Mariners Report Cards: Third Base
Our report card series continues with third base! Were the vibes good at the hot corner? Let's take a look.
If you have been following me for any time, you know how much I respect and love Eugenio Suárez as a person and player. His addition to this clubhouse before last season has been uplifting, becoming a leader with his “Good Vibes Only” approach to life.
His 2022 campaign was a huge rebound for the Seattle third baseman, but 2023 was sometimes a struggle. His performance led to frustration from the fanbase and has sparked debate about whether he should be back next season. Let’s look at third base and what Seattle can do with the position moving forward.
Seattle didn’t quite get the 4.0 fWAR campaign they got in 2022 from Eugenio Suárez, but still got a very solid 3.2 fWAR from the hot corner. It was an interesting season for Suárez that could certainly leave Jerry Dipoto and the front office scratching their heads on what to do moving forward.
He finished with a 102 wRC+, a 29 point drop from his 2022 campaign. While that isn’t ideal, he still finished as an above-average hitter. Suárez still hit 22 home runs on the season and will be entering his age 33 season in 2024.
The main positive from the 2023 campaign was tremendous defense at the hot corner. A few weeks ago I wrote about the many reasons why I thought Suárez should be rewarded with a Gold Glove in 2023, which you can find here.
Suárez was highly regarded by Baseball Savant’s defensive metrics, ranking in the 97th percentile of OAA and the 90th percentile in Fielding Run Value. He ranked second among American League third basemen in Outs Above Average with 11, just two behind Kansas City’s Maikel Garcia.
This was probably the best defensive season I have seen at the hot corner for a Mariner, and I think there is a legitimate chance he should be rewarded with some hardware for his efforts. He was tremendously consistent with routine plays and showed up with highlight-reel efforts in big moments all season long.
Not only was his defensive play excellent, he was available for every single game. Posting for all 162 games was Geno’s goal going into the season, and his emotion in the postgame following the final game was really cool to see.
Overall it was just a disappointing offensive season for Suárez. He is regarded as an excellent teammate and leader and was terrific defensively but ultimately the Mariners needed offense.
Geno’s 102 wRC+ combined with the 107 posted by Ty France was extremely disappointing and led to two big-time holes in the Seattle lineup. Both corner infield positions are spots where you really need power and offensive output, and Seattle was well below league average in this area.
The concern for Suárez moving forward is real. His bat speed dropped to the lowest it has been since he was in Detroit, something I wrote about with the help of Driveline’s Tanner Stokey.
His attack angle and bat speed dropped significantly in 2023, so Jerry Dipoto and Justin Hollander will have a big decision on him moving forward. I would welcome him back with open arms, but we will see what they decide to do.
Here is Stokey’s quote on Geno’s 2023. Make sure you catch my video analysis below!