After choosing Denard Span as the 2018 unsung hero, this year’s award goes to Marco Gonzales.
When your team has only 66 wins before the season’s final week, it’s hard to find any positives or give out any kind of honorary award. But despite a rough May (by every other pitcher as well), Marco has quietly put together a solid 2019 campaign.
His 16 wins are by far best of any other Mariners pitcher this year and though his current 4.09 ERA could be lower, it’s not horrible for a pitcher who can still play the young card and who pitched for a last place team this year. Marco’s WAR is well into the positives at 2.8 to date. He rounds out the AL’s top five in wins leaders and has only four less and two less wins than Verlander and Cole respectively!
In terms of how poor the season has been overall, just think about Marco’s win total this way. If not for his starts, the team would be 50-106, one game behind the Orioles as of this date. Though he atrociously allowed five home runs and 18 runs in six May starts, that was pretty much his sole rough patch of the year.
In 12 of his 33 starts this year, he has gone seven innings or more and therefore has become a reliable innings machine. And every one of those 12 starts, he allowed three runs or less so they were quality starts as well. And in eight of those 12 starts going seven-plus (including today’s loss), Marco allowed one run or less. That’s dominance, people. And though he hasn’t been as much of a strikeout pitcher as say a young Felix, he’s clearly fooling the opposition by consistently going far into his games.
So let’s forget that Marco lost seven straight starts in May/June because he was streaky the other way as well. He immediately got off to a solid start by winning his first four starts. Guess what, he again won four straight during our not-much-better June. So congrats, Marco, you get my vote for 2019 Unsung Mariner.
Comparing you to past Mariners pitching greats, it’s true that you’re not Felix regarding strikeouts nor Randy regarding pure heat. But you are, however, Jamie Moyer by overpowering hitters with stuff and willpower. You also give your team a more positive opportunity to win when you get the nod.