2021 Seattle Mariners
If Seattle doesn’t make the postseason in 2021, they will have lengthened their playoff drought to 20 years. Over the last two seasons, the Mariners went 95-127 with 5th and 3rd place finishes. Seattle has never played in the World Series while making the postseason only four times in 44 seasons.
The Mariners signed SP Chris Flexen, SP James Paxton, RP Ken Giles, and RP Keynan Middleton in the offseason. They acquired RP Rafael Montero for C Jose Corniell to compete for the closing role.
Their starting rotation looks to be below league average until the nucleus of their young pitching prospects develop at the major level.
The structure of the bullpen doesn’t have an impactful feel. Montero could shine in the ninth if he overcomes his injury path. Giles won’t pitch this year after having TJ surgery.
Seattle ranked 24th in ERA (5.03), 22nd in runs (254), and 26th in home runs (60).
I don’t see a difference-maker bat in their starting line, even with Kyle Lewis (.262/37/11/28) coming off a breakthrough season in power. 3B Kyle Seager is a major league bat and OF Mitch Haniger does have upside if he can bounce back from an injury season.
The Mariners won’t finish with a winning record this season thanks to questions in all areas of the games (hitting, starting pitching, and bullpen).
1. SS J.P Crawford
Finding the right structure of batters for the Mariners’ starting lineup in 2021, it going a difficult task. They lack the ideal core of bats to hit first and second.
Crawford almost has a full season of at-bats between 2019 and 2020 with Seattle, leading to boring stats (.237 with 76 runs, nine home runs, and 70 RBI, and 11 steals over 549 at-bats).
His attraction to bat leadoff comes from his walk rate (11.1) in the majors, with a step forward in his strikeout rate (16.8) in 2020. Also, Crawford showed a spark over the final week (13-for-29 with six runs, five RBI, and one steal) of last season.
Over five seasons in the minors, he hit .269 with 46 home runs, 249 RBI, and 71 steals over 2,261 at-bats.
His two strikes for me in his profile with Seattle is a weak contact batting average (.306) in his career, setting a ceiling below the league average in batting average. Plus, Crawford has a sliding average hit rate (1.327). He has a low fly-ball rate (32.5) and empty HR/FB rate (3.7).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This draft season Crawford has a waiver wire ADP (494). He projects to have weakness in all five categories. His improved approach is a positive, but he needs to get stronger while finding a way to add some more steals to his stats.
2. OF Mitch Haniger
Last February, Haniger suffered a back injury that required surgery and ultimately cost him the whole season. There was some speculation that he wouldn’t be ready for 2021, but the last report has him on track to play in spring training.
Haniger looked on his way to a great season in 2019 after his fast start over his first 25 games (.274 with 26 runs, seven home runs, 18 RBI, and two steals over 106 at-bats). Over his next 38 games, he hit eight home runs with 20 runs and 14 RBI, but his batting average (.179) turned into a massive liability due to a much higher strikeout rate (29.9).
Haniger didn’t play a game after June 6th due to a ruptured testicle that required a second surgery in late January.
In 2018, he improved his approach (strikeout rate – 21.7 and walk rate – 10.3), with both numbers being career bests. His contact batting average (.379 – .327 in 2019) almost matched in 2017 (.377). Haniger improved his RBI rate (17) while offering strength in his average hit rate (1.729 – 2.111 in 2019).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: I’m still concerned with Haniger’s back, but I have to respect his play in 2017 and 2018 (.284 with 148 runs, 42 home runs, 140 RBI, and 13 stolen bases over 965 at-bats). His ADP (267) is in an attractive range based on his overall resume. Haniger should draw the green light in March drafts with no negative injury news thanks to his four-category skill set with some steals.
3. OF Kyle Lewis
After playing well late in 2019 (.268/6/13) over 75 at-bats, Lewis gave fantasy owners another productive season last year. His stats in 2020 projected over 550 at-bats would come to 99 runs, 29 home runs, 75 RBI, and 13 stolen bases.
