As part of the annual Mariners’ fan appreciation night, the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America handed out its annual awards.
- Most Valuable Player: Daniel Vogelbach
- Most Valuable Pitcher: Marco Gonzales
- Unsung Hero: Tom Murphy
Vogelbach edged out catcher Omar Narvaez and third baseman Kyle Seager in the votes submitted by local members of the BBWAA. The slugging designated hitter has a .208/.342/.443 slash line with 17 doubles, 30 homers, 76 RBI in 142 games. Much of his production came in the first half of the season when he had a .238/.375/.505 line with 11 doubles, 21 homers and 51 RBI to earn a spot on the American League All-Star team. The second half has been a struggle with pitchers adjusting to his hitting tendencies. He has a .162/.289/.346 line with six doubles, nine homers and 25 RBI since the All-Star break.
“I think Vogey has gotten a lot out of this year,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He went from the top of the mountain to somewhere in the valley and everywhere in between. All guys are going to learn a lot in the course of a year, but can they take what they learned and put it in play going forward. We saw a really good Daniel Vogelbach through the first half — he was on fire with big hits and homers — and he certainly tailed off in the second half.”
Gonzales has one more start remaining in the 2019 season — Saturday night against the A’s — and could reach the 200-inning mark, which is the desired achievement for all starting pitchers. Forced to be the No. 1 starter with the departure of James Paxton and the struggles of Felix Hernandez, Gonzales put together a solid season. He’s made an American League-leading 33 starts, never once missing an outing while posting a 16-12 record with a 4.09 ERA in 196 innings. He is one of just six left-handed pitchers in club history to win more than 15 games in a season. The last lefty to do it was Jamie Moyer in 2003 with 21.
Gonzales posted a 5-0 record in his first seven starts with a 2.80 ERA, but then hit a rough patch when he went 0-6 with a 7.79 ERA in seven starts from May 1 to June 2. He’s rebounded from those struggles to go 11-5 with a 3.63 ERA in his past 18 starts.
With the 2019 season about to begin, Murphy was sitting on his couch watching reruns of The Office and waiting to see what fate held. He’d been designated for assignment twice in the month and was in baseball limbo. He received a call the night of March 28 from general manager Jerry Dipoto informing him he’d been acquired by the Mariners in a trade. Murphy reported the next day and was put into the backup catching spot.
From there, a swing change with hitting coach Tim Laker and a maniacal daily work ethic from Murphy yielded results at the plate. With his success, the Mariners went with a straight platoon with Murphy and the left-handed hitting Narvaez.
Murphy has a .273/.322/.542 slash line with 12 doubles, a triple, 18 homers and 40 RBI in 73 games while establishing himself as a foundation part in the Mariners’ rebuild.
“On the defensive side, incorporating our game planning and trying to get across to our pitchers what we are trying to do, Murph puts in a ton of time preparing for every series,” Servais said. “He comes in just as prepared as I or the coaches are.”
- Mitch Haniger was honored as the Mariners recipient of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association Heart and Hustle award, which honors players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. One player from each team is chosen with an overall winner honored Nov. 7.