Passan: Mariners’ success in developing young pitchers is ‘ridiculous’

Aug 9, 2023, 12:09 PM | Updated: 12:14 pm

Seattle Mariners Logan Gilbert Pete Woodworth...

Seattle Mariners coach Pete Woodworth with Logan Gilbert, Bryce Miller, Bryan Woo and Luis Castillo. (Steph Chambers/Getty)

(Steph Chambers/Getty)

The Seattle Mariners are red hot having won six in a row and are now just two games out of the third American League wild card spot.

Tuesday: Gilbert strikes out career-high 12, Seattle Mariners beat Padres 2-0

The lineup has been very good since the start of July, but as has been the case all season long, the Mariners’ pitching has been stellar during the team’s recent hot streak.

But there’s another interesting wrinkle to the Mariners’ pitching success, as ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan pointed out during a Wednesday visit with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“The fact that they’re calling up Emerson Hancock and that over the last two (years) – I guess with (Logan) Gilbert, you can go back a little further – but really over the last two years, they have brought up Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Bryce Miller, Bryan Woo, and now Emerson Hancock? They have essentially developed a full rotation internally,” Passan said. “That is a ridiculous thing to do over the course of two years.”

Hancock, the Mariners’ first-round pick in 2020 at No. 6 overall, is expected to make his MLB debut on Wednesday against the San Diego Padres, taking the place of Woo, a rookie who has pitched well for the M’s since debuting in June but landed on the injured list with right forearm inflammation on Tuesday.

Hancock will join Woo and Miller as rookies who have pitched in the Mariners’ starting rotation in 2023. Gilbert debuted in May of 2021 and immediately became a fixture in the team’s rotation, and that was also the case with Kirby when he debuted in May of 2022.

“And it’s like they’re not missing either. That’s the wild part,” Passan said.

When thinking of the Mariners’ development of young starting pitching, Passan reflected on the Kansas City Royals roughly a decade ago when they were starting to turn things around.

“They had four left-handed pitchers who were among the top-100 prospects in baseball. And at the time, I remember talking with executives, and my general consensus was when you have four starting pitchers who are good in the minor leagues, is if you end up with one good starter and one good reliever out of those four, you’re doing pretty well,” Passan said. “The fact that the Mariners have had not just the four in Gilbert, Kirby, Miller and Woo turn into what looks like really good big league starters, but now they have another in Hancock coming on top of that? It’s a ridiculous success rate.”

That kind of young pitching is why Passan still feels very good about the Mariners for the rest of this year and going into the future.

“When you have a stable rotation in place, you have taken care of arguably the most difficult thing to do in baseball, which is get a starting staff that’s going to make your bullpen better because it can go deep into games. And that’s what the Mariners have right now,” Passan said. “They have cheat- coded pitching, and it’s a beautiful thing to see play out in real time.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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The Seattle Mariners are red-hot – have they finally clicked?

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