Mariners Report Cards: Grading the 2021 season for Logan Gilbert

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 02: Julio Rodríguez, a prospect with the Seattle Mariners, greets Logan Gilbert #36 of the Seattle Mariners before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 02: Julio Rodríguez, a prospect with the Seattle Mariners, greets Logan Gilbert #36 of the Seattle Mariners before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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There’s just something about Logan Gilbert that inherently makes me want to like the guy and see him succeed. Part of it could be the height, long hair, and lanky appearance. I was a 6’6” long-haired lanky dude who threw in high school, so I’ve always trended towards liking players like that.

I’ll try and keep any over-the-top bias out of my grade for Gilbert, but it’s gonna be tough.

It was far from a flawless year for Logan Gilbert, but he still had a great season.

When I look at how he performed this year, it sort of reminds me of how a lot of people handle a college class. You stumble in, not really sure what’s going on (whether from inexperience, nervousness, or some other reason), and the first week is tough. You figure it out after that, and succeed for a while, stumbling near the end. You hammer down for the final, and end up passing the class with a good grade.

That’s how the year went for Logan Gilbert. His first couple of starts weren’t great, but he figured it out soon after that. That lasted all the way until August when he truly stumbled. His ERA in August was an atrocious number. It can be tough to parse out how a season went just seeing the overall ERA, so here are the four segments I’m breaking it down into for his ERA and FIP.

  • First two starts: 9.45/5.87
  • Starts 3-13: 3.40/2.94
  • Starts 14-18 (August): 9.13/5.20
  • Starts 19-24: 2.70/3.59

Those first two starts, you can throw those out. Yes, some players come out firing, but it was a stumble out of the gate for Gilbert. He quickly turned it around, chipping away at his ERA until August. Unfortunately, it rose from 4.14 to 5.44 that month. With that strong September finish, he got it down to a much more respectable 4.68, and a great 3.73 FIP.

Is that ERA number great? No, it isn’t. However, Gilbert was a rookie, and just 24 years old. It’s a bit of picking and choosing, but outside of his worst four starts, it drops it down to a 3.42. That number seems a bit low, but I think that his FIP is the number that we should be focusing on.

For the majority of the season, Gilbert was a darn good pitcher. That 3.73 number is just over half a run better than the league average, which was 4.27. To me, I do think Gilbert, when everything is weighed together, was a bit better than the league average pitcher.

Guess what, that’s exactly what we should have hoped for from him this season. Getting his feet wet, facing trouble as well as finding success. It puts him in a great position for 2022, and he can be a welcome guide to the next pitchers that come up, whether it’s Kirby, Hancock, Williamson, Brash, or someone else.

I do like that Gilbert saw a slight increase as the year went on in his pitch velocity, showing that he wasn’t getting tired as the year progressed. His slider dipped a bit in horizontal movement though, while his curveball increased. This will be interesting to watch next year to see if a similar break is harmful or helpful. Side note… all his pitches saw increased vertical break as the season progressed.

A pitcher’s sophomore season is always fun to watch. Hitters now have film on them, so they have a better idea of what to expect. At the same time, Logan Gilbert will have a better understanding of what to expect from a major league start and a full offseason of knowing that he’s an MLB pitcher. We will get to predictions much later in the offseason, but things are looking great for Gilbert.

When it comes to a grade, I’m quite happy with how Gilbert did this year. If not for the month of August, he might have made a push for being in the ROY conversation. Even with the rough month, I still like what I saw from Gilbert.

That’s why I’m giving Logan Gilbert a B+ on the season. So close to an A-, but I just couldn’t bump him there with an entire rough month.

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