Can Marlins pitching prospect Nick Neidert use his time in the Arizona Fall League to propel him to a spot in the rotation in 2020?
Nick Neidert is attempting to make up for lost time. One of the Miami Marlins top pitching prospects dealt with a torn meniscus during this past season at Triple-A New Orleans. The time off the mound halted what many thought would be the season his former teammate Zac Gallen had while dominating the Pacific Coast League.
Now, there is a chance for redemption of sorts as Neidert, who is ranked as the Marlins 11th best prospect in their minor league system, moves to the Arizona Fall League and continues to build his resume for a possible starting rotation spot with Miami in 2020.
"“For the next month, Neidert has a golden opportunity to salvage his season by pitching for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, which opens play on Wednesday,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com."
Neidert was scheduled to start in the opener against the Peoria Javelinas at Salt River Fields.
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Neidert was on the outside looking in when he and his Marlins teammates went to Spring Training. There was a slim chance he would crack the team’s pitching staff, but in all likelihood, a move to the Big Easy was the route taken. It appeared he and Gallen would form one of the better 1-2 combinations in the minors, mowing down opponents with power and finesse. A knee injury changed all of that.
Neidert, the Georgia native, came to Florida in a deal that sent second baseman Dee Gordon to Seattle in December of 2017 and has continuing to show flashes of being a big-time MLB starter.
He spent 2018 with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, going 12-7 with a 3.24 ERA over 26 starts, earning Southern League All-Star honors and was named the Marlins Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Now, after a year of hope and refocus, the AFL gives him a chance to make a statement heading into Spring Training in February.
For the next month, Neidert has a golden opportunity to salvage his season by pitching for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, which opens play on Wednesday. Neidert is scheduled to start in the opener against the Peoria Javelinas at Salt River Fields.
"“It was frustrating, for sure,” Neidert said of his injury-shortened year at Triple-A New Orleans. “Not the season I planned out for myself. I’m very thankful it was a knee and not an arm injury. But to get back out and pitch the last month of the season felt great. It was kind of like Spring Training in August for me. It’s a little bit different than what I’m used to.“I get an extra month here to pitch, and get some extra innings and get even better every single day.”"
The Marlins depth at his position makes it a bit difficult to crack the rotation. It’s one of the reasons Gallen was traded to Arizona at the MLB deadline. It’s another reason why Neidert may have to start the 2020 season again in the minors at Wichita (Miami’s new Triple-A Affiliate) until a spot opens in the rotation due to an injury or inconsistent pitching.
It’s the waiting game Neidert and others have grown accustomed to – which really is a good thing for the organization.
The idea is to get him another five or six starts in the AFL and see where he has progressed.
"“The knee injury cost him innings and cost him a potential callup to the big leagues,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “Right there in the middle of June, when we had the three starters go down, Nick, had he been healthy, would have been right there at Triple-A.”"