Scribner will be a middle reliever/set up guy in the Mariners’ bullpen. His career numbers are not that impressive. In 147 2/3 major league innings over five seasons, he has a 4.21 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He does a good job of getting strikeouts (8.2 K/9) and limiting walks (1.7 BB/9) but has struggled with home runs (1.5 HR/9). In fact, he had the highest HR/9 of any relief pitcher in baseball last year when he gave up 14 long balls in just 60 innings. His HR/FB percentage was the second-worst of any relief pitcher. More than one of every five fly balls Scriber allowed went over the wall (22.6% HR/FB rate). Along those same lines, Scribner had a hard hit percentage of 33.9%, which was the fifth-worst among all relievers.
Despite his struggles with hard contact and home runs, Scribner’s strikeout and walk rates give some hope for better days ahead. The Steamer projection system at Fangraphs is projecting that Scribner will pitch 55 innings with a 3.11 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 2016. That would be his best season by far and would help replace the recently traded Carson Smith. For Scribner to achieve this projection, he would need to continue striking out batters like he has over the last two years (75 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings) and continue to limit walks (just 4 walks in 71 2/3 innings over the last two years), while getting his home run rate down to league average levels.
The player traded away by the Mariners is Trey Cochran-Gill. Cochran-Gill was taken in the 17th round of the 2014 June Amateur Draft. He was very good at the lower levels in his draft year, even pitching 10 2/3 shutout innings with the Everett Aquasox. The Mariners rushed him through three levels of their minor league system in 2015. He was good at the High-A level with Bakersfield, pitching 19 2/3 innings with an 8.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. He did not do so well when he was bumped up to AA. With Jackson of the Southern League, Cochran-Gill pitched 53 innings with a strikeout rate of just 5.1 K/9. He also walked more guys than he struck out. Late in the year, he pitched 2 2/3 innings with the Tacoma Rainiers at the AAA level.
There is one interesting note of comparison for these two pitchers. Scribner has had big problems with home runs over the last two years, having allowed 18 dingers in 71 2/3 innings. Cochran-Gill has pitched 111 1/3 minor league innings in his career and has never allowed a home run.
Scribner is no Carson Smith, but he could be an adequate middle relief arm and Cochran-Gill isn’t too much to give up.