Paul Sewald is Becoming a Bullpen Specialist

Paul Sewald

Paul Sewald is becoming a bullpen specialist for the Seattle Mariners. His durability, and his willingness to enter the game as a middle relief, and set-up pitcher has made it less of a challenge for manager Scott Servais when deciding what reliever to bring in for specific situations.  He is a big reason why this team is in the top-five in the latest scoreless outing percentage and goose eggs rankings. Scoreless Outing Percentage and Goose Eggs, 2022 (lastwordonsports.com)

Long and Trying Time

Paul Sewald is becoming a bullpen specialist for the Mariners, but it has been a long and trying time to get to where he is. He was drafted out of college by the New York Mets in the tenth round of the 2012 draft. He did, however, compile a minor league record of 23 wins and 13 losses, with 74 saves and a 2.48 ERA during his time in the Mets’ organization.

 

Finally in the Big Leagues

Sewald finally made the big league roster in 2017, but struggled with his time with the Mets’ big-league club. He posted a 1–14 mark, and a 5.50 ERA in 125 games.

In December 2020, it was an easy decision for the Mets to “non-tender” him. That gave Sewald the option to sign with any team.

 

Paul Sewald Signs with Seattle

Paul Sewald signed a minor league contract with the Mariners, and was invited to spring training in 2021. He did not make the team out of spring training. However, he knew it was just a matter of time before he would be called up. Working with coaches, tweaking his delivery and with the pitching changes he made, it would happen soon enough.

 

Worked with Coaches

The Mariners, who have a strong analytical department, watched video of Paul Sewald with the Mets. They had some ideas on how they could do things differently from a mechanical standpoint. He worked with their pitching coach, Pete Woodworth, and their bullpen coach, Trent Blank, on adjusting his mechanics as they explained what it would take to become a successful pitcher in the big leagues. They adjusted his pitching style, including the location of his fastball. They showed him how to work his slider and make it effective against both left and right-handed hitters, an overall revamped way of attacking those hitters.

 

Breakout 2021

He certainly had a breakout 2021 season. Paul Sewald posted a 10–3 record with an ERA of 3.06 in 62 games, while striking out 104 batters in 62 2/3 innings. He was one of baseball’s top relievers and even of the best stories of the season. Paul Sewald’s success was a big reason why the Mariners surprised the baseball world by winning 90 games a year ago, and why they were in the Wild Card race until the final game of the season.

 

Continued Success

In 2022, Paul Sewald has continued his success. He has allowed just one unearned over his last eight innings, picking up four saves and is now 16-for-19 in save chances while adding six holds. Paul Sewald has a 3–3 record and a 2.36 ERA. He has even established himself as a closer, and has gained the confidence of his manager and teammates.

 

Will be Counted On

Paul Sewald is becoming a bullpen specialist, and the Mariners are in first place in the Wild Card race, but there are seven other teams they need to hold off if they want to make the playoffs. Having the consistency and reliability of Paul Sewald in the closer spot gives them a step up over other teams. If he can continue to shoulder the responsibility of the position and remain successful, the Mariners may just get the playoff spot they’ve been seeking since 2001.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players/Managers Mentioned:

Paul Sewald, Scott Servais