Category Archives: Marlins Jerseys 2019

John Wehner Jersey

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John Wehner has expressed interest in becoming the next manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates as a guest on 93.7 The Fan. Could this be a smart move to make as the Pirates are trying to employ a new voice in the clubhouse?

Many fans will scoff at the idea of a former player and current broadcaster with no managerial experience to be the next skipper, but is it really that crazy? There has been many former players that have had great success when it comes to winning in the MLB. It is less frequent to have broadcasters be hired as a manager, but it isn’t far-fetched by any means. Aaron Boone comes to mind as a former player, broadcaster that was hired by the New York Yankees and has lead them to 2 straight playoff berths in his first 2 seasons at the helm.

There isn’t many people that have been around the Pittsburgh Pirates as much as John Wehner has to have a deep sense of what this team is capable of and what it will take to get back to the playoffs. He played for the Pirates from 1991-1996 as well as 1999-2001 after a 2-year stint with the Marlins. After his playing days, Wehner served as the Altoona Curves’ hitting coach from 2002-2004. In 2005, he took a job as a color analyst for the Pirates TV/Radio network.

Now, could this be a logical move by the Pirates front office?

There is no doubt that people will clamor for someone to be hired away from the organization, but bringing Wehner in does make at least a little sense. He has spent a number of years around the organization and has a good idea of what it takes to win in this league. After watching baseball change as a whole over the past decade, it is clear that strikeouts and home runs rates are as high as they have ever been.

He could implement a new philosophy into the club from the coaching staff to the players. A couple things that Wehner has highlighted a lot during his broadcasts is the importance of a sound defense and the effectiveness of swing and miss to a pitcher, which is something that the Pirates have lacked over the years.

The Pirates have pieces in place to build a decent foundation on and Wehner could be the guy that could help take them to the next level along with a newly revamped coaching staff. He has a great knowledge of the game and has watched Pirates starting pitchers struggle to induce strikeouts. While guys such as Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, and Tyler Glasnow have excelled with a new brand of pitching elsewhere.
Next: October 1st Mailbag

John Wehner has experienced baseball from a players perspective as well as a coach and broadcaster, there is no doubt that he has a grasp of the direction the Pirates need to go in. His knowledge of the game and his willingness to change with the game could bode well for his case of becoming the next manager in Pittsburgh.

J. T. Riddle Jersey

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When the Miami Marlins formally declined their club option on Starlin Castro last week, they also reinstated four players from the 60-day IL. One of those was JT Riddle, who may have some input on what he should be paid in 2020.

Riddle is part of a group of 23 MLB players who are now eligible for salary arbitration thanks to their so-called Super Two status. As dictated by Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the top 22% of players between two and three years of service time are arb eligible. With this class, that cut-off was two years and 115 days of service (abbreviated as 2.115). The benefit to players is that the Super Two puts them on track for as many as four arb raises—rather than the usual three—before qualifying for free agency.

Riddle (2.118) joins right-hander José Urená (4.040) and left-hander Adam Conley (3.147) in the 2020 Marlins arbitration class. Lefty reliever Jarlin Garcia (2.114) narrowly missed Super Two status.

The 28-year-old Riddle, who debuted near the beginning of 2017, became the starting shortstop for the Marlins mid-way through that season when they traded Adeiny Hechavarria to the Tampa Bay Rays. While he has a career batting average of .229 and 18 career home runs in 718 plate appearances, he provides defensive value and versatility, as shown by the fact that he made 31 appearances in center field.

Injuries limited Riddle to 85 games (51 with the Marlins, 34 in the minors). His latest trip to the IL was due to a right forearm strain.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Riddle to make $900k in arbitration this offseason. His 2019 salary was $560k, so an agreement by the Jan. 10 deadline is not a high-risk move.

However, the Marlins will be bringing Miguel Rojas back next season. Rojas hit .284 in 132 games in 2019, establishing himself as a solid everyday shortstop, which is the position that Riddle has spent most of his pro career developing at. Further complicating matters, the former 13th-round draft pick is coming off his least effective offensive campaign and out of minor league options.

