It would be easy for a baseball player to gain an inflated ego when Hall of Famer Chipper Jones proclaims that you remind him of arguably the best defensive outfielder of all time: Andruw Jones. It would be even easier when nearly every baseball publication has called you its top prospect.
However, Braves phenom Ronald Acuna doesn’t seem to be acting that way. The 20-year-old arrived to spring training four days ahead of schedule with a goal in mind.
Crabtree’s pay just didn’t align with his production this season, but he was great in 2016.
He led the team in receptions and surely made some Cooper fantasy owners mad when he hauled in eight scores compared to Cooper’s five.
And to be completely fair, it wasn’t just a down year for Crabtree.
Derek Carr looked like a totally different player after returning from an injury that cut short his 2016 MVP campaign.
That didn’t help.
Cooper didn’t surpass 1,000 yards for the first time in his three-year career, and Carr said Cooper was fighting through an injury.
Seattle won 86 games in Dipoto’s first full season, and then fell to 78 wins. The 2017 Mariners dealt with injuries galore, but were ill-equipped to deal with even just some of them. Ariel Miranda logged a 5.12 ERA and led the team in innings.
Again, two years isn’t a lot of time to assemble a playoff team out of the wreckage of one of the game’s most notoriously dysfunctional franchises. There were positives in the 2017 season, including the acquisition of Jean Segura, even if it meant watching Taijuan Walker blossom in Arizona. James Paxton broke out in his limited time. Zunino started to hit. Ben Gamel and James Pazos looked like solid contributors.
How much of that will carry over into this season remains to be seen, as well as whether the newly acquired Dee Gordon can play center field, and whether Ryon Healy can give enough help with his bat.