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  1. Great story for sure.

    Comment by AL Eastbound — July 3, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  2. But it’s that curveball – Last Call – that is just straight-up unhittable.

    Comment by Snowblind — July 3, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

  3. Wait, he used to be a bartender? I hadn’t heard that anywhere before…

    Comment by DD — July 3, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  4. Damn that Rotographs chat that told me last month not to drop Scott Downs for this guy!

    Comment by antoine — July 3, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  5. M’s gotta trade him asap and not make the mistake they made with Aardsma and League.

    Comment by Monroe — July 3, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  6. Aardsma and League were getting expensive when triggers were not pulled. The greater risk here is in trading away a cost-controlled asset for pieces as valuable as, say, Francisco Martinez and Chance Ruffin.

    Comment by Bookbook — July 3, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  7. Addiction issues forced him to retiree. He tended bar in his home town of Tucson for five years after that. Then he auditioned for the Tucson Toros, where the M’s discovered him throw 94 in independent league ball.

    Comment by philosofool — July 3, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  8. He was a former Brewers prospect that quit baseball to smoke pot and drink. He got bored of it after a few years and finally picked up a baseball, fortunately for him he still could throw hard. It’s not a “great” story.

    Comment by Justin — July 3, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  9. I suspect that the success of his fastball is a synergy thing. His curve ball is really good too; he can throw it for strikes and it also draws whiffs. If he has a little deception with the curve, the pair are really going to bust hitters’ timing. What do you do when you’re eithr getting a fastball at 96 or a curve at 79 and you have two strikes? Swing in front of the curve or behind the heat.

    Comment by philosofool — July 3, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  10. Not even comparable situations. Both were getting expensive through arbitration and had a couple years before hitting FA. Wilhelmsen is cheap and under team control for most of this decade. Z should certainly listen, since trading relievers for hitters is good policy, but the return should be significant. This isn’t a rental.

    Comment by Basebull — July 3, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

  11. Might have the best curveball in all of baseball. Then you add that to his fastball the hitters just look silly ala Tecmo Baseball.

    Comment by duworkson — July 3, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

  12. u mad?

    Comment by Dale — July 3, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  13. I gotta know: who was swinging and fouling off a pitch at their eyeball-level? Belliard and Guerrero have retired, right?

    Comment by Another Dale — July 3, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  14. Addiction issues? The most I heard was that he got in trouble for marijuana a couple times and he quit baseball because he didn’t care enough. He left baseball so he could hike mountains and travel. Where did you see anything different? Sounds like listless young man syndrom rather than a drug abuse disease.

    Comment by Stuart — July 3, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

  15. Overcoming personal demons is not a great story? Do you think Josh Hamilton’s professed continued temptations that he has to fight aren’t inspiring?

    Wilhelmsen’s demons might not be as impressive as Hamilton’s, but being able to stand up, say “I’m done with this”, and get your life back in order upon the path of greatness is admirable. Not everybody can do that. In fact, millions every year die because they can’t.

    Comment by TIF — July 3, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  16. There’s always Beltre.

    Comment by TIF — July 3, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

  17. Interleague play. Sandoval.

    Comment by Voxx — July 3, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

  18. Agreed. Jack, I appreciate your focus here on Wilhelmsen’s fastball, since as you show he’s exceptionally effective with it in the zone, because despite that, I tend to focus on his curve. The pitch is not only all but unhitable but he _routinely_ throws it for a strike. He gets the called strike so often with that, and it’s a reliable groundball pitch when he needs that. He’s a terrific reliever because his fastball’s so good, but he’s a great closer because the curve will unzip you if you _don’t_ swing at the fastball. Two plus offerings and a show-me means he can attack the zone every pitch. Thus far, he’s the cool customer too with men on base also, doesn’t seem fazed in the least, just gets the next out. Wilhelmsen has been my favorite Mariner so far this year: somebody here (beyond Felix) wants to win . . . .

    Comment by Balthazar — July 4, 2012 @ 3:14 am

  19. He got a tryout in spring training because Jack Z drafted him when with the Brewers and Jack took his call. Another factor is his height of 6’6″ which means his release point is closer to the plate than most which makes it appear 1 or 2 mph faster than it actually is. Due to his time away from the game his arm is as fresh as a guy a few years younger. He is The Bartender, may his tip glass runeth over.

    Comment by maqman — July 4, 2012 @ 10:50 am

  20. Tom ‘Bartender’ Wilhelmsen is so much better than Brandon ‘Bush’ League!

    Comment by Rippers — July 4, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

  21. yeah guys… “having smoked pot in your life” doesn’t make you a drug addict, any more than having been to a bar makes you an alcoholic. i like both wilhelmsen and josh hamilton but they really have little in common beyond leaving the game for a few years and then making successful comebacks. granted, that -is- a thing they have in common. but there’s gradations and distinctions to be made here.

    Comment by wily mo — July 5, 2012 @ 12:28 am

  22. also DD was being sarcastic

    Comment by wily mo — July 5, 2012 @ 12:29 am

  23. Thank you, wily mo.

    Comment by DD — July 5, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  24. Bartenders turned closers are the new market inefficiency.

    Comment by Johnhavok — July 5, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

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