Seattle needs more "Good Vibes Only" to reach their ceiling
Eugenio Suárez has had a roller coaster season for Seattle offensively. This team needs more from him if they want to reach their ceiling, and he is finally showing signs of life.
For the last few weeks, it has been hard not to wonder what this offense could look like with their corner infielders producing like they are capable of. Both players are proven big leaguers with an extensive track record of success but have been completely incapable of finding any footing in 2023.
While it seems clear at this point we aren’t getting the first half of 2022 version of Ty France back anytime soon, there is still some hope for resident vibes leader Eugenio Suárez. We have seen some success for him in the last few games, which is a good sign for the Seattle Mariners.
While both France and Geno have struggled at times this season, the underperformance from Suárez has been easier to stomach because of his elite defense. The 32 year old is having a career year defensively, ranking in the 93rd percentile of OAA, and has made a real case to win a Gold Glove this season.
The offensive struggles of the Seattle third basemen have been uncharacteristic, with a lack of power has been the issue. He is fifth in all of baseball in home runs since 2018 with 181 but has just 21 this season.
I have written extensively about the struggles of Suárez offensively with the help of Tanner Stokey of Driveline Baseball. One look at his numbers doesn’t necessarily paint a very clear picture of why we have seen a downtick in production, the answer lies in a deeper dive.
Suárez’s bat speed is lower than it has been since 2017, and his attack angle (the angle the bat head enters the hitting zone) is much lower than 2022. He has been caught in between for most of 2023 and just hasn’t really looked in control or on balance for any extended period of time at the plate.
Here’s the quote from Tanner Stokey on Suárez back in June, “Geno is sort of caught in between, his bat path plays more for a power hitter. If he wants to lean into hitting for more average and use the whole field more while hitting more line drives, the attack angle is still too high. If he wants to do what he’s always done he has to start pulling the ball in the air and/or increase his bat speed.”
(Reminder! All MVP subscriptions come with a Sea Level T-Shirt and an autographed card from your choice of Dom Canzone, Cade Marlowe, or Matt Brash!)
The 2022 version of Geno showed us hot streaks where he could carry the team. While he has been a very good RBI man, we haven’t seen the same torrid stretches out of him in 2023.
While the overall numbers don’t look as good, there is plenty that suggests he may be heating up once again. His xSLG and xwOBA are the two numbers that have been the most depressed in 2023 compared to 2022, but signs of life have been surfacing.
In his last four games, Geno is batting .266 with two home runs. Now I know that is a small sample size and not extremely impressive, but he finally pulled a ball in the air last night against a really good arm. He also launched an opposite-field homer earlier in the week on a fastball up and away, a pitch that has routinely given him fits this season.
The veteran third baseman has faced Clayton Kershaw a decent amount in his career, so hopefully he can continue his recent success tonight.
I believe he can be a big boost to this offense and this team if he can continue to heat up, as a leader and a jolt of energy. Even when he is struggling he brings his “Good Vibes Only” attitude to the ballpark every day, but a hot version of Geno could carry the Seattle offense to the postseason.
Get hot Geno. Good Vibes Only. GOMS.
Sea Level is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.