Two Pensacola Blue Wahoos starting pitchers got nods in the year end organizational honors. Tony Santillan took home player of the year honors as the top player in the organization in 2018. His teammate Seth Varner gets the nod as the Starting Pitcher of the Year award.

The left handed starter saw his season begin in Daytona. Hopefully he didn’t put down money on any property there because a week later he was in Pensacola, and he’d stay there the rest of the year. That first month in Double-A saw Seth Varner pitch out of the bullpen.

On May 25th he’d transition into the Blue Wahoos rotation and didn’t look back. The lefty would make 17 starts from that point forward on the season, throwing 100.0 innings for Pensacola as a starter. That would add to his 19.1 innings he had as a reliever. In his full season he would thrown 125.1 innings. That came along with a 3.30 ERA and just 107 hits allowed. Seth Varner, well known as a control artist, walked just 31 batters on the season. Two of those walks were intentional. He also struck out 102 batters.

Among the pitchers with at least 15 starts for the Reds organization this season, Seth Varner ranked 1st in WHIP, 3rd in wins, 3rd in hits per-9-innings, and 4th in ERA. Of the pitchers with at least 120 innings pitched he ranked 2nd in ERA, trailing only Tony Santillan.

On the season batters hit just .229/.283/.411 against Seth Varner. As a lefty he did what you may have expected: dominate left handed hitters. Southpaws managed to hit just .168/.246/.248 against the former Miami Redhawk during the 2018 season in 139 plate appearances.

Breaking down his starter versus reliever stats, he pitched better as a starter. His ERA over his 18 starts was 3.14, while it was 4.19 in his 8 relief appearances. He held opposing batters to a .686 OPS as a starter, while as a reliever that jumped up to .734. In both cases though, hitters had a sub .300 on-base percentage against him.

Consistency was a key for Seth Varner. He allowed more than three earned runs in a game just two times all season. He walked more than two batters in a game just five times in 26 games. Varner walked more than ONE batter in just seven games. It was that consistency, every five days, that helped him get the nod for starter of the year in the system.

Seth Varner’s 2018 Season Stats

Player of the Year goes to Tony Santillan.

Position Player of the Year goes to Mariel Bautista.

Reliever of the Year goes to Ryan Hendrix.


15 Responses

  1. Matthew O'Neal

    Varner is my most intriguing potential Rule 5 protectee. He had a really good year in AA, good BB rate, not an outstanding K rate. Looking forward to see how the Reds work the 40 man roster this off season.

    • RobL

      It all comes down to the scouting report, which I have no clue what it is. If he throws a fastball in the low 90s with a nice breaking pitch, then he may find his way on a 40 man. If he throws in the upper 80s, then he needs a good breaking pitch and a good change-up. If he’s in the upper 80s with great control, and decent secondary stuff, then he probably doesn’t get a lot of interest. Doug is the man with the knowledge.

    • Norwood Nate

      From my understanding, now that Guerrero is on the 40-man (may still come off), there’s only a few guys to even consider for Rule 5 protection. Herget seems to be the only obvious addition, with O’Grady being mentioned as a possibility. Varner should certainly warrant some consideration as well, considering he’s been especially effective against lefties.

      Brice, Finnegan, and Peralta are guys I wouldn’t mind seeing the Reds move on from. I don’t see the need to protect Trahan or Federowicz once the season is over. Matt Harvey is a FA at the end of the season. So that’s six spots that could open up pretty easy. Three will be needed to add 60-day DL guys back. There’s other guys that as well that haven’t done much at the ML level with limited upside that could also move to open room.

      Probably depends on if the Reds think someone plucks him to use him as a LOOGY. I’d say that’s more likely than O’Grady getting picked in the Rule 5.

  2. AirborneJayJay

    1. Scott Moss, 15-4. Age 23 at A+.
    2. Seth Varner, 10-3. Age 26 at AA.
    Nothing more need be said.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s 2018. Won-loss record isn’t a useful barometer of performance.

      • AirborneJayJay

        I knew you were going to say something to that effect.
        Moss: 25 G, 3.68 ERA/ 4.11 FIP/ 3.90 xFIP, 132.0 IP, 13 HR, 41 BB, 112 K, 1.33 WHIP, 19.9 K%, 7.3 BB%, 1362 strikes, 769 balls.
        Varner (at AA): 25 G, 3.39 ERA/ 4.66 FIP/ 3.92 xFIP, 19 HR, 31 BB, 99 K, 1.13 WHIP, 20.2 K%, 6.3 BB%, 1136 strikes, 591 balls.
        Moss by a nose. Varner had 6.0 IP at A+, but they didn’t affect his overall numbers much at all.

      • Cguy

        Bet you dollars to doughnuts that the pitchers that win the Cy Young awards this season have a boatload of wins- even if their K% is a little low & their BB% a little high. Victories still matter, at least at the ML level. Even if it is minutiae, I wonder when the last Reds MiL pitcher posted a 28-10 record over 2 seasons?

  3. RandyW

    If he’s pitcher of the year, then its hard to be excited about the future.

    • Jack

      Pretty much, there is Santillian and not a lot more for a franchise still looking for 3 to 4 starters next year.

  4. MK

    Weren’t Robert Stephenson’s numbers considerably better than Nate’s. A little better in most place with Bob having a huge advantage in K/9 innings.

    • Doug Gray

      See the just published article for some more insight into the process/reasoning.

  5. Dan

    Wow, 20 HR allowed in 125 IP? That seems worrisome…

    Have you seen him pitch, Doug? If so, what were your impressions?

  6. Dan

    Question for you Doug.
    What do we have in the higher minors besides Tony Santillan? Is the cupboard as bare as I see it?
    And what exactly do we have in the lower minors that might be big club ready in a few Years?