Mariners coach Vogt: What stands out from rookies Bryce Miller, Bryan Woo

Jul 18, 2023, 3:23 PM

Seattle Mariners Bryan Woo...

Bryan Woo of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Nationals on June 27, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

When the 2023 Seattle Mariners season began, the names of Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo might have been known to followers of the team, but the two pitching prospects weren’t expected to play big roles this year.

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Fast-forward 3 1/2 months later, and Miller and Woo have taken advantage of opportunities created by injuries to veterans to establish themselves as mreliable embers of Seattle’s stingy starting rotation. And that’s despite neither having pitched in the big leagues prior to May.

Miller, 24, was the first to join the Mariners, and he took off immediately by allowing just four runs over his first five starts (1.15 ERA), all of which were quality starts (at least six innings pitched with three earned runs or less allowed), including three scoreless outings. Though he did have back-to-back rough showings in late May and early June, he’s back on a roll and for the season has a 3.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 4.46 strikeouts to walk ratio and 8.16 strikeouts per nine innings.

Woo, 23, followed Miller from Double-A Arkansas to the M’s almost exactly a month later, and while his first outing against Texas went poorly, he’s been solid ever since. In seven starts for Seattle, Woo has a 3.63 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 4.78 strikeouts to walk ratio and 11.16 strikeouts per nine innings.

How quickly did the two young hurlers fit in with the Mariners?

“They get to show their personalities really, really quickly,” Mariners bullpen and quality control coach Stephen Vogt said Tuesday when he joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on The Dugout. “Pete Woodward, our pitching coach, does a great job of preparing these guys and getting them to understand that, ‘Hey, you’re here, and be yourself.'”

That’s a philosophy that comes from the top of the coaching staff, led by manager Scott Servais.

“Scott always gives that message to our players – ‘Be yourself, have fun, and be part of the team,'” Vogt said.

So what has Vogt seen with an up close view of Miller and Woo’s rookie seasons?

“These two young pitchers have come up and have had some success early, and when they do have their little bit of bumps in the road or struggles, it’s quickly addressed,” he said. “They work tremendously hard and they’re focused on their work and they’ve made adjustments quickly, because at the major league level, the other teams, they get to know you really fast, the book gets out on you fast. So you’ve got to continually make adjustments and make yourself better every time out, and these two guys have done that consistently since they’ve been up here.”

The Dugout, a hour dedicated to Mariners guests and baseball conversation, airs from 1-2 p.m. each Tuesday during Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy. Listen to the full edition of this week’s Dugout, including the conversation with Vogt, in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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