Seattle Mariners Pitchers: 2015 Team Preview

September 3, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34, left) fist pumps second baseman Robinson Cano (22, right) after the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

[table id=1351 /]

Surprisingly, 2014 was the first season since 2010 that Felix Hernandez posted a sub 3.00 ERA.  King Felix is coming off the best season of his incredible career after finishing with a career best 2.14 ERA and 248 strikeouts.  Even though Hernandez has thrown over 2,000 Major League innings in the past decade, he is still the definition of a player with an elite floor.  I currently have King Felix as my #2 overall SP and likely 14th overall on my draft board.

Hisashi Iwakuma continues to be one of baseball’s most underappreciated gems.  While Phil Hughes managed to issue only 16 walks, Iwakuma was close behind with a mere 21 base on balls.  His filthy 7.33 K/BB rate and 2.94 SIERA was met with a below average HR/FB rate.  I think that Tanner’s projections are selling a great pitcher a little short in this instance.

There are plenty of young pitchers in the AL that are being hailed as potential breakout candidates such as Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Jose Quintana, Marcus Stroman, and Aaron Sanchez.  However, there is no doubt in my mind that James Paxton should be in that discussion.  Paxton impressed me quite a bit last season with his plus pitches before succumbing to injury issues.  If the 26 year old southpaw can stay healthy, then I am definitely buying a lottery ticket on him.

If James Paxton and super prospect Taijuan Walker progress as hoped, then the Mariners could have the best rotation in the American League.  I am hoping J.A. Happ turns it around in Seattle, but my main faith lies in the first four starters and Roenis Elias.

Tanner Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball has created all of the projections seen in this post.  You can read about how he develops his projections here.  His projections are invaluable to this site.  You can also visit his site at www.smartfantasybaseball.com.