Miami Marlins: Next Man Up, Jeff Kinley
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 75 of 286. Stay tuned.
Jeffrey Patrick Kinley is a 6’1″, 195 lb. left-handed pitcher from Saginaw, Michigan. Five players have originated from Saginaw, most recently LHP Curt Young.
Kinley was born on February 15th, 1992, and played four seasons of Division I college baseball with the Michigan State Spartans. He was mostly a bullpen pitcher, collecting 93 appearances altogether and going 12-10 with a 3.19 ERA and 193 K’s in 220 innings pitched. The Miami Marlins spent a 28th round selection on Kinley in the 2015 MLB Amateur Entry Draft, with the 836th overall choice. Follow him on Twitter @J_kins15.
Players chosen with the 836th pick have placed three players in the major leagues. Benny Agbayani (1993, New York Mets, 1.3 career WAR), Greg O’Halloran (1988, Toronto Blue Jays, -0.2 WAR), and Rob Rasmussen (2007, Los Angeles Dodgers, -0.9 WAR).
After signing, Kinley reported to the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League. After turning in a 2.800 WHIP in a five innings sample size, he was moved down to the GCL Marlins, in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He also played with the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League in 2015. All told, he struck out 35 in 35 2/3 innings, with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.206 WHIP.
In 2016, Kinley split his year between the Grasshoppers and the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League. He pitched 57 innings over 33 games, with a 3.16 ERA, 50 strikeouts, and a 1.246 WHIP to his credit. 2017 would see him between the Hammerheads and the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League. In 41 games, he whiffed 43 in 53 2/3 innings, with a 1.342 WHIP and a 3.02 ERA. He was named to the FSL mid-season all-star team.
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2018 would start with Kinley back in Jacksonville. Through the first two-and-a-half months of the season, he only surrendered 17 hits in 29 2/3 innings, while striking out 31 and holding opposing batters to a .159/.231/.252 slashline. From April 7th through May 9th, he gave up only four hits in 12 2/3 innings while striking out 14 over 11 appearances. For his efforts, he was named to the SL All-Star Team. In mid-June, he was promoted to triple-A for the first time, with the New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League.
Kinley stayed in New Orleans for the next six weeks, getting into 11 games and striking out 14 in 21 2/3 innings. Opponents slashed a .213/.337/.387 line, and he held them to a 3.32 ERA. Back with the Shrimp to close out the season, Kinley held opponents to a .188 average over 8 1/3 innings in seven games.
Kinley has never been a ranked prospect, and will be 27 when Opening Day rolls around again. That being said, he’s proved himself worthy at every level he’s played at. With a strong Spring Training, he could challenge for a roster spot, and may be a part of Miami’s 40-man roster before that. If he doesn’t make the team on opening day, he may remain in the mix for a callup at some point during the season.
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