Wednesday, April 24, 2024

That's Certainly a First Place Rotation


There was a stat the other day, that was like 'only four many teams have only started 5 guys so far this season', which is absolutely wild considering it's only April. And on that list, there are teams you'd expect. Y'know, the Phillies are on there, that's pretty likely. The Mariners, even without Bryan Woo, are on there, they've held up. A few unlikely ones in there, uh, the Athletics. Yeah! They started the year with Sears-Wood-Boyle-Blackburn-Stripling, they've kept it going. More power to 'em. The Royals, nobody expected Alec Marsh and Michael Wacha to hold up their end of the bargain but here we are. 

But, considering what the Mariners were going with heading into the season, not really surprising that their rotation has held up. Maybe not all 100% excellent right now, but this is an insanely strong unit that might be the deciding factor for the M's this year.

As he has been since coming up, Logan Gilbert has been the top performer here. So far he's 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA and 35 Ks, one short of Luis Castillo. Gilbert might be one of the most underrated pitchers in the game, because he's been insanely consistent in his 3 years in the bigs, always relied upon, always has a low ERA and always gets you out of trouble, and he's never really gotten much credit for it. No All-Star nominations, no Cy Young voting, nothing. I mean, last year Luis Castillo was the crowdpleaser of this group, and George Kirby had flashier numbers, but Gilbert might be the better bare-bones pitcher, and he's helped this team go from a middle of the pack wannabe to a more respectable competitor. He came up the same day as Jarred Kelenic, and one of them's not here right now. 

I mean granted he's....doing really well for a better team but that's not important right now.

The other strong arm so far for the Mariners is Bryce Miller, and after his incredible start last year it's a welcome presence. Miller's 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA and 24 Ks, he's perhaps a quieter presence than Gilbert but it's important that he does well. So far, the two biggest names, Castillo and Kirby, are having mediocre seasons buoyed by disappointing starts. They're still great pitchers with excellent technique, they're just trying to come down from rough outings. Emerson Hancock is the only pitcher who's truly struggling in this rotation, and I think the team's counting down til Woo gets back, but he's still got the occasional perk. Again, with the way they built this unit, mostly with homegrown arms, even the lower-tier guys can still give you good stuff.

The pitching has been the main saving grace for the Mariners, but the hitting is just taking off. Julio Rodriguez just hit his first homer of 2024, and is at least using that to heat up. Cal Raleigh's having another awesome year with 6 homers and 13 RBIs so far. Mitch Haniger's picking up where he left off a year ago, and is a great power bat still. There's a ton of holes in this lineup, and Polanco seems to be telling me that 2nd base is cursed in Seattle, judging by what it did to Adam Frazier and Kolten Wong. But this is a 1st place Mariners team, by the grace of the pitching, and they're gonna try and hang onto that for as long as they can, even if the Rangers might be the better team.

I hope Logan Gilbert can keep it up, he just might be the force that keeps the Mariners in the conversation.

Coming Tomorrow- The most versatile player in the game just adds another position to his resume.

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