Starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma was one of the lone bright spots for a Seattle Mariners team that had another disappointing season in 2013. At this point, the Mariners are hoping Iwakuma will be able to build on his success in 2014, the same way he did during his second year in Major League Baseball.
Iwakuma put forth a dominant performance in his rookie season in 2012. The fact that he was able to improve in every single part of his game this year certainly impressed the organization. It is clear that the sky is the limit for the right-hander going forward as long as he remains focused.
It definitely will not be easy to improve on a 14-6 record, 2.66 earned run average, 185 strikeouts and a whopping 7.0 wins above replacement. With that being said, the 32-year-old has the necessary motivation and work ethic that gives the Mariners confidence that they can see far better performances in the ensuing years.
“He’s a guy that is extremely smart and knows what he wants to do, so that speaks enough for itself,” catcher Mike Zunino said, according to Mariners.com
“His planning and game planning is just so advanced that he’s going into games knowing exactly what he wants to do and he’s executing that,” Zunino added. “There’s really no hiccup in the whole process. He’s able to go out and pitch his game and nothing has slowed him down.”
It will be exciting to see how much Iwakuma can raise his level of play in his third year in the league. Obviously, if Seattle wants any chance of reaching the playoffs they will need more starters to get to the level of Felix Hernandez. Thankfully, Iwakuma appears to be well on his way.