The Seattle Mariners have become one of the best organizations in baseball at developing pitching. They have developed several no-name pitchers into nasty relievers, part of a bullpen in 2021 that was one of the best in baseball. President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto has built a great staff with many different coaches and staff members to help build a whole organization that can develop great pitchers. One Free Agent they could do this again with is Kyle Crick.
Some of the success stories in the Seattle bullpen have been Paul Sewald, Kendall Graveman, and Casey Sadler, who all had huge seasons for the Mariners last year. The Mariners supplied them with mechanical, physical, and pitch changes. They have been able to turn several players into promising and good relievers who were able to be traded, such as Austin Adams and Trevor Williams.
Kyle Crick could be a diamond in the rough free agency signing for the Mariners
Kyle Crick is a reliever who spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is another career bullpen arm who has not ever had the spotlight on him. He does have a few good seasons under his belt, however. In three of his five big-league seasons, he has been above average according to ERA+.
He had a really good 2020 albeit only appearing in 7 games. He is now a free agent and he has one very appealing tool that the Mariners should see from an advanced approach.
Kyle Crick’s nastiest weapon is his slider. It has a spin rate of 3295. That was tops in the big leagues last year. This pitch has over 21 inches of horizontal break and almost two inches of vertical break. This means that the pitch moves that many inches towards Crick’s glove side, which would be away to a right-handed batter.
It also means that if the pitch starts looking like it will be down the middle to a hitter, then the pitch will end up well outside of the zone and the batter probably swung and missed.
Overall, Kyle Crick had nearly a 20% strikeout rate, which is good. He also had a 30% whiff rate on his slider, meaning that batters catch nothing but air that 30% of the time. Crick also got a majority of his outs via the ground ball last year, which would benefit him in Seattle because of the good Mariners defense headlined by J.P. Crawford. He also has about an average fastball that he uses about 40% in compliment to his 60% slider usage rate.
The one problem with Kyle Crick is that he walks too many people. He walked over 17% of batters he faced in 2021 and has only once walked less than 10% of batters faced. That is the key problem for the Mariners to fix. One potential solution would be trying to adjust his mechanics a little. The Mariners would be able to put a plan in place to work on that. They have helped Yohan Ramirez go from very wild with over a 21% walk rate in 2020, to just a 10% walk rate in 2021.
If Seattle can help Kyle Crick decrease his walks, then they could have the 2022 version of Paul Sewald. A stud back-end reliever who has a fastball-slider combination that can cause huge amounts of swings and misses. Giving Kyle Crick a chance to be in the Mariners organizations would be a huge benefit for both sides. A one year deal for the free agent to fill a bullpen role would be a massive upside play for the Mariners, and they know how to make it pay off.