Fans Should Miss - Erik Swanson
After struggling in his first two seasons at the major leagues, Swanson finally start to put things together in 2021 where he posted a 3.31 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 35 ⅓ innings. He got even better in 2022, improving to an astounding 1.68 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over 53 ⅔ innings, reducing the hard contact on his four-seam fastball by 9.4% and increasing the strikeout rate on his splitter by 9.9%. Along with Paul Sewald, Andres Munoz, and Penn Murfee, the Mariners had one of the most dangerous bullpens in 2022, a big reason why they were able to take the Houston Astros to an 18-inning game during the ALDS.
In an effort to bolster their lineup at the cost of pitching, the Mariners included Erik Swanson as the main component of a deal to bring Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle prior to the 2023 season. He took a slight step back, posting a 2.97 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 66 ⅔ innings but was still immensely effective, doing the bulk of his work in the seventh and eighth innings. He struggled quite a bit in the ninth inning, with opposing batters averaging a whopping 1.140 OPS against him across 11 innings, but I guess that's why the Blue Jays have Jordan Romano.
Swanson's role as a late inning reliever was largely replaced by Justin Topa who was almost as effective but with him now gone too, the Mariners will have to depend on their ptiching development to produce the next crop of elite bullpen arms.