Michael Mariot picked up his fifth save of the season yesterday for the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers in a game at home against the Las Vegas 51s. He threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three without giving up any hits or walks. He’s 1-0 this season with a 3.50 ERA.
Mariot, 24, had a good spring training with the Royals, posting a 3.86 ERA in seven games. Opponents hit just .120 against him and he had an impressive 0.71 WHIP.
The Royals selected the 5-11, 195-pound righty in the 8th round of the 2010 draft and he has posted good numbers at every level so far. He was named the 2012 NW Arkansas Pitcher of the Year (6-3, 3.40 ERA).
He throws a fastball, curve ball, slider and a change-up. His fastball ranges from 92-94 mph.
Before the season, he talked to a group of reporters at Werner Park in Omaha and I was part of that group. He was asked about the strongest part of his game and the area that needs the most work.
"I’d say my strength is location," Mariot said. "And what I need to work on the most is probably my change-up. I’ve been working on it and it always needs improvement."
He looked confident yesterday against the 51s. He got ahead in the count frequently and then went to his breaking stuff (all three of his Ks came on off-speed pitches). I talked to Omaha manager Mike Jirschele after the game about Mariot’s performance.
"He was throwing his off-speed stuff for strikes, that’s when he’s most effective," Jirschele said.
This is Mariot’s first full season in Triple-A (he pitched in two games for Omaha last season). Up until this season, he’s split time as a starter and a reliever, never posting an ERA higher than 3.54 at any level. In fact, he has lowered his ERA each season as he has climbed the ranks. His K/BB ratio is 3.33-to-one.
"I feel like I’m ahead of the game, which I’m very proud of," Mariot said before the season started about moving up to Triple-A. "There’s a lot of competition in this locker room – a lot of older guys, a lot of guys who have big league time, so I’m just going to do what I can and hope for the best."
He doesn’t seem fazed by his various roles as a starter and reliever.
"A lot of guys will say you have to have a different mentality, but really you just have to go out there and pitch," he said. "Just go out there and do what you can do and control what you can control."
Pine Tar Press did an interesting interview with Mariot in 2011 if you would like to know more about him.