Projecting the 2018 Seattle Mariners: Nick Vincent
For most of the 2017 season, the Mariners relied on one man to anchor their bullpen. It was not the electric arms of Edwin Diaz or James Pazos. Instead, it was the 90 mph fastball of veteran reliever Nick Vincent.
Vincent, the 31-year-old right-handed pitcher, was one of the best relievers in the American League. In fact, Vincent has been an absolute rock for a majority of his 2 seasons in Seattle. In 2017, Vincent posted a 3.20 ERA over 64.2 innings.
These numbers fall well within the “career norms” of Vincent. Throughout his career, Vincent has a career 3.00 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP. His WHIP in 2017 was 1.16. So, overall, Vincent had a good year. But a deeper dive into the numbers show an interesting trend.
From his first appearance until his 60th, Vincent posted a 1.87 ERA over 57.2 innings. During that time, opponents slashed .221/.253/.293 against him. Truly impressive numbers. However, over his last 9 appearances, Vincent posted a 14.14 ERA. Opponents crushed him to the tune of a .485/.514/.724 slash.
So, what does this mean? Did Vincent just go through a terrible stretch at the wrong time? Did he wear down? Was he dealing with a nagging injury? The truth is, we will never know. But we have seen similar stretches in Vincent’s time with the Mariners.
In 2016, Vincent posted a 2.08 ERA with an opponents slash of .208/.245/.333 in his first 26 games. Then, fatigue crept in. Over his next 8 games, he posted a 6.97 ERA with opponents slugging .625 against him. Vincent was then placed on the DL, missing all of July in the process.
Even after his return, Vincent was “just ok”. He posted a 4.13 ERA over the rest of his season, with an opponents slash of .258/.303/.419. So where does the real Nick Vincent fall?
Sodo Mojo’s 2018 Projections for Nick Vincent: 60 Games, 55 IP, 49 K’s, 15 BB, 7 HR, 3.27 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.15 WHIP
Personally, I believe keep Vincent at no more than 55 appearances would be ideal. We have seen Vincent wear down after heavy use each of the past 2 seasons. Thankfully, the Mariners should have a fairly deep bullpen, with more late inning arms than they have had the past 2 seasons.
Next: Projecting the 2018 Mariners: Edwin Diaz
Moving Vincent out of high leverage spots seems ideal, but he can be used there in a pinch. The Mariners are hopeful that with Juan Nicasio, Edwin Diaz and a healthy David Phelps, Vincent can serve as a bridge to their “Big 3” bullpen arms.