Miami Marlins: Zac Gallen likeliest prospect to start in 2018

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 31: Giancarlo Stanton
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 31: Giancarlo Stanton /

The Miami Marlins loaded up on prospects this offseason. If we’re going to see any of them in 2018, it’s going to be pitcher Zac Gallen.

The Miami Marlins are aiming for relevancy in the 2020, 2021 season. By the year 2019, they hope the prospects they’ve acquired this offseason are ready to make the permanent leap to MLB. A relatively quick rebuild, if all goes according to plan.

Several of the prospects they’ve acquired this offseason could conceivably make a push out of spring training to land on the 25-man roster; many already have MLB experience. But that’s beside the point. Miami favors a massive wave opposed to a steady trickle.

While most of the prospects cut their teeth at the lower-levels, Zac Gallen appears primed to make the Miami roster.

Gallen figures to pitch his way straight to the middle in time. He doesn’t have top-of-the-rotation type stuff, but his arsenal is deep and he keeps hitters off-balance. He saw extensive action in AA last year and pitched well.

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Pitchers like Sandy Alcantara, Jorge Guzman, and Nick Neidert have headlined the young pitching depth the Miami Marlins have stockpiled. But don’t sleep on Gallen, a Brad Penny type who is already exceeding expectations.

Last year, Gallen pitched to a 3.79 ERA and surrendered a home run per start on average. His strikeout numbers aren’t high, fanning only 42 hitters in 71.1 innings pitched. But his command is already light-years ahead of other prospects.

He walked only 19 batters last season, one of them intentionally. At only 21-years old, he still has plenty of time to start putting things together.

The Miami Marlins will have plenty of options for their starting rotation in 2018. There will be a lot of players throwing elbows for only a few spots. With plenty of MLB readiness already on the roster, Miami may choose to keep Gallen in AA or AAA for another season.

But unlike the flamethrowers elsewhere in the rotation, Gallen is already locating his pitches at an MLB level.

His ceiling is low compared to his fellow incoming prospects, but his floor is also high. Gallen has the makings of an effective innings-eater, and a reliable third or fourth rotation option for years to come.