2013 Seattle Mariners in Review: The Starters

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Yesterday we looked at the relief pitching situation for the Mariners and today we focus on the guys that get all the glory. The starting pitchers.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Taijuan Walker – 15 IP, 3.60 ERA, 2.25 FIP, 3.80 xFIP, 7.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.5 WAR

Man oh man, was this ever fun. Walker made his big league debut a lot earlier than most would have expected, and while a lot was said about the decision to add him to the forty-man roster before the offseason, all evidence pointed to him being an almost-shoo-in for next year’s opening day roster. The roster spot would have been his anyways, and the M’s have enough flotsam to clear from the roster to create room for maneuverability. Walker’s fifteen innings were a highlight of the season, as he came up and had bleached hair and dominated the Astros twice and the Royals once, except for that one inning where they knocked him around. Everyone’s enamored with Taijuan Walker, and rightfully so. He’s great, and Danny Hultzen‘s hurt. Also, Walker gets really excited about stuff a lot, if his Twitter is to be believed. It’s going to be ridiculously fun watching him next year.

James Paxton – 24 IP, 1.50 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 3.08 xFIP, 7.88 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, 0.5 WAR

Man oh man, was this ever fun. Paxton got to throw a little bit more than Walker due to his being older and further along, and he was nothing short of electrifying. He let up a few homers, but benefited from less runs allowed. Paxton’s future as a starter has been debated, but he absolutely earned himself a long look in the next M’s rotation. His stuff is incredible, and his size and presence almost make you forget about his minor league control problems. He walked a lot of AAA batters, but fared much better in his four major league starts. Right now, Paxton is easily one of the Mariners five best starting pitchers. Walker is, too, but maybe people are still surprised at how dominant Paxton looked early on. He was the Big Three guy who was supposed to disappoint us all, or so it was framed. He may not have been a top thirty prospect like Walker and Hultzen, but he was a consensus top hundred-or-so guy, and players with that kind of pedigree deserve hype. He has ace upside. He’s awesome.

Hector Noesi – 27.1 IP, 6.59 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 4.74 xFIP, 6.91 K/9, 3.95 BB/9, 0.1 WAR

2013 Hector Noesi was more valuable than 2013 Raul Ibanez. That is all.

Jeremy Bonderman – 38.1 IP, 4.93 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 5.45 xFIP, 3.76 K/9, 3.99 BB/9, 0.0 WAR

Bonderman had an awful ERA, but his actual performance was even worse than that. Jeremy Bonderman should not have ever been on the Mariners, and he walked more batters than he struck out. He was bad. He produced exactly as many wins above replacement as Raul Ibanez.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Beavan – 39.2 IP, 6.13 ERA, 4.99 FIP, 4.33 xFIP, 6.13 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, -0.2 WAR

Never forget that Beavan was once a first round draft pick, and that the Rangers took their shiny new toy and basically instructed him to stop doing all the things that made him good. Then the Mariners acquired him on purpose, and decided to keep him in his crappy new form. Development is a hard thing to analyze, and I’m no expert, but something tells me Beavan’s minor league seasoning could and should have gone quite differently.

Continue on for the best of 2013…