Seattle Mariners Rotation Good From Top To Bottom
Felix Hernandez shined last year and lead what was one of the best rotations in baseball.
Not surprising considering he’s Felix Hernandez. We don’t call him the King for nothing.
The Seattle Mariners were able to ride him late into games and he racked up a lot of innings. While 236 innings isn’t even a career high its still a lot of innings.
This year the Mariners are hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001 and the rotation will again be a strength. Felix will lead the charge along with Hisashi Iwakuma again, however; to make a run at the playoffs the rotation will need to be good from top to bottom.
Even though I expect Felix to turn in another great year as it seems he wants to make the playoffs more than anything, it wouldn’t hurt if the rest of the rotation stepped up.
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Iwakuma will be a top number two starter again and we saw what James Paxton can do in limited time. After them there are two other spots to fill in the rotation. It looks like it will be between Taijuan Walker, Roenis Elias, JA Happ, and Erasmo Ramirez.
It seems one of the spots is likely to go to JA Happ. He’s a lefty veteran that will bring balance and hopefully stability to the rotation. The last spot is difficult to determine who might get it. A lot might depend on what happens in spring training.
I think we can rule out Ramirez. He still has a chance to prove himself but has struggled in the previous chances given to him. Many would love to see Walker come up and live up to the hype that was given to him as a prospect. He’s been working hard and now could be the time he shines.
And finally there’s Elias who showed last year that he is capable of holding his own in the majors. After making the jump from AA to the majors last offseason he did quite well. It seems like he could end up being wasted talent if he isn’t in the rotation. At the same time its good have some insurance.
Its very unlikely that that rotation at the start of the year remains the exact same until the end. Injuries are going to happen and players are going to struggle. Having this sort of depth is exactly what the Mariners need.
When the inevitable injury comes, the rest of the rotation can feel comfortable knowing that another capable arm will be stepping in.
Having so many arms also takes the pressure off the top of the rotation. Like I said, the Mariners were able to ride a great season from Felix last and its important for him to know that it’s not all on his shoulders.
Going into this season, look for the Mariner pitching to once again be dominant.