Mariners pitching coach: How Logan Gilbert has become ‘special’ pitcher

Jun 8, 2022, 2:13 PM | Updated: 3:14 pm

Mariners Logan Gilbert...

Logan Gilbert pitches against the Rangers on June 3, 2022. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

After a solid rookie season that included a very strong final month of the year, Mariners starting pitcher Logan Gilbert has picked up where he left off and then some in 2022.

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After posting a 4.68 ERA in 24 starts as a rookie, Gilbert has been among the game’s best pitchers in 2022. Entering his start against the Astros on Wednesday afternoon, he has a 2.22 ERA, 1.031 WHIP and 67 strikeouts to 19 walks in 65 innings pitched through 11 starts.

The winner of American League Pitcher of the Month in April is tied for 14th in MLB in wins above replacement among pitchers at 1.9, per ESPN, and he’s making a very strong case to be a first-time All-Star next month in Los Angeles.

Someone who knows Gilbert exceptionally well through working with him every day is Mariners pitching coach Pete Woodworth, who joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Jake and Stacy Wednesday afternoon. Among the many topics Woodworth discussed was the performance of Gilbert.

Woodworth said that he and the rest of the Mariners “get to see the evolution of Logan right in front of our eyes here,” and that a number of tweaks and adjustments since his MLB call-up last May have really paid off for the young right-hander.

“I think the biggest one is just his mentality and his attitude and his confidence,” Woodworth said. “We see that with a lot of young guys when they first come up. Regardless of what they’ve done in the minor leagues with what’s coming out of their hand, there’s just a little bit of a stage that they have to get over and truly believe that their stuff is good enough day in and day out. And Logan has reached that point and is now in full belief and confidence in his stuff. The stuff has changed a little bit.”

When it comes to Gilbert’s arsenal, there have been some changes there that have yielded great results so far in 2022. Woodworth said that Gilbert started throwing his slider harder and “shorter” late last season, which improved the command of his go-to secondary offering. Additionally, Gilbert showed up to spring training with a harder curveball as well as better “feel and command” with his changeup, Woodworth said.

“So that kind of completed the four-pitch arsenal that he has, (and he) coupled that with a much higher confidence and self-belief and trust in his stuff,” he added.

Additionally, Gilbert did something in his first start of the year that he’s carried over into the rest of his starts this season.

“It was during his first start in Minnesota that he was moving real slow on the mound. First start, you want to make sure you’re not going too quick and he kind of went the opposite and was very slow,” Woodworth recalled. “And I think it was after the first or second inning, he just picked up his tempo in between pitches and in his delivery and just kind of started pitching like a psycho and took off. So put all that together and there’s a lot of variables of why Logan Gilbert’s good, but those are kind of the main points from this year.”

With Gilbert being a former top prospect who pitched well as a rookie, has his 2022 showing thus far exceeded expectations?

“I don’t think he’s exceeded the expectations from himself, and I’ll put myself in that bucket with him just being around him for the last three to four years. He’s never satisfied,” said Woodworth, who also coached Gilbert at Double-A Arkansas in 2019 before his promotion to Mariners pitching coach the next year. “You have to celebrate the little victories and the accomplishments that he’s made, the adjustments and the success that he’s having … but he’s not satisfied. There’s always room for improvement for him. And that’s why he’s special right now, and that’s why he’s going to continue to be special in the future and just continue to grow and develop, because he’s never really satisfied with what’s coming out of his hand right now and how he’s executing.”

Listen to the interview at this link or in the player below.

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Mariners pitching coach: How Logan Gilbert has become ‘special’ pitcher