How Jerry Dipoto sees some Nolan Ryan in Mariners’ Logan Gilbert

Apr 17, 2022, 10:00 AM

Mariners Logan Gilbert...

Logan Gilbert of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of the game at Target Field. (David Berding/Getty Images)

(David Berding/Getty Images)

While the Mariners’ bats started the 2022 season on a down note, the opposite can be said of young right-handed starting pitcher Logan Gilbert.

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Gilbert had a solid rookie campaign in 2021 that culminated with a 2.70 ERA over his final six starts, which all resulted in Mariners wins, and he’s certainly carried over that strong finish and then some through his first two starts of 2022. He’s allowed just one earned run across 10 innings (0.90 ERA) while walking one, striking out 11 and allowing only seven hits.

What makes Gilbert’s hot start even more impressive is that it came against two aggressive and dangerous lineups in the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox.

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So what has Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto, a former MLB pitcher, think of Gilbert’s first two starts of the season? He joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob Friday afternoon ahead of his team’s home opener, and he said something about Gilbert is similar to one of the greatest pitchers to ever toe the rubber.

“When you see the pitchers at the top of the league, or the guys that pitch near the front of rotations – and I always go back and I think about when I was coming up in the league or even as a kid growing up and you watch Nolan Ryan – if you didn’t get Nolan Ryan in the first six outs, you weren’t going to get him,” Dipoto said. “And I can say the same about a lot of pitchers (who) once they caught their wind, they were just gonna take it and push it in a different gear. And I feel like Logan has that in him.”

Last year, Gilbert relied almost exclusively on his excellent fastball, but he has used his slider, curveball and changeup more this year. He worked very hard to improve those offerings, Dipoto said.

“He has all the pitches. He’s got four pitches, he can fill up the strike zone, but he’s got a complicated – there’s length to his delivery and his arm timing. Once he gets his timing down, that’s when he clicks. And I think we saw that in Minnesota,” he said. “I do think the adjustment he made last year, which is simply a very smart rookie pitcher with good stuff adapting to a league (has paid off). And this year, he is a smart, slightly older pitcher with much better secondary pitches. He did a lot of work in the offseason to refine his breaking balls in particular, which look great right now.”

Personality coming out

The Mariners began their rebuild after the 2019 season and since then, the team has had many young players join the roster who figure to be long-term fixtures on the roster. Adding those young players to the mix has certainly changed the energy of the clubhouse, Dipoto said, especially as young guys like Gilbert are growing more and more comfortable.

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“I think this team in general has seen a lot of that over the last two years. So many young guys have kind of been introduced, they’re trying to gain their footing and you start to see the personalities really play out as the more they’re around,” he said. “You’re seeing some guys come out of their shells. Logan is generally a quiet, thoughtful person who goes about his business and who works very hard, but now you’re starting to see some of that personality.”

How close the 2022 Mariners are, Dipoto said, is very special.

“There’s a better sense of community and togetherness on this team than any team we’ve had since since I’ve been here and Scott’s been here,” he said. “There’s a unique togetherness with this group. That’s exciting, and it’s because of the young guys starting to show who they are a little bit.”

Listen to the full conversation with Dipoto from Wyman and Bob in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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