Randy Johnson

The All-Time Seattle Mariners Team – Part Two

In my column, The All-Time Mariners: Part One, I took a look at the greatest offensive seasons for Mariners position by position.  Some of the usual suspects, like Ken Griffey, Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, and Ichiro spearheaded the team, but there were also some surprises like Alvin Davis and Phil Bradley.

In The All-Time Mariners Team: Part Two, we’ll be rounding out the roster by naming the top Mariners pitchers as calculated by FanGraphs’ version of WAR.  Since the All-Star game rarely features any of the top middle relievers, I’ll narrow the focus to a five man starting rotation and one closer.

The Rotation

Randy Johnson – Starting Pitcher

The Big Unit, Randy Johnson, occupies 3 of the top 5 spots on the Mariners single season list of pitchers’ WAR, including the top 2 spots.  In 1995, Johnson posted an impressive 9.5 WAR, with a win loss record of 18-2, a 2.48 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 294 K.  His K/9 rate that year was a staggering 12.35.

Only Johnny Allen of the 1937 Cleveland Indians, with a 15-1 record, has a higher winning percentage in AL history than Johnson’s .900 in 1995.

The Big Unit capped off the season by winning the 1995 Cy Young Award.  He even finished 6th in the AL MVP, behind two teammates, RF Jay Buhner and DH Edgar Martinez, and, strangely enough, Jose Mesa of the Cleveland Indians, who finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting.

Felix Hernandez – Starting Pitcher

King Felix, who recently passed Randy Johnson on the career WAR leaderboard, is the number two pitcher in our fantasy all-time Mariners rotation.

As great as Hernandez’s 2009 season was, with a 19-5 record, 2.49 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 217 K, and 6.3 WAR, he’s actually on pace this season for an 8.0 WAR.

So far this season, Felix has a 10-2 record, 2.11 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 145 K, and has already accumulated a 5.1 WAR.  ZiPS(U) projects Hernandez’s final numbers to be 17-5, 2.43 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 252 K, numbers that, with the exception of ERA, would be better than his 2010 Cy Young season.

Mike Moore – Starting Pitcher

In 1985, Mike Moore recorded a 5.7 WAR by posting a 17-10 record, 3.46 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 155 K.  This one year is by far Moore’s best with the Mariners, but because of his 7 year tenure with the club, he ranks 6th all-time in WAR by a pitcher.

Jamie Moyer – Starting Pitcher

In 1998, the 11th season of his remarkable 17 year career, the then 36 year old Jamie Moyer racked up a 5.4 WAR on his way to a 15-9 record, 3.53 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 158 K.  For the soft tossing leftie, 1998 would be his high water mark in strikeouts.

Hisashi Iwakuma – Starting Pitcher

Last season, Hisashi Iwakuma emerged as a top of the rotation pitcher by posting a 4.2 WAR.  As a number two on the “real” Mariners and a number five on our fantasy all-star list, he’s awesome.

2013 saw Iwakuma go 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 185 K.  He finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting behind fellow countryman, Yu Darvish, and winner Max Scherzer.


When looking at the traditional closer role, WAR is a great indicator of how little real value the position holds.  Pitching usually for only one inning, often with the bases empty, and maybe a two or three run lead, almost any adequate pitcher can rack up saves.   So, a pitcher like Fernando Rodney this year, who has 25 saves, has only accumulated 1.0 WAR.  With this in mind, I’ll defer here to the conventional, but ultimately meaningless, statistic of saves when naming the all-time Mariners closer.

Kazuhiro Sasaki – Closer

Japanese Baseball Hall of Famer, Kazuhiro Sasaki spent four years as the closer of the Mariners, between 2000 and 2003, with 2001 being his best.

Sasaki appeared in 69 games, worked 66.2 innings, struck out 8.3 batters per nine innings, and accumulated 45 saves.  The save total is a Mariners single season record and helped account for Sasaki’s 1.6 WAR.


So, here’s what the Mariners All-Time pitching staff looks like:

Pitcher Year WAR Record ERA WHIP K
Randy Johnson 1995 9.5 18-2 2.48 1.05 294
Felix Hernandez 2014 8.0* 17-5* 2.43* 0.98* 252*
Mike Moore 1985 5.7 17-10 3.46 1.21 155
Jamie Moyer 1998 5.4 15-9 3.53 1.18 158
Hisashi Iwakuma 2013 4.2 14-6 2.66 1.01 185


Kazuhiro Sasaki 2001 1.6 0-4


45 Saves

3.24 0.89 62

*Projected final season numbers

Brian Hight

About Brian Hight

Brian Hight is a freelance writer, amateur Sabermetrician, and longtime player of fantasy baseball and football. He’s excited as heck to have an opportunity to write for Oregon Sports News. No seriously. He is. He teaches Film and Media Studies online, but since moving to Seattle in early 2013 with his wife Kelly, he’s been looking for new opportunities in the exciting new world of social media. He has two personal blogs: Hight of Insanity where he writes about sports and entertainment, and Technology Accessibility where he writes about the user experience of the visually impaired.