Lewis saw a massive jump in his walk rate (14.1 – 9.7 in his minor league career), but he did strikeout 29.3 percent of the time. His contact batting average (.400) has been high in his two seasons with Seattle.
Despite the appearance of developing more power, Lewis finished with a weaker than expected average hit rate (1.667), which was in a similar range as his results in the minors from 2017 to 2019 (1.604, 1.517, and 1.517). The decline in this area came from only hitting three doubles compared to his 11 home runs. His hard-hit rate (35.0) ranked 224th in baseball in 2020.
Based on his RBI rate (12) in 2020, Lewis doesn’t deserve to hit in the middle of the Mariners’ batting order. His HR/FB rate (26.2) with Seattle is well above his best year in the minors (18.8).
Over four seasons in the minors, Lewis hit .260 with 30 home runs, 171 RBI, and 10 steals over 1,089 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Lewis is pretty much a low average power hitter that will be over-drafted in 2021. His ADP (143) puts him in a range with many impactful players. Fantasy owners will bet on 30+ home runs, but his average hit rate tells a low 20-home run story. His bat will be streaky over 162 games, and I will not own him on any fantasy team this year. On a side note, a knee injury did hinder his development in 2017 and 2018 while being Baseball America’s College Player of the Year in 2016 (.395 with 70 runs, 20 home runs, 72 RBI, and six steals over 223 at-bats).
4. 3B Kyle Seager
Seager pretty much looks dead in the water in batting average due to low contact batting average (.288) for the fourth straight season. His high fly-ball rate (48.3) also lead to many easy outs.
His path last year projected over 550 at-bats would come to 95 runs, 24 home runs, 108 RBI, and 14 steals. Seager’s finish in stolen bases (5) isn’t repeatable. Despite a high average hit rate (1.796) over the past five seasons, his HR/FB rate (10.6 – 11.7 in his career) isn’t in an impactful area, with a lower ranking hard-hit rate (39.8 – 154th).
Seager finished with a career-high walk rate (12.9) and a career-low in his strikeout rate (13.3). His direction against lefties (.185 BAA) isn’t a positive sign.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His ADP (286) gained about 110 spots from 2019 while a solid foundation of hitting 20+ home runs in his career. Seager should offer neutral value in both runs and RBI with a minimal chance of hitting over .250.
5. 1B Evan White
In his first season with Seattle, White was overmatched at the plate. He finished with a massive strikeout rate (41.6) with a better than a league-average walk rate (8.9).
White did post a higher than expected average hit rate (1.969) with a reasonable RBI rate (15). His contact batting average (.327) came in below his last two seasons in the minors (.383 and .392). He had no answer for left-handed pitching (.140 with one home run and three RBI over 57 at-bats).
The Mariners signed White to a six-year $24 million contract in November of 2019 despite having 18 career at-bats at AAA.
In 2019, he hit .293 over 365 at-bats at AA with 18 home runs and 55 RBI while missing some development time due to a hip injury in April. His bat did shine in June (.371 with eight home runs and 19 RBI over 97 at-bats).
Seattle drafted him with the 17th pick in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft after played well over three seasons in college (.356 with 17 home runs, 109 RBI, and 18 stolen bases over 655 at-bats).
Over 2+ seasons in the minors, White hit .296 with 32 home runs, 133 RBI, and seven stolen bases over 906 at-bats. His strikeout rate (20.4) and walk rate (8.6) came in about the league average.
White did have a high HR/FB rate (19.4) at AA and in his first season in the minors (19.5). He has a plus glove with more underlying power.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The major hurdle in betting on White this year is his inability to make contact. His weakness was well below his expected value, which does invite a significant step forward in his second year in the majors. White has an ADP of 476, so there isn’t a fight for him in drafts. Possible 80/20/80 season with a wide range of outcomes in his batting average.
