Predicting the Seattle Mariners’ 2014 Starting Rotation
Seattle Mariners' 2014 Starting Rotation Predictions
Despite a breakout performance from Hisashi Iwakuma, the Seattle Mariners' rotation was disappointing in 2013. They ranked 20th in the majors in ERA, and the back of their rotation struggled mightily. Aaron Harang, Joe Saunders and Brandon Maurer all posted ERAs well above five. While the Mariners' rotation remains an uncertainty, it should improve in 2014.
With Felix Hernandez and Iwakuma, the top of the Mariners' staff is excellent. Henrandez is a perennial All-Star, and he is consistently one of the best pitchers in baseball. While Iwakuma does not have the same track record as Hernandez, he was fabulous last year when he won 14 games and posted a solid 2.66 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.
After Hernandez and Iwakuma, the Mariners' rotation is filled with uncertainty. As of now, not one other starter is guaranteed a spot in the rotation. Most of the potential candidates are very inexperienced, and they have a lot to prove. Taijuan Walker, Erasmo Ramírez and James Paxton all do not have one full season of major league experience.
Even though the back of the rotation is inexperienced, they also have a lot of upside. Walker is one of MLB’s top prospects, and Ramirez and Paxton are also talented young pitchers. They also added veteran starter Scott Baker, who could also provide quality innings if healthy. These pitchers are all very talented and could all have success this season. Here is a prediction for the Mariners' starting rotation in 2014.
1. Felix Hernandez
Hernandez has made six opening day starts in his career for the Mariners, and he will get the start again in 2014. Hernandez is unquestionably the Mariners best pitcher, and he should have another strong season.
2. Hisashi Iwakuma
Iwakuma probably won’t replicate his tremendous 2013 season, but he should be in line for another solid season. It’s possible he could miss the beginning of the season with a finger injury, but fans should expect him to be an excellent No. 2 in their rotation if he can avoid missing a lot of time.
3. Taijuan Walker
Taijuan Walker is the Mariners' top prospect, and he is extremely talented. Due to his inexperience, he might not succeed right away. However, he has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter in the future.
4. Scott Baker
While Scott Baker has missed significant time due to injuries over the past few years, he is a solid starter when healthy. From 2008-2011, he excelled as a starter for the Minnesota Twins. If he can put his injuries behind him, he should be in line for a comeback season in 2014.
5. James Paxton
Paxton is going to battle Erasmo Ramirez for a spot in the rotation, and I believe Paxton will ultimately win the position. He is a talented left-hander, and he impressed during a brief stint with the Mariners at the end of the season. His fastball can reach the mid 90s, and he also has an excellent breaking ball.