Miami Marlins: Does Jorge Guzman Move to the Bullpen?

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 28: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 28: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Is prospect Jorge Guzman’s chance to make the Miami Marlins roster out of the bullpen, instead of being part of the starting rotation?

The Miami Marlins have such a wealth of pitching depth that it might be some time before fans see the like of Braxton Garrett or Trevor Rogers in a Big League uniform. The thought has been since the team was sold at the end of the 2017 season pitching would be the team’s primary focus for the first season, accruing arms through trades, free agency, and the MLB Draft.

So far, it has proven to be a winning combination with one flaw – there aren’t enough spots in the Marlins rotation and the bullpen was been rebuilt this offseason. For youngsters to cash in on their talent, they play a waiting game or will be traded for Major League talent and/or prospects.

The Marlins may have a pecking order in which of their young arms will hit the Majors first. Most believe Nick Neidert will begin the journey, followed by the team’s top prospect, Sixto Sanchez, and then Edward Cabrera. At some point, the front office and coaching staff will turn to Jorge Guzman, but by then, there is no telling how he fits into the organization’s plans.

Unless the starter moves to the bullpen, which opens a whole can of possibilities.

"“Hard-throwing right-hander Jorge Guzman has become somewhat the forgotten prospect in a vastly improved farm system,” Joe Frisaro of writes. “Acquired after the 2017 season from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton trade, Guzman is ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 16 prospect.”"

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Yes, he was the prized return in the deal was one of the biggest offseason uproars of Marlins fans. But the fact is Guzman may give Miami their best reliever in years, should he take the ball to the bullpen and prove his fastball is worthy of a few saves along the way.

"“The Marlins continue to groom him as a starter. Guzman had a 3.50 ERA in 138 2/3 innings at Double-A Jacksonville last year. He projects to open at Triple-A Wichita as a starter. But questions remain if the 24-year-old is best suited to start because he hasn’t consistently shown three pitches,” Frisaro added."

This isn’t uncommon for the Marlins, who did the same thing with former starter Jarlin Garcia, who was recently designated for assignment and signed by the San Francisco Giants.

Garcia was a hard-throwing pitcher in Jacksonville at the team’s Double-A level as a starter but was pushed back to the bullpen after a stint in Miami after an in-season call up in 2016.

Garcia started 2017 in Jacksonville again, but this time, he was part of the relief effort. His stay was short as he received the call to Miami once again and remained with the parent club from then on.

It is the same path Guzman could take, but with a better fastball and better results.

"“If Guzman struggles with either his slider or changeup, then the organization may decide he is best suited for the bullpen,” Frisaro explains. “A 100-mph fastball, and one consistent secondary pitch, maybe the ticket for Guzman to the big leagues as a reliever.”"

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Whether that means Guzman will be fast-tracked to the Majors isn’t known. But should the rebuilt pen falters with veterans who cannot save opportunities for the rotation, it’s a good bet the front office will think long and hard to see if Guzman can make the jump to a successful MLB career as a closer.