Righty reliever Paul Sewald signed a minor league deal with the Mariners about a year ago. On May 13th, when his contract was selected by the club, the promotions of Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert got all the headlines. Little did we know, Sewald would become one of the year’s best stories. From the point of Sewald’s season debut on May 16th, he’d go on to lead all MLB relievers in strikeouts by a wide margin, with 104 in 64 2/3 innings. Among relievers with at least 60 innings on the season, Sewald’s 39.4 K% ranked second in baseball.
Born in Las Vegas, Sewald was drafted in the 10th round by the Mets out of the University of San Diego in 2012. He made his big league debut against the Marlins at Citi Field on April 8th, 2017. Sewald logged 147 1/3 relief innings for the Mets before landing with the Mariners.
Deploying a sweeping slider, elevated fastballs, and a deceptive delivery, Sewald ascended to the top of the pecking order in the Mariners’ bullpen by August. Sewald pitched in 19 of the Mariners’ last 32 games as they pushed for a playoff spot, always in the highest-leverage situations. Sewald’s breakout 2021 season included 10 wins, a 3.06 ERA, 104 strikeouts, 11 saves, and 16 holds. He’s slated to hold a prominent role in Seattle’s pen again in ’22.
Sewald is currently locked out by MLB, but he agreed to come chat with MLBTR readers today! Click here to read the transcript. And be sure to follow Paul on Twitter @ItsPaulSewald.
If there’s been one good thing for this website to come out of the lockout, it’s been these live chats with MLB players. If you’re a current or former MLB player with some stories to tell, contact us here to set up a chat! It’s fun and easy, and you get to choose which questions you answer.
I’m not sure if this is possible, but is there a way to tag these live chats so that they can be more easily found at a later date? Kind of like how you have the teams tagged? I’ve missed a few of these and I’d like to go back and read them, but I don’t know how to find them.
And to all of the players, thank you for doing these chats. It’s always interesting to get the perspective of those who have played the game professionally.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
I didn’t realize he had 10 wins to go along with 11 saves. How many pitchers have had double digit wins and more than 10 saves in the same season? It seems like it would be a pretty exclusive club. Anyone know who else has done it?
Why do you always respond to the first comment whether it has anything to do with what you’re talking about or not? Are you that desperate to be noticed? I’m sure one of your other accounts will let the rest of us know.
Scrolling through here will accomplish that, though this also includes chats with our writers.
We’ll probably run a post soon with direct links to all the recent player chats to make it easy to catch up.
You da man.
Its cool seeing guys like Sewald finally find success in the bigs. Love it when guys in late 20s or in their 30s come out with a vegenance.
MLBTR hitting the big time! You love to see it!
As a Mets fan I enjoyed watching him pitch (reminded me of Pat Neshek delivery wise)glad he was appreciated elsewhere. He always had the talent. Typical Mets letting talent leave and excel elsewhere
Hmmm … Paul Sewald and Kris Bryant have been friends since their Little League days in Las Vegas and were college teammates at the University of San Diego:
FredMcGriff for the HOF
These player and ex-player chats are great!
Tim D- thank you SO much for doing this chat with Paulie “Hulk Arms” Sewald. He’s one of my favorite Mariners players for a few reasons.
I try to go to at least a half dozen M’s games each season. When I’m there I try to sit near the M’s dugout. I’ve noticed Sewald always looks as though he’s enjoying having a laugh with his guys, like he’s enjoying every minute of being a Seattle Mariner! If I could play a round of golf with any current Mariners player he’d be right at the top of my list!
Sewald’s character not only embodies the team spirit of the current group of Mariner players but he is also a player who is a product of deep dive pitching analytics by the Boffins who work behind the scenes in the Mariners FO. So when I see Sewald flex those ‘Hulk arms’ after striking out some of the games best hitters I not only celebrate Sewald (and the M’s) winning a game. I’m also celebrating the victory for all the M’s Boffins (in a bunker somewhere) who are helping us Win games in the seasons to come later in this decade.
This chat with Paul Sewald for me, is also a nod to those Seattle Boffins behind the scenes who helped identify Sewald as a target for the Dipoto/Hollander FO. Thanks for that Tim.
ayrbhoy, your posts are also an inspiration to me, and a great info service.
Cheers Mr P! Happy New Year
We love SEAWALL in the NW. Fan favorite for sure, and one of the nastiest sliders in baseball!
