The Mariners have a pretty strong group of four in their pitching rotation. Between Robbie Ray, Marco Gonzales, Chris Flexen, and Logan Gilbert, fans can feel pretty good knowing that a solid start is likely underway. When it comes to fantasy baseball though, it’s actually the two newest Mariners that we should be looking at.
Although Logan Gilbert is likely the 4th starter in the rotation, he’s the clear #2 when it comes to fantasy baseball. Strikeouts play a large part in the rankings, and it’s why Gilbert jumps up so high.
Logan Gilbert is a sneaky good grab for fantasy baseball in 2022
Now that the Mariners are going to have Gilbert for the entire year, his fantasy ranking instantly jumps up. I’m not going to get into health projections for pitchers, as it’s a fine line to walk. There are always injuries lurking for pitchers more so than any other position. So, I’m projecting a full season for Gilbert.
That means he is going to make about 32 starts. In 2021, he made 24 starts after getting the call-up in mid-May. For my projections, I’m throwing out the first three, as they were still watching his pitch count very close and limiting his innings. That means he made 21 starts in which he threw 108.2 innings, for an average of 5.175 innings per start.
I think we can easily expect Gilbert to average about 5.5 innings this year per start, putting him up to 176 innings. That’s a big difference from last year, and even if he has the same WHIP and ERA, the chance for a few more wins and a lot more strikeouts pushes his value ahead by a large amount.
If he can get to that innings total, Gilbert is going to push for 200 Ks. With last year’s 9.7 K/9 number, it would put him at 190 Ks. Saying that he finds 10 more and bumps that K/9 rate up to about 10.23 isn’t a massive jump.
The Mariners are supposed to be decent, especially after trading for Winker, Suarez, and then adding Frazier in a separate deal before the lockout. Gilbert could end up with a Win total of around 10-14, and it wouldn’t be a surprise.
I do think the ERA drops a bit. It was 4.68 last year, but his FIP was 3.73, his WHIP was 1.173, and his BABIP against was a few points off league average at .295. Seeing an ERA right around 4.00, with a WHIP in the same range seems reasonable.
So, where does that put Gilbert? Well, taking a look at last year’s rankings, I see a fairly good comparison. Nathan Eovaldi finished 162nd (at least in our Yahoo league that’s pretty standard), with a 3.82 ERA, 195 Ks, 11 W, and a 1.18 WHIP. That’s also about 42nd overall for pitchers.
To get much higher, Gilbert would need a significant drop in ERA, a lot more wins, or a lot more strikeouts. Sure, hoping he does it is one thing. I would love to see him come out and average 6 innings a start, strikeout 10.5 per game, and have an ERA of 3.30 with a WHIP of 1.05. That would be 224 Ks and put him into the top 15-20 range, somewhere near Joe Musgrove.
I just don’t think it’s reasonable to project all of that… yet. I could see it in 2023 as he gains experience.
For 2022 though, you definitely need to have him on your radar. Take him in the high 30’s range for Starting Pitchers. Even in a ten-team league, that makes him a guaranteed guy that you want, and he could easily be your 3rd pitcher. Watch for players like Eduardo Rogriguez, Pablo Lopez, and Blake Snell, and you’ll know you’re in the same range.
Logan Gilbert is primed for a big leap in his career, and anyone who takes him in fantasy is going to be able to reap the benefits of what should end up being a sneaky good fantasy baseball season for Gilbert and the Mariners.