With week one of the Gulf Coast League season in the books, the Miami Marlins lowest continental affiliate stands at 5-1.
Luis Palacios has continued his mastery of opposing rookie-level batters from his two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. To refresh your memory, he had racked up a 12-0 record and struck out 105 batters in 110 1/3 innings. In fact, 2018 would see him hold his opponents to a .155 average and a 0.597 WHIP through 63 2/3 innings of work. This season, he picked up where he left off with a new affiliate. After striking out four in four innings and earning his first GCL Marlins victory, he has held opponents to four hits in eight innings and whiffed eight, walking zero. He’s issued 19 free passes in 118 1/3 innings. In addition, he’s our number 33 prospect in Marlin Maniac’s top 50 prospects.
Along with Palacios, Daniel Paulino, Jan Mercado and a few others have made the lateral promotion. Aside from these guys, the Gulf Coast League is also home to a few rehabilitating players and several newly-minted draftees. Nasim Nunez, Tevin Mitchell, Lorenzo Hampton, Javeon Cody, Evan Bitterer, Codie Paiva, Casey Combs, Zachary Owings, and several others represent the 2019 draft class. Victor Mesa Jr. and former top 30 Marlins prospect Ynmanol Marinez are also in the mix.
Opening Day in the GCL would see the rookie-level Marlins top the GCL Astros by an 8-6 final score. Second rounder Nunez opened his professional career by going three-for-five and scoring two runs. The rest of the team split up six other hits and drew five walks. Omar Lebron reached base safely three times as well, with two walks and a single. He also stole his first base of the season.
Matt Givin made his first appearance since the end of 2017. He had missed nearly two years post-TJS. Givin earned no decision while allowing three runs on four hits and a pair of walks in five frames. He struck out four. Leudy Martinez (1-0, 9.00) picked up the win despite allowing a run on a hit and two walks in his inning of work. Jesus Sanchez pitched a hitless ninth for the save.
In their first “road game” of the season, the GCL Marlins faced off against the GCL Nationals at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Palacios pitched four innings for a save, striking out four and allowing two baserunners. Anthony Maldonado (1-0, 0.00) earned the win after facing only one batter. Miguel De Los Santos whiffed five in 2 2/3 innings.
The baby Marlins collected three runs on offense to two for the Nats. Nunez went two-for-five with a run and an RBI. Mesa Jr. collected his first hit, a double, and Lebron added a triple and an RBI. Cody was two-for-four in his first look, with the other RBI.
The GCL Marlins began the season with their third straight victory with a combined three-hit shutout of the GCL Mets, 4-0. Yeremin Lara went four hitless innings, allowing two walks and getting four Mets to wave. Easton Lucas (1-0, 0.00) earned the win with three scoreless innings, then Josh Simpson and Paiva each went one perfect frame for the whitewash.
Offensively, the Marlins only needed a few hits, and they finished with six. Mesa Jr. was two-for-four with a double, and Daniel Paulino collected a triple then scored a run.
The GCL Marlins made it four-in-a-row against the GCL Cardinals, by a 9-5 final score on Friday. The Marlins had 11 hits in the game, including five doubles and a timely home run.
Mesa Jr. was three-for-four with a walk and three runs scored. Christopher Rodriguez, Hampton, Mitchell, Marinez, and Montero each added two-baggers, then Hampton pitched in with a ninth-inning three-run shot.
Pitching-wise, no Marlins arm pitched more than three innings. That was Edgar Sanchez, striking out five and allowing a run. Maldonado (2-0, 0.00) picked up his second win in as many appearances.
The Marlins and the GCL Astros played two and a half scoreless innings before the game was called due to weather.
The Marlins lost their first of the campaign on Monday against the GCL Nationals, 6-4. Hampton and Owings each finished with a pair of hits. Owings reached base safely four times in total, also drawing two bases-on-balls.
De Los Santos was the guilty party for the Marlins, after giving up six runs in 3 2/3 innings. Jeremiaz Vasquez struck out the side for the Marlins in a scoreless ninth.
The GCL Marlins headed back to the win column on Tuesday, topping the GCL Mets by a 10-2 final score. The baby Fish outhit the Mets, 16-to-7, while eight of the nine starters collected at least one hit.
Hampton, Rodriguez, Mercado, Lebron, Mesa Jr., and Reynoso all posted multi-hit games. One of Mercado’s two hits was his first round-tripper of the season, a solo shot in the fifth. As stated above, Palacios duplicated his earlier performance and earned his first win of the season. His three-season ERA is now 1.52, with a 13-0 record.
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