53 Days until Mariners Opening Day! Previewing #53 Will Vest
With 53 days left till Seattle Mariners Opening Day, let’s take a look at the new #53, Will Vest. He was a member of the Detroit Tigers and was drafted in 2017 in the 12th round. Vest attended Stephen F. Austin State University, a pretty small university in Texas.
Since joining the Tigers organization, he has been a decent reliever. Over three minor league seasons, the 25-year-old posted a 3.88 ERA. He failed to be consistent across the different levels he pitched in, but also showed glimpses of excellence.
Vest has pretty good stuff which is exactly why the Mariners selected him. He has a mid to high 90s fastball with good movement and a hard slider.
What can Mariners fans expect from Will Vest?
Lee wrote a great article on Will Vest right after we selected him. He perfectly fits what Jerry Dipoto is trying to do this offseason. The hope is he turns into another Yohan Ramirez, a player that still has a lot to prove but has the potential to be a long-term asset.
Vest has all the tools for a top-tier reliever in the MLB, but the question is whether he can limit the walks. His walk rate isn’t terrible, but if he wants to make an impact, he needs to do a better job at controlling the strike zone.
In the minors, he averaged 2.8 walks per nine innings. When he struggled, his walk rate was even higher. For example, when he pitched in Double-A in 2019, Vest pitched in 20 games and posted a 5.33 ERA. During that stint, his walk per nine innings was 3.0.
The good news, his strikeout rate has remained consistently high. He roughly averages a strikeout per inning.
With all that being said, I like the strategy Jerry Dipoto is taking. He is trying to find “cheap” ways to bolster the shaky Mariners bullpen from last season. A Rule 5 Draft pick is a great way to do it, and it worked to some degree last season with Yohan Ramirez.
Let’s hope Will Vest can play well in his first season in the MLB and solidify himself as a staple in the Seattle pen.