The Seattle Mariners will start Matthew Festa against the Houston Astros on Wednesday. Could they accidentally find a solution for 2019?
They say necessity is the mother of all invention. That desperation is the only thing that leads to good ideas. Perhaps the Mariners necessity at the end of a disappointing 2018 season can lead to gains in 2019.
Thanks to injuries to Felix Hernandez and James Paxton, the Mariners are in need of a starting pitcher for their season series finale against the Astros. They have settled on reliever Matt Festa. Festa, who has gotten what amounts to a cup of coffee in 2018, is one of the better prospects in the Mariners farm system.
The #8 prospect on MLB Pipeline and the 13th ranked prospect by Sodo Mojo, Festa dominated AA in 2018, posting a 2.76 ERA in 44 games. He also posted an impressive 67 strikeouts in 49 innings, while walking just 12 batters.
What makes Festa more unique than most relievers is his deep arsenal. Drafted as a starter, the Mariners quickly converted Festa to the bullpen. However, unlike many pitchers who make the transition, Festa kept his entire repertoire.
A true 4 pitch guy, Festa has an average to slightly above-average fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball. Festa has mainly stuck with his fastball and slider in the Majors. However, if he plans to go multiple innings against the Astros, it may behoove him to throw everything he has at them.
Matt Festa might be unlikely to be turned back into the starter. But if he flashes tonight, with the Mariners current lack of starting arms in the system, it may be something they would consider. At the very least, Festa looks like the classic “Opener”.
The second half of 2018 has been an abject disaster for the Mariners. However, tonight represents a possibility to find a solution in 2019. Festa has the stuff to be a nice long-reliever or 6th inning type of guy. However, if there is a slight possibility to be a #5 starter, the Mariners should strongly consider it.