Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 2/12/13
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]

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bill Murray goes nuts celebrating Xavier’s upset

Pat Kelsey ditches UMass right before first press conference

Report: Top GM candidates not interested in Redskins job due to Daniel Snyder

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks were more free-flowing before triangle emphasis

Report: Deal in works for Raiders to play at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Yoenis Cespedes: MLB would grow if they played with Latin culture

Georgetown fires John Thompson III after 13 seasons

GGG, Canelo Alvarez reportedly resume fight talks

Shaq comes clean on flat earth talk: ‘I’m joking, you idiots’

NFL to discuss possibility of reviewing penalties

Report: Paul George wants to play with Gordon Hayward

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker