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James Paxton Part of Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

James Paxton's fielding mitt from the 2014 season is displayed at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

James Paxton’s fielding mitt from the 2014 season is displayed at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

James Paxton had a fine rookie season with the Mariners, going 6-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 13 starts. In 17 career Major League starts, the left-hander is 9-4 with a 2.66 ERA.

A native of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada, Paxton was asked if he had any items from his rookie season he could donate to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Following the season, Paxton donated the mitt he used all season to be displayed at the museum in St. Marys, Ontario.

As you can see in the picture above, Paxton’s mitt is placed nicely next to a signed Mariners hat and game-used batting gloves from Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders, who is also a Canadian native from Victoria.

Felix Hernandez Named Sporting News All-Star

Felix Hernandez was named a Sporting News All-Star.

Felix Hernandez was named a Sporting News All-Star.

Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez has been named the starting pitcher on the Sporting News American League All-Star team.

Hernandez went 15-6 with an American League-leading 2.14 ERA in 34 starts in 2014.

The All-Star team was selected by a panel of 20 American League General Managers and Assistant General Managers. The Sporting News has been selecting postseason All-Star teams since the 1920s.

The above image of Felix is courtesy of SN and pays homage to the Topps’ classic 1954 baseball cards.

Live Stream of World Series Games Now Available

MLB_TV

For the first time ever in the United States, every World Series Game will be streamed LIVE to authenticated MLB.TV subscribers with no blackouts.

Eligible subscribers in the US must authenticate through their supported Pay TV provider. Participating Pay TV partners include: DirecTV, Optimum, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse TV, COX, Bright House Networks, Buckeye, Arvig, WOW!, Suddenlink and Consolidated Communications.

Fans can watch LIVE online or on over 400 devices with a full HD picture, in-game highlights and stats, clickable linescores and more.

See all the details at via MLB.com.

And, of course, every game will be LIVE on FOX TV and ESPN Radio, as well.

Chris Young Named AL Comeback Player of the Year

2014Young_ComebackPOY_TW

The Sporting News announced its annual Comeback Player of the Year award today and Mariners right-handed pitcher Chris Young was named the American League winner.

Young, 35, returned to the Majors for the first time since 2012 to go 12-9 with a 3.65 ERA (67 ER, 165.0 IP) in 30 games/29 starts with the Mariners. The 6-10 right-hander did not pitch in the Majors in 2013 after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. From 2009-2012, Young made just 42 Major League starts battling various shoulder injuries.

“I am extremely honored to be named Comeback Player of the Year by the Sporting News,” said Young. “There are many deserving players who have demonstrated the commitment, dedication and perseverance to overcome similar obstacles and I am humbled to be recognized amongst them. The life lessons I have learned throughout this experience are invaluable and will stay with me the rest of my career. Furthermore, I hope that I can serve as inspiration to other players in the same manner in which I was inspired to pursue my comeback. I am extremely grateful to my teammates, coaches, the Seattle Mariners organization and my family, as each and every member contributed to my success.”

2014_CY_ComebackPOY

Young’s 12 wins tied his career-high set in 2005 with the Texas Rangers, and recorded the 3rd-most innings (165.0) of his 10-season Major League career. The span of 8 years between 12+ win seasons is tied for the 3rd-longest in MLB history behind Danny Darwin (12 years, 1980-93), Lindy McDaniel (9 years, 1963-73) and Ron Kline (9 years, 1958-68).

“Chris was a big part of our success in 2014, really solidifying our rotation,” said manager Lloyd McClendon. “To think he won as many games as he did, and made 29 starts, coming off the type of surgery and the injuries that he had, I think it’s just tremendous. He is a tireless worker and showed his determination with his performance. This is a very deserving award for him in every way possible.”

“This is a tremendous and well-deserving honor for Chris,” added pitching coach Rick Waits. “He worked tirelessly and stuck to his routine to keep himself healthy and on the mound throughout the season. He had a breakthrough year making a comeback, but it wasn’t really that surprising to me. This is a testament to his resolve, patience, determination, hard work, his routine and his tireless study of opposing hitters.”

Young is the fifth player in Mariners history to win the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award, joining Willie Horton (1979), Richie Zisk (1981), Gorman Thomas (1985) and Gil Meche (2003).

Miami’s Casey McGehee was the NL Comeback Player of the Year. Here are the voting results:

American League (voting by only AL players)

1. Chris Young, Mariners-49
2. J.D. Martinez, Tigers-22
3. Scott Kazmir, Athletics-14
4. Derek Jeter, Yankees-11
5. Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays-6
Others-30

National League (voting by only NL players)

1. Casey McGehee, Marlins-26
2. Tim Hudson, Giant-17
3. Matt Kemp, Dodgers-15
4. Starlin Castro, Cubs-2
5. Others-4

A Wild (Card) World Series

Raise your hand if you’ve enjoyed the playoffs so far this season? And last night’s walk-off home run by Washington native Travis Ishikawa (Federal Way) has set up a pretty “wild” setting for the upcoming World Series.

For just the second time during the 20 years of the Wild Card era, two teams that entered the playoffs as wild card teams have advanced to the World Series. The Royals and Giants will open the 2014 World Series next Tuesday (4:30 pm PT/FOX) after clinching their respective pennants over the last two days.

The Royals and Giants join the Angels and Giants in 2002 as the only season since 1995 (the year the Wild Card was introduced) where both Wild Card teams advanced to the World Series. In total, 12 of 46 Wild Card teams have advanced to the World Series (26.1%), while 28 of 120 division champions have advanced to the Fall Classic (23.3%).

Another fun fact is that the Giants are the first “lowest seed” Wild Card team to advance to the playoffs since the expansion to two Wild Card teams in 2012. The following teams have won the World Series as a Wild Card team: Marlins (1997 & 2003), Angels (2002), Red Sox (2004), and Cardinals (2011), meaning that three consecutive titles were won by a wild card (2002–2004). A Wild Card team appeared in the World Series each year from 2002–2007.

Here is the official World Series schedule from @MLB_PR:

World_Series

Randy Johnson…The Photographer

Mariners Hall of Famer Randy Johnson had an amazing baseball career with over 4,000 strikeouts, 303 wins, 5 Cy Young Awards and one World Championship. Tonight “The Big Unit” will be featured on ESPN’s E:60, but not about his baseball career, but rather his hobby of photography. Tune in tonight to find out about the other side of Randy.

2014 Rewind – Iwakuma by the Numbers

Iwakuma_ERA copy

Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma put together another solid season in 2014, recording a career-high 15 wins (15-9) with a 3.52 ERA in 28 starts. After starting the season on the disabled list, Iwakuma set single-season club records for highest strikeout-to-walk ratio at 7.33 and lowest walk rate (1.06 BB/9.0 IP). In 179.0 innings, Iwakuma walked only 21 batters (including 2 IBB) and recorded 154 strikeouts.

Since joining the Mariners in 2012 after an All-Star career in Japan, Iwakuma has made 77 starts (91 overall appearances). His 2.99 ERA in his starts (since July 2, 2012) is the 9th-best in the Majors joining an elite list of pitchers:

Iwakuma_ERA_Chart

2014 Rewind – Another .300 Season for Robinson Cano

Cano300

Robinson Cano had a banner first season with the Mariners, batting .314 with 37 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs and 82 RBI in 157 games. The 6-time All-Star ranked 6th in the American League in batting average and hits (187), tied for 7th in doubles and 11th with a .836 OPS.

The .300 season was the 6th consecutive for Cano, tying Miguel Cabrera for the longest active streak in the Majors. Cano has hit over .300 in 8 of his 10 seasons since debuting with the Yankees in 2005, combining to bat .310 with 412 doubles, 30 triples, 218 home runs and 904 RBI in his career.

Cano’s .314 batting average over the last six seasons is 4th-highest in the Majors behind Miguel Cabrera (.331), Joe Mauer (.320) and Victor Martinez (.314).

What has been most amazing about Cano’s streak is the fact that .300 hitters are going by the wayside. Consider this, from 2003-2008, the combined MLB batting average was .266 with 221 players who hit .300 or better in a season (when qualifying for the batting title). Over the last six seasons (2009-2014), the MLB batting average has dipped to .256 with 158 players hitting .300 or better in a season.

Among American League players during the designated hitter era (since 1973), Cano’s 8 seasons batting .300 or higher are tied for 11th-most. Edgar Martinez and Ichiro Suzuki both had 10 seasons batting .300 or higher during their Mariners career.

2014 Mariners Rewind – All-Star Additions

Two of the Mariners four All-Stars in 2014 (Cano & Rodney) were added to the team through free agency.

Two of the Mariners All-Stars in 2014 (Cano & Rodney) were added to the team through free agency.

In preparing the 2014 Season in Review, we are digging up a lot of information through research that we’ll pass along on the blog. Today we found this little nugget…

The Mariners had four players selected as All-Stars in 2014 – Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Fernando Rodney – two of which joined the team through free agency (Cano and Rodney). With the help of STATS Inc, we were able to unearth the fact that this was only the 5th time over the last 10 seasons (since 2005) that a pair of new teammates (through free agency or trade) became All-Stars. Here is a look at the last 5 instances:

Free-Agent

Furthermore, if you count strictly free agents joining a new team, this was just the second time since 2006, 5th time since 1999 and 8th time since 1993 (all according to stats guru Jeff Chernow at STATS Inc).

We’ll be passing along more information in the coming days, such as a fun tidbit on Cano’s six consecutive seasons hitting .300 or better and Felix having the lowest ERA by an American League pitcher in a LONG time.

Enjoy the weekend!

Felix Hernandez Selected as Hutch Award Finalist

Hutch_Award_2015

Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2015 Hutch Award.

Here are detailed sketches of all 10 finalists for the award.

This year we’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Hutch Award at the Hutch Award Luncheon while raising funds to benefit cancer research at Fred Hutch. Over the past 15 years, the Hutch Award Luncheon has raised gross proceeds of more than $4.3 million to support lifesaving research.

Presented each year in Seattle at Safeco Field, and ranked as one of the top annual awards given to a Major League Baseball player, the Hutch Award recognizes the MLB player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of the legendary leader and Seattle native, Fred Hutchinson.

Felix has been a team leader, both on and off the field, in his 10 seasons with the Mariners after debuting as a 19-year-old in 2005. In the community he is been heavily involved with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Humane Society, is the spokesperson for the “Refuse to Abuse” campaign in partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and has teamed up with Grammy Award-winning recording artist and Seattle native Macklemore launch a comprehensive anti-bullying campaign. Felix is also the Mariners nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award and the Branch Rickey Award.

On the field Felix is one of the most dominating pitchers in the Majors, going 15-6 with an American League-leading 2.14 ERA in 2014 and is 125-92 with a 3.07 ERA in 303 career starts. He is a 5-time All-Star, including being selected as the starting pitcher for the AL in the 2014 Midsummer Classic in Minneapolis.

The 2015 luncheon will be held at Safeco Field (left field playing surface) on Thursday, January 29. Past winners of the Hutch Award include Raul Ibañez (2013), Jamie Moyer (2003), Omar Vizquel (1996) and John Olerud (1993) to name just a few.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez is one of 10 finalists for the 2015 Hutch Award.

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