There are now just 35 days until Mariners Opening Day! So, let’s look at Seattle’s current number 35 and probable 6th man in the rotation Justin Dunn.
Justin Dunn came to Seattle in the famous Mariners/Mets trade in the offseason of 2018. At the time Dunn looked like he could be the centerpiece of the return that the Mariners got, as he was the second-highest-ranked pitching prospect in the Mariners system (Behind Justus Sheffield) and was more MLB ready than Kelenic. However, Kelenic has totally taken that from Dunn as he is now a top 5 prospect for all of the MLB.
Dunn has performed well so far in his major league career. In two short seasons of work due to being a September callup and the COVID pandemic, Dunn has a 4.13 ERA in 14 games started and had two 6 inning shutouts in August last year.
However, those numbers may be deceiving as when you get into the deeper analytics with Dunn it’s not pretty. He has a horrible Baseball Savant page that has his best statistic as xBA, where he is only in the 44th percentile compared to other MLB pitchers. He also is in the 11th percentile for both xERA and xwOBA and has a 91 mph (Which lost over 1 mph of speed from 2019 to 2020) that has a below-average spin rate.
Dunn is headed into a competition this spring with Nick Margevicius to win the sixth spot in the Mariners unorthodox six-man rotation, as the first five spots in the rotation are all locked up due to the recent signing of James Paxton. But it is looking good for Justin as It has already been reported that Dunn is now throwing 93-95 in his first few bullpen sessions and he lost 10 pounds, which are good signs for Dunn winning that sixth spot.