and Marlins, playing in just 78 games with an OPS + of 74 and -.6 D-WAR. Cameron originally signed a minor league deal with the Nationals for the 2012 season.
Mark Appel made his first start for Stanford on Friday night. Why is this important? He is the expected number 1 choice in the 2012 draft, although he is not a lock. As the Mariners have the 3rd overall choice, it makes some sense to take a look at Appel in case he drops down. His first start was called “solid” and “great“, as he pitched 7 innings, gave up 2 hits, walked 2, giving up 1 run while striking out 5. Of course, all is relative, and to really quantify Appel’s performance we must see how good his opponents were at Vanderbilt. For comparison, on Saturday Stanford’s 2nd pitcher Brett Mooneyham gave up 3 earned runs in 6 innings, striking out 8. While Appel pitched an extra inning and gave up 2 less runs, he struck out less batters. This seems to be somewhat a concern for Appel as Kevin Goldstein questions his ability to miss bats (Baseball Cube gives his K-rating a very poor 42). Vanderbilt’s lineup had no players that had an OPS of more than .950 (what I consider the cut-off rate for Division 1 College Players, as there is, on average, a .250 OPS regression for college to MLB) in 2011. This means he faced no one that we would consider an offensive prospect. Appel throws 93-97 MPH, so an impressive fastball, but is apparently in love with change-up, and its not very good. There appears to be a ton of questions on Appel, but that ceiling is high, so the top teams have to seriously ask whether he is worth the risk. Here is some video if you are into that kind of thing: