Sodo Mojo’s Seattle Mariners Round Table: Spring Training
Question 4: My 2018 Most Surprising Mariner will be… whom?
You could say Vogelbach again here, but man, Rob Whalen has been fantastic. It took a lot of guts to open up about his battle with anxiety and depression and I’m rooting for him. Now that he appears to be doing better mentally, he’s mowing down hitters and looking great mechanically. We’ll definitely seem him at some point in the season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed at the MLB level afterwards.
I think Marco Gonzales is going to surprise a lot of people. Now 2 years removed from Tommy John surgery, Gonzales seems to have all his pitches back where he wants them. If we sign another pitcher (lol) and Marco slides to that 5 spot, he could be one of the better back-end starters in baseball. The Mariners think highly of him and so did the Cardinals. He is going to be a big part of the M’s season as long as he can stay healthy.
Most surprising I think will be Marco Gonzales. He has looked awesome in spring before you got hit with the line drive. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back. His cutter has been on point this year and hoping he can keep it going well this year.
Vogelbach would be an option here. But to change it up a bit, how about Rob Whalen. I mean, 19 strike outs in 13 innings pitched… didn’t see that coming. Not sure anyone did. The guy isn’t even listed on the Mariners depth chart and yet he is putting up dominating numbers.
At 24 years of age, maybe we hoped Rob would grow into this type of arm, but to get there so soon has been a great surprise. Should be interesting to see where he winds up out of spring and just how long it will take to get the call.
My most surprising Mariner would be Rob Whalen. Like I said no question 1, he has outright dominated this spring. 13 innings with a 1.38 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 19Ks. Say what you will about ST numbers, but his stat line to me shows confidence. Something he lacked very much so in previous years.
An interesting question, with several possibilities. I would say Rob Whalen, but since most of us think that, I’ll go ahead and mix it up. The word “surprise” makes this a tougher question than “breakout”. I’ve already written that Kyle Seager could breakout, but he is not exactly a surprise.
For the sake of the question, I’ll say James Pazos. Many Mariners fans will remember the up and down season from the lefty, but there is a lot to like. Pazos had a 51% ground ball rate in 2017, along with a 10.90 K/9. Both of these numbers are elite, and his 3.50 SIERRA shows there is more upside left.
Jerry Dipoto stated earlier this off-season, that Pazos garnered the most trade interest this winter, which should tell us a lot. If Pazos is as good as his underlying numbers indicate, the Mariners might have one of the 5 best bullpens in baseball.
Next: Trade a Starting Pitcher? No, Seriously.
There you have it! Our first Round Table discussion is in the books. As we inch closer to the regular season, we can hardly contain our excitement level! March 29th cannot get here soon enough.