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