The Miami Marlins are beginning the process of rebuilding their farm system. Braxton Garrett’s impressive minor league debut is a step in the right direction.
At this point, the factors that led to the Miami Marlins being without a legitimate number one or number two pitcher in their rotation don’t need to be reviewed. However, what is becoming increasingly apparent is the lack of players coming down the pipeline for the Fish. Crippled by injuries, depth issues have never been more obvious than they are now.
Help appears to be on the way (in two or three years). Top rated prospect on the farm Braxton Garrett made his debut on Monday, and was every bit as good as advertised.
It was a long-awaited moment for Garrett, who sat out all of last year with “aches and pains”. The Marlins selected him with the seventh overall pick last season, and signed him to whopping $4.45 million signing bonus.
Baseball America’s Josh Norris reported the following quote from Garrett ahead of his first start:
"“It’s awesome. The first day here, it was just a relief, really,” he said. “I was really excited to be here and see all of the guys I was with in spring training. I’m excited to go compete (Monday).”"
And compete he did. Garrett didn’t disappoint in his first piece of professional action. Pitching over 4 2/3 innings, Garrett allowed one unearned run, on one hit, with three walks. The unearned run scored was the result of two consecutive errors. Garrett fanned four, but was lifted in the fifth inning when another error allowed a baserunner to reach.
The 6 foot 3 inch southpaw managed to keep the ball within 91-93 mph, and mixed his pitches well. After sitting out the previous season as a mostly precautionary measure, Garrett worked diligently to develop a plus change up to compliment his deceptive fastball.
Looking towards the future
Garrett presents one of the cornerstones of the future for the Marlins. Garrett, along with right-hander Tyler Kolek, are expected to develop into a lockdown duo at the top of the MLB rotation. Taking a conservative approach with both players, the Marlins are hoping to get maximum longevity out of their 2014, and 2016 first round picks.
In many ways, Kolek is a cautionary tale for Braxton Garrett. While Garrett made his debut at the professional level at single-A Greensboro, Kolek continues to recover from Tommy John surgery. In his first year out of high school, Kolek pitched 108 2/3 innings. The workload proved to be too much, and the powerful right-hander is one-year into the long rehabilitation process.
The Miami Marlins are taking the right approach in slow-playing the recovery of their promising young players. They aren’t making an appearance at the pro level anytime soon anyway. No reason to rush them.