Seattle Mariners Closer Paul Sewald is Progressing

Seattle Mariners Closer Paul Sewald is Progressing
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Seattle Mariners closer Paul Sewald is progressing into a top-notch closer. An unexceptional bullpen arm for most of his tenure with the New York Mets, he has found a home with the Mariners and continues to be a key member of the organization since his breakout campaign in 2021.

Struggled in New York

Drafted out of college in 2012 he put up solid numbers in the minor leagues but was never a top prospect for the Mets. He made the big-league roster in 2017 but struggled with the Mets posting a 1-14 mark, with a 5.50 ERA in 125 games and 147 1/3 innings pitched. This made it an easy decision for the Mets to non-tender him in December 2020, giving him the option to sign with any organization.

Signs with Seattle

After signing a minor league contract with the Mariners, he was invited to Spring Training in 2021 but did not make the team out of camp. However, the team has a strong analytics department and had some opinions on how they could tweak Sewald from a mechanical standpoint. Working with pitching coach Pete Woodworth, they adjusted his delivery, including the location of his fastball, and worked with him on his slider.

Breakout 2021

Called up in May he had an outstanding season, posting a 10-3 record with 11 saves, an ERA of 3.06, and striking out 104 in 64 2/3 innings. The right-hander was one of baseball’s top bullpen arms and a big reason why the Mariners surprised everyone by winning 90 games.

Continued Success

He appeared in 65 games last season coming away with 20 saves and a 2.67 ERA. After last year’s solid season, he has picked up where he left off. This season he already has 11 saves with a 2.96 ERA, and he has only given up two home runs in 24 1/3 innings and his slider has been effective against both left- and right-handed hitters.

Established Himself

Seattle Mariners closer Paul Sewald is progressing as a reliever and is putting up record numbers for the Mariners. He has established himself as one of the best relievers in the team’s history. He has pitched in 151 games and since 2021 he is holding batters to a .166 batting average, the third-best among all MLB relievers who have thrown 100 innings since then.

Durability

His durability and willingness to enter the game as a set-up pitcher or as a closer allow Manager Scott Servais to adjust his bullpen for different situations late in the game.

The Mariners are not playing up to their potential at this point, but everyone expects this team to challenge for a playoff spot. If they can put together a run of consecutive victories, there is no reason why they cannot stay in the playoff race. They’re going to need Sewald to continue to be that dominant bullpen arm he’s demonstrating he is.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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