The Seattle Mariners are having another season that is sadly below average. Is the pitching to blame?
That is a complicated question.
Certain pitchers have been fantastic, while others have struggled to be consistently effective. The tough part of being a pitcher is that sometimes the offense does not provide enough support. This is particularly true for the starters.
The offense is improved this year, but the Mariners are not yet at the point where they can count on the lineup to bail out a poor pitching performance. For the time being, the Mariners still depend on strong pitching, which is why every member of the staff is important.
With that in mind, here are the power rankings for the Seattle Mariners pitching staff in 2013.
*Statistics current through June 9, 2013.
Analysis: Farquhar hasn’t had much of an opportunity to prove his worth this season, and his outings have had very mixed results.
On May 28 and June 2, Farquhar did not surrender any hits or runs in three innings of work after surrendering six runs over the prior two appearances. Then, Farquhar gave up four runs on June 5. If Farquhar can develop some consistency and lower his hefty ERA, he might move up the rankings.
Analysis: Aaron Harang is, well, he’s Aaron Harang.
It is hard to get excited about a guy who is 2-6 with a 6.70 ERA. Few other teams would employ Harang, but the Mariners needed a stopgap veteran until some of the youngsters are ready.
Unfortunately, the hot pitching phenoms in the minor leagues are not quite ready to go, so the Mariners may be stuck with Harang for a little while longer.
Analysis: Will the real Blake Beavan please stand up?
Beavan was good enough in spring training to make the rotation, but then he had a very poor start to the year. He was moved to the bullpen and eventually sent down to Tacoma.
Now he is back, and after five weeks away he dominated the Yankees on June 6, giving up one hit over six innings of relief. If he keeps that up, he will quickly move up the charts and perhaps back into the rotation. However, if he reverts to the Beavan of earlier in the season, this may be his last opportunity with this franchise.
Analysis: Bonderman is in this spot in the rankings for one reason: his second start. If this ranking were done after his first start, Bonderman would be the easy pick for No. 12.
However, Bonderman rebounded in his second start, surrendering only three hits and one run over six innings against a very good New York Yankees team. Management is hoping that the second start is a sign of things to come.
Analysis: Saunders has been excellent at times and dreadful in other starts. All season he has been very good at home and terrible on the road.
This has culminated into a pattern where the Mariners aren’t quite sure what they are going to get. Saunders was never a long-term solution, and it would not be shocking if the Mariners tried to move him and his salary at the trade deadline.
Analysis: Medina does not necessarily get as much publicity as other pitchers, but he has been a very solid part of an effective bullpen for the Mariners. The sub-three ERA is impressive, and Medina has made the most of his opportunities. In his last 10 appearances, Medina has only given up three earned runs.
If he keeps pitching this well, he should maintain his position in the bullpen.
Analysis: Furbush is the only piece left from the poor Doug Fister trade, and he is hardly a good consolation prize considering how Fister has played since getting traded to the Detroit Tigers.
Still, Furbush has been very good for the Mariners this season, posting an impressive 1.03 WHIP and only giving up nine earned runs in 24 innings of work.
Analysis: On paper, Charlie Furbush and Yoervis Medina appear to have better statistics than Capps in several categories.
However, you have to look at what Capps has done lately.
The young flamethrower had a couple of rough appearances in April, and a couple more at the beginning of May. But Capps has only given up one earned run since May 7. In other words, one earned run in a month. During that stretch, he has lowered his ERA from 5.29 to 3.62 for the year. Not bad.
Analysis: Oliver Perez isn’t flashy. He just gets guys out.
The veteran lefty has baffled hitters and has only given up an eye-popping three earned runs in 26 appearances in 2013. If only this great performance were happening during a winning season.
Record: 0-1 (15 saves)
Analysis: Okay, so Wilhelmsen didn’t have a good outing on June 1 against the Minnesota Twins.
Other than that, “The Bartender” has been lights-out this year, maintaining a minuscule WHIP and slamming the door very effectively for Seattle. His ERA has risen of late, but after his appearance on May 26, he had an amazing 0.41 ERA for the season. If the Mariners have a lead in the ninth, fans can feel pretty confident that they will get the win.
Felix Hernandez has not been the best pitcher for the Mariners this season. That said, King Felix has been his usual dominant self. He is the ace of this staff, and he should remain in the top spot of the rotation. Hernandez is a workhorse, and he should easily lead this team in strikeouts when the season is over.
By the end of the year, no one would be surprised if the King was back on the rankings throne.
Analysis: Felix Hernandez is still the King, but Hisashi Iwakuma has been the best pitcher on the Mariners so far this season.
Iwakuma doesn’t blow away a ton of batters, but he doesn’t let them score, either. If Iwakuma can continue on this pace, he should be in the discussion for the American League Cy Young award.
Are King Felix and Iwakuma the best pitching duo in baseball? One could certainly make that argument. The only question right now is which pitcher is in the top spot. For now, it’s Iwakuma.