For the moment, there is room for Riddle on the 40-man roster. But that could change in the coming weeks as the Marlins prepare for the Rule 5 Draft. They have five openings on the roster and as many as seven key prospects worth protecting. That will force difficult decisions.

While his pay raise would be somewhat minimal, it is in the best interest of the Marlins to let Riddle have a fresh start for another organization. Keeping their next wave of young talent intact and shopping for more established infielders in free agency—such as José Iglesias, Didi Gregorius, or Howie Kendrick—will better suit their needs for 2020 and beyond.

Jon Berti Jersey

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Time to spend Bruce Sherman’s and Derek Jeter’s money! Entering the third year under new Marlins ownership, fans expect to see significant improvement at the major league level. Some of that improvement will surely come from within, but prospects—as they say—will break your heart. Successful MLB rebuilds make sure to surround their young cores with veterans who can bring credibility and reliable production. Free agent additions figure to be critically important to keeping the Fish on track.

To date, the largest investment that the Sherman/Jeter Marlins have made in any free agent was $5.25 million for Cuban outfielder Víctor Víctor Mesa. “Deep Sea Fishing” is a series of profiles on established, available players—all of them projected to cost more than Víctor Víctor—who should be seriously considered by the front office.

2019 team(s): Red Sox

2019 salary: $3.6 million

2020 season age: 32

Marlins connection? None.

Why the Marlins should want him

Brock Holt takes defensive versatility to an extreme. In 2018, he started games at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field, then did it again this past season. The only player on the current Marlins 40-man roster with that kind of comfort in both the infield and outfield is Jon Berti, and Holt has a far longer track record of doing it at the major league level.

The Fort Worth, Texas, native is a .271/.340/.374 career hitter (93 wRC+) who’s been above league average at the plate in consecutive years. He is among the few free agents with multiple World Series rings, earning them with the 2013 and 2018 Red Sox.

A Marlins club that was very undisciplined in 2019 could use Holt’s knack for working deep counts. He has averaged more than four pitches per plate appearance in all but one of his MLB campaigns; league average during that span was 3.86, according to Baseball-Reference. He rarely swings at the first pitch and never offers when ahead in the count 3-0 (seriously, Holt has never done it in 102 career opportunities).

As much as we’d all like to see Isan Díaz fulfill his potential, the second baseman’s first stint in Miami went poorly: -1.2 fWAR in 49 games. Should he struggle similarly early in 2020, the Marlins may have to option the Puerto Rican power hitter to Triple-A. That’s why they ought to be in the market for someone who can provide insurance at that position.

Holt is also an ideal candidate to fill the veteran leadership void with Curtis Granderson, Martín Prado and Neil Walker all departing. Matt Collins of Over The Monster describes him as a “key glue guy” and notes he performs especially well in high-leverage situations.

2019 in Review: Brock Holt

Holt describes his free agency as a “slow-moving process” (via Section 10 Podcast). The Marlins have time to think carefully about how he meshes with their overall team-building plan before formally bidding for his services.

The industry’s average contract prediction for Holt is $11.2 million guaranteed, per Jon Becker, more or less the same as Miguel Rojas’ extension which takes effect in 2020.
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Why the Marlins might not get him

Holt gets hurt. A lot. He was placed on the IL/DL in each of the past four seasons, most notably sidelined by concussion-like symptoms and vertigo in 2016 and 2017, respectively. He has only one career season of at least 110 games played. A combination of that and other factors seems to have slowed him down on the basepaths. Holt’s Sprint Speed has declined in every season since Statcast began tracking it, from 28.5 ft/sec in 2015 (89th percentile) to 26.1 ft/sec now (34th percentile).

Despite the luxury of playing most of his games in hitter-friendly environments like Fenway Park, Holt averages about one home run for every 100 plate appearances. He can contribute to rallies, but rarely generates run production single-handedly.

In 2019, Holt matched his career high with a Christian Yelich-like .365 batting average on balls in play. That shouldn’t be fully sustainable considering the ordinary quality of his contact.

