The Miami Marlins would like to believe that Drew Steckenrider can perform in any role they put him in.
Drew Steckenrider is a six-foot-five, 215 lb. right-handed relief pitcher from Atlanta, GA. Born on January 10th, 1991, he was originally chosen out of the University of Tennessee by the Miami Marlins in the eighth round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Entry Draft.
In three seasons of Division 1 baseball for the Volunteers, Steckenrider started in nine of his 56 appearances overall, going 6-7 with a 4.46 ERA. He struck out 132 batters in 113 1/3 innings for a 10.5 career collegiate K/9 rate. Soon after his selection, he underwent Tommy John Surgery.
After recovering, Steckenrider worked his way up through the Miami Marlins minor league system through the next five years before finally making his major league debut in 2017 ranked as the number nine prospect in the system by MLB Pipeline. In 37 games, he finished up with an ERA of 2.34 and an ERA+ of 171, which would have led the team if he had pitched in at least 50 innings. He struck out 54 in 34 2/3 innings, posting a 1.385 WHIP.
"A tall and physical right-hander, Steckenrider relies heavily on a 95-98 mph fastball that has a high spin rate, as well as late running action that helps him miss bats inside the zone. He can also generate whiffs with his slider, a hard downer thrown in the mid-80s, and mixes in the occasional changeup. However, it’s his fastball-slider pairing that’s led scouts to project Steckenrider as a potential late-inning asset – MLB Pipeline"
The scouting report was correct for the most part concerning Steckenrider. In 2018, he struck out 74 in 64 2/3 innings, leading the team with 71 appearances and a 3.90 ERA. He also led the club with a 99 ERA+, as none of the 13 pitchers to qualify for the leaderboard could do as much as reach even league average. He was 4-4 with five saves and a 1.268 WHIP.
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Steckenrider was a bit of a mixed-bag to start the 2019 campaign. In 14 1/3 innings over 15 total appearances through the first month of the season, he held the opposition to a 0.977 WHIP. Unfortunately, of the nine hits he allowed, six of them went over the fence which led to a 6.28 ERA. On May 8th, Steckenrider was placed on the Miami Marlins 60-day injured list. Aside from one inning with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League, he would not pitch again until spring training.
In 3 2/3 innings through the spring, Steckenrider allowed three walks and three hits for five earned runs. He struck out four and ended with a 12.27 ERA. Hopefully, he can show a little more of what he had on display in 2018 whenever Miami Marlins opening day comes around. Steckenrider profiles as a solid seventh- or eighth-inning setup man.
Thanks for reading. Check back tomorrow for a look inside what to expect in 2020 from Stephen Tarpley.