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The case for Tom Wilhelmsen as the Mariners’ All-Star

Jun 26, 2012, 6:18 PM EDT

Tom Wilhemsen Getty Images

It won’t be Ichiro. It might not be King Felix. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times believes that Tom Wilhelmsen should be the Mariners’ lone All-Star this year.

It’d sure be a nice story if it comes to fruition. Wilhelmsen, originally a seventh-round pick of the Brewers in 2002, was suspended in 2004 after twice testing positive for marijuana and decided to quit baseball prior to the start of the 2005 season. He spent the next five years as a bartender before attempting a comeback with the Mariners in 2010. He made his major league debut a year ago, and he took over as Seattle’s closer this season with Brandon League struggling.

Wilhelmsen currently has a 2.84 ERA and five saves, numbers that hardly scream All-Star. However, he’s working on a string of 14 2/3 scoreless innings, and he has 47 strikeouts in 38 innings on the season.

Felix Hernandez has to be the odds-on favorite to be the Mariners’ All-Star. He hasn’t been at his best this season, but he is the superstar and he has his ERA down to 3.36 now. There’s also another bullpen option besides Wilhelmsen: left-hander Charlie Furbush has a 2.01 ERA and an incredible 0.57 WHIP in his 31 1/3 innings of relief work. He’s struck out 39 and walked just five this season.

On offense, the only possibilities are Kyle Seager (.258/.315/.457, 10 HR, 45 RBI) and Michael Saunders (.267/.330/.442, 8 HR, 12 SB), neither of whom would be close to making the team on merit.

So, why not Wilhelmsen? He’d be the nicest story of the group, and with the way he’s throwing now, he’d be a fine choice to try to get a tough righty out late in the game.

  1. Detroit Michael - Jun 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Who is the better pitcher right now? If you had to pick either Felix Hernandez or Tom Wilhelmsen to try to shut out the best National League batters for one inning, who would you pick?

    Yes, we’d both pick Felix Hernandez.

  2. mmason0071 - Jun 26, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Actually, for one inning the choice should be the bartender (Wilhelmson). A 98mph fastball and a very sharp curveball makes him really tough. The Mariner’s second choice for the All Star team would have to be the scorekeeper who has to keep writing all those zeros in the run column.

  3. Hawkins - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Reblogged this on One Foot Off and commented:
    Great story!

    • Jeremy T - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      while the thumbs-downs are certainly merited judging this as a pure comment, I’m pretty sure it was posted automatically by WordPress, so don’t judge the guy too harshly

      • Hawkins - Jun 30, 2012 at 9:03 PM

        I’m pretty new to this. Had no idea that comments were judged at all. Really, I thought I was just reblogging. Next time I’ll go into more philosophical illustration as to why it’s a “great story.”

  4. IdahoMariner - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    It’s too bad the criteria is mostly (if not all) batting for the position players. Because, despite their incredibly poor batting (all of them,really) the team’s defense is pretty good, with guys like Ichiro and Brendan Ryan making it possible for the Ms to have an ace…..and then four #5 pitchers… Ichiro hasn’t lost step in the outfield. Ryan does some amazing stuff at short.

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