The Seattle Mariners are very fond of what an ace should be like, after all, they were able to see Felix Hernandez be the ace for 15 years (more like 12 with him struggling the last three). After taking a hitter for two years in a row, Jerry Dipoto had changed up his course of drafting in the next three and took pitchers.
Over the last three years (not including this year’s draft) Dipoto had selected three right-handed pitchers. The first of which we are seeing in the big leagues right now. Earlier this season, Logan Gilbert made his MLB Debut, and unlike Jarred Kelenic, Gilbert has stayed with the big league squad since his debut.
In his last start, Logan Gilbert pulled out his inner Dominant Felix.
He became the first Mariners starting pitcher to go at least 7 innings, with at least 8 strikeouts, no walks and giving up one or no hits since the Perfect Game by Felix Hernandez. The Mariners are currently in a spot where starting pitching is what they need. Currently sitting just right outside the Wild Card Race. They have the biggest homestand of the season starting tonight (7/22/21). In the homestand, the Mariners will make or break their chances for that wildcard/playoff spot. But nonetheless, the Mariners have struggled with the injury bug all season long (James Paxton is out for the year, Marco Gonzales saw some time on the IL, and now both Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield are on the IL).
Last year, it looked like Gonzales would be the Seattle Mariners future ace. But this year the Rookie has stepped into the role while his two fellow prospect starters are tearing it up in the minors. Both Emerson Hancock and George Kirby are playing for the Everett Aquasox. Even when these two make it to the majors, you should expect Gilbert to be the Ace. At that time he will be the most experienced.
Future Starting Rotation:
2- Emerson Hancock
3- George Kirby
The bottom of the rotation gets tricky because you have a ton of options: Sam Carlson, Gonzales, Sheffield, Dunn, Yusei Kikuchi, Darren McCaughen (made his MLB debut on 7/21/21), Chris Flexen, Brandon Williamson, Ian McKinney, Connor Phillips, Levi Stoudt, and possibly whoever the Mariners bring in. There are other names that you may throw into the consideration. But Gilbert, Hancock, and Kirby are projected to be the Mariners Big 3 in the rotation, There is a chance that that may not play out, but that is the hope.
When it’s all said and done, the Mariners should have a good starting rotation when they reach the level of competition. That trajectory is looking to be next year. But, the Mariners will do so with Gilbert leading the charge.
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