Rob Whalen Promoted By Seattle Mariners, Team Gives Rookie His Shot

Rob Whalen was promoted by the Seattle Mariners on Saturday (May 6), joining a pitching staff that needs a lot of help. Whalen had been with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers since coming to Seattle in an offseason trade with the Atlanta Braves. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, two more pitchers got hurt on Friday night (May 5), forcing general manager Jerry Dipoto to warm up the shuttle between Seattle and Tacoma.

A report by Bob Dutton confirms that pitchers Dan Altavilla and Rob Whalen were recalled from Tacoma when Emilio Pagan was optioned and Evan Marshall was added to the 10-day disabled list. Whalen has primarily been used as a starting pitcher in the past, so it is unclear just how he will get used by the Mariners. With the team playing 13 innings against the Texas Rangers on Friday, though, it suggests he might get used out of the bullpen immediately.

Rob Whalen is a 23-year-old right-handed starting pitcher who is currently ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the Seattle Mariners’ Minor League system. He only appeared in one game for Tacoma, pitching 4 2/3 innings of shutout baseball while allowing just six hits. Whalen also had four strikeouts and one walk in that appearance. Below is a video of Whalen making that debut start.

The Seattle Mariners acquired Rob Whalen from the Atlanta Braves in a trade this past November. In exchange for first-round pick Alex Jackson and pitcher Tyler Pike, the Mariners acquired pitchers Max Povse and Whalen. Povse is the No. 5 ranked prospect player in the system now, playing for Arkansas since coming to the organization. Povse will get his shot soon, but there were a lot of names ahead of him when the team reported to Spring Training this year.

Povse didn’t allow a run in 10 innings of work in Peoria, giving the Mariners high hopes for the future. Whalen struggled a bit, posting a 12.00 ERA and 2.67 WHIP in three innings of work. He was used as a reliever in two games but got lit up by the opposition, making the decision easy to let him start the season in Tacoma. If he can perform well this weekend, he might find a permanent spot on the pitching staff.

The Seattle Mariners have rookie starting pitcher Chase De Jong on the mound against the Texas Rangers on Saturday night (May 6). He has struggled so far this season, which could be a hint that manager Scott Servais is going to have to use a lot of arms out of the bullpen. Tony Zych didn’t pitch last night and Edwin Diaz is rested, but there is a good shot that Dan Altavilla and Rob Whalen will also get used if De Jong doesn’t last long.

Altavilla was up with the Mariners earlier this season, appearing in nine games, but struggled to find the strike zone at times. Altavilla posted a 7.36 ERA and 2.318 WHIP over 7 1/3 innings of work. He also had six walks, two wild pitches, and 10 strikeouts during that stint. Altavilla was back in Tacoma to work on things, but he is being thrown back into the fire sooner than anticipated.

Game time is 6:10 p.m. PT on Saturday and also serves as Felix Hernandez Bobblehead Day at Safeco Field. King Felix won’t take the mound because he is on the disabled list, where James Paxton, Mitch Haniger, and Drew Smyly are also recovering from injuries. Rob Whalen will be in uniform and ready to go, giving the Seattle Mariners fans a first look at what the young pitcher can do.

[Featured Image by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images]