Seattle Mariners Opening Day Countdown: 74 Ljay Newsome

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 27: Ljay Newsome of the Seattle Mariners pitches. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 27: Ljay Newsome of the Seattle Mariners pitches. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
Ljay Newsome of the Seattle Mariners warms up.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JULY 13: Ljay Newsome of the Seattle Mariners warms up prior. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

We are counting down the days until Seattle Mariners opening day, and we are now at day 74. To celebrate, let’s talk about #74 of the Mariners.

Ljay Newsome is a 24-year-old pitcher, who is 5’11” and 210 lbs. Newsome was a part of the 2015 Mariners draft class and was selected very late in the draft (26th round).

The Maryland native is entering his second season with the big league team and will maintain his rookie status for the 2021 season.

In a previous Sodo Mojo article, Newsome was thought to be a quality minor league pitcher and nothing more. But, he has become a legitimate big-league pitcher.

In 2019, he was throwing 84mph and then jumped up to 88-92mpg after attending “Gas Camp” in the winter. In his first big league season, he averaged a 91.4mph fastball.

Newsome started four games and one relief appearance in 2020. In the 15.2 innings pitched, Ljay posted a 5.17 ERA and struck out nine batters.

His fielding independent pitching (FIP) was 5.74, and his ERA+ was 83. Not all that impressive if you compare it to Marco Gonzales’ 3.32 FIP and 136 ERA+.

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There is hope for Ljay Newsome and the Seattle Mariners

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On the bright side, the 24th ranked Mariners prospect is still very young. Newsome is a strike-thrower, to say the least. During his minor league career, his walk per nine innings was 1.1. His strikeouts per nine innings was also pretty good, sitting at 8.5.

Newsome’s ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes, which sounds a lot like Marco right? Ljay won’t blow anybody away with his average fastball but if he can control the strike zone as he did in the minor leagues, it could go a long way.

Luckily for Newsome, the Mariners will go with a six-man starting rotation again in 2021, which allows him an extra spot to fight for. Newsome will certainly have to earn a spot in the backend of the rotation because the Seattle Mariners have some depth.

I think Newsome’s biggest competition is Nick Margevicius and Logan Gilbert (later in the season). So, it will be interesting to see if Ljay Newsome can make some adjustments and improve on his lackluster 2020.

Fans, including myself, have left Ljay out of the conversations regarding the Seattle Mariners’ future. But he has a great opportunity in 2021 to prove that he deserves to remain a Mariners player for the next couple of years.

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