Paul Sewald is another one of the Mariners pitchers that I was looking forward to writing about once the season was over. The Mariners made the playoffs, had an incredible series against the Jays, and faltered at crucial points against the Astros. Whether you think it was the right call or not, whether you think he was getting hit hard or not, Paul Sewald is involved in one of those Astros conversations, and it seems to sour some people on their final thoughts of him.
I think Servais should’ve left him in. He hit a guy on what would’ve been ball four, then gave up a bloop single on a good pitch. He was one of our best relievers and was throwing well. I trusted him worlds more than bringing in Robbie Ray to throw in relief. What about the rest of the season? How do we grade what he did throughout the 2022 season?
I give Paul Sewald an A on the season for the Mariners
It comes with a huge caveat, and we will hopefully bring it up again before the start of the season. He was lucky this year and is due for a regression. You look at his stats, and nearly all of them look great. 2.67 ERA, 20 Saves, 139 ERA+, 0.766 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 10.1 K/9, 1.6 WAR.
There are a couple that stand out, and one that really worries me. His FIP was much higher than his ERA, at 3.88 compared to 2.67. A big part of that stems from his incredible luck on BABIP. The league average is .295. Sewald’s BABIP against this year? .159.
That isn’t a number you can ever feel confident about a pitcher replicating. Sure, when a guy is nasty, he is going to induce a lot of weaker contact. You could see a BABIP against of .250-.260 and totally understand and expect to see it duplicated. .159 though? That’s just not reasonable.
That’s a next-year problem, though. I’m talking about this year right now. Everything he did this year was great, and he was a veteran presence in the Mariners bullpen, leading the way for them and tallying 20 Saves. He would appear in 65 games, giving up multiple runs in just six appearances. More impressively, he had scoreless outings 53 times.
I loved what Paul Sewald brought to the Mariners this year, and would love to see him repeat it in 2023. I’m a little worried, but for now, am basking in his excellent 2022 season.