I think it's a sign that the Mariners bullpen is still in a pretty good place that we are able to talk about one of their relievers being snubbed in the top 15 list, and then still having a reliever at 14&15, knowing that Brash and Munoz are still to come in the list. 5 relievers that have an argument to be in the top 15 of your team can be a good thing... you know, as long as you field some major league ready hitters instead of being cheap and trying to save money.
Sorry, that's not what this article is about. I want to instead focus on Justin Topa, who is the focus of today's entry in the Mariners 2024 player rankings.
Justin Topa is #14 in the 2024 Mariners player rankings
I think this is a good time to bring you behind the scenes a bit. Although Topa and Saucedo finished just one spot apart in our final rankings, the average of their votes was much more than that. Saucedo ended up as a 16.5, and Topa ended up at 13.125. Topa nearly made it to 12, that's how close 12/13/14 ended up being.
Topa deserves to be in that conversation for top-12, as he had a really good 2023. The Mariners trusted him as a workhorse, pitching him in 75 games and 69 innings. He tallied a 2.61 ERA and 3.15 FIP, and did a great job keeping the ball on the ground. Outside of low chase rates and whiff rates, his savant numbers look terrific. xBA was inline with what actually showed, and there aren't indicators that would show regression upcoming.
With the confidence gained from being used as a workhorse and the knowledge that he can be trusted to put away MLB hitters consistently, it makes sense to see Topa in line for another good year. I could see the ERA rising a bit, but just into the low 3s. If he can continue to have success with the sinker (10 run value, a fantastic number) and the cutter (a strong 3 run value), he's going to continue to be a great reliever.
Justin Topa is definitely deserving of a spot in the Mariners top 15 for 2024. If he has a season like he did last year, he's going to be pushing top 10 heading into 2025.