As the Mariners season progresses, a few shining stars have made their names known. As expected, Felix Hernandez and Kendrys Morales have been playing some great baseball. However, there have been two other players whose success have been a surprise.
Veteran Raul Ibanez came as a free agent signing during the off-season. When he joined the Mariners for his third stint with the ball club, he was signed to be a veteran presence for the team while doing back-up outfield work. He has already exceeded all expectations.
Rookie Nick Franklin started the season as a high prospect in the Tacoma Rainiers. Everybody knew he was close to the majors. The majors came sooner than expected; Franklin was called up when struggling infielder Dustin Ackley was sent down to discover his form. People were skeptical if Franklin could hit at the big league level; they have been wrong so far.
Despite the fact Ibanez is the oldest player on the roster and Franklin is the youngest player getting his shot, both have one thing in common: exceeding expectations.
Ibanez has been tearing the cover off of the ball, leading the Mariners in homeruns even at 41 years old. He is no longer just a veteran presence in the clubhouse–he is now also the best power hitter on the team. Franklin has made an early impression on the team since he has been called up. His defensive ability dazzled many. His bat has been on fire since his first game. He had big shoes to fill with replacing former second overall draft pick, Ackley. So far, he has been better than the man he replaced.
Both players have been stellar so far this season. Past and present Mariners have performed at a level that makes their fans proud.