Miami Marlins Season in Review: Jarett Rindfleisch
Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 51 of 286. Stay tuned. Today we go one-on-one with backstop Jarett Rindfleisch.
Jarett Cole Rindfleisch is a 6’1″, 225 lb. right-handed catcher from Reston, VA, and a graduate of Lakota East High School. Born on September 4th, 1995, RIndfleisch was picked by the Miami Marlins in the ninth round of the 2016 Amateur Entry Draft, with the 263rd overall selection out of Ball State University. Ball State has produced 14 big leaguers throughout their history, led by Merv Rettenmund and Thomas Howard.
Nine members of the “263 club” have made their way onto major league rosters as of the end of 2018, led by Randy Johnson (1978, New York Mets, 2.6 career WAR), Chris Sampson (1999, Houston Astros, 2.1 WAR), and Mike Birkbeck (1982, Chicago Cubs, 0.9 WAR). Rindfleisch would like to make it 10. Follow Rindfleisch on Twitter @Rindfleisch48.
In three seasons as the starting backstop for the Ball State Cardinals, Rindfleisch threw down a .319/.435/.513 slashline, with 21 round trippers and 111 RBI in 152 Division I contests. He’s got a lot of raw power, but is inconsistent with his swing, striking out 21.7 percent of the time in his professional career. Read his full scouting report at baseballamerica.com (subscription required).
After agreeing to sign with the Miami Marlins for a $125,000 bonus, he reported to the GCL Marlins, in the rookie-level Florida-based Gulf Coast League. After going five-for-16 with two doubles and two RBI in five games, he was quickly flipped up a level to the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs, in the New York-Penn League. He went 16-for-73 with seven doubles, a homer, nine RBI, and 11 walks with his 12 strikeouts. On September 5th, he hit a pair of doubles and scored twice in a 5-4 win over the Auburn Doubledays for the 22-53 Muckdogs. Defensively, he made three errors and passed 10 balls in 236 2/3 innings of work between the two levels, and also threw out 12-of-38 basestealers. Rindfleisch spoke to that:
"Before professional baseball I relied a lot of arm strength. Now I put a lot of focus into the footwork and being quick with my feet and transfer. My manager in Greensboro, Todd Pratt has helped me in every aspect defensively. My pregame routine came from him and is something I have stuck to."
An offseason promotion would see Rindfleisch spend his entire 2017 campaign with the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, in the South Atlantic League. He ranked fourth on the club with 89 games appeared in, and slashed .243/.359/.358, with six homers and 45 RBI. He also led the club with 23 HBP, explaining his high OBP despite drawing only 32 walks in 355 plate appearances. Rindfleisch spoke with me a little about his skill in getting to first in his not-quite-conventional way:
"I wouldn’t really call it a skill. I think most pitchers think the hole in my swing is inside. I’ve always been a team guy and don’t mind getting hit if it means getting on base. But I think a lot of it is a mindset and I don’t have it in me to pass up on a free base. It’s just a rare trait that we like to have fun with…especially in the clubhouse."
Rindfleisch had 15 multi-hit games through the season, including a three-for-three day, with a walk, a double, two RBI, and a stolen base on May 5th in a 2-1 win over the Rome Braves.
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Rindfleisch spent 13 games with the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League in April of the 2018 campaign before getting injured. Before his season was stopped, he had slashed .290/.540/.323. He collected nine hits, 11 walks, and seven HBP. This resulted in an incredible 38 percent of his plate appearances being non-at-bats. On April 13th in a 9-3 loss to the Daytona Tortugas, Rindfleisch went three-for-four with a double, a run, and an RBI. Despite his season-ending injury on April 25th, he was named to the FSL midseason all-star team. As to his injury rehabilitation:
"Yeah 2018 was a rough year for baseball on the field but I think that it gave me a chance to sit back and learn a lot and watch a lot and really develop my mental aspect of the game. The rehab process has been a long process but I expect to be full go here shortly and don’t plan on this being a problem for next year at all."
Defensively, Rindfleisch has thrown out 30 percent of would-be basestealers through his professional career while maintaining a .994 fielding percentage. He sets an excellent target, is an excellent pitch-framer, and has a penchant for blocking errant pitches. In addition to his career going pretty well, Rindfleisch also welcomed a new family member just a few weeks ago.
Although not ranked in Baseball America or in the MLB Pipeline, Rindfleisch was rated as the number 42 prospect in Prospect 1500’s mid-season update. We wish him the best of luck in the 2019 campaign, and beyond.
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