Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Mariners-pitcher-hernandez
In Seattle, all eyes are (justfiably) always on Felix Hernandez. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball, he's close to agreeing to a huge contract extension with the team, and he's the face of the franchise. There's also a lot of attention being placed on new acquisition Michael Morse, former top prospects Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, and Jesus Montero, and on a budding star at third base in Kyle Seager. So while the team's best players are getting a lot of focus and can't really be X-Factors in 2013, that doesn't mean that the team doesn't lack a player that can fill that mold. My pick for the Mariners X-Factor in 2013 is starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez. Who *is* Erasmo Ramirez? He burst onto the scene in 2012, making eight starts in the majors to go along with eight relief appearances. In those 16 outings, totalling 59 innings, Ramirez struck out 48, walked just 12, and posted a 3.36 ERA. He was fantastic as a starter, the role he took on once returning to the majors in June. In those eight starts, Ramirez threw 47 innings, pitched to a 3.64 ERA, struck out 41, walked just eight, and allowed only a .609 OPS. Ramirez, who will turn 23 in May, wasn't exactly facing cupcake teams in those eight starts either. Despite the nature of September performance being very shaky due to callups, Ramirez faced the Blue Jays, Orioles, Angels, and A's in his four September starts: two playoff teams, and two teams with excellent offenses. You also can't write his performance off completely due to Safeco Field either, because three of those four starts came away from Seattle (though Oakland and Los Angeles are pretty good pitchers parks in their own right).  Aside from his final start against the A's, Ramirez never had an outing where he walked more than two hitters. In fact, he had just one two walk outing aside from his final start of the year, a relief appearance in April against the White Sox.  Perhaps the best part about Ramirez in 2013 is that he's not really being counted on to be a bedrock in the Mariners rotation. With Hernandez, Joe Saunders, and Hisashi Iwakuma all slotted in front of him, Ramirez is just a back-end guy on Seattle this year, and he doesn't need to carry too much of the load. However, if he's able to put together a full season performance comparable to his brief 2012 performance, the Mariners could be in really good shape in 2013 with their rotation. Mariners on TOC End of Season Postmortem Hope for the Hopeless 2013 Season Preview You May Say I’m a Dreamer 2013 Burning Question This Is My Nightmare X-Factor Top Ten Prospects (4:30 PM) [follow]
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Undrafted QB Connor Shaw to sign with Browns, likely start

Report: Alex Smith out week 17 with lacerated spleen

Belichick: Garoppolo has better understanding of NFL

Lionel Hollins: 'Honored and blessed to coach Kevin Garnett'

Curt Schilling gives Johnny Manziel advice on Twitter

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

Andre Johnson willing to take pay cut with Texans?

Mets star David Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

Panthers coach replaces break-in victims’ Christmas presents

Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

Richard Sherman: Marshawn Lynch having MVP season

Frank Gore: Colin Kaepernick is 'not broke'

The story of Morgan Bulkeley and birth of National League

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things the world learned about the NBA on Christmas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

The year’s 10 most notable sports media stories

'Roberto' Gronkowski wishes Pats fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

WATCH: LeBron gets standing ovation from Heat fans in return

15 defunct bowls that leave the holidays feeling empty

Should the NFL's playoff seeding system change?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things learned about NBA on X-Mas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Year's most notable sports media stories

'Roberto Gronkowski wishes fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

Wright reaches out to slain officer's sons

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.