A select few of you reading this may know this already, but the Seattle Mariners have someone on their roster with a very rare ability. No, it’s not a super power or some sort of crazy hidden talent. Actually, I guess it is a hidden talent of sorts since it is fairly hidden from the world outside of the Mariners organization.
What I am referring to is a man by the name of Thyago Vieira, aka The Poor Man’s Aroldis Chapman. What Vieira is able to do, believe it or not, is throw the ball ONE HUNDRED AND THREE MILES AN HOUR. 103. ONE-OH-THREE. Fast as Hell.
You get the idea.
To put that in to perspective, last season there were only TWO players in major league baseball that had pitches 103 MPH or above:
- Aroldis Chapman
- Mauricio Cabrera
Chapman broke that mark routinely, hitting as high as 105.1 on the radar (the fastest pitch ever thrown) and Cabrera broke it 9 times, maxing out at 103.8 MPH.
Thyago has had a bit of a problem over the course of his young career, though. That problem would be his accuracy. I know what you’re thinking, and I completely agree, you couldn’t pay me enough money to stand in the batters box against a guy throwing it 103 who’s wildly inaccurate. I’m not sure there is a dollar amount out there worth the amount of pain caused by just one of those fastballs hitting you square between the shoulders.
Through the course of his first 5 seasons his fastball was so ineffective he ended up with a cumulative ERA of 5.23. That’s where the Mariners pitching staff came in. Last season, he was invited to spring training and was able to greatly improve his mechanics and mental fortitude. With everything he learned, he turned in the best season of his career with a 2.84 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 44.1 innings.
Vieira also sports a serviceable Slider as his only real secondary pitch. And by “serviceable” I mean, eh its ok I guess. He has greatly improved it this last season but it still needs a decent amount of work to be a legitimate, devastating out pitch in the Majors. If you are going to be a legitimate two-pitch guy, they both need to be plus pitches. The biggest upside of it is the speed. With his fastball hitting triple digits on the radar, his slider actually only hits about 82 MPH on average. Yep, you heard that right, 82. That’s 20 MPH slower. You can’t tell me that wouldn’t play some weird ass mind games on you if you were facing him in a game. You have to not only decide if the pitch is a strike, but you also have to figure out if it’s going to be coming so fast that you probably can’t even see it, or if it is coming so slow that you swing way early and miss because you didn’t want to be the guy that swings way late and gets made fun of for looking like an idiot.
Ya I said it.
We’ve all seen that guy before, all confident and cocky that he can handle the high heat, until he actually gets the high heat and swings so late the catcher is already throwing the ball back to the mound.
Nobody wants to be that guy.
Although I don’t believe that Vieira will start the year off in the majors, as he only made it as far as High-A ball last year, I do believe that he could be a possible August call-up. That will just all depend on how the Mariners bullpen looks and what kind of strides Vieira has made with his control. Either way, be excited for the future of this Mariners bullpen. They are bringing some serious heat.