6. 2B Ty France
Over five seasons in the minors, France hit .294 with 69 home runs, 352 RBI, and 16 stolen bases over 1,957 at-bats. His bat improved in 2018 between AA and AAA (.267 with 22 home runs, 96 RBI, and three steals over 509 at-bats).
In 2019 at AAA, France turned into a beast over 296 at-bats (.399 with 83 runs, 27 home runs, and 89 RBI) while posting a career-high in his AVH (1.932) and a fantastic CTBA (.482).
His walk rate (9.0) in the minors grades well with a favorable strikeout rate (16.1).
France hit .265 over his first 325 at-bats with 11 home runs and 47 RBI over 325 at-bats. He finished with a high contact batting average (.406) in 2020. His strikeout rate (23.4) remains below the league average, with weakness in his walk rate (6.4).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: France should work as a super-utility player at minimum for Seattle while really being the most ready to start at second base. He has the upside of an 80/20/80 player once he proves his worth in the majors. France has an early ADP of 364, which works well for a fantasy owner willing to cheat second base.
7. C Tom Murphy
Murphy was expected to have his best opportunity to start in 2020, but he missed the entire season with a left foot injury.
He should see a push closer to 400 at-bats this year while also being in the mix for at-bats at DH against left-handed pitching.
Over seven seasons in the minors, Murphy hit .277 with 93 home runs, 326 RBI, and 15 steals over 1,737 at-bats.
His strikeout rate (34.4) remains an issue for playing time while having a below-par walk rate (6.5).
The Mariners never gave him over 55 at-bats in any month in 2019, with his best success coming in August (.333 with six home runs and 10 RBI over 51 at-bats). Murphy played well vs. lefties (.347 with 11 home runs and 25 RBI over 118 at-bats). He’ll hit the ball hard (44.8 percent) with strength in his average hit rate (1.958).
Murphy did allow 21 wild pitches with some value throwing out base stealers (13 of 33).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His swing path gives him 30 home run upside if ever given 500 at-bats. Murphy has never had over 400 at-bats at any season of his career, so more playing time would require many games at DH. He has an ADP of 332 in 12-team high-stakes market in late January.
8. OF Jake Fraley
In his last two seasons in the minors, Fraley proved he could handle AA pitching (.313 with 11 home runs, 47 RBI, and 16 stolen bases over 230 at-bats) while receiving 152 at-bats at AAA in 2019 (.276 with eight home runs, 33 RBI, and six steals). His walk rate (7.9) and strikeout rate (20.8) came in about the league average in 2018 and 2019.
With no minor league games last year, Fraley failed to make the Mariners’ opening day roster.
Seattle gave him 66 at-bats over the previous two seasons, but Fraley looked overmatched (.152 with two walks and 25 strikeouts). His season ended in September of 2019 with a right thumb injury and a quad injury in September last year.
Over four seasons in the minors, Fraley hit .286 with 26 home runs, 153 RBI, and 70 stolen bases over 922 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Fraley has a 20/80/20 skill set once he’s ready to take a full job with Mariners. In 2021, he should start the year at AAA, but no one is blocking him from making it to the majors. Fraley hasn’t been drafted in any 12-team leagues in January.
9. OF Jarred Kelenic
If baseball played a full season in the minors in 2020, Kelenic might be a couple of months for Seattle after starting at AAA.
The Mets drafted him sixth overall in 2018 out of high school. Seattle received Kelenic as part of the deal for 2B Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz in December of 2018
Over two years in the minors, he hit .290 with 122 runs, 29 home runs, 110 RBI, and 35 stolen bases over 622 at-bats. Kelenic only has 83 at-bats in his career at AA (.253 with six home runs and 17 RBI). His walk rate (10.1) has top of the order upside with a league-average strikeout rate (21.4).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With Seattle in a rebuilding mode and they paid Evan White last season, Kelenic has the foundation skill set to make the jump from AA to the majors. Fantasy owners gave him a full-time starting job ADP (231) in mid-February. He projects a high upside five-tool player that should come quickly.