No other available player has Holt’s precise skill set, but the Marlins will have plenty of alternatives such as Howie Kendrick, Eric Sogard, Asdrúbal Cabrera, José Iglesias and Brad Miller.

Fish Stripes estimates a 11% chance of the Marlins signing Brock Holt this offseason.

Be sure to bookmark and check in frequently as the Deep Sea Fishing series continues…

Elieser Hernandez Jersey

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Throughout the winter months of the offseason, the Pitcher List staff with be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2020. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2020 hub here.

Marlins At A Glance

We often consider the Marlins a team of opportunity. Miami doesn’t get the same spotlight as other teams around the majors, but they do have sneaky good starters who can provide value in the long term as well as occasional streams. Caleb Smith and Sandy Alcantara could find their grooves this year as the remaining three spots could be granted to a trio of upside plays in Pablo Lopez, Elieser Hernandez, and Jordan Yamamoto. There’s a chance Miami acquires a cheap veteran arm in free agency and Hernandez or Yamamoto falls to the wayside early, but keep an eye on them as the year progresses.

Don’t overlook this rotation as we enter the year, even if wins will surely be harder to acquire than with most other teams. There’s sizable growth that can come from any of these arms.

Caleb Smith – Locked Starter

Nickname: The Agency

2019 In Review

Smith began as a lottery ticket for mocks in October 2018 and ballooned to a 17th-20th round upside play by the end of March. At first, it seemed justified; Smith’s first eleven starts returned a staggering 3.10 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 34% strikeout rate, but it wasn’t meant to last. Smith hit the IL with hip inflammation on June 6th and wasn’t the same the rest of the year, featuring a declining fastball and a lack of feel in his changeup that returned a horrific 2.24 HR/9 and 5.46 ERA.

Fastball (54% usage)

I think I like Smith’s fastball…? It featured a 10%+ swinging-strike rate and limited batters to just a .210 average last season, though there is cause for concern. There was intent to elevate at times, but his command turned pitches that were high out of sequence into longballs frequently, returning 20 gopherballs across 1427 heaters. Ouch.

Meanwhile, the pitch’s velocity dropped a full tick in the second half, possibly a product of his hip injury. Smith will need to command his fastball in the zone better at its average velocity to avoid another homer-heavy season.

Slider (32% usage)

There’s a sense that if Smith were to take a distinguished leap, it would be with his slider. The pitch went from a 6.3 pVal to -1.1 in 2019 despite keeping nearly the same SwStr rate at 15% due to its volatile locations. This is a pitch that should mimic Patrick Corbin’s in sticking below the edge of the zone and nicking the low corners when needed. Instead, it floated up often, allowed 8 longballs and even carried a 40% flyball rate and low 34% groundball rate.

The potential is there to turn this 30% strikeout pitch into a 40%+ offering, though we may not see the light if Smith relies heavily on his slider as a strike-getter and not a deadly weapon to keep batters at bay.

Changeup (15% usage)

It’s a slowball that hints at a money pitch—37% O-Swing, 40% Zone rate, and 16% SwStr—but like his changeup and heater, his feel for the pitch goes in-and-out. Overall, it’s used earlier than you’d want for a whiff heavy offering, holding just an 18% strikeout rate and even returning a high 11% walk rate as he couldn’t execute it effectively when needed.

Like his other two offerings, though, there’s room for growth. The movement and deception are already there, it may be a pitch that turns into a legit force if Smith can sequence it with his heater often and deftly fall under the zone. And, you know, not lose it for an entire second half of a season would be a positive too.

2020 Outlook

Smith is currently lumped into the group of risky strikeout arms including Robbie Ray, Matt Boyd, Dinelson Lamet, and Chris Archer, and understandably so. There’s plenty of volatility here with his longball, lack of precise gameplan, and the sense even during his successful games that he’s not quite sticking to the gameplan.

It creates a haze that we can’t quite escape. At 28-years-old and 2019’s 153 IP season marking the first true sample size we’ve seen thus far, it’s hard to make out if Smith is destined to be a standard Three-True-Outcomes type of pitcher with homers, strikeouts, and walks (think Michael Pineda of old).

