Seattle Mariners: Projecting the 2018 Starting Rotation
1. Félix Hernandez
2. James Paxton
3. Mike Leake
The Seattle Mariners acquired Leake from the Cardinals right before the start of September. He made five starts with the team and was 3-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 32 innings. The strong finish capped off a solid bounce-back season for Leake. After posting career-worst numbers across the board in 2016, Leake finished 2017 with a 10-13 record, 3.92 ERA, and 1.28 WHIP. He also struck out 130 batters and posted a career-best 8.4 percent swing-and-miss rate. Leake could prove to be one of the biggest pieces of the Mariners’ rotation in 2018.
4. Erasmo Ramirez
After two and a half seasons with the Rays, the Seattle Mariners reacquired their 2007 signee, Erasmo Ramirez. While he was predominately used as a reliever with the Rays, Ramirez finished the season starting games for Seattle. He re-joined Seattle around the All-Star break and went on to make 11 starts with the team. He proved he was capable of being a regular starter. Over 62 innings, Ramirez posted a 3.92 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a 54:15 K:BB ratio. It’s possible the Mariners could use Ramirez out of the bullpen but they’ve made it pretty clear that they view him as a starter.
5. Ariel Miranda
The fifth and final spot of the rotation will be a toss-up that likely won’t be decided until the end of spring training. The way I see it, the lefty Ariel Miranda will take the final spot. Miranda surprised the Mariners by not only cracking the Opening Day roster last year but going on to pitch 160 innings with the team. His 5.12 ERA isn’t pretty but Miranda had plenty to offer in his first full season. He struck out 137 batters and posted an impressive 10.8 percent swing-and-miss rate.
It’s possible the Seattle Mariners use a six-man rotation for parts of 2018. With guys like Miranda, Andrew Moore, and Marco Gonzales, a six-man rotation could be beneficial. It’s also possible that these three guys all spend time between Seattle and Tacoma.Follow @Ryhhno