Top 15 Mariners for 2023: #14 Paul Sewald, A Nice Guy with a Nasty Pitch

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After a tough time with the Mets, Paul Sewald bet on himself by taking a Minor League contract with the Mariners. The result: he became a dominant force in the Mariners pen! In an organization with much talent, he is in the top 15 and comes in at #14, according to Sodo Mojo writers.

In 2012, the New York Mets drafted Sewald in the tenth round. He made it to the big leagues in 2017. He could not pitch successfully in New York. He believed that he had greater potential than he was demonstrating. He worried that he would be sent down to the minor leagues, a concern that did not make the pitching any easier. He was on the verge of giving up on pro baseball (paywall) and doing something else.

Paul Sewald is #14 on our rankings of Mariners players for the 2023 season.

When his wife asked him what that “something else” might be, he did not know. (He studied accounting in college, which lacked the same appeal as baseball.) She encouraged him to give the sport one more year. Thank you, Molly Sewald! So, Paul Sewald took a minor league contract with the Mariners in 2021.

Paul Sewald attributes his success in Seattle to Pete Woodworth, Joel Firman, and Trent Blank who coached him about adjustments he could make to pitches he was already throwing. Sewald made the adjustments and started striking out players one after another in AAA Tacoma. He was ready for T-Mobile Park and had an amazing season in 2021.

In his first year with the Mariners, Sewald made 104 strikeouts in 64 innings as a reliever. He earned 11 saves and 16 holds. He ended the season with a WAR of 1.6, an ERA of 3.06, and a BAA of .180 for his fastball and .160 for his slider. He became a dad in August of 2021 and said being a dad has helped him as a player. On the field, he is a pitcher, but after the game, he is primarily a father.

In 2022, his BAA (Batting Average Against) was .148 over 64 innings. He struck out one-third of the batters he encountered. Sewald achieved a WAR of 1.6 and an ERA of 2.67. He also had 20 saves and 8 holds. He's posted ERA+ marks of 135 and 139 in the last two seasons, with great K rates and one of the lowest BAAs in baseball.

You and I heave a sigh of relief when Paul Sewald starts warming up and comes out onto the field. We know that he has his teammates and fans’ backs. He is a top reliever in MLB. The confidence he feels from the Mariners organization fuels his success on the mound.

Paul has gained insights from his experience after the Mets. 1. Development is not linear and 2. When experts offer advice, listen and try it out. I would add that giving your dream another chance is a third bit of wisdom.