2017-02-21T14:00:02-08:00Evan Scribner runs everywhere. He does not walk. When profiling a pitcher, the depth of analysis someone can perform is nearly endless. But if you want to boil down the quality of a pitcher to the most basic level, all you need to understand are their strikeout and walk rates. With those two stats, you’ll know enough to form a generally well-informed opinion about their quality. With that in mind, the major league leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio over the last three years is none other than Evan Scribner (min. 80 IP). Since 2014, Scribner has struck out 15 batters for every walk he’s allowed. The second highest strikeout-to-walk ratio over that period of time is Clayton Kershaw’s 8.5 K/BB. Scribner’s lead over Kershaw isn’t even close. Of course, comparing these two pitchers is a little unfair —one’s a reliever and the other is the best pitcher on the planet — but the stats are interesting nonetheless. In terms of raw numbers, Scribner has walked just 1.8% of the 334 batters he’s faced since 2014. That’s just six batters total. He’s been able to strikeout a little more than a batter per inning but his outrageous strikeout-to-walk ratio is mainly driven by his extreme aversion to allowing walks. As an interesting exercise, I went back through the game logs for those six walks, just to see what in the world caused Scribner to allow a walk. April 15, 2015 – Scribner allows a seven-pitch walk to Jason Castro. He fell behind 2-0 before working a full count and then lost him on a fastball in the dirt. This was the first walk he had given up since September 2013. Also of note, Luis Valbuena hit a homer off Scribner earlier in the inning. May 1, 2015 – Scribner walks Carlos Peguero (!) on five pitches. The first three balls aren’t particularly close to the zone and the fourth is just below the knee. June 12, 2015 – After allowing two home runs earlier in the inning, Scribner walks Johnny Giavotella on six pitches. None of the four balls were close and he was removed from the game after the at-bat. July 8, 2015 – Scribner walks Chris Young on four pitches. This walk came right after Mark Teixeira took Scribner deep on a 1-2 pitch. It’s likely his nerves were a little shaken after that. September 11, 2016 – In the seventh inning of a tie game, Scribner intentionally walks Yonder Alonso after allowing a triple in the previous at-bat. He would induce the inning-ending double play on the first pitch of the next at-bat. September 19, 2016 – With two outs in the inning, Scribner faced Jose Bautista with a runner on first. On the second pitch of the at-bat, the runner stole second. With first base open, Scribner pitched around Bautista for an unintentional intentional walk. Two of the six walks were intentional (assuming he was working around Bautista). One was against a batter who was four times more likely to strikeout than take a walk. The remaining three came during an inning where he had previously given up a home run. And therein lies the rub with Scribner, he’s particularly home run prone. With a batted ball profile that skews heavily towards fly balls, it’s no surprise some of them leave the yard. In addition, his walk-averse pitching style requires pitching in the zone more often which also contributes to the loud contact he allows. Despite these two factors, it’s unlikely that he’ll continue to run a home run per fly ball rate over 20%. With his excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio and homer-prone profile, Scribner would be best used in relief to start an inning. His extremely low walk rate helps him avoid rallies and any home runs he allows would most likely be solo shots. He’ll most likely work with Nick Vincent as the seventh inning man out of the pen and could find himself as the primary setup man if Steve Cishek falters. [...]
Will O’Malley’s steady performance snag him the M’s utility position in 2017?
Since being called up from Tacoma in September of 2015, Shawn O’Malley has appeared in 113 games and recorded 289 PA for the Seattle Mariners. Over that period his triple slash line is .234/.322/.325, good for a wRC+ of 84. These offensive numbers are far from world beating... but for a utility man who can field several positions? That seems pretty okay. (Recall that Ketel Marte posted a wRC+ of 66 in 466 PA with sometimes sketchy defense in 2016. Blech!)
Also, Shawn O’Malley was one of just two MLB players who made five or more appearances at RF, CF, LF, 3B, SS, and 2B in 2016. (Sean Rodriguez was the other.) Shawn certainly isn’t the best fielder at all of these positions, but his defensive performance tends to be far from cringe-inducing. There is a not small amount of value in having a player that is this flexible.
In addition to being a reliable backup, Shawn also recorded some pretty fun/spectacular plays last year. Like this one:
This is hardly a surprise. While General Manager Jerry Dipoto added an abundance of pitching depth in Chris Heston, Rob Whalen, Dillon Overton, and Ryan Weber, amongst others, Miranda is still arguably the most intriguing option in the immediate future if someone from the Mariners rotation were to suffer an injury.
Miranda made 10 starts for the Mariners last season, posting a 5.19 xFIP and 5.31 FIP over 55.0 innings pitched. He managed to outperform his peripherals fairly drastically throughout the season, however, finishing with a 3.44 ERA over the course of those starts.
The one downside of this decision is that any sort of look at how Miranda performs as a reliever–if there is any sort of look at all–will likely be incredibly brief. In his one relief appearance with the Mariners–a one-inning outing during a 15-inning game against the Detroit Tigers in early August–most of his pitches were up a tick or two from where they sat during his starts. With the competition for the two potential left-handed reliever spots in the bullpen consisting of Marc Rzepczynski–who should have a spot locked down–and a lot of question-carrying youngsters, it would’ve been interesting to get a good, long look at how Miranda operates in short stints.
Regardless, it appears Miranda is being set up to take over a Mike Montgomery/Vidal Nuno-esque lefty swingman role in 2017, a role the Mariners will have plenty need for over the course of their long, 162-game season.