Is The Mariners Thyago Vieira The Next Big Thing?

Baseball’s fastballs have really been lighting up the radar guns in the past few years. 95+ was rare a decade ago. Now, it seems to be the new average. Thankfully, the Mariners have a young guy that is throwing fastballs way above the league average.

I’m sure it’s easier to say 95mph is “average” from sitting behind a computer, but it is what it is. Aroldis Chapman has been known as the league’s premium fireballer but is he going to have to make some room for the Mariners, Thyago Vieira up there on that high-heat pedestal?

The Mariners signed Vieira out of Brazil back in 2010 at the age of 18. Lately, the fire-breathing prospect’s fastball has been bringing him some attention lately.

During an outing in the Arizona Fall League, Vieira hit 103mph on the gun. You don’t have to be a major-leaguer to know that’s pretty fast. The ball is basically a blur when it comes across the plate.

As we all know, the Mariners already have late call-up Dan Altavilla and young phenom Edwin Diaz at the back end of the bullpen to nail down ballgames, but Vieira could really help the Mariners late in games.

Vieira had a cumulative 5.23 ERA in his first 5 years in the organization, mainly because of some control problems. After working out the kinks in his delivery and mental approach to pitching in the spring of 2016, Vieira attained a much more respectable 2.84 ERA. To go alongside that, Vieira threw 53 strikeouts compared to18 walks in 44.1IP over 34 games for Class A Advanced Bakersfield.

The M’s obviously see some potential in the 6’2″ 210 lbs. Brazilian. They could have kept him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, but they added him to the 40-man roster, giving him a spot in a big league bullpen that could be considered one of the most lethal in the MLB. And we’ve all seen what a good bullpen can do, i.e., the 2014-2015 Kansas City Royals and the 2016 AL Champion Cleveland Indians.

Granted, the chances of him being a part of that bullpen on Opening Day are slim, having to make the jump from Class A to the MLB, but it gives exciting potential to a 3-headed monster of Diaz, Altavilla and Vieira with the lead in the late innings of a ballgame.

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