If things fall right for the Mariners in 2023, we could see one of the nastiest bullpens that anyone in the majors has put together in a long time. Paul Sewald doesn't have nasty stuff, but he's been money the last two seasons. If Matt Brash can put it together, his stuff is disgusting. Prelander Berroa will likely show up at some point, and he's another guy with a nasty slider and 100+ mph heat. Yet, none of them have the arsenal of Andres Munoz.
This could end up being one of the best deals that Jerry Dipoto has ever swung, and that's not even including arguably the best hitter (batting average wise) on the Mariners in Ty France. If we would've gotten only Andres Munoz from the Padres in that deal, we still would've one and it wouldn't be close.
Andres Munoz was voted as #10 on the 2023 Mariners
It's crazy to me that, while Munoz throws harder than almost anyone else in baseball, that his fastball gets hammered. Seriously. Opponents hit .338 with a .500 SLG against the pitch in 2022 despite it averaging 100.2 mph. It's the slider though that is not only devastating but one of the best pitches in baseball. Opponents hit just .126 against it despite Munoz throwing it 64.6% of the time. It's almost like guys sit fastball because they know they can't touch the slider.
You know what worries me a bit? That Munoz may have been hampered a bit in 2022 due to injury, and could be even better in 2023. That's sort of scary to think about. Could the slider be even more devastating in 2023? Could the fastball be more effective? We'd go from talking about Munoz being one of the nastiest pitchers in baseball to one of the best pitchers in baseball, period.
He's not the Mariners closer, consistently coming in during the 7th or 8th inning to face the meaty part of opponents lineups. Sewald holds down the "closer" spot, but Servais has shown a willingness to pitch to matchups instead of defined roles and innings. If things go right for Munoz, he could break Edwin Diaz's record for most strikeouts in a season by a reliever. The potential is definitely there, and is going to make for a fun 2023 whenever he comes out of the pen to shut people down late.