After recovering from Tommy John surgery, Ryan Cook is hoping to finally justify why the Seattle Mariners signed him in 2016.
If you were to ask “Ryan who?”, you could be forgiven. After all, despite being signed by the Mariners in January 2016, Cook has yet to actually pitch in the Majors for the M’s.
That’s because the Clovis, California native has spent the last two years dealing with injuries including Tommy John surgery, which wiped out the whole of 2017. Now, he will attempt to justify the Mariners’ decision to sign him in the first place.
More specifically, Cook will look to return to the form which saw him named to the All-Star Game in 2012, while he was a member of the Oakland Athletics. At the time, he was considered one of the top relievers in the game, as he recorded an impressive 2.09 ERA and 0.941 WHIP in 73.1 innings of action.
Even though the 30-year-old continued to put up decent numbers in the following two seasons for the Athletics, he started to battle with durability issues. The A’s eventually ran out of patience and traded him to the Boston Red Sox during the 2015 season, where he put up disastrous numbers in just five appearances.
Cook was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs following the 2015 campaign, but his contract was non-tendered in December and he became a free agent. This set the stage for Seattle to bring him in.
In fairness to the Mariners, it is entirely understandable why they signed the righty in the first place. Further, there is little to lose and everything to gain, by inviting him to spring training.
In terms of Cook’s pitching repertoire, his best weapon is his four-seam fastball, which tops out at 97 mph. As per his scouting report, it generates an extremely high number of swings and misses compared to other pitchers’ four-seamers.
The 2008 27th round draft pick also uses a sweeping slider, hard splitter and two-seam fastball. As per Brooks Baseball, right-handed hitters mostly see four-seamers and sliders, while lefties contend with a mixture of all four pitches.
Of course, sharing Cook’s resume is all very well, but this is information based on what he has achieved previously. In reality, he is an unknown quantity at this stage.
If the former Arizona Diamondback fails, as harsh as it sounds, it will be of no real consequence to the Mariners. However, if he can bounce back and revert to anything like his previous form, both the team and the player will benefit greatly.
What kind of year are you predicting for Cook? Do you have confidence in his ability to return to his previous form, or do you believe it will be another disappointing season for the pitcher? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.