One day the Mariners new number three prospect, Luiz Gohara will have a conversation with Mel Stottlemyre on the pitcher’s mound at Safeco Field, but until then, he’ll need to keep impressing the Mariners organization in the minors. Luckily for him, he keeps on doing just that.
Left-handed pitcher, Luiz Gohara, hasn’t always been as dominating as he was in 2016. Early on in his career, when he was still a pubescent teenager, Gohara was going up against other great young talent, although many were not as young as he was, when he first took the field for the Mariners organization back in 2013.
Gohara was just sixteen when he made his minor league debut in Rookie Class ball in the Appalachian League.
Gohara had his ups and downs in the six games he played that summer. He only allowed more than two runs once and struck out twenty-seven batters. But, he also walked multiple batters in four of those games and allowed at least one man to score in five of the six games. He did all of this in 21.2 innings and had an ERA of 4.15.
Despite the very limited sample, he would be ranked fourth on the BBWAA Mariners Top Prospects list.
The next year was not so pleasant for one of the Mariners hopeful future stars. He had been on the Mariners affiliate, the Everett Aquasox roster, and was beaten up most of the season.
He played eleven games and gave up a run every time he stepped on the mound. But it was far worse than just that; in eight of those matchups, he surrendered more than three runs. He also allowed multiple free passes in seven of those games, and even managed to hit five batters along the way in that span.
By the end of the disastrous year, Gohara had an ERA of 8.20 because he let thirty-four runs cross home plate against him in thirty-seven innings, many of them off the six home runs and nine extra-base hits he allowed.
Yet, somehow he managed to stay in the top-twenty of the BBWAA Mariners Top Prospect list, most likely because he was still seventeen years old. But it would only be a climb up the later from there on out.
In 2015, now ranked as the Mariners twelfth best prospect, Gohara would have another shot to prove that he wasn’t just a flash in the pan teenage sensation. He would bounce back and forth between single-A affiliates in the Midwest League and Northwest League.
Thankfully, in the face of a constant change in locker rooms, Gohara improved on his deplorable 2014. His ERA dropped to 5.54 in sixteen games even though he was walking batters at an alarming pace -nearly one every other inning.
He also reduced the amount of home runs he allowed, giving up four that entire season. It would have been lower, but in one game he served up three home run sandwiches on a big platter.
Nevertheless, he rose again on the BBWAA Mariners Top Prospect list, jumping two spots to claim the sixth spot in the rankings.
That brings us to this year, 2016. Otherwise known as Gohara’s breakout year.
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It seemed like 2016 was one of the most shocking years in a recent memory. The Chicago Cubs won a World Series and Donald Trump became President of the United States. Yet, when Luiz Gohara started to show the Mariners and the baseball world how good he could be, it was hard to find anyone that in the organization that could act any different then, “I told you he had it in him”.
In his time with single-A Everett and single-A Clinton, Gohara was lights out, and I’m not just saying that because his ever-improving high-nineties fastball had enough “woosh” behind it to put out a room full of candles. No, it’s because, unlike his past seasons, Gohara’s stats were impeccable.
He had three shutout quality starts in which he gave up two hits, three hits, and five hits respectively. He added another five innings of shutout ball in another start by the end of the season.
In all, he had an ERA of 1.81 with a 7-2 record in 69.1 frames pitched. Furthermore, he was still striking out batters at a rate of more than one per inning, which seemed to be the only constant trend throughout his career. He was also giving up fewer home runs too -just two during the whole campaign.
This season’s past brilliance pushed him up the BBWAA Mariners Top Prospect list to his highest standing ever: third. And he did so at twenty years old, remarkable.
However, for all he’s done the past few years, especially this past one, GM, Jerry Dipoto has opted to leave Gohara off of the forty man roster…for the moment.
The team has ensured that the Brazilian native will not be part of the Rule 5 Draft, which would’ve sent him to another club, so they clearly have plans to keep him in the Pacific Northwest.
It is only a matter of time before we see Gohara on the field again playing for the Mariners organization. The questions are: at what level will he be playing? And, could he be playing at the major league level next season?
If he starts 2017 like he did 2016, there’s no doubt in my mind that this soon-to-be superstar will be making his MLB debut in the Emerald City sometime next summer.