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Felix is ours.

Updated: 2017-06-22T22:29:17-07:00


38-37: Chart



Andrew Moore proves competence, Robinson Cano proves stardom


Going 7.0 innings, 3 ER in your MLB debut: Robinson Cano (0.165 WPA) (but actually Andrew Moore)

Going 0.2 innings, 3 ER in your MLB debut: Kyle Seager (-0.147 WPA) (but actually Max Povse)

About Last Night: The Audacity of Bunting



The first spark of the rally preceded a team-wide fulfillment of expectations.

Bunting is bad. We know this. In almost every context this has been found to be true. They almost always often reduce run expectancy, require immense precision, and have extremely low upside. They also can make people on the internet very angry in certain circumstances, apparently, although that’s not what I am here to focus on today. In 45,533 plate appearances that have resulted in bunts in play since 2002, 14 have resulted in extra-base hits (all doubles). Over that entire stretch of time, the wRC+ on bunts (which doesn’t even count situations where players attempt to bunt and strike out) is 71. That’s the equivalent of putting 2017 Taylor Motter up to bat 45,553 times. Of course, that includes many pitchers who are intentionally sacrificing themselves, so when removing them the numbers begin to look favorable. In 33,323 non-pitcher bunts in play, position players have accrued a 122 wRC+ in that same time period. This is flawed as a measurement for a couple reasons, of course, namely that this does not account for the many bunt attempts that fail and result in 0-2 counts for hitters. Still, for a speedy player who is practiced at bunting, there is a space to carve out success.

Jarrod Dyson was brought to Seattle to bunt. The fastest man in the Major Leagues this side of Cincinnati has bunted 124 times in his career. Subtracting the 31 sacrifice hits he’s had, Dyson is hitting .419 on bunts put in play, and has a 126 wRC+ on them. Since Dyson entered the league in 2010, only 16 players have had over 100 plate appearances where they put a bunt in play, and as you might imagine they are among the fastest players in baseball. Leonys Martín, Dee Gordon, Brett Gardner, and Juan Pierre are among the players listed, and Dyson fits right in. Bunting for hit is a dodgy strategy in general, but when Jarrod gets a bunt down, he is more likely to get a hit than 1941 Ted Williams. He knows what he does well and in the bottom of the sixth inning last night he began a sequence of players doing their jobs that has been nearly impossible throughout the first couple months of the season.

The Mariners impending starting rotation crunch


The Mariners starting rotation is getting healthier. That means some difficult decisions are on the horizon. Update: An hour after publication, the Mariners called up Andrew Moore and optioned Christian Bergman to Triple-A. John and Kate have a wonderful write up on Moore you should definitely read. Every major league team dips into their starting pitching depth at some point during the season. The current environment of the game doesn’t exactly promote pitcher longevity. In the American League, the Indians have used the fewest number of starters this year—just seven. The Mariners have used twelve different starting pitchers this season, the most of any team in the majors by a wide margin. That’s far more than anyone could have reasonably predicted just three months into the year. After sifting through so many starters (remember Ryan Weber and Chris Heston?), Christian Bergman and Sam Gaviglio have emerged as the stopgap options that have stuck in the rotation. For better or worse, those two pitchers have compiled 15 starts for the Mariners this year and both have performed admirably. Even Ariel Miranda, the pitcher who has accumulated the most innings for the Mariners this season, wasn’t supposed to be part of the rotation to begin the year. With Felix Hernandez returning from the disabled list on Friday and Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly following soon thereafter, the Mariners face some difficult decisions about who to keep in the rotation. Below you’ll find a table listing the current rotation plus Felix and Iwakuma and their performances to-date. That is not an inspiring group of pitchers. James Paxton is the only one with a FIP under 4.00 and there are only two pitchers who have an ERA under 4.00 (though Miranda is close to that threshold). It’s a minor miracle the Mariners have somehow managed to stick around .500 this season. Felix’s adjustments he showed off in his five starts were pretty encouraging. He only allowed three walks and was probably a little unlucky to post such a high ERA (his BABIP was an outrageous .388). He’s a big part of the heart and soul of this team and he should be a valuable piece moving forward. With the current rotation in mind, I want to try and figure out what the Mariners should do as each starter comes off the disabled list. Who does Felix Hernandez replace? After three rehab starts in Tacoma, Felix Hernandez is set to come off the disabled list on Friday. That day is Christian Bergman’s slot in the rotation though the team has said that both Bergman and Gaviglio are possibilities to start on Saturday. We also know that whoever doesn’t make the start on Saturday will be sent back to Triple-A to stay stretched out as a starter. Both pitchers have posted remarkably similar peripherals, with Gaviglio keeping the ball on the ground far more often than Bergman. They’ve both been very good while pitching at home, with ERAs under 2.00 inside Safeco. The Mariners have gone 4-4 in Bergman’s eight starts and 6-1 in Gaviglio’s seven starts. Gaviglio has been the beneficiary of some excellent run support but he’s also managed to avoid the explosive starts we’ve seen from Bergman. But if you ignore Bergman’s two disaster starts, he’s actually been pretty consistent. In his six other starts, he’s allowed just nine runs and has looked rather competent. When it comes down it to it, there’s very little separating these two pitchers. I think Bergman stays with the team while Gaviglio is sent back to Triple-A. What do you think? Who does Hisashi Iwakuma replace? The easy answer is Christian Bergman. He has one option year remaining (since he was signed to a minor league contract, the team technically hasn’t used up an option year yet), so he can be easily sent down to Triple-A without exposing him to waivers. However, Hisashi Iwakuma’s beginning to this season was scary. The 36 year-old had a career low strikeout rate of 4.65, while running a career high walk rate of 3.48. Additionally, his a[...]