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Hisashi Iwakuma (quietly) had a really great season

Sep 26, 2013, 12:48 PM EDT

Hisashi Iwakuma Reuters

Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma put the finishing touches on a fantastic season last night with eight shutout innings against the Royals, lowering his ERA to 2.66.

That ranks sixth among all qualified starters, behind only Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey, Bartolo Colon, and Anibal Sanchez. He also ranks fifth in innings with 219.2, trailing only James Shields among AL pitchers.

And while he’s hardly a household name, Iwakuma’s success dates back to last season. Seattle relegated Iwakuma to a mop up/long relief role to begin last season, but since moving into the rotation he has a 2.66 ERA in 49 starts.

Here’s where that ranks among all MLB starters with at least 200 innings since last year:

Clayton Kershaw     2.20
Matt Harvey         2.39
Kris Medlen         2.54
Johnny Cueto        2.79

You’ll notice that Iwakuma is the only American Leaguer in the top five. David Price has the next-best ERA in the AL at 2.94. And in keeping with the underrated theme, Iwakuma is signed for just $6.5 million next season and the Mariners have a $7 million option on him for 2015.

  1. jarathen - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Fans of AL West teams know this very well. Great year.

  2. cur68 - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    In knew my boys were in for trouble every time they faced him. I imagine that fans of rival teams who saw their rooting interests sat down, one after another, came to appreciate him, too.

  3. moogro - Sep 26, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    He’s a beast.

  4. Detroit Michael - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    He didn’t miss a start the whole year. Iwakuma had an ugly patch from mid-June to mid-August but then he righted the ship again, eventually allowing no earned runs in his last three starts of 2013.

  5. denny65 - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Some say (OK, me) Kuma is a better pitcher than The King.

  6. markofapro - Sep 27, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    Guess the Mariners will trade them to Yankees in off season.

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