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9. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners will head into 2015 a more complete team than they were in 2014. With Robinson Cano as the main offensive weapon in the offense, the Mariners really had no one around him. Kyle Seager’s emergence helped ease the load, but we’d like to see him take another step forward in 2015. The Mariners added so much around them too, bringing in Nelson Cruz and his power, as well as Seth Smith’s reliability. Mike Zunino could be an interesting watch in the spring, as he provides a nice power element, but his average needs to improve after he hit 22 homers in 2014 while batting .199. The pitching will of course be good, led by the always-excellent King Felix. Hisashi Iwakuma will be healthy heading into 2015, and he has good stuff. The key to the Mariners pitching will be their nos. 3 and 4 starters, James Paxton, and Taijuan Walker. Paxton is still just 26, and Walker is a highly-touted prospect at 22. Paxton has been excellent when he is on the mound, but the problem has been him staying out there for long. The southpaw will have to stay healthy if the Mariners want their rotation to be extraordinarily deep. Walker had injury trouble too, but he too was very good when he did pitch. Over five starts in 2014, Walker pitched 38 innings, with a 2.61 ERA and a fastball average of 94 MPH. Walker will be worth the watch this Spring too, but I expect good things from him in 2015 as do the Mariners.