As I am finishing up writing this, Fernando Rodney just gave up another go ahead run in the ninth inning. It is taking every ounce of energy that I have not to drop 47 F-Bombs in this article. Believe me, if I could, I would. Anyways, back to writing about a player that is actually worth talking about.
Roenis Elias is right where he belongs. I doubt that I was the only person flabbergasted when Elias began the 2015 season in AAA Tacoma after losing the fifth rotation spot battle to Taijuan Walker‘s stellar Spring. The Seattle Mariners organization was ready to give their number one pitching prospect a shot at a full big league season, and everybody was excited… Excited enough to forget about Roenis Elias’ 2014 rookie season, in which he posted a 10-12 record and a 3.85 ERA over 163.2 innings.
Once down in Tacoma, Elias really didn’t help his case, posting an 8.04 ERA over 15.2 innings in three starts. But when Hisashi Iwakuma went on the DL, Seattle Mariners Manager Lloyd McClendon and the Mariners had to turn to Elias to fill the leak in the rotation. Well, as the Seattle Mariners continue to struggle and the calendar turns to June, Elias has been one of the few players that McClendon has been able to rely on.
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As soon as I saw this guy start a couple of games last season, I was excited. WARNING: If you are a baseball fan that believes only in saber metrics and you give no credit to “intangibles” you may want to stop reading now.
Roenis Elias has intangibles. When a person goes through what Elias went through just to play the game that he loves, that person tends to learn a few things. In my opinion, there is no question as to why essentially every Cuban player in the last five years or so has been successful. Because of the difficulties that Cuban players have to go through to get to the United States, they learn how to deal with adversity better than anybody else in the game. Roenis Elias is no exception, and a quick look at his stats will show you just how tenacious the left-hander is.
His career WHIP of 1.30 is nothing special. His BAA of .248 is solid, but not great. In watching Roenis Elias pitch, there is one thing that stands out to me, and that is how he competes. Those two statistics are the closest I can get to justifying those statements with numbers, but really, you just have to watch the guy throw the ball. When he gets a runner in scoring position, he seems to go into a “zone”, which is how he is able to allow so many base runners and still have success.
Elias has not only proven that he belongs in the big leagues, but that he also has what it takes to be a highly successful starting pitcher at the highest level. He has now started 37 games in his career, so nobody can say that he has a small sample size. I thought that it was a mistake to put him in AAA at the start of the season, but thankfully he has found his way back to the Seattle Mariners, and as I have said before, he is exactly where he should be.