Is Mariner Pitching Rotation A Surprise

The Mariners announced the pitching rotation for 2012. At least for now.

King Felix starts opening day in Japan. The other four are Justin Vargas, Blake Beavan, Hector Noesi, and Kevin Millwood. I don’t think this rotation will remain through the season.

Jason Vargas

Jason Vargas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vargas gave up 12 runs in 8.1 innings this spring; seven runs in the first inning of his last start. He was also shaky in his next to last start. Like a hitter, Vargas goes into slumps where he looks awful, then finds his rhythm and looks great. I will only be concerned if the bad numbers show up in April.

Beavan gets the nod because he deserved it. In 15.1 innings, 12 hits, a .214 batting average against, only two walks, and a 2.35 ERA.

Noesi makes the rotation because when the Mariners traded Michael Pineda to the Yankees for Jesus Montero, they wanted a starting pitcher in return. Noesi started and relieved for the Yankees. His velocity increased in winter ball and though he only had 5 innings pitched in spring A games, he impressed enough to make the starting five over Erasmo Ramirez because he has had major league experience.

Millwood  was  wanted to mentor the young pitchers coming up, those being Ramirez, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, and maybe Taijuan Walker. At age 37, Millwood qualifies as a veteran.

As with every team, the rotation is dictated by performance and injury.  And it is rare as an iceberg in the Arizona desert for a starting five to go through a season without injury or one or two pitchers being sent to bullpen or released.

It is not out of the question, should injuries not arise, to see Hultzen or Paxton, maybe both, in the rotation in June. That is a good month for teams to bring up rookies.

The Mariners are allowed to take a 30 man roster to Japan as they will play some Japanese teams prior to season opener against Oakland, at which time they must cut down to 28. Then back in the USA it will get to 25 before the season opener, part two.

Opening Day of Seatte Mariners.

Opening Day of Seatte Mariners. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can Vargas find his rhythm? Is Noesi for real? Does Millwood have another season left? Stay tuned.


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