Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma put the finishing touches on a fantastic season last night with eight shutout innings against the Royals, lowering his ERA to 2.66.
That ranks sixth among all qualified starters, behind only Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey, Bartolo Colon, and Anibal Sanchez. He also ranks fifth in innings with 219.2, trailing only James Shields among AL pitchers.
And while he’s hardly a household name, Iwakuma’s success dates back to last season. Seattle relegated Iwakuma to a mop up/long relief role to begin last season, but since moving into the rotation he has a 2.66 ERA in 49 starts.
Here’s where that ranks among all MLB starters with at least 200 innings since last year:
Clayton Kershaw 2.20
Matt Harvey 2.39
Kris Medlen 2.54
HISASHI IWAKUMA 2.66
Johnny Cueto 2.79
You’ll notice that Iwakuma is the only American Leaguer in the top five. David Price has the next-best ERA in the AL at 2.94. And in keeping with the underrated theme, Iwakuma is signed for just $6.5 million next season and the Mariners have a $7 million option on him for 2015.
Tim Tebow is, as we speak, working out for some 40 scouts from 20 organizations and an untold number of members of the media. So far he has run and jumped and thrown and, in a moment or two, will take his hacks. First BP swings, then live, full-speed BP off of a couple of former major leaguers.
His 60 yard dash time was supposedly excellent. On the 80-20 scouting scale he’s supposedly in the 50-60 range, according to people tweeting about it who know what they’re talking about. The guy is certainly big and strong and in amazing shape and that’s not nothing.
That’s from MLB’s Twitter, which provides us with some more in-action shots.
Here he is playing right field out there in the distance someplace:
Good luck, kid.
“A” switch pitcher is probably not the most accurate way to put that. It’s more like “The” switch pitcher, as Pat Venditte of the Mariners is the only one extant.
Last night the right-handed hitting Adrian Beltre had to face Venditte, who obviously chose to pitch righty to the Rangers third baseman. Before coming up to the plate, Beltre jokingly donned his helmet backwards and pretended that he’d hit left-handed:
He needn’t have bothered. Beltre doubled to left field off of Venditte, showing that at some point, platoon splits really don’t matter.