There’s room to grow and unlike the others mention, Smith has three pitches that can each take a step forward in 2020. Drafting him with that expectation is a bit risky, especially when he’s done a poor job of evading the injury bug thus far. The risk is worth taking, but not at a hefty price.

Realistic worst-case projection: 4.80 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 25% K rate in 80 IP

Realistic best-case projection: 3.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 30% K rate in 180 IP

Nick’s reluctant Caleb Smith 2020 projection:

4.20 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 27% K rate in 160 IP

Sandy Alcantara – Locked Starter

Nickname: The Squirrel

2019 In Review

For the second season in a row, Alcantara was the decider for many during the final week of fantasy leagues. His 3.88 ERA and 1.32 WHIP weren’t much of needle-pushers, but a 22% strikeout rate across his final eight starts suggested there could be something more in the tank down the road for the 24-year-old. Now with a full 197 IP season under his belt, Alcantara is sure to get attention in this winter as we imagine what could develop in 2020. Is he the 3.88 ERA man or the 5.28 SIERA lying below?

Fastball (57% usage)

Alcantara nearly split his heaters down the middle with four-seamers and sinkers and while both had their shares of success—.239 BAA and 2.8 pVal on four-seamer, .233 BAA and 11.8 pVal for his sinker—the heavy sinker was the clear weapon. Its 32% O-Swing is what you want to see indicating that Alcantara effectively jammed right-handers and got left-handers to chase off the outside edge. Paired with a near 50% zone rate at 95/96, it’s one of the rare sinkers that you can actually approve of. Seeing a 60% groundball rate linked with the pitch creates a path of success if paired with at least one whiff-inducing secondary offering.

His four-seamer…is a bit sporadic. Alcantara doesn’t nail its location often, constantly leaving it in the heart of the plate. He mostly avoided punishment with its 96 mph velocity, but expect a shift to more sinkers while saving heaters to elevate in deeper counts and possibly exclusively focus on elevating inside to both sides of the plate.

Slider (23% usage)

Considering his sinker sits just under a 50% zone rate, Alcantara needs a strong secondary offering as an alternative strike. His slider was featured as such with its 48% zone rate and there’s a chance it could be more. One of the hallmarks of Alcantara’s development has been the development of a true breaking ball (see the lackluster curveball below), though there’s still a bit missing at the moment. Its sub 15% SwStr rate leaves more to be desired, especially when his changeup—like Caleb Smith—isn’t in a position to become a strikeout offering. For those looking to Alcantara to take a firm step forward, it will have to come on the back of his slider’s development and I’m not quite sure he can get there.

Changeup (13% usage)

You may be picking up a common theme with Marlins pitchers—they all have a breaker and a changeup, but have questions when it comes to their consistency to put away batters. Alcantara’s changeup is by definition a money pitch—44% O-Swing, 41% Zone rate, 17% SwStr—but it returned just a 17% strikeout rate. Its low usage rate may be surprising at first, but becomes clearer when understanding its inconsistency. Alcantara simply had it or not, losing confidence through its four longballs in 400 pitches (generally, 1 per 100 thrown is the start of the questionable threshold) that pushed his slider above his slow ball in laborious at-bats.

Keep an eye on Alcantara’s changeup usage and its effectiveness in 2020—if he’s increasing his focus on the pitch, steering himself into RHB slow balls, it could be key for him taking a leap forward.

Curveball (7% usage)

Alcantara barely touched this curveball, using it primarily as a show-me offering and rarely deep in counts. It’s not inherently poor, but it’s not much of a utility to surprise batters. Expect this pitch to either stick around for 0-0 counts or to get pushed out entirely by his slider.

2020 Outlook

I’m not a huge fan of Alcantara. I’ve often labeled him as “raw” in that his sinker can be a formidable tool to carve lineups on a given day, but we have yet to see him have the feel for it over a lengthy period of time. Meanwhile, his breaker(s) and changeup are currently not the supporting cast needed to transform him into a bonafide starter, though there is a chance he makes a few tweaks to get more out of each offering. Look to his changeup early to see if he’s featuring it more often and executing well.

