It doesn’t seem like that long ago that many Mariners fans were wondering if Marco Gonzales was good enough to lead the Mariners rotation. He had shown plenty of promise and had that odd veteran swag and knowledge to be a potential #1 despite not having nasty stuff. When he was on and locating, it was really hard to hit him well.
It seems longer than 18 months since we have been having that conversation, but that’s about all it has been. Now, at the end of 2022, we are faced with a different question and one that is quite dependent on his performance from this year. Is Marco Gonzales good enough to be in the Mariners rotation? That’s one that we will get to later this offseason. For now, let’s take a look and see how he did the year.
Marco Gonzales gets a grade of C- for his performance in 2022
You might think that an ERA of 4.13 isn’t worthy of a C-. If that was solely the case, then you would be correct. However, there are some other things that you need to take into consideration when you are looking at Marco.
First, he has had the “Coors Field” effect, but in the opposite of what you would see from many of their pitchers. If you aren’t familiar with what I mean, many of their pitchers would have a much higher ERA than they should, and a FIP that was a full run below the ERA. With Marco Gonzales, it has been the opposite for the last two years. In 2021, he had an ERA of 3.96 and a FIP of 5.28. This season, it was much of the same as his ERA was 4.13, but his FIP 5.05.
It’s not a good sign. Over the last two years, he has been more in line with a 5 ERA pitcher. That isn’t someone that a successful team can have, especially when they are making great strides towards discarding the negativity and failure that has followed them over the last two decades.
Marco’s WHIP was also quite bad this year, at 1.333. He had an H/9 of 9.5, and a BB rate of 2.5. The BB rate isn’t bad by any means, but you cannot put that many guys on base and still give up over a hit per inning. Especially when you strike out hitters at the lowest K/9 rate of your career, just 5.1.
This is also the worst ERA+ of Marco’s career. Each full season in Seattle, he had been above 100 (league average). This season he was 10% worse than the average pitcher, with just a 90 ERA+. He did make every start, making all 32 and throwing 183 innings. When you put it all together, you can see why, for the first time in Seattle, Marco had a negative WAR. Check out the consistency up until this year
- 2018 – 2.3 WAR
- 2019 – 2.9 WAR
- 2020 – 1.5 WAR
- 2021 – 2.2 WAR
- 2022 – -0.1 WAR
In the past, Marco’s season stats were always a bit undone by having a rough stretch. He would be a 3 ERA pitcher for most of the season, and then have a bad stretch that would push him to a 4 ERA. This year, he had 14 starts in which he gave up three runs or more, and there just weren’t that many 0-1 run outings, which is what we would see in the past.
When it comes down to it, I think we are seeing that Marco is an average pitcher. While he is normally quite consistent, it might not be good enough. He’s going to have an ERA of around 4. He isn’t quite accurate enough to confound on the mound. If the Mariners don’t bring up Hancock or Miller, then Marco will likely stay as the #5. For now, he did just enough in 2022 to prove he should get one more shot in 2023.