‘Absolute workhorse’ Logan Gilbert has been Mariners’ ace

Jun 27, 2024, 6:16 PM

Seattle Mariners starter Logan Gilbert...

Logan Gilbert of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch during a 2024 game. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Pitching has carried the Seattle Mariners for much of the first half of the season, and the starting rotation has been at the forefront of shouldering the load.

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Along the way, each starter has flashed some ace potential, especially during the remarkable run of 21 straight games with the starters allowing two earned runs or less. However, each starter has also had some rocky performances.

With the season at its midpoint, Seattle Sports’ Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton discussed Wednesday how they’d rank the starters in Seattle’s rotation on Wyman and Bob. They both agreed the top spot should clearly go to right-hander Logan Gilbert, who started the phenomenal 21-game pitching streak back in April.

“In my opinion at this point, if we’re just talking about the best pitcher in this rotation beginning of the season to right now, it’s been Logan Gilbert,” Stelton said.

Going the distance

Gilbert has a 2.71 ERA and an American League-best 0.89 WHIP across 16 starts this season. Wyman pointed out just how durable Gilbert has been in those outings. His 106 1/3 innings pitched rank second in the majors, and he’s pitched six innings or more in 14 of his starts. That includes a current run of back-to-back outings of eight shutout innings.

“He’s just been an absolute workhorse,” Wyman said.

That follows a trend for Gilbert thus far in his four-year career in Seattle. The 27 year old hasn’t missed a single start since debuting in May of 2021.

“We’ve talked a lot about how conscientious he is about staying healthy and doing all these different things, and he’s willing to try anything” Wyman said. “And I would just think for other pitchers it’s not even so much trying to throw like him or his sequencing or his the grip or any of that, it’s just (asking) how is it that you’re staying healthy?”

Wyman and Stelton continued the conversation with former Mariner Ryan Rowland-Smith, and the durability is an aspect the ex-MLB pitcher also highlighted.

“When you watch his ball behavior – like when you look at his secondary pitches and especially his fastball– when you look at the velocity, the spin, the vertical movement, some of the things that start to fade when you get fatigued … none of that when I’m watching him and looking at some of the the metrics, nothing fades with him.”

Rowland-Smith credited that to the way Gilbert keeps himself on a strict routine to prepare for his outings.

“Just watching him do his thing, man, he is someone that I hope really hope the Mariners look at and say – and of course they are – ‘How do we lock this guy up long term?’” Rowland-Smith said. “Because it’s not a situation where a couple of years in all of a sudden he’s taking too much money out of the bank in regards to how much he’s throwing, how many innings or anything like that. He’s just very sustainable when you watch him pitch.”

Always adding

Another aspect Rowland-Smith pointed to is Gilbert’s propensity for tinkering and adding to his repertoire. He notably added a splitter with great success in 2023, and he’s tacked on a cutter this season that ranks among the nastier pitches in baseball.

Rowland-Smith recalled a conversation he had once with three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer after he won one of the those Cy Youngs. Scherzer told Rowland-Smith he started working on refining his changeup two weeks after the season ended, which Rowland-Smith responded to with, “Dude, you just won the Cy Young.”

“I guarantee you Logan Gilbert would be that dude” Rowland-Smith said. “He would win a Cy Young and he’d be off two weeks later going, ‘Oh yeah, my cut fastball, man, there was times during the year I just lost it.’ When you talk to him and get to know him, that’s kind of what you’re dealing with.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Catch Wyman and Bob weekdays from 2-6 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on the M’s from Seattle Sports

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• How much did bumpy road trip hurt first-place Seattle Mariners?
• ‘Mr. Mariner’ Alvin Davis shares his advice for struggling Julio Rodríguez
• A team that could help Mariners at trade deadline in multiple ways
• Drayer: Why Seattle Mariners’ needs may include another starting pitcher
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