The Mariners reduced the Spring Training roster to 33 players Friday night and the biggest news was Jarred Kelenic being re-assigned to minor league camp. But, personally, it was not much of a surprise. The biggest surprise among the roster moves was optioning left-handed reliever, Aaron Fletcher.
The M’s sent Aaron Fletcher, Ljay Newsome, and Braden Bishop to the alternate training site which will be held at T-Mobile Park, not Cheney Stadium.
Aaron Fletcher in Mariners Spring Training
The 18th ranked Seattle prospect threw 6.2 innings in Arizona and only allowed one run. Fletcher allowed eight hits and just two walks while striking out 12 batters. These numbers come out to a 1.35 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and .286 opposing batting average.
The University of Houston product is among a select group of pitchers who posted a sub-2.00 ERA with at least 5.0 innings pitched. Anthony Misiewicz is the only other Seattle Mariners reliever with a better ERA than Fletcher who pitched at least 5.0 innings.
Fletcher also ranked in the top-5 for most strikeouts on the M’s Spring Training roster, only behind Justin Dunn, Chris Flexen, Nick Margevicius, and Casey Sadler. But, these four pitchers have thrown more frequently than the left-hander, so his K/9 is right at the top.
It was my expectation that Aaron Fletcher would be on the Mariners Opening Day roster
Seattle has a very right-handed heavy bullpen and I thought Aaron Fletcher would be the perfect compliment to the second left-handed arm out of the pen, Anthony Misiewicz. But, I guess the Mariners staff see something in him that requires more work in the alternate training site because, for me, he clearly outperformed the competition.
The competition includes; 1) Keynan Middleton who has an unimpressive 11.57 ERA this Spring, and 2) Will Vest who has a 6.52 ERA (he is a Rule 5 Draft pick so must be on the 26-man roster).
Granted, Fletcher is still 25-years-old and maybe the front office wants to give the older guys a chance first. Although we might not see very much of Aaron Fletcher this season, I think he has the chance to be a very important arm for the M’s moving forward.