Bold Predictions for Every Seattle Mariners Starting Pitcher
Spring training is fast approaching and the Seattle Mariners are ready to begin another season of baseball. Therefore, it is about time to start making some predictions about individual and team accomplishments that may occur in the upcoming season.
There is, of course, the optimistic approach that is fueled by the old baseball adage that “hope springs eternal.”
Then again, there is wisdom in being realistic about a team like the Mariners, since Seattle has hardly torn up Major League Baseball over the last few seasons.
Or, predictions can include a delicate balance of intriguing possibilities and more concrete appraisals. Specifically, how will the rotation do in 2013? Will the starting pitching again be a strength, or is it time for the offense to start pulling some weight?
Bold prediction: King Felix will win 20 games
Despite all of his greatness, Felix Hernandez has never won 20 games in a season. Granted, this is a difficult feat in the modern era of baseball, even for an ace. His closest year was 2009 when he went 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA.
In addition, Hernandez has not received great run support in recent years, as the Seattle offense has struggled to get guys around the bases.
This will be the year when the King will win 20 games. The additions of Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse combined with the shorter fences will give a boost to the Seattle offense. The Mariners will score more runs for their top pitcher, and it will result in more wins for King Felix.
Granted, Felix may be hurt a bit by those same shorter fences, but the Mariners' momentum will still carry him to 20 wins in 2013.
Bold prediction: Iwakuma will win 15 games
For a team to keep moving in the right direction, its needs a pitcher to follow the ace and maintain the momentum. With the departure of Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angeles, Seattle hopes that pitcher will be Hisashi Iwakuma.
Iwakuma signed a two-year deal in the offseason and Seattle plans on him continuing the success that he found as a starter in 2012. After starting the season as a reliever, Iwakuma became a starter in June and finished the year at 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA.
Given a full season, it seems reasonable to predict that Iwakuma could tally 15 wins for the Mariners. At 31 (32 in April), Hisashi is not a young thrower, but his veteran presence could be a great complement to Felix Hernandez as Seattle works toward relevance in the American League West.
Bold prediction: Beavan will have an ERA under 4.00
Big prediction, right? For a player like Blake Beavan, an ERA under 4.00 would actually be a sign of progress.
Over the course of two seasons, Beavan has registered ERAs of 4.27 and 4.43 while going 5-6 (2011) and 11-11 (2012). These are adequate numbers, but not exactly overwhelming in terms of effectiveness.
Beavan is 24, which means that he is still fairly young. However, he must start to show that he has the talent to be a consistent starting pitcher. To do that, he needs more strikeouts and also has to surrender fewer home runs.
The more hitter-friendly confines of Safeco Field will not necessarily help Beavan, but Seattle is looking for Blake to build on his decent season in 2012 and get that ERA down in the upcoming year.
Bold prediction: Ramirez will make the rotation
At the moment, young Erasmo Ramirez is penciled into the starting rotation of the Seattle Mariners. That said, his spot as a starter is not guaranteed, as the 22-year-old pitcher only had a handful of starts in 2012 and finished with a 1-3 record.
Still, Seattle likes how Ramirez finished the season in September, which is why he is currently in this spot. What will be interesting to see is how Ramirez pitches in the spring. In theory, the job is his to lose. However, there will certainly be some competition in camp.
As noted by Greg Johns, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik may still be shopping for a veteran pitcher to provide some additional experience in the rotation. If this happens, Erasmo may again be competing for a spot.
In the spirit of making a bold prediction, Ramirez will pitch well in Arizona and keep his position as a starter.
Bold prediction: Noesi will not make the rotation
The numbers for Hector Noesi were not good in 2012.
Noesi finished the year at 2-12 with a 5.86 ERA. His last win was May 6, and he pitched the final month of the season from the bullpen.
Why is he in the rotation? Call it a combination of circumstances. Jason Vargas is gone. There are no relievers who are appropriate starters at this point. The hot young prospects are not quite ready.
The prediction stands. Someone will take Noesi’s job by the end of spring training. There are a number of candidates.
It could be one of the top young pitchers such as Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen or James Paxton. It could be Jeremy Bonderman, who is trying to resurrect his career. Or, it could be another veteran free agent that is signed between now and the end of March.
Regardless, Noesi may not make the rotation unless he pitches very well in Arizona. It would be nice to have another bonus from the Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero trade. However, that just may not happen.