This kid looks like the real deal. That’s exciting for a number of reasons.
That’s exciting because starting pitching hasn’t been a strong suit of this 2021 Mariners team, due to injuries and ineffectiveness. Oh sure, Yusei Kikuchi is an All Star, and Chris Flexen has pitched like ones at times. But, in a stubborn six-man rotation set-up, Gilbert only brings the competency up to 50%.
That’s also exciting because Gilbert is considered one of our young core. As you’ll see this week, I’m only planning on writing about this group: the young players who are outperforming expectations. These are Major Leaguers who are still on their original deals and very well could be part of the next great Mariners team. Logan Gilbert fits that bill, plus he’s an actual draft pick (14th overall in 2018) who developed in our system and rose through the ranks. The Mariners made a big show of drafting pitching in the upper rounds in recent years, and Gilbert is the first sign of making good on that promise.
That’s ALSO also exciting because Gilbert is just one of many. Hopefully. Please, for the love of all that is holy, let this be factually accurate. The idea, of course, is to REALLY fill out the active Major League roster with this line of young talent (while picking your spots here and there to help advance this team into the stratosphere), and you can already see it starting to come to fruition (with, ideally, the big guns coming up in the very near future).
Finally, it’s exciting because Gilbert looks really fucking good!
In 10 career starts, he’s already accumulated a 0.8 WAR. 48.2 IP, 53 strikeouts, and a 0.97 WHIP. What’s most encouraging is most of his bad stuff happened in his first three games, where he managed only 10.2 IP, giving up 9 runs, with a WHIP of 1.47. Since then, he’s gone 38 innings (one promising start was cut short due to a rain delay), giving up 11 runs, tossing three Quality Starts, and twice pitching into the seventh inning (including his most recent dominant outing against the Yankees, where he gave up just 1 hit and 0 walks and runs over 7 innings). That WHIP over his last seven starts has been 0.84, which is just outstanding!
This is dominant Ace-type stuff we’re talking about. He’s got a live fastball, but he’s not living and dying with it. He controls the strike zone, isn’t afraid to pitch inside, and has a great head on his shoulders. His level of preparation is off the charts. And while I know injuries can strike at any time, for no reason whatsoever, his is a form that doesn’t strike me as one we have to be overly worried about. I don’t get a sense that he’s putting a lot of extra strain on his elbow or shoulder. I hope I didn’t just jinx the hell out of him, but you also can’t live as a baseball fan worried about every single player who comes along.
The only question at this point is what we’re going to call his corner of the stadium when they bring back the K-cards and T-shirts every time he starts. Logan’s Lair? Logan’s Landing? Gilbert’s Glen? Gilbert’s Garage? I dunno, the Mariners will figure it out, I’m sure.