Miami Marlins Prospect Watch: Right-Handed Pitcher Jake Walters

The Miami Marlins system is jam packed with solid prospects from the top to the bottom.

From the twin-Rookie-level affiliates in the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League, all the way up through the Triple-A Wichita Wind Surge in the Pacific Coast League, the Miami Marlins boast a much-improved farm system from two seasons ago. Widely hailed as a “Top 10” system in baseball, they were earlier this week named as the number four system by MLB Pipeline.

Jake Walters is a six-foot, 190 lb. right-handed pitcher from Maylene, AL. Turning 24-years-old today, you may not be familiar with him due to all the top end talent on show at the Miami Marlins major league spring training camp. But don’t sleep on Walters.

Walters played four seasons of college ball at the University of Alabama, starting in 52 of his 58 division 1 appearances. He went 18-18 with a 3.42 ERA for the Crimson Tide, with 292 K’s in 295 innings despite lacking a top-shelf fastball.

Walters fastball comes in from 88-to-92 MPH. He also features a cutter, a slider, and a changeup in his repertoire. The Miami Marlins chose him in the ninth round of the 2018 MLB Amateur Entry Draft with the 267th overall selection.

Walters first professional appearance was with the Single-A Clinton LumberKings in the Midwest League in mid-May, 2019. He took 17 turns in the rotation, coming out of the bullpen twice. His 1.07 WHIP ranked third on the team behind Humberto Mejia‘s 0.91 and Tyler Mitzel‘s 1.06. Walters was 7-4 through the season, helping lead the LumberKings to the postseason with a 78-61 overall record.

Walters posted a 7-4 record and a noticeable 2.35 ERA in 92 innings of work. He struck out 87 batters and walked 29, for a solid 3.0 K/BB. On July 15th, Walters struck out four and allowed an unearned run on three hits and zero walks over eight innings against the Fort Wayne TinCaps. On August 30th, he went a little better, striking out nine over seven no-hit innings and allowing only a walk to the Burlington Bees in his last appearance of the campaign.

Although Walters is slightly better versus lefties than righties, the most jarring of his splits has to do with his performance over his last 11 appearances. He held opponents to a .172 average over that time, striking out 54 in 65 1/3 innings.

There’s no telling how far Walters can rise, but I think we can safely bet he’ll begin the 2020 campaign with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League.

Next: Expectations of Humberto Mejia