Each year, the folks at Sodo Mojo get together and do player rankings for the Mariners, looking at the upcoming roster and voting on where we think the players should be ranked. We average it all out and then come out with articles on each player. Dipoto and crew sure don't make it easy, as we've had to redo our list multiple times already, and once more after the Jarred Kelenic deal. For now, we have Tayler Saucedo sitting at #15 heading into the 2024 season.
Tayler Saucedo is #15 in this years Mariners rankings
This was the one that was most up in the year and adjusted a few times as votes came in. Saucedo edged out Jose Caballero, Gabe Speier, Luis Urias, and Dylan Moore for the final spot, with it being close the entire way. It may surprise some that Saucedo edged out Speier, but Saucedo did look good in 2023 and was deserving of a top spot.
Personally, it's his ability to limit hard contact that stands out, and will be the biggest factor of his to watch heading into 2024. Average exit velo in baseball is 88.2 mph, and Saucedo limited opponents to just 84.5 mph EV, with a 32.3% hard hit rate compared to the league average of 38.9%. It helps when you are a groundball machine, inducing a 55.6% groundball rate as opposed to the league average of 42.6%. Having a quartet of numbers like that is a great formula for success.
He even fell just on the unlucky side of BABIP as well, 7 points above league average. Nothing major, but I always wonder if a player is going to have a special year at some point if they can post peripherals like Saucedo did and get a lucky year of BABIP at the same time. He had a 3.59 ERA and 3.82 FIP last season. Is it that wild to predict a "lucky" season at some point with a 2.80 ERA?
If he can repeat, or keep in line with, what he did in 2023, that's a massive piece for the Mariners to have in their pen this coming season as the bullpen currently looks shorter than it has in a long time. To have Saucedo and Speier as your 4th and 5th bullpen pieces isn't a terrible place to be at all.
It was his first full season in the majors, throwing just 2.2 innings in 2022, although he threw 25.2 his rookie year in 29 games. He nearly doubled that last year, seeing 52 appearances for the Mariners while throwing 47.2 innings. I don't see why we wouldn't see another good season from him, as his 2021 FIP was good as well, coming in at 3.60.
Tayler Saucedo was a quiet and reliable piece last year for the Mariners, and earns his spot on the 2024 rankings, kicking things off as the #15 ranked Mariners player heading into the upcoming season.