OF Dylan Moore
Moore ended up being a playing piece off the waiver wire in 2020 thanks to his combination of home runs (8) and steals (12) over 137 at-bats.
Over two seasons with Seattle, he hit .224 with 57 runs, 17 home runs, 45 RBI, and 23 steals over 384 at-bats. Other than batting average, his stats projected well in four categories in roto leagues. Moore missed time in 2020 due to a right wrist injury and a concussion issue.
His strikeout rate (30.8) does invite job loss risk while having an above-average walk rate (8.8).
Moore hit .259 over five seasons in the minors with 238 runs, 42 home runs, 207 RBI, and 92 stolen bases over 1,547 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: In the early draft season, Moore has an ADP of 120 as the highest Seattle hitter acquired. I don’t trust him while expecting him to be a utility player over the long haul. Moore should win a starting job out of spring training.
2B Shed Long
Long flashed over 14 games in September of 2019 with Seattle (21-for-54 with 10 runs, four home runs, and nine RBI), but he finished off the month with only two hits in 23 at-bats with eight strikeouts.
In his first experience at AAA in 2019, Long hit .274 over 226 at-bats with nine home runs and 36 RBI. Over seven years in the minors, he batted .272 with 59 home runs, 247 RBI, and 55 stolen bases over 1,861 at-bats. His strikeout rate (22.1) is a bit too high with a respectable walk rate (9.8).
In 2020, he hit his way to the bench after only having 13 hits over his final 88 at-bats with two home runs, five RBI, and two steals. His season ended early September with a shin injury.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Long should improve, but his foundation skill set at this point in his career doesn’t look ready to seize a full-time job in the majors. More of a ride him if he’s hot type player. He may develop into a 15/15 player down the road.
OF Jose Marmolejos
This season Marmolejos could be a bridge player for the Mariners until their better young outfield prospects develop.
He hit .288 with 72 home runs over nine seasons in the minors, 469 RBI, and nine steals over 3,071 at-bats. Marmolejos looked serviceable at AAA (.286 with 24 home runs and 120 RBI over 845 at-bats), with a better than a league-average strikeout rate (19.2).
Seattle gave him 107 at-bats in 2020, leading to six home runs and 18 RBI, but he only hit .206 with seven walks and 32 strikeouts.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Marmolejos will compete for a bench role in 2021 with a chance to see time at 1B, OF, and DH. At best, his power has 20 home runs upside with a full season of at-bats.
OF Taylor Trammell
After getting drafted in the first round (35th) in the 2016 June Amateur Draft, Trammell has already been traded two times.
Over four seasons in the minors, he hit .270 with 251 runs, 33 home runs, 195 RBI, and 110 stolen bases over 1,552 at-bats. Between the Reds and Padres at AA in 2019, Trammell hit .2312.2) 4 with 10 home runs, 43 RBI, and 20 steals over 436 at-bats.
His speed and walk rate (12.2) is better than anyone on the major league roster, which sets the tone of a leadoff job with more development. Trammell does need to shave off a few strikeouts (22.6 percent).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Despite offering speed, Trammell played in left field in most of his games in the minor. This season he’ll start the year at AAA. With a hot start to the year, Trammell may the end the year batting leadoff off for the Mariners. He is trending toward a 15/25 player with runs having more upside than RBI.
Cal Raleigh (C): Raleigh blasted 29 home runs with 82 RBI over 455 at-bats between High A and AA in 2019, but he hit .251.
In his first year in the minors after getting drafted in the third round in 2018, he hit .288 with eight home runs and 29 RBI over 146 at-bats at Low A.
