Seattle Mariners 2019 Position Preview: Starting Pitchers
By Ty Gonzalez
The 2018 Mariners were full of surprises, but no one overachieved as much as Wade LeBlanc did. After being reacquired by Seattle last Spring, LeBlanc initially filled a role in the bullpen before the injury bug came down and forced the 34-year-old into the rotation, a spot he would never relinquish.
What LeBlanc did from there was extraordinary, posting a 9-5 record with a 3.72 ERA, good enough for a total of 1.7 fWAR. His biggest moment came against the Boston Red Sox in a nationally televised game during the Summer, in which he shut the eventual World Series champions out with 7.2 innings worth of two-hit ball.
It’s hard to imagine LeBlanc repeating the success of his past season, but it’s something fans should certainly watch with great interest. LeBlanc is, essentially, the Mariners’ very own Rich Hill. Attached to an extremely team-friendly contract with up to four years worth of club control, LeBlanc could land on the radars of several contending teams looking to bolster the back of their rotation come July or earlier.
For now, LeBlanc will continue being one of the better personalities in the Mariners’ clubhouse and help some of the team’s younger arms with their transition to the MLB, such as he did with Marco Gonzales last season. On the field, LeBlanc can continue to start or shift to a bullpen role if need be later in the year.