Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/16/14
These guys have nasty stuff Someone asked me last week why I love baseball, especially Seattle Mariners baseball given that they have been so anemic in their last 10 or so seasons.  I always give the same reason. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, someone on the field goes out there and proves me wrong. I tell you that short story because I want to talk about the three best overall pitchers for the 2013 Mariners.  The reason those two things are tied together in my mind is because I never would have guessed in a million tries that I would see this first pitcher do what he did this past season. Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Felix Hernandez If there is a team Cy Young award, Hisashi Iwakuma gets my vote.  I know everyone likes to jump on the Felix Hernandez bandwagon, but Felix wasn’t as great as he typically isa. Iwakuma was just flat out better than Felix in 2013. I’ll give Felix the nod at No. 2, but let’s compare the lines first. Name                    Record     IP           ERA        ER           HR          BB           K             OAVG   WHIP Hernandez          12-10       204.1     3.04        69           15           46           216         .242        1.13 Iwakuma             14-6          219.2     2.66        65           25           42           185         .220        1.01 These numbers are even more staggering when you figure in that Iwakuma had two more starts than Hernandez in 2013. Iwakuma is nearly half a run better in terms of ERA than Felix.  He’s also allowing on average one less base runner per game than Felix.  He gave up fewer runs in more starts than Felix. If there is a team Cy Young award, Hisashi Iwakuma deserves it. The list goes on and on. No one predicted this kind of performance from Iwakuma.  If they did, let me talk to them.  I want them to pick out my next Power Ball numbers. Want another crazy stat?  Hisashi was one of 36 pitchers to throw at least 200 innings this year.  Of those 36, only one other pitcher in all of baseball had a better ERA and WHIP than Iwakuma did.  That would be Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. Kershaw had the advantage of pitching in the National League too.  What do you suppose Iwakuma would have come up with had he had the luxury of facing a fellow pitcher at the plate three times per game? The bottom line here is that this a historic season for Iwakuma and he should be getting a lot more Cy Young talk than he is.  The talks are quiet because he doesn’t have one of the two apparent requirements of winning a Cy Young: a big-money contract or a big-city team. That, folks, is BS, and I’m not talking about me either. James Paxton The other noteworthy pitcher of the year for Seattle is youngster James Paxton.  While he only has four starts in his entire big league career, James has been bringing it. In 2013 he had a 3-0 record, in 24 innings pitched. He had a 1.50 ERA, allowed 4 earned runs, 2 home runs, 7 BB’s, 21 k’s, had a .172 OAVG, and a 0.92 WHIP. Three wins in four starts with the Mariners’ offense hitting behind you is just phenomenal.  Paxton is showing a WHIP under one so far in his big league career.  He’s holding batters to a wimpy .172 batting average. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, James Paxton is the real deal. The Mariners would be fools if this guy is not in their rotation in 2014.  He’s a legit starter that can pitch any lineup lights out on a given night. The best part about Paxton? He’ll be just 25 years old next month, which means he’s only going to get better, folks. As if he wasn’t already scary enough to opposing hitters. With Iwakuma, Paxton and the King in the starting rotation you have to think that brighter days are ahead for this Mariners team come spring. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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