Mariners Spring Training: Justin Dunn & Yusei Kikuchi look different

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Justin Dunn of the Seattle Mariners looks on. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Justin Dunn of the Seattle Mariners looks on. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
Yusei Kikuchi and Marco Gonzales talk.
SEATTLE, WA – JULY 23: Yusei Kikuchi of the Seattle Mariners greets teammate Marco Gonzales in the dugout. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

The Mariners are back, well sort of… Pitchers and catchers reported to Peoria, AZ a few days ago and some of the big names threw their first bullpen sessions already. This year, things are obviously a lot different, and I feel like there isn’t as much reporting as usual.

So, we will try to do our best to work with what we have and there is no one better in the industry than Shannon Drayer.

Justin Dunn lost about 10 pounds

According to Drayer, The 25-year-old reliever apparently lost about 10 lbs this offseason.

The players were given a thorough workout plan and Scott Servais said he was very happy with how hard the guys worked at home. Justin Dunn is one of those guys.

On Dunn’s profile, he is listed at 6’2″, 185 lbs. So, he must be down to 175-180 lbs (assuming the website isn’t up to date).

According to Ryan Divish, the workout program really helped. Dunn was sitting between 93-95mph in his bullpen. Last season, he averaged a 91.2 mph fastball.

Justin Dunn needs to earn a spot during Spring Training because the Mariners rotation got even more crowded after acquiring the Big Maple. Dunn finished last season with a reasonable 4.34 ERA, 4-1 record, and 38 strikeouts.

What do I think is the key to success? Honestly, there are a lot of things. Take a look at his Baseball Savant page, spoiler alert, it’s a lot of blue.

It just seems like his stuff isn’t cutting it at the big league level. I recommend that Dunn work in a sinker/2-seam fastball, or a cutter and gradually make it a primary pitch. Where does my inspiration come from? Justus Sheffield and Yusei Kikuchi.

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Yusei Kikuchi also lost some weight

Similar to Dunn, Yusei Kikuchi apparently lost 7-10 lbs per Daniel Kramer.

Is that much of a surprise? I think most of his teammates would say not at all. Here is what Tom Murphy had to say about Kikuchi:

Yusei Kikuchi has been a disappointment thus far for Mariners fans, but he is slowly getting better, year after year. As Kramer said, Kikuchi adjusted and threw his cutter 40% of the time last season.

Although his 2020 numbers might not stand out, there were many positives in terms of advanced metrics. His xERA was significantly lower in 2020, compared to his rookie season (2020 – 3.51, 2019 – 5.40).

Additionally, his wOBA improved by nearly 70 points and his xBA improved by roughly 50 points. His barrel percentage also dropped down to 3.9% compared to his 7.7% in 2019.

Yusei Kikuchi is one of my candidates for a break-out season and for good reason.

A couple of minor Mariners updates

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We found out that James Paxton will be wearing #44 this season, and Tom Murphy said he looked great. My expectations for Paxton are high, and I am hoping he can deliver.

Marco Gonzales was also seen with a nice flow. Maybe Marco and Logan Gilbert have a competition for best hair.

Last but not least, several Mariners position players were able to get some early work in. One player to note, Mitch Haniger was back on the field for batting practice and he seems ready to go!

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