His walk rate (9.7) projects well while minimizing the damage in strikeouts (21.5 percent). Raleigh is a switch hitter with an improving defense skill set.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The Mariners may start him out at AA, but he should get to AAA quickly. Possible late-season power for fantasy teams if Raleigh works his way into a major league opportunity in 2021.
1. SP Marco Gonzales
After a slow start over his first four games (3.97 ERA), Gonzales turned into a difference-maker over his final seven starts (5-0 with a 2.68 ERA and 47 strikeouts over 47 innings). His growth was tied to only four walks over this span.
He still needs to improve against left-handed batters (.274 BAA). Gonzales issued the lowest number of walks (0.9 per nine) in the American League while setting a career-high in his strikeout rate (8.3).
Over his past three seasons with Seattle, he went 36-24 with a 3.85 ERA and 356 strikeouts over 439.1 innings, which is impressive when adding in the Mariners were 16 games under .500.
His AFB (88.6) was a career-low. Gonzales only had success with his cutter (.186 BAA) and four-seam fastball (.114 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: For a fantasy owner that favors stats over talent and skill set, Gonzales will be a more attractive player based on his ADP (162). His improving command helps his overall arsenal, but he has given up more hits (539) than innings pitched (516.2) in his career. My bet is on an ERA closer to 3.75 than his 2020 results (3.10 ERA). Gonzales throws enough strikes to pitch deep in games, helping his chances at wins and compiling strikeouts.
2. SP James Paxton
Paxton didn’t pitch well in any of his five starts in 2020. His season ended in late August with a left forearm issue that may be a hint of a future TJ surgery. Seattle thought enough of him to sign him to a one-year deal for $8.5 million.
After flashing in 2017 over 24 starts (12-5 with a 2.98 ERA and 156 strikeouts over 136 innings), Paxton hasn’t been unable to repeat his success or develop into a high-volume pitcher.
From 2017 to 2019, he went 38-17 with a 3.54 ERA and 550 strikeouts over 447 innings. His strikeout rate (11.5) remained high in 2020, but Paxton served up too many home runs (1.8 per nine). I
His AFB (92.6) last year was well below his previous two seasons (96.1 and 95.7). He has success with his changeup (.000) and curveball (.200 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Paxton is a tricky arm. His resume points to value based on his ADP (247). I’m going to fade him this year while also understanding as he could post a favorable ERA and plenty of help in strikeouts.
3. SP Justus Sheffield
Sheffield struggled in his first two starts (eight runs and 14 base runners over 7.2 innings) last year. He went 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA and 41 strikeouts over his final eight starts, including one disaster showing (six runs and eight base runners over 4.2 innings).
His walk rate (3.3) is still high while only be slightly better than his minor league career (3.5). Sheffield fell short of expectations in strikeouts (7.8 per nine). His risk came from failure too many times against righties (.284 BAA).
Over his six seasons in the minors, he went 43-33 with a 3.31 ERA and 640 strikeouts over 620.2 innings.
His AFB (92.6) slipped slightly in each year in the majors. Sheffield has a plus slider (.178 BAA), but his changeup (.262 BAA) still needs work. In 2020, he decided to feature a sinker (.300 BAA) that wasn’t any better than his four-seam fastball in 2019 (.284 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Gaining momentum, and his sinker did lead to more balls staying in the park. Sheffield brings WHIP risk until he improves his command. Possible upside while being reasonably priced in drafts (ADP of 307). I’m going to err on the side of caution because Seattle expects to struggle to win games.
4. SP Yusei Kikuchi
Kikuchi failed to live up to his resume in Japan (74-49 with a 2.81 ERA and 929 strikeouts over 1,037.1 innings) in his first two seasons in the majors (8-15 with a 5.39 ERA and 163 strikeouts over 208.2 innings).
His AFB (95.2) was over two MPH higher than in 2019 (92.9). Kikuchi offered an edge cutter (.238 BAA) and a winning low-volume slider (.167 BAA). His four-seam fastball (.250 BAA) was serviceable while still needing to unlock the keys to his changeup (.273 BAA).
