2014 Kansas City Royals MLB Opening Day: Wild Card Preview

2 of 5

Mar 12, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) hits a double against the Chicago Cubs at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners: 84-78

Seattle’s fortunes are tied heavily to the health of its competitors. The Rangers and A’s are falling apart at the seams and may not fully recover before it’s too late.

The Mariners have their own health concerns, of course. Top prospect Taijuan Walker is out until late April with shoulder inflammation and Hisashi Iwakuma suffered a tendon strain in throwing had that will keep him out about the same length of time.

The team improved their offense greatly with the addition of perennial MVP-candidate Robinson Cano and free agent power-hitters Corey Hart and Logan Morrison.

Former top-10 prospects Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak showed improvement last season, even if they showed it in short bursts and didn’t show it at the same time. Still: improvement.

From May to mid-August, Smoak hit like an All-Star, .288/.380/.511 in 65 games. Ackley hit .313/.392/.456 in the last two months of the season. Between an improved young crop of players and their newly acquired power bats, their lineup has the potential to be quite formidable.

If Iwakuma and Walker come back healthy, along with Felix Hernandez, the rotation also has the potential to be formidable.

Not that things have been breaking Seattle’s way lately, but with a bit of luck, they could compete for the division.