Logan Gilbert has Mariners analyst’s attention after impressive ’22 debut

Apr 13, 2022, 12:17 PM
Mariners Logan Gilbert...
Mariners pitcher Logan Gilbert throws during the first inning against the Twins last Saturday. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
(AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

If you’re trying to figure out which Mariners pitcher had the most impressive first turn through the rotation, there is no shortage of options to consider.

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On opening day, reigning American League Cy Young Award Robbie Ray was as advertised in his first Mariners outing, striking out five over seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball.

Most recently, rookie Matt Brash showcased his otherworldly stuff on Tuesday, striking out six and allowing just five baserunners over 5 1/3 innings in his MLB debut.

But maybe the best overall outing yet was by second-year right-hander Logan Gilbert last Saturday. Despite some struggles in the first two frames against the Twins, the lanky 24 year old rebounded to finish five innings, striking out seven and allowing just one run on three hits and a walk.

Gilbert’s outing caught the attention of ROOT Sports Mariners color commentator Mike Blowers, and the way he turned around after Minnesota drove up his pitch count early was the biggest reason.

“I thought Logan’s outing was really impressive,” said Blowers, a former MLB third baseman, during his weekly Tuesday conversation with Seattle Sports Station 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob. “I mean, you’re looking at a kid that was 95 to 97 (mph), he was fastball-heavy early – I knew that he was going to have to mix in some of his offspeed stuff because those guys were starting to square up his fastball.”

Gilbert had trouble commanding anything other than his stellar fastball in 2021, but while his slider was his main secondary option last year, he was able to utilize more on Saturday.

“In the past, he’s always wanted to go fastball/slider first time at least through the lineup,” Blowers said. “All the sudden he started throwing his curveball and changeup, and he had a really good changeup against the lefties and he kind of breezed through the next three innings.”

A new-look slider was also showcased by Gilbert, but Blowers said Saturday’s game was proof of how valuable it is for a starter to have multiple secondary pitches to go to.

“If you consider that in the first inning, his fastball was 95 to 97, and last year his slider was 83 and now it’s more 87, 88. They’re two quality pitches – that gives you an idea of how tough it is to get through a lineup as a starter with just those two pitches. Those guys are paying attention on the other side, they have a real good idea of what you’re doing, and if you don’t change course you’re gonna be in trouble.”

Gilbert was able to make that change after a visit from Mariners pitching coach Pete Woodworth on the mound.

“I knew when Pete went out there to talk to him that that’s what the conversation was going to be about,” Blowers said. “He immediately threw a curveball and then I was like, ‘OK, let’s see if he can actually get through this lineup’… And he did it. He found his changeup, he threw some curveballs. I kept saying that even if you can’t land (those pitches) for a strike, the fact that you’re willing to throw it puts a little bit of doubt in the hitter’s mind on what you’re going to do. A lot of the changeups were actually off the plate and he was getting the left-handers to chase it.”

Blowers is intrigued to see how Gilbert builds off of his season debut.

“He works extremely hard, he studies a lot, and then you have to go out there and actually do it. He has immense talent, it’s just a matter of putting it all together. So I think as the season goes on he’s going to be pretty impressive just like that last outing was,” he said. “… I’m looking forward to seeing the growth of him. I think last year certainly helped him a lot, but he’s going to improve a bunch this year especially with those other two secondary pitches.”

You can hear Blowers’ full discussion with Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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