2023 Mariners' Report Cards: Bryan Woo was a pleasant surprise

Injuries to the starting staff forced the Mariners' hand, but that doesn't mean it was all bad. 
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

This season was supposed to include a stacked starting staff taking the next step forward. Unfortunately, injuries to southpaws Marco Gonzales and Robbie Ray had the team leaning into their pitching depth and creating a shuttle between Arkansas and Seattle. 

Gonzales' injury was a massive blow to the team, as they were counting on his veteran leadership and ability to eat innings. His replacement, Bryan Woo, had a previous career-high 32 innings in 2022, but he was the best pitcher available in the system after they already called up Bryce Miller to replace Robbie Ray. Woo would end up hurling an uneven 131 2/3 innings between Arkansas and Seattle. 

The traditional numbers could be better (4.21 ERA - 4.36 FIP). However, the process worked. Woo used one of the lower vertical attack angles in the league to create some deception, holding opposing lineups to a .225 average. The 23-year-old also ran a 25.7% strikeout rate and an 8.7% walk rate, which could improve next year. 

Another area of improvement is attacking left-handed bats, especially when Texas and Houston have dynamic offensive players who swing it from the left side. Lefties hit .273 against Woo, launching nine homers. After a horrendous start in Texas in July, he went to his cutter more, which could be the key to maximizing his immense potential.

Bryan Woo's report card reads B, and rightfully so. The bottom line is a guy who was two years removed from Tommy John surgery, who only threw 32 innings the year prior, took the ball 18 times for a playoff contender, and didn't shrink in the moment.