I've been going through a bunch of these STEAMER projections to try and see how accurate I think they are, and decided it's time to switch things up a bit. Most of them have been straight forward so far. Looking at hitters or the top 4 SP are easy. You know how much they are likely going to play. It's that 5th spot for the Mariners though that is hard to lock down. It's why I'm combining Marco Gonzales and Chris Flexen for this.
Heading into the 2023 season, we don't really know who the 5th starter is going to be. Many think that it is going to be Marco Gonzales. Whether that is a contract thing, a performance thing, or the fact that Flexen may be traded, Marco was the overwhelming choice. It looks like Fangraphs agrees as well.
Marco - 167 IP, 29 GS, 0.5 fWAR, 4.62 ERA, 4.78 FIP, 1.353 WHIP
Flexen - 100 IP, 8 GS, 62 games, 0.2 fWAR, 4.27 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 1.30 WHIP
Marco has had a bad FIP over the last two seasons (5.28 and 5.05). Flexen, on the other hand, has a 3.89 and 4.49. Flexen also pitched quite well once he got to the bullpen last season, putting up an ERA of 1.62 in 11 appearances and 16.2 IP.
I think the Marco one is actually pretty accurate. He's been "lucky" for the last two years and hasn't been as accurate or dominant on the mound. He can still eat innings, but I don't know if an ERA in the high-mid 4s is good enough for this team anymore. Flexen, unless something else happens, should likely be the choice. Until one of the youngsters is ready, at least.
It's why I think STEAMER is right about Marco. If he throws that much, he is going to put up numbers like that. Flexen would be the long relief/spot-start guy, but I think he would do better than a 4.27 ERA. It's still up in the air about who is going to start, and it will be one of the most intriguing Spring Training questions for the Mariners this year.