Miami’s ace-in-the-hole has long flown under the radar. Undrafted out of Drury College, the Miami Marlins signed him through free agency off the Gateway Grizzlies, an independent team in the Frontier League.
"I was hoping to get drafted, but when I didn’t get the call I still knew I wanted to play some more. The Frontier League was a good adjustment period for me. I learned how to command a fastball better than I had in college. – Richards"
Richards rapidly rose through Miami’s farm system, playing at four levels in just over one calendar year. He has a career 1.023 WHIP, a 2.52 ERA, and 211 strikeouts in 200 1/3 innings between the Batavia Muckdogs, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Jupiter Hammerheads, and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
"Richards may pitch with a tick below average velocity, but his fastball plays up because he creates a good downhill angle to the plate with a deceptive delivery. His changeup is above average, features good velocity separation and is effective against hitters on both sides of the plate. A fringy curveball gives Richards a third pitch that club officials say has improved in his first full season. – MLB Pipeline"
Richards, now-24-years-old, played well enough in Spring Training to make the club. He was sent down because the 40-man roster is full. I tell you though, he’s going to end up with the Marlins this year.