Seattle Mariners right-hander Brandon Maurer was an unknown commodity heading into spring training this year. However, he has already grabbed the attention of the Mariners organization and its fans after he earned the fourth spot in the pitching rotation due to his incredible play this spring.
Maurer was one the best pitchers in the Cactus League in his six appearances this spring, posting a 0.90 ERA in 20 innings pitched.
The key to Maurer earning a spot in the rotation was gaining the favor of manager Eric Wedge, who talked highly of his young pitcher, saying, “He came in here and he took it, he had a great camp. You’re talking about a young man that has multiple plus-pitches.” Wedge told Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times.
If Maurer continues to have success in the regular season he will start to be recognized by people around the MLB as a legitimate candidate for the AL rookie of the Year.
Jurickson Profar of the Texas Rangers is obviously a candidate and so is flame-thrower Dylan Bundy of the Baltimore Orioles. Maurer has an obvious advantage over these more highly-regarded prospects, and that is the fact he will be starting the season in the MLB, instead of the minor leagues.
In 2011, RHP Jeremy Hellickson made the Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day roster and was able to make 29 starts, leading to him winning the Rookie of the Year award. Hellickson had a huge advantage over Kansas City Royals first basemen Eric Hosmer, who was probably the better player, but was not called-up until early May.
Right now, Maurer has definitely established himself as a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate and has an advantage of players starting the 2013 season in the minor leagues.