During the Mariners’ pre-Spring Training luncheon yesterday, Jerry Dipoto said transactions were on the way. Roughly 24 hours later and we have some news.
The competition for the Mariners’ starting rotation just got a bit tighter. Friday afternoon, the M’s officially announced they have claimed left-handed pitcher Nick Margevicius off of waivers from the San Diego Padres.
Mariners claim LHP Nick Margevicius off waivers from San Diego.
— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) January 24, 2020
Margevicius is just 23-years-old and is coming off his first season in Major League Baseball. In 17 appearances, 12 of them starts, Margevicius posted a 5.64 FIP with a 6.63 K/9 and 3.00 BB/9.
Such poor numbers are rather surprising given how well of a start Margevicius got off to last year, allowing just one run in four of his first six starts of the season. He even had a start against the Mariners in the first half of the season, one in which he was awarded the win for tossing five innings of two-run ball.
One of Margevicius’ biggest problems last season was the longball, surrendering nearly two home runs per nine innings. Not even the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park could save Margevicius, who allowed half of his home runs at home.
After getting drilled for nine runs in just an inning-and-a-third’s work by the Rockies in Coors Field on June 16, Margevicius was sent down to Double-A where he would struggle to the tune of a 5.16 FIP accumulated over the course of 69 innings thrown.
Disappointing numbers aside, Margevicius was spared a second chance near the end of August. Serving exclusively in a relief role, the southpaw allowed five runs in as many appearances.
Margevicius relies heavily on a fastball that sits in the high 80s and a slider that logs as his best put away pitch. Occasionally, Margevicius will offer a changeup or curveball, with the latter limiting opposing hitters to a batting average of just .091.
As a prospect, Margevicius’ curveball was regarded as a plus pitch and that’s come through in the numbers, but the sample size is, of course, limited. History has proven that the Mariners can successfully identify a pitcher’s strength and emphasize it, much like they did with Brandon Brennan‘s changeup. Perhaps for Margevicius, the key is the curveball.
He’ll be an interesting name to watch in Spring Training as he presumably enters the starting rotation competition with a potential free agent signing, Justin Dunn, Kendall Graveman, and, to a degree, Logan Gilbert. Perhaps they’ll look at him as a reliever as well.
To make room for Margevicius on the 40-man roster, the Mariners designated right-handed reliever Reggie McClain for assignment.