Jarlin Garcia got off to an unprecedented start as a starting pitcher. After appearing 68 times in relief in 2017 for the Miami Marlins, he entered 2018 as the “swing” starter.
In five appearances in the month of April, including three starts, Garcia gave up 10 hits in 27 innings of work for an opposing batting average of .114. That would prove to be an unsustainable rate of production for the Dominican lefty, and after moving to the bullpen in mid-May was sent down to the New Orleans Baby Cakes for July and August.
After Garcia’s April, opponents hit .308 with a 7.62 ERA against him. He also finished in the very bottom of the National League in a lot of StatCast metrics, including a opposing barrel percentage of 11.0, an XWOBA of .382, and a 14.4 percent strikeout rate.
Merandy Gonzalez joined the Miami Marlins from the New York Mets for A.J. Ramos in mid-2017. Last season he started 14 times for the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and racked up a 4.32 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 73 innings.
In eight appearances at the major league level with the Miami Marlins, Gonzalez struck out 19 in 22 innings, and posted a 5.73 ERA. Although he finished with a 1.77 WHIP, his fastball velocity ranked in the top third of the N.L., and his curveball spin rate in the top quarter, according to StatCast.
Nick Anderson has yet to appear at the major league level over his four-season professional career. Although he’s already 28-years-old, his career WHIP at levels from low-A to triple-A is a solid 0.936. He’s also gotten 232 batters to miss in 183 2/3 innings, a K/9 rate of 11.4, and this while walking only 2.2 per nine. The resultant 5.16 K/BB would be considered elite at the top level of baseball, and Anderson is looking to stick around.
What’s old is new again in Miami for the Marlins. Austin Brice left the organization just over two seasons ago, along with Zeek White and Luis Castillo for starter Dan Straily. Since then he’s been thrice waived, by the Reds, the Anaheim Angels, and the Baltimore Orioles. Can a guy who was waived by the only team rated “worse” than the Marlins possibly offer anything to the parent club?
In 70 major league appearances over his first three seasons, Brice has a 1.262 WHIP, which isn’t that bad. A 5.25 FIP, a 76 ERA+, and a 5.68 ERA tell a different story. Brice does well in avoiding the issuance of free passes, with a BB/9 of 2.7, which is really his bread and butter. He strikes out just over one-fifth of batters he faces, and walks just seven percent.
According to StatCast, Tayron Guerrero threw two of the fastest 18 pitches of the 2018 season, with offerings of 104.0 and 103.8 MPH, respectively. The lanky 6’7″ right-handed Columbian native got 68 batters to miss in 58 innings, but his 1.2 wins below replacement marked him as the worst pitcher on the club. Indeed a dubious distinction.
Elieser Hernandez was a rule 5 pick from the Houston Astros system after the 2017 season despite never pitching above the high-A level. He started six times last year for the Miami Marlins, appearing 26 other times as a reliever. He completed the campaign with an ERA+ of 70, a 1.447 WHIP, and a 5.29 FIP that was nearly in line with his 5.21 ERA.
All of Hernandez’ advanced StatCast metrics graded out as below average, most notably his bottom 10 percent K rate of 15.8 percent. The good news is that the Miami Marlins can bring Hernandez along at a little more natural pace this season, as they are no longer restricted from sending him to the minor leagues.
Kyle Keller is another player who has never pitched in the majors. After his first three seasons of languishing in the lower reaches of the Miami Marlins minor league system, 2018 must have seemed like a dream. He excelled at the top three levels of the system, with Jupiter, Jacksonville, and New Orleans, striking out 78 in 52 2/3 innings along with a 1.101 WHIP which is strongly correlative with future major league success.
Tommy Eveld is widely considered as the Miami Marlins closer of the future. Somewhat appropriately, he was gained by Miami in the trade deadline deal which netted the Arizona Diamondbacks former Marlins closer Brad Ziegler.
In a small sample size after joining the system, the 6’5″ righty struck out 14 in 9 2/3 innings for the Fish, holding the opposition to a sub-1 WHIP and a 0.93 ERA in double-A Jacksonville.
Brett Graves came to the Miami Marlins from the Oakland Athletics system via rule 5 last season, and aside from a long injury time-out, spent the year with the Marlins. In 21 contests, he struck out 21 batters in 33 innings, with a 1-1 record, one save, and a 1.59 WHIP.
After going 4-10 with a 4.85 ERA with the Greensboro Grasshoppers as a starter in 2017, Dylan Lee transitioned to the bullpen to obscene results. Blowing through the Marlins top three minor league levels, much like Kyle Keller (above), Lee was 8-3 with a 1.60 ERA, 63 K’s in 62 innings, and a WHIP of 0.97 in a not-small sample size.