The morning after the Seattle Mariners blanked the Chicago Cubs 3-0 has left me feeling more and more confident about our rotation. This revelation of course has been sparked by the outstanding spring performances by our young starting pitchers James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez.
I think it is time we take Erasmo Ramirez more serious as a legitimate starter for this ball club. He has shown us enough already during this spring to back that statement up. Including yesterday’s start, Ramirez is posting a 3-0 record with a 0.96 ERA to go along with 14 strikeouts and just two walks.
Much has changed for Ramirez since last season. He is back and feeling 100% healthy again and is no longer dealing with the little nagging injuries he battled early last season which he apparently carried through the 2013 campaign.
Ramirez spoke about his performance during the Venezuelan Winter League and how he had tweaked his approach to pitching. The biggest difference for him was switching to a ‘spot’ pitches first, fastball second type of pitcher. It has clearly helped his confidence. His new technique has allowed him to mix up his pitches and in turn, make him less predictable. So the end result we are seeing is Erasmo’s change up and slider becoming more dominant every start.
Could it be that we were being fooled all along by the free agency talk? I mean, its not too crazy to think that Jack Zduriencik knew that he has something special in Ramirez. He is only 23 years old with a very high ceiling and will continue to mature in front of our eyes. Even if he does start the year at AAA Tacoma, don’t look for him to be there long. At this point in the spring, I have not seen another starter for the Mariners in competition for the fifth spot (assuming Paxton and Walker are locked in) out perform Ramirez, although Roenis Elias definitely is making things interesting.