Kikuchi bumped up his strikeout rate (9.0 – 6.5 in 2019) at the expense of his walk rate (3.8 – 2.8 in 2019.
Over his nine starts, he allowed four to five runs in five games.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: For someone reading between the lines, Kikuchi could be poised to have a significant step forward if his 2019 command matched up with his strikeout rate last season. I’d like to see repeated value in his fastball in spring training. His ADP (347) paints him as a playable backend starter with a chance at a 3.50 ERA and help in strikeouts.
5. SP Chris Flexen
Flexen battled his way through eight seasons in the minors, leading to a 43-31 record with a 3.61 ERA and 513 strikeouts over 588 innings. His lack of success at AAA (4.43 ERA and 179 strikeouts over 170.2 innings) and with the Mets (3-11 with an 8.07 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 68 innings) led to a trip to Korea.
His stuff played well overseas in 2020 (8-4 with a 3.01 ERA and 132 strikeouts over 116.2 innings). Seattle signed him to a two-year contract in early December.
In the majors, his fastball came at 94.5 MPH in 2019 while not having an impactful pitch.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Flexen will throw strikes, but his secondary stuff has a lot to prove in the majors. He’ll be found in the waiver wire in all leagues while hoping to win a starting job in spring training.
SP Justin Dunn
The Mariners gave Dunn 10 starts in his rookie season. He was tough to hit (.189), but home runs (10 over 45.2 innings) and command (6.1 walks per nine) led to risk in WHIP (1.358).
Dunn allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his starts while walking four batters or more in five games. His only poor outing came in mid-August (six runs, seven base runners, and two home runs over two innings).
Over two seasons at AA, Dunn went 15-10 with 3.82 ERA and 263 strikeouts over 221.1 innings.
In 2019, he showed growth in his walk rate (2.7) and strikeout rate (10.8) at AAA, helping him to four appearances in the majors (2.70 ERA and nine strikeouts over 6.2 innings).
His AFB (92.0) wasn’t an edge in velocity. Batters had a tough time hitting his four-seam fastball (.154 BAA) and slider (.146 BAA) while throwing minimal changeups (.250 BAA). Last year he mixed in curveball (.286 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Dunn will get more strikeouts when he improves his command. This year I could see a split season between AAA and Seattle. Risk/reward player that needs more time to develop.
SP Logan Gilbert
Over his last two seasons in college, he 21-2 with a 2.41 ERA and 270 strikeouts over 201.1 innings. Seattle drafted Gilbert with the 14th overall pick in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Gilbert is on the fast track to Seattle after pushing his way from A-Ball to AA in his first year in the minors.
After five great starts at A-Ball (1.59 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 22.2 innings), Gilbert held form at High A (1.73 ERA and 73 strikeouts over 62.1 innings). His arm did perform well at AA (2.88 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 50 innings).
In the end, Gilbert tossed 135 innings with a 2.13 ERA and 165 strikeouts. His walk rate (2.2) was elite, along with his strikeout rate (11.0).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: I expect him in the majors by June with a chance to offer playable innings for fantasy teams. Keep a close ear to his spring while expecting him to cap out at 160 innings in 2021.
SP George Kirby
Seattle snatched up Kirby with the 20th selection in the 2019 June Amateur Draft. He dominated over his final two years in college (18-5 with a 2.82 ERA and 203 strikeouts over 178.2 innings). His highlight stat came in 2019 when he walked only six batters over 88.1 innings.
The Mariners gave him nine appearances at Low A 2019, leading to a 2.35 ERA and 25 strikeouts over 23 innings while not walking a batter.
Kirby works off a mid-90s fastball with a plus slider and a changeup with upside potential. He also mixed in a curveball with swing and miss value.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Seattle should start Kirby at AA this season while expecting a quick trip to AAA. His command is his express ticket to the majors. At age 23, he should move as quickly as he can handle it.