This was a lot of fun to read.
The M’s bullpen will be even more lights out this year, and beyond.
Sewald, as part of the “Triple S” squad (Sewald, Drew Steckenrider and Casey Sadler), with Ken Giles, up and coming Andres Munoz (thank you San Diego!) who recently inked a 4yr contract, the Seattle Mariners are going to contend.
With just another piece to two needed, such as an infielder (either Bryant or Story, or one via a trade) and a SP (an innings eater or a Pineda type) until one or more of the stocked farm arms like Kirby, Hancock, Brash and others arrives (could Sheffield or Dunn breakout, or be an afterthought, even unnecessary?), the 2022 Mariners roster will be formidable!
PNW Rainiers- To your point re: the “S” squad in the Seattle Pen. Don’t forget about Yohan Ramirez- who was once talked about as having ‘future closer’ type stuff. We’ve all seen his ups and downs from inconsistency or lack of command but we’ve also seen batters leave the box shaking their head thinking “wtf just happened there?” He has some serious potential.
There’s also 3 Mariners top pitching prospects each of whom have recently been in the Org’s Top 10- “Submariner” Wyatt Mills (#10 2018) has high spin rates on his FB and his out pitch- his Slider. Both LHP Justus Sheffield (#1 2019) and RHP Justin Dunn (#3 2019) will try to crack the rotation in ST. The popular theory being if one doesn’t most feel like at least one (most people think Sheffield) should see action
One of Sheff or Dunn might make the rotation for a few months of the year but there’s a distinct possibility that both are RP’ers playing a role in the 2022 Pen. This would give us a little more breathing room and leverage for deadline trade scenarios. Not to mention having another 2 RP’s who give the Pitching staff an amazing amount of flexibility, length and injury insurance/depth.
PNW Rainier- sorry I didn’t mean to post that reply yet!
Let me clear up the 2nd paragraph in my M’s Bullpen post.
I just wanted to illustrate how Sheffield has a wipeout slider, he’s a Lefty, he has Rotation experience= he can pitch more than one inning in relief. I also wanted to add Justin Dunn has more than a FB/Slider combo AND he currently has more velo than Sheff. Both Dunn and Sheffield should pick up more Velo if utilized in the Pen.
ayrbhoy. The M’s may not need to sign/spend for a SP. They certainly need a bat first (at second and third, lol). While Sweet Lou proclaimed, “Pitching and Defense win games”, while in Seattle, Pinella also had some big bats to lean on. And, the bat(s) needed now have to at least replace the loss of Seager’s offense (and glove!) and more. Seattle’s offense is largely anemic, especially in the AL West.
Dunn and Sheffield may be dark horse options. One could crack the rotation for the first few months. The other, or eventually both, could be part of the BP.
Seattle (specifically Jerry DiPoto) has more of an embarrassment of options than riches, in that he has some decent trading chips, like Shef, Dunn, then maybe a Fraley or, with hesitation, Trammell.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Trader Jerry includes 2 or 3 of those names (and no surprise if other names added) to land more offense output. And probably a 3 way trade. After all, we’re talking about Dipoto!
I’d much rather see Seattle spend/trade for upgrades in bats than pitching. With the current bullpen and SP arms waiting in the wings, its been years, heck, decades since Seattle had payroll to spend, trading chips and a top tier farm system all at the same time.
and Sweet Lou added, “and timely hitting” wins games,, which for 2022, the M’s need substantial upgrades.
PNW-Rainiers to your point re: a need to replace timely hitting for the 2022 roster. I just read this amazing stat that quantifies just how clutch Kyle Seager was at hitting w RISP. We all knew he had a clutch season last yr. These numbers explore just how good he was with runners on AND with RISP.
Kyle Seager was not very good with the bases empty- he has a 65 OPS+ when no one is on base. (100 OPS+ is league average) Kyle had an OPS+ of 132 with runners on. (32% better than avg) He had 165 OPS+ w RISP…..that is absolutely ridiculous!!! 65% better than your avg ML player!! We need to replace that.
Also…. to back up your formula of having good pitching and timely hitting: the last time the M’s were close to the WC was 2014. We finished one game out of the WC that year. Our team Pitching was nails that year. We had a closer who led the league in Saves (Rodney 48) and we had the 2nd best Team ERA 4th best in Team ERA+ 4th best in WHIP.
Ole Lou Pinella knew what he was talking about eh?
