Two seasons ago Pedro Feliciano led baseball by pitching in 86 games and last season he bumped his MLB-leading appearance count up to 88. It turns out, he was just getting warmed up.
Last night Feliciano appeared in his 91st game of the year for the Mets, becoming just the fifth pitcher in baseball history with 90 or more appearances in a season.
Here’s the list of 90-game pitchers:
PEDRO FELICIANO 2010
Salomon Torres 2006
Kent Tekulve 1978, 1979, 1987
Mike Marshall 1973, 1974, 1979
Wayne Granger 1969
Mike Marshall is the only pitcher to ever appear in 100 or more games in a season, logging an insane 208.1 innings in a ridiculous 106 appearances for the Dodgers in 1974. He finished 83 of those games, posting 15 victories with 21 saves and a 2.42 ERA, and received the Cy Young award.
Feliciano is a left-handed specialist, so he’s logged just 61.2 innings in his 91 appearances this season and a total of 174.1 innings in 265 appearances over the past three years. On the other hand, he has a 3.41 ERA during that span and given that he has Jerry Manuel as his manager you can be certain Feliciano has warmed up well over 100 times this season, which is pretty impressive.
To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.
So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”
When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.
Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.