Miami Marlins 2020 Bullpen: How Good is The Elephant?

ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 20: Jarlin Garcia #66 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on June 20, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 20: Jarlin Garcia #66 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on June 20, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Jarlin García, turning 27-years-old today, is entering his fourth season with the Miami Marlins.

Jarlin García has been in the Marlins system for a total of nine years, since signing through free agency on May 27th, 2011. After inking the deal, he made his first professional appearance with the DSL Marlins in the Dominican Summer League that year, going 5-5 with a 3.29 ERA and a team-leading 1.135 WHIP. He also ranked with the team leaders by walking one better per every 3.83 strikeouts, issuing a dozen free passes and striking out 46 over 52 innings.

Somewhat conventionally, García was given a lateral promotion and played his 2012 campaign with the GCL Marlins in the Gulf Coast League. He made four starts and eight relief appearances at that level, going 1-3 with a 3.60 EA and 32 K’s in 40 innings of work.

In 2013, with the Short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League, García ranked first on the team with 9.56 K/9 out of pitchers who threw over 25 innings. He was 2-3 with a 3.10 ERA over a team-high 15 starts, with 74 K’s and a 1.091 WHIP in 69 2/3 innings.

MIAMI, FLORIDA – JULY 28: Jarlin García #66 of the Miami Marlins. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

At the Middle-A level in 2014 with the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League, García led the eventual 87-53 ball club with 25 starts. He was 10-5 with a 4.38 ERA and 111 K’s in 133 2/3 innings. Although he walked only 21 batters for a solid 5.29 K/BB, he also surrendered a career-worst 10.23 H/9 to land on a somewhat decent 1.294 WHIP.

Despite his prior seasons’ struggles, García was the Marlins 10th ranked prospect Baseball America (BA) to begin the 2015 campaign. Splitting his season between the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League and the Double-A Jacksonville Suns in the Southern League, García went a combined 4-8 with a 3.57 ERA over 25 starts. He struck out 104 batters in 133 2/3 innings, lowering his H/9 down to a more decent 8.91 while fielding an essentially unchanged WHIP of 1.304 due to 40 walks issued.

García likes to keep busy during the offseason with….more baseball! Here he is pitching with the Toros in the Dominican Winter League. He struck out five and allowed one baserunner in 6 1/3 innings overall.

In 2016, García ranked number three on both MLB Pipeline and on BA. Dogged by injury and a late-season suspension, Garcia was held to only 17 appearances between GCL, Jupiter, and Jacksonville. He struck ut 27 and walked 11 in 39 2/3 innings.

García started the 2017 campaign as Miami’s number six prospect in BA and number four in the Pipeline. He wouldn’t hold on to his prospect status for very long though. He would end up with a team-leading 68 appearances through the regular season at the major league level with the Marlins. In 53 1/3 innings of work, Garcia struck out 42 with a team-best 1.200 WHIP. García prefers to go by either “Jarlin the Marlin” or, “The Elephant” on Players Weekend.

In 2018, García was tried as a starter for six turns in the rotation, and eventually played relief in another 22 appearances. By far, his best start was his first, in which he earned no decision in a 4-1 loss to the New York Mets. García pitched six no-hit innings, striking out three and walking two in the April 11th no-decision. In fact, García didn’t allow a hit until completing 10 innings as a starter, but it unfortunately occurred over two games. He went 3-3 with a 4.91 ERA and 40 K’s in 66 innings.

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In 2019, García totaled a 1.3 WAR. Not remarkable by any stretch, but it was the first time in which he finished a season above “replacement level.” He went 4-2 over 53 appearances in relief, with team-best figures of 3.02 ERA, 141 ERA+, 1.105 WHIP, 3.77 FIP, and 0.7 HR/9. During the season, he also at one point set a Marlins record for a left-handed reliever by not surrendering a run in 21 straight innings.

As noted earlier this month by our own David Levin, García may have the inside track on the closer role for the Marlins in 2020.

"For García to take over as closer in 2020, he would need to improve significantly on his strikeout rate. García k’d only 18.9 percent of batters faced in 2019. His fastball, which averages 93-94 MPH, isn’t overpowering, but he does feature an above-average changeup."

Happy birthday to García. Look for all your Marlins news here at Marlin Maniac as the offseason continues to get shorter, and thanks for reading.

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