Bob Stelton’s M’s Breakout Candidate: Logan Gilbert built for big moments

Feb 14, 2022, 12:26 PM | Updated: Feb 16, 2022, 11:02 am

Mariners Logan Gilbert...

Mariners pitcher Logan Gilbert throws in the first inning against the Oakland A's on Sept. 29, 2021. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

While one of the most anticipated seasons in Mariners history is on hold until the MLB lockout ends, we’re not letting that get in our way of breaking down why 2022 should be a big year for baseball in Seattle. Keep your eye on 710Sports.com for a series of articles looking at important topics for the Mariners. This week we’re concentrating on young players who could have a breakout year.

In this post, Bob Stelton of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob looks at starting pitcher Logan Gilbert. Find links to the other posts on breakout candidates at the bottom of the article.

I can’t wait to see what Logan Gilbert looks like after a year of consequence under his belt at the MLB level. As a 24-year-old rookie, Gilbert gave us every reason to believe he will be one of those highly-rated prospects that actually lives up to – or even exceeds – the hype.

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We could sit here and break down the stats to support my expectations of him being a breakout player this season, and there are plenty. Best strikeout rate per nine innings amongst the Mariners starters (9.7) or the whiff/swing rate on his mid-to-upper 90s four-seam fastball, just to name a couple. But what stood out to me is watching how he responded to a brutal month of starts in August.

August was by far and away Gilbert’s worst of his rookie season. In his five starts that month, the M’s lost all five games. He went past five innings in only one of those outings and had a 9.13 ERA for the month.

Coming off of that brutal August, though, what he did in September – when it mattered most with the team making an unexpected run at a postseason berth – tells you all you need to know about his talent and resolve.

In September, Gilbert posted the best month of his season. He took the hill six times, with the Mariners winning five. In only one of those games did he give up more than two earned runs, ending the month with a 2.70 ERA, 33 Ks and eight walks over 33 1/3 innings.

When the Mariners needed a 24-year-old rookie to help keep them in the race, with a fan base more invested and attentive than at any point in recent memory, he not only did his part but delivered his best month of pitching in his debut season. Watching him respond like that under that kind of pressure is why, health permitting, Logan Gilbert is my breakout player for the 2022 season.

More Mariners breakout candidates

Shannon Drayer: Why Jarred Kelenic could turn the corner in Year 2
Brandon Gustafson: Andrés Muñoz could be next lights-out reliever
Brent Stecker: Cal Raleigh’s high ceiling at catcher

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Bob Stelton’s M’s Breakout Candidate: Logan Gilbert built for big moments