Coming in at number 8 on my list of Top 10 Mariners players right now is the first starting pitcher on the list, Logan Gilbert. He slots ahead of Paul Sewald and Kyle Lewis because he does not have any injury history like Lewis, and he is more valuable since he is a starting pitcher. He went nearly 120 innings last year, and they sure were quality innings. He was one of the more underrated rookies last year, and he made a big mark on the 2021 Mariners.
Mariners Top 10 Players Right Now: #8 Logan Gilbert
Logan Gilbert was one of the Mariners top prospects after he was drafted in the first round in 2018. He quickly ascended and became even better than most people thought he could be. His fastball got better, and in the minors, his secondary pitches got better as well. He might have been able to make his debut in 2020 if there hadn’t been Covid, and he could have pitched in the minors. However, he was able to climb all the way to the big league level in early 2021.
When Gilbert first reached the big leagues, he pretty much could only rely on his great fastball. His fastball is not going to break a radar gun, since it sits 94-96 and touches 97 sometimes. The reason his fastball is so good is because of the leverage he gets with his long levers, extension, and that releases the ball so far out in front of him, it makes it hard for hitters to pick it up. The perceived velocity on his fastball to batters is more than what the radar gun will tell us.
The very first pitch in that video sequence is a 96 mph fastball at the top of the zone, and the hitter could not sniff it. He threw the fastball a little over 60% of the time last year, and hopefully, his other offerings develop more in 2022. We see his off-speed pitches that get lots of swings and misses when they are on. His slider, changeup, and curveball all could be average or better pitches if he can command them better.
At his best last year, Gilbert looked like a front half of the rotation starter. He came up in May and had nearly a 6 ERA in 16.2 innings, then put together two really good months in which he had a mid 3 ERA. He then really struggled in August, posting a 9 ERA. Gilbert then turned it around down the stretch and had a 2.70 ERA in the final month of the season.
If you take Gilbert’s numbers from June, July, and September, he gave up 27 runs in 79 innings, good for a sub 3.5 ERA. That is really good, and while there still were struggles in 2021, he was borderline dominant at times. Gilbert is already one of the better pitchers in the M’s rotation, and he is only going to get better. He is so smart and talented, he is going to continue to succeed. All he needs is a better command of his off-speed pitches to become a star.
Overall, Logan Gilbert is one of the Mariners most fun pitchers to watch because he is so tall and lanky, and he uses every inch of his frame to get the most out of his pitches. I fully believe in him in 2022, and I believe that he is going to be an even better player this year. I bet he has been working tirelessly in the offseason to get back to his minor league days when his secondary pitches were right up there with his fastball. He is poised to be even better and have a great 2022 season.