CL Rafael Montero
Montero came through the Mets’ system as an upside prospect. Over eight years in the minors, he went 44-31 with a 3.26 ERA and 603 strikeouts over 629.1 innings highlighted by success in 2012 (11-5 with a 2.36 ERA) and 2013 (12-7 with a 2.78 ERA).
He struggled over four seasons in New York (6-16 with a 5.38 ERA and 189 strikeouts over 192.1 innings). Montero missed 2018 due to TJ surgery.
After flashing over 11 games in the minors in 2019 (3.44 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 18.1 innings), Texas called him up to the majors. Over 22 games, Montero pitched at a high-level (2.48 ERA, .217 ERA, and 34 strikeouts over 29 innings), which fell in line with his success in the minors.
In 2020, Montero started the year on the injured list with a right elbow issue. Over 17 appearances, he struggled in four games (eight runs and 11 baserunners over 4.1 innings). Montero converted all eight of his save chances.
His AFB (96.4) was the best of his career. Montero offered an edge with his changeup (.200 BAA), sinker (.177 BBA), slider (.167 BAA), and four-seam fastball (.200 BAA). His walk rate (3.1) and strikeout rate (9.7 came below 2019 (1.6 and 10.6).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Montero brings injury risk, but his success late in games over the past two seasons invites upside in the ninth inning. He has a mid-tier ADP (203). Right kind of gamble as a second closer. Montero should offer an edge in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts with a full season of games.
RP Kendall Graveman
Graveman battled a right shoulder injury in 2017, followed by TJ surgery in July of 2018.
In 2019, he only made two appearances in the minors (two runs over six innings with eight strikeouts). Last year Graveman made the Mariners starting rotation, which ended after two matchups (eight runs, 14 base runners, and two home runs over 8.2 innings) due to a neck injury.
When he returned from the injured list after missing just over a month of action, Seattle shifted him to the bullpen for nine games (3.60 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and five strikeouts over 10 innings).
Over his first four seasons with the A’s, Graveman went 22-24 with a 4.11 ERA and 259 strikeouts over 411.2 innings. His strikeout rate (5.8) didn’t have a pulse, but he threw strikes (walk rate – 2.6).
His AFB (94.0) came in better than expected while featuring a sinker (.196 BAA), a cutter (.333 BAA), a changeup (.167 BAA), and a low-volume curveball (no hits over 18 pitches).
His minor league resume (19-12 with a 2.65 ERA and 185 strikeouts over 271.1 innings) looked much brighter in 2014.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Graveman hasn’t been healthy for a full season since 2016. The Mariners will give him a shot in the bullpen this year, where his stuff may play better than his major stats. He is a ground ball pitcher (51.6 percent) with enough of a fastball to see an uptick in strikeouts in shorter stints later in games. Graveman has a lot to prove while only being a watch early In the season.
RP Yohan Ramirez
Ramirez battled his command (5.5 walks per nine) over four seasons in the minors, leading to a 16-21 record with a 3.73 ERA and 323 strikeouts over 289.2 innings. He made 40 starts over his 88 appearances while showing an improved strikeout rate (13.4) between High A and AA in 2019.
Despite no experience at AAA, Ramirez made the Mariners opening day roster in July. After pitching in long relief over his first three games in August (four runs and 13 baserunners over seven innings with 12 strikeouts), Seattle gave him some chance at saves (3) over his final 11 games. Over this span, he had a 1.69 ERA, .118 BAA, and 10 strikeouts over 10.2 innings, but Ramirez did issue nine walks.
His AFB (95.7) has closer upside while offering a plus slider (one hit over 168 pitches).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Ramirez needs to throw a lot more strikes to pitch late in games long-term. In 2021, he will be a cheap flier as a handcuff for Rafael Montero. The high number of walks does invite disaster innings and a problematic WHIP.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Outlooks