Three most underrated players in Mariners' quest for playoffs

A couple of utility infielders and former first-round pick could be instrumental during stretch run.
Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages
4 of 4

The Innings Eater: Luke Weaver

The Mariners lost Robbie Ray, Marco Gonzales, Easton McGee, and now Emerson Hancock to season-ending surgeries. Yet, they still have a top pitching staff, including two rookies on innings limits (Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo). Let that sink in; they developed 4/5 of a starting rotation internally. That doesn't happen nowadays. 

With the team managing Woo's innings down the stretch and Miller's workload, they needed an innings eater in the bullpen. Someone who could piggyback with Woo or throw multiple innings to save the bullpen. That arm is the recently claimed Luke Weaver. 

The stats, specifically earned run average, are horrendous (above 6.00 ERA). Still, the Mariners have a penchant for 'fixing' these types of guys by pitch shaping or helping them identify what works for them in what quadrant of the zone. By the looks of it, pitching coach Pete Woodworth probably told Weaver to throw his cutter more, which he obliged, throwing 38% of the time. 

Weaver also flashed a solid four-seamer with an above-average spin (2436 RPM) and a wipeout changeup. Yesterday, his first outing with the team included a 56% whiff rate on 26 pitches. If the veteran starter can continue to spell the pen and cover innings for Miller and Woo down the stretch, we are looking at a real weapon in the series leading up to the Texas Two-Step (10 games against Astros and Rangers) in late September. 

Honorable mentions include Justin Topa, Tom Murphy, a healthy Jarred Kelenic, and Sam Haggerty, the first likely September 1st call-up. Looking for an underrated player to root for down the stretch? Lock in on one these guys and enjoy the ride because September in Seattle is must-watch television.