Mariners starting pitcher, Doug Fister, took the hill for the second time in his career today. In his first start earlier this week he looked great on the surface, allowing no runs and just one hit. However he gave up a few to many walks and was probably lucky to come out unscathed.
Taking on the Yankees this afternoon, Fister gave up ZERO walks while striking out four. He allowed just three runs over seven innings to truly earn his first big-league win. This is more the kind of start I expect to see from Fister. While his minor league strikeout numbers didn’t jump off the page, his low walk numbers did. Lowering an opponent’s On Base Percentage (OBP) by keeping walk counts down obviously leads to success, and additionally it is something that a pitcher has a lot of control over.
Left fielder, Michael Saunders got the call up recently, and though he hasn’t exploded onto the scene, he has filled in nicely for the Mariners. His bat thus far has been the definition of mediocre, but Fangraph’s UZR rating estimates that his defensive play has saved M’s pitching more than three runs in his first 18 games. This makes him more valuable than either Endy Chavez or the former Mariner, Wladimir Balentien (not that those are high bars to set). His limited major league experience gives me a very small sample size to look at, but his minor league numbers suggest that there is some power in his bat.
Saunders is 22, and Fister is 25, meaning that their values haven’t yet peaked, according to Sabermetric Guru, Bill James.