Miami Marlins Spring Training: What Will the Bullpen Look Like?

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 13: Merandy Gonzalez #77 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during game two of a doubleheader at SunTrust Park on August 13, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 13: Merandy Gonzalez #77 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during game two of a doubleheader at SunTrust Park on August 13, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Miami Marlins
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 15: Pitcher Jarlin Garcia #66 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 15, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Jarlin Garcia

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.

Miami Marlins
ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 13: Merandy Gonzalez #77 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during game two of a doubleheader at SunTrust Park on August 13, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Merandy Gonzalez

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

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.

Miami Marlins
CINCINNATI, OH – JUNE 5: Austin Brice #40 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park on June 5, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Colorado defeated Cincinnati 9-6. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Austin Brice

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.

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FL – SEPTEMBER 01: Tayron Guerrero #56 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Marlins Park on September 1, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Tayron Guerrero

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.

Miami Marlins
ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 15: Elieser Hernandez #57 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

Elieser Hernandez

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

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

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.

Miami Marlins
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 18: Brett Graves #53 of the Miami Marlins celebrates a win and collects his first save of the year after a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Brett Graves

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.

Dylan Lee

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.

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