Seattle Mariners: The Resurgence of Erik Bedard

Bleacher ReportContributor IIIJune 28, 2011

CLEVELAND - MAY 14: Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against  the Cleveland Indians during the game on May 14, 2011 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Mariners patience with Erik Bedard's shoulder injuries since 2008 has finally paid off as Bedard reached the 90-inning mark for the first time with the team.

The organization gave up Adam Jones to get the talented left-hander, and has yet to reap any rewards. However, Bedard's 3.0 ERA is the second best mark of his career, and he helps the Mariners round out a strong starting five. 

Despite all of the shoulder injuries Bedard has dealt with, his average fastball velocity is still 90.8 MPH and he is still able to throw his curveball close to 29 percent of the time. His 8.5 K/9 is the third-best strikeout rate of his career, however, his contact rate of 82.3 percent is the second-highest of his career. Most impressively, Bedard has recorded his best walk rate (2.60 BB/9) and first-pitch strike percentage (63.5 percent) as a major league pitcher.

Bedard's 3.26 xFIP is 17th-best among qualified major league starters, and while he has benefited from a .264 BABIP and 75.9 percent strand rate, his above 11 percent HR/FB ratio despite pitching in Safeco Park balances those numbers out.

Bedard does not rely on the ground ball like he did with the Orioles due in part to the pitcher-friendly confines of Safeco.

Injuries might rear their ugly head once again, but the Mariners have to be pleased with what he has given the organization this season. The minimal differential in his numbers this season and his career marks is the most exciting revelation for the organization. One of the biggest question marks of the season was whether Bedard would be a shadow of his former self? 

Through 90 innings Bedard has answered the bell. If the Mariners fall out of contention later over the next month and a half, he could be a valuable trade chip for Jack Zduriencik, but as for right now, the starting rotation has kept the Mariners in the race.