The Miami Marlins may have a solid core of pitchers on the Major League and minor league level, but these three former prospects were at the top of their game in 2019.
What do pitchers Zac Gallen, Nick Anderson, and Chris Paddack all have in common? Besides the fact they were part of the list by MLB.com of pitchers who had the most impressive pitching debuts of the 2019 season, they all were once the property of the Miami Marlins.
This isn’t one of those distinctions to be proud of as both Anderson and Gallen were trade chips at the MLB Deadline this past July. Anderson and Trevor Richards netted the Marlins outfield prospect Jesus Sanchez. Gallen dominated the Pacific Coast League before he made his Major League debut with the Marlins and then was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm.
Paddock was part of a deal in 2016 with the San Diego Padres for reliever Fernando Rodney.
"“This list must start with Anderson, the steal of this year’s Trade Deadline. Not only did Anderson’s strikeout rate finish second-best behind Josh Hader, but it was also the third-best by any rookie in history (minimum 50 innings) behind Kenley Jansen (2011) and Brad Boxberger (’14),” writes Matt Kelly."
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"“The ingredients: A four-seam fastball with elite vertical movement (“rise”), and a breaking ball that tunnels perfectly off that heat and generated MLB’s second-highest curveball whiff rate behind teammate Blake Snell.”"
The coaching staff saw plenty of potential in Anderson, who showed great promise in the bullpen. The return was Sanchez, who could be the Marlins starting centerfielder at some point this season.
With Gallen, it was never a question of “if” he would make his MLB debut in Miami this season, rather when it would happen.
Gallen was one of the most talked-about pitching prospects in some time. He started in the Cardinals organization but was traded the Marlins (along with Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, and Daniel Castano for Marcell Ozuna.
"“Gallen’s arm strength is right around average for a starter, but he showed an impressive ability to balance the throttle with his four-seamer (.192 opponent BA) and changeup (.157) while recording a 2.81 ERA across 15 starts,” Kelly wrote.“By season’s end, Gallen’s changeup whiff rate ranked seventh-best among full-time starters.”"
Paddack is one the Marlins front office will scratch their head over mainly because the current ownership group was not on hand to make the trade, but Michael Hill, the team’s President of Baseball Operations, was.
The 23-year-old was drafted by Miami in the eighth round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft and after a year in the organization as sent out west because the Marlins needed a veteran closer to help stabilize the bullpen.
"“Paddack paired the whiffs (26.9% strikeout rate) with command (31 walks in 140 2/3 innings), and opponents couldn’t square him up very often (32.3% hard-hit rate, 94th percentile among starters that induced at least 250 batted balls),” Kelly wrote."