The top of the Seattle Mariners pitching rotation is set at this point in the spring. Obviously Felix Hernandez is the number one, followed by veterans Joe Saunders and Hisashi Iwakuma.
The battle for the fourth and fifth spots is between RHP’s Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer and Blake Beavan, with veterans Jon Garland and Jeremy Bonderman likely on the outside looking in. The “Big Three” of Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker have all been sent down to minor league camp and are not in contention.
Maurer has definitely earned a spot in the rotation with how well he has pitched in spring training for the Mariners. Ramirez made a very strong impression in his eight starts with the team last September, and posted a 3.36 ERA in 16 total appearances. I think Ramirez has enough upside to keep his rotation spot.
Beavan was one of the key prospects that were traded from Texas Rangers to the Mariners in return for LHP Cliff Lee in July of 2010. He has shown nothing but mediocrity in his two seasons in Seattle, posting a record of 16-17 with a 4.37 ERA in 41 starts.
He possesses a very underwhelming assortment of pitches, which have only gotten him an average of 3.9 strikeouts per nine innings, one of the lowest rates in the MLB in that time frame. Beavan has not shown any signs that he has more potential than this; I would have to say he has reached his peak, and it is not very high.
Beavan has changed his windup to look more like former teammate Doug Fister, and he has not been impressive in his four appearances this spring.
The 24-year old Beavan will need to show some drastic signs of improvement if he wants to lock down a spot in the rotation over talented arms like Ramirez and Maurer, or he could find himself being the odd man out and pitching in Triple-A.