Teardown, rebuild, reimagine. These were all words used to describe the future of the Seattle Mariners when Seattle made nine trades this offseason, shedding itself of lofty salaries and hefty contracts.

But fast forward half a year and the phrase "step-back season," that Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto coined to describe the 2019 season has all but dissipated, Seattle is off to its best start in club history. 

That was a surprise.

The M’s just can’t stop hitting home runs and they’ve racked up a monster 98 runs for an average of 8.2 runs per game. With a 13-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday, the Mariners now have the best record in baseball to this point in the year.

Edwin Encarnación hit two home runs during an eight-run sixth inning against Kansas City, two of the five homers hit in the game. 

Seattle now has 32 home runs—the most of any team in MLB in the first dozen games. The Mariners didn’t hit 32 homers until their 26th game of the season last year.

Domingo Santana, who hit 30 home runs and stole 17 bases for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017, has been a key player for the Mariners this season. The outfielder has 19 RBI’s through 12 games, the most in the AL, tying a Major League lead with Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger. Jay Bruce (6), Tim Beckham (4) and Encarnación (4) have all provided a spark for the home-run happy Mariners.

 

So, are the Mariners the real deal? In this moment, the answer is yes.

The Astros are still the favorites to win the AL West, but the Mariners are definitely the team to watch.