Mariners’ Dipoto: Improved secondaries created ‘new ceiling’ for Gilbert

Apr 15, 2023, 12:40 PM

Seattle Mariners Logan Gilbert...

Logan Gilbert of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs on April 12, 2023. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

(Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

A strength of the Seattle Mariners the last two seasons has been their starting pitching, and young right-hander Logan Gilbert has been a big part of the team’s success.

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Gilbert, Seattle’s first-round pick in 2018, debuted in May of 2021 and has been a fixture in the M’s rotation ever since.

Gilbert has a career 3.72 ERA in 59 career starts and, much like last year, he’s off to a great start in 2023.

In three starts, Gilbert has a 2.70 ERA and 20 strikeouts to four walks in 16 2/3 innings.

And he’s having success in a slightly different way this year, as Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto explained to Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Thursday.

“Pretty doggone good,” Dipoto said of Gilbert’s first three starts of 2023. “His secondary stuff has come so far.”

Gilbert has a “special” fastball, Dipoto said, and he has leaned on that pitch a lot over his first two MLB seasons.

Gilbert used his fastball 61.5% of the time as a rookie in 2021 and 53.9% of the time in 2022, per Statcast. This year, Gilbert has thrown his fastball 46.7% of the time as he’s used his slider, curveball and splitter more than in previous years. Between those three secondary offerings, Gilbert has allowed only five hits, and opponents are hitting just .125 against those three pitches.

In his most recent start on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs, Gilbert threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one run while striking out seven.

Gilbert could have leaned more heavily on the fastball and done just fine, Dipoto said, but instead he utilized his secondary pitches in a big way.

“He could have gone out there with the fastball he had (Wednesday) and just rolled through most lineups. And what he did was he incorporated all his pitches in a different way than any past version of Logan has ever incorporated them,” Dipoto said. “I really liked his split. Yesterday, he threw a number of really good breaking balls. And you can tell he was feeling it in the middle part of that start when he had a little bit of a hop coming off the mound. It’s about as crisp an outing as he’s had.”

The improvement with those pitches could also change Gilbert’s potential as a pro.

“With the secondary stuff, I really do think it just creates a new ceiling for Logan, which was already very high,” Dipoto said.

The Jerry Dipoto Show airs live at 8:30 a.m. each Wednesday during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. Listen to this week’s edition at this link or in the podcast below.

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