The Best Hitting Pitcher in the Miami Marlins System: Taylor Braley

WICHITA, KS - AUGUST 06: Pitcher Tim Hudson #15 of the Kansas Stars delivers a pitch against the Colorado Xpress in the second inning during the NBC World Series on August 6, 2016 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - AUGUST 06: Pitcher Tim Hudson #15 of the Kansas Stars delivers a pitch against the Colorado Xpress in the second inning during the NBC World Series on August 6, 2016 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /
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Taylor Braley will be entering his third year of professional ball in the Miami Marlins system.

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 218 of 286.

Taylor Braley is a 5’11”, 251 lb. right-handed pitcher from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, population 46,377. 12 major leaguers have hailed from the locale, including former Florida Marlins first baseman Nate Rolison.

Braley played his high school ball with Oak Grove HS in his hometown. He then played three seasons of Division I College ball with the University of Southern Mississippi in Conference USA. He hit .305/.427/.541 when not pitching, with 30 home runs and 117 RBI. He also drew 99 walks versus only 103 strikeouts. As a pitcher, he was 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA, 79 whiffs in 85 innings, and a solid 1.31 WHIP. He was named as a utility player for the second team College All-American Club. Here’s Braley with a walkoff tater in postseason play just a week before getting drafted as a pitcher. Follow him on Twitter, if you like, @TaylorBraley1.

In the sixth round of the 2017 MLB Amateur Entry Draft, the Miami Marlins chose Braley with the 179th overall selection. Players chosen at that spot are historically 25 percent likely to make it to the majors, or 14-of-54. The group is led by outfielder Bill Russell (1966, Los Angeles Dodgers, 31.3 career WAR), former Florida Marlins third baseman Terry Pendleton (1982, St. Louis Cardinals, 28.5 WAR), and reliever Troy Percival (1990, California Angels, 17.1 WAR).

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After Braley signed for a $250,000 bonus, he was assigned initially to the GCL Marlins, in the rookie-level, Florida-based Gulf Coast League. He pitched in one game, striking out one batter in one perfect inning in a 7-6, 11-inning victory against the GCL Cardinals. That was enough for the Miami Marlins to promote him to the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League.

As a Muckdog, Braley didn’t allow a hit until his fifth inning of work, in his third game. He started in three of his seven appearances, going 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA and 21 K’s in 19 1/3 innings of work. Between the two levels, Braley racked up a 0.879 WHIP, a solid enough showing to prompt the Marlins to promote him in 2018 to the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League. The following Braley video is courtesy of 2080 Baseball.

Braley started 18 games in the Grasshoppers rotation, ranking second on the team behind Edward Cabrera. Braley was 5-9 with a 4.79 ERA and 83 whiffs in 103 1/3 innings with a 1.384 WHIP. On April 20th, Braley struck out nine over seven innings, allowing one run and earning a 2-1 victory against the Charleston RiverDogs. By GameScore, his best start of the season came in a seven-inning, 2-1 combination no-hit victory against the Kannapolis Intimidators. For Braley’s part, he struck out four and walked two in five no-hit innings for a 70 GameScore.

Currently rostered with the single-A Clinton LumberKings in the Midwest League, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him open the 2019 season with the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League.

Next. Martin Anderson's 2018 Review. dark

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