Chris Flexen

Christopher John Flexen

Height: 6'3"    Weight: 225 lbs.

Bats/Throws: Right / Right

Born: 07/01/1994 in Newark, California

Nickname: Big Baby

Suggested Nickname: Flex Mentallo

MLB Debut: 07/27/2017

Acquired: Signed as a free agent (12/18/2020)

Free Agent after: 2023 season

It's been a hard-luck season for Flexen so far. Tagged with six losses to date, in only one of them did he really pitch poorly and in over all six, the Mariners plated a combined total of three runs. Flex drew the short straw when the M's were shut out by the Twins, the Astros (twice), and the Phillies, and lost to the Rays by a final score of 2-1. What's a guy gotta do to get some run support? Well, he's gotten some in his most recent three starts (May 21, 27, and June 2), earning him one win and two no-decisions; the win came against Houston again, giving a measure of revenge as Flex bested the great Justin Verlander with seven strong frames. All that said, the big right-hander hasn't been quite the success he was last year, at least not to this point; he's only pitched through the sixth inning four times and had a pair of starts in May in which he got lit up pretty badly. Consistency was a strength for him in 2021 and the M's could use its return for Flex here in ’22.

TH, 6/6/22


Prior notes

People don't pay as much attention to the "old-fashioned" stats like wins and losses for pitchers, but for what it's worth, Flex Mentallo led the Mariners in 2021 with 14 wins and also led Seattle starters in ERA (3.61). This was, to put it mildly, unexpected. When the M's signed Flex out of the Korean Baseball Organization following the 2020 season—in part because the KBO actually played a full slate of games while the Majors only played a 60-game schedule, and that meant Flexen was on a more-or-less standard year-to-year workload—it was something of a crapshoot. Though he'd had experience in the big leagues with the Mets, he didn't to well there and it wasn't all that clear that his success in the KBO would translate when he returned to North America. Credit the Seattle scouts, though, they saw something real in the fiery right-hander and the gamble paid off. He led the club in innings pitched as well, and though he didn't quite average six innings per start thanks to a few quick exits, Flex did notch 15 quality starts (defined as six or more innings with three or fewer runs scored).

Key to Flexen's 2021 success was shutting down lefties. While right-handers hit him pretty hard, left-handers only managed a .235/.266/.386 line against him. He also had significantly better results at home than on the road, but that's less surprising since TMP, while a fair park in terms of dimensions, has played more as a pitchers' park thanks to the marine air off Elliott Bay.

Flexen is among the more reactive pitchers you'll see in a game, expressing his enthusiasm or upset in animated fashion when things happen on the field. Some call him intense, or a bulldog. His manager has another term for it: “Flex is more in the psycho bucket for me,” said Scott Servais this spring. For his part, Flexen is aware of his behavior. "It’s the competitive side of me coming out," Flexen said. “That is something I’m trying to work on … not letting it leak over where it takes you out of a game. It’s been worse in the past. I think I’ve gotten a lot better with it.” If his shouts and gesticulations help him get opposing batters out, we've got no problem with it.

TH, 3/29/22