The Seattle Mariners sign 3 players to minor league deals
The Seattle Mariners signed Roenis Elias, Paul Sewald, and Jantzen Witte to minor league contracts. Yes, it is the same Roenis Elias you are thinking about.
This is Elias’ third stint with Seattle and he has had a pretty solid career in the MLB. He will be entering his 7th big league season with a 3.97 ERA. Four of those seasons have been with the Mariners.
Roenis was a member of the Washington Nationals last season and only threw three innings due to a flexor strain. Now he is back with the team he debuted for as a 32-year-old veteran.
I’ve always liked the way Elias pitched. I don’t know why, but something just seemed good about him.
The Cuban-born southpaw had the best season of his career in 2018 which was with Seattle, and he was pitching out of the bullpen that year. Roenis began his career as a starter and was alright, but his switch to the bullpen certainly elevated his career.
According to Baseball Savant, he posted some impressive stats in 2018. Elias’ barrel percentage was in the 86th percentile among pitchers (the higher the better) and his exit velocity was in the 85th percentile.
His fastball spin rate was in the 89th percentile and his curveball spin rate was in the 55th percentile. Spin rate has become a big focus for baseball analysts as part of the “new school” of pitcher development, so it is good to see Elias’ high numbers.
There are some other numbers where he is within the 60th to 75th percentile which is something I had not really realized until now.
If you also remember, Elias would drop his arm down to throw sidearm every once in a while. Based on how the game has been changing recently, especially in regards to the bullpen, Elias’ sidearm pitches might be super valuable.
Again, Elias signed a minor league contract so there are no promises. But I would not be surprised at all if he makes the team and becomes an important part of the pen.
He has the tools to be a good bullpen pitcher according to the numbers, so this might be a “diamond in the rough” find for Jerry Dipoto. I like it a lot if he can get back to his 2018 days, which I trust he will.
To be honest, I had never heard of Paul Sewald. But I did some quick research, looked up highlights, and I quickly became a fan. He is another great minor league addition by Jerry Dipoto.
Sewald is a 30-year-old right-handed reliever who has pitched for the New York Mets for four seasons now. He owns a career 5.50 ERA. Not impressive at all, but don’t dismiss him just yet.
Paul is not your Yohan Ramirez type of flamethrower, but he does have very good movement on his pitches. His go-to pitches are his fastball and slider. Sewald also throws an occasional changeup.
What I like about Sewald is his slider. Watch this video of him striking out former Seattle Mariners infielder Dee Strange-Gordon.
You might also notice an awkward motion and release point. Sewald doesn’t have the most abnormal pitching motion, but it is a little different.
That being said, I think Sewald has a chance to be another impact bullpen reliever. Again, he has to earn it because he signed a minor league contract but it is not just some throw-away signing.
Plus, his advanced metrics are not too bad. In his best season back in 2017, he was in the 79th percentile for fastball spin rate. His whiff percentage was in the 61st percentile, his xERA was in the 64th, and his xOBP was in the 71st.
It might not blow your mind, but it isn’t too bad. He has great movement on his fastball and incredible movement on his slider. I like this pick up a lot, as well.
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To be quite honest, I don’t really know what to expect from Jantzen Witte because there aren’t any advanced metrics on him because he hasn’t played in the MLB yet.
Witte is 31-years-old and has been in the Boston Red Sox organization since he was drafted in the 24th round in 2013. If he’s been around for so long, so the Red Sox must like him a little.
He has played in Triple-A since 2016 but hasn’t done enough to get the call up apparently. Witte holds a .261/.333/.370 line in his Triple-A career which is reasonable.
Witte is listed as a third baseman, first baseman, and second baseman. Who knows, maybe the change in scenery will give him the extra motivation to make his big league debut for the Seattle Mariners.
I am sure he is hungry to make the big leagues and to prove himself. That type of energy is exactly what the Seattle Mariners need to push the young guys anyway. I like it, why not give him a shot?
Let’s see what all three of these guys will do. I am excited to see.