Any M’s fans thought of targeting CF Jarren Duran from the Red Sox? I think he fits the bill for the M”s CF of the present/future. We have the time to give him to develop into a solid CF with huge upside. Worst case we get a defensive first, speedy number 9 hitter. But the kid has some major upside with comps to Grady Sizemore.
The Red Sox need pitching and bullpen. We have it! Sounds like Red Sox are interested in A’s Pitchers. So should the M’s be. Can M’s score a 3 team trade with Oakland and Red Sox?
M’s get Chris Bassit from A’s, Jarren Duran from Sox
A’s get Tayler Trammel, Brandon Williamson, Adam Mako,
Red Sox get Sean Manaea from A’s, Drew Steckenrider from M’s
Just an example. Not sure how the trades would even out but M’s have the chips to make a trade. We have plenty of pitching depth to where we wouldn’t have to give up any of our top pitching prospects.
Here’s my thoughts- Interesting idea. I’m familiar with Duran, he is an intriguing prospect especially if his most recent power surge transfers to the Major Leagues. In the span of one Minor League season Duran has gone from a speedy contact hitter into a power/speed combo OFer. A profile that Dipoto has coveted over the last 2-3 years- Kelenic/ Fraley/Trammell and Dom Thompson-Williams come to mind.
Personally I don’t see the M’s targeting another top prospect to fill that CF position. Instead I see them ‘cutting out the middle man’ in this 3 team trade preferring to deal only with the A’s. We are top heavy in pitching prospects. The A’s have exactly what we need- a premium bat in the Majors (Chapman) and rotation help (Bassitt, Montas, Manaea.)
While the M’s are said to be looking for help in CF industry experts believe the M’s are looking only for a short term ML proven fix in CF. Not a CF prospect. They already have an abundance of OF prospects, Julio Rodriguez will make his debut sometime in 2012. Not to mention they currently have a certain ROY CF who has already proven he can hit in the ML’s- Kyle Lewis.
I could see the M’s pursuing a M Conforto or a Tommy Pham for the short term OF position. I’d be shocked if they bring in another Top Prospect OFer for that role.
Woops! Julio Rodriguez will obviously make his debut in 2022. Not 2012!!
I know the M’s were considering a trade with CF Bryan Reynolds last year/this year but the Pirates were asking for Julio +. Dipoto wasn’t having that. I don’t blame him. Duran is a more reasonable target.
I would consider Kyle Lewis a STRONG 4th OF next year and possibly in 2023. He is not going to be healthy enough to play CF all season. And he can split some time with Duran while Duran matures into what is expected of him. Bat Lewis against LHP and Duran against RHP until we see one of the two take off. Duran played 2b in college and in the minors. We only have Frazier for next year before he becomes an FA. If Lewis sticks, we can move Duran to 2b as a long term piece to fill and still have a monster OF in 2023!
Our OF is one big question mark at the moment. The only proven OF is Henninger who has a history of missing time due to injury and he is still unsure to have his contract to be extended. Kelenic, JRod, Lewis or Duran have not proven that they can contribute as key contributors on a playoff caliber team let alone at the MLB level. With Hanniger locked in to an OF position, we can use 2022 to see which of our young talented OF’ers will emerge, stay healthy and solidify themselves as a piece of the future. What is our alternative? An overpriced FA signing that will block the development of our younger OF prospects? We drafted and traded for these kids for a reason. Let them play!
If Kelenic and Duran stick, and if JRod takes RF, then Hanniger can DH and become our 4th OF. If Lewis can rebound then this allows us to be trade him for a team need at the trade deadline. A good CF is hard to come by these days. He would be a valuable trade chip.
Although I like the idea of Chapmen at 3rd, I feel like Torro can plug in and do just fine. Chapmen might cost too much in prospects. I do believe that there are more sexier FA’s out there than Kris Bryant for the M’s but I think that KB fits the teams needs the best. He is versatile where Chapman is not. He can plug in at 3b moving Torro to UT (not a bad UT option). Torro can play 2b and Frazier can move to the OF when we play against RHP so that we have a LHB in the lineup. Bryant can play LF if Kelenic is struggling against LHP or RF if Hanniger is injured while Torro covers 3b. I think that Bryant’s flexibility is more valuable to a young team than having to give up prospects for Chapman. We can always sign Chapman when he hits FA in 2024. By then we will know which young talent of ours will stick. Who knows? Torro can surprise us. all
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