I have nothing against targeting Alcantara late in your drafts, as long as you’ve reached the point where you’re willing to drop him for other starters out of the gate. Don’t hold tight, it could be rocky through the full year.

Realistic worst case projection: 4.90 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 18% K rate in 120 IP

Realistic best-case projection: 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 25% K rate in 200 IP

Nick’s reluctant Sandy Alcantara 2020 projection:

4.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 21% K rate in 180 IP

Pablo Lopez – Likely Starter

Nickname: PabLo

2019 In Review

We had high hopes for PabLo after he came out of the gates with a full tick of extra velocity on his fastball and earning a 25% K rate, 1.08 WHIP, and 4.03 ERA through his first seven frames. Then a horrible 10 ER day launched the start of constant turmoil for Lopez, dancing between starts of 0 ER and 7 strikeouts and 6 ER with just a strikeout to salvage. He never quite looked like his exciting self by the end of the season, carrying with him an extended injury stint and a ghastly ERA above the 5.00 mark. There’s work to be done.

Fastball (59% usage)

I really bought into the excitement of PabLo’s increased velocity last March, showcasing not one, but two ticks above 2018’s numbers early in the spring. That 94/95 turned into 93/94 come the season, but 94 mph velocity with solid tail on a four-seamer can still work very well. When his command of the heater worked, he was able to pair it with his changeup with ease and life was bliss. However, it constantly evaded him. Lopez isn’t a pitcher nailing corners, game planning with heat in mind. And while his changeup is a strong offering, it doesn’t work without this fastball laying the groundwork.

Among this four-seamer, was a sinker that did a great job inducing swings out of the zone (37%+ O-Swing!) and I wonder if he’ll use the pitch more often in 2020, raising its usage from the current 18% mark. If it’s closer to 30% with four-seamers acting as more of a high offering late and jammed pitches early, it’ll help setup his other stuff better. For now, he can’t get away with the status quo.

Changeup (22% usage)

The slowball is Lopez’s best offering by far, even if it wasn’t quite always there for him this year. It’s a money pitch—46% O-Swing, 43% Zone rate, 17% SwStr rate—as he could throw it in any count and as a strike-getter or a chase pitch. Just going fastball/changeup could work for Lopez on the days that his curveball isn’t there, which may be often. Look for a higher tick in usage this season and hopefully a push toward the 20% SwStr mark if he’s locating fastballs well to set up the pitch properly.

And let’s say his curveball turns into a strong option he can throw for strikes without fear. You can expect this changeup jumping from a 25% strikeout rate toward 30% and beyond quickly. It’s certainly good enough.

Curveball (19% usage)

Lopez was in a constant tug-of-war with his curveball, feeling the pitch on a given night, then losing all faith as it hung in the zone constantly in the next. While it was ultimately far from detrimental—.210 BAA and just a .687 OPS allowed—he didn’t have a pitch that he could rely on for strikes. Its swing rate dropped six ticks, SwStr down from a strong 16% mark to just 11% last season, and batters elected to resist plenty more with its O-Swing dropping from 34.5% to 27% last season. It was just…not good.

The deuce used to be an asset for Lopez, another weapon to surprise batters on of his strong changeup, but he’ll have to work hard to improve it for 2020. It needs to be plenty better.

2020 Outlook

2019 was far from the ideal for PabLo, but he has a great opportunity ahead to refine his craft over a sizeable workload. Health permitting, his curveball could turn into a strong third option (please locate it low!), changeups could become a major weapon deep in counts, and it’s possible for a healthy four-seamer/sinker mix to set the foundation.

It wouldn’t be wise to bank on polish arriving sooner rather than later, but don’t rule it out. Watch the outings and see if success is carried by true development of his repertoire.

Realistic worst-case projection: 5.00+ ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 18% K rate in 80 IP

Realistic best-case projection: 3.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 25% K rate in 180 IP

Nick’s reluctant Pablo Lopez 2020 projection:

4.60 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 23% K rate in 160 IP

Elieser Hernandez – Likely Starter

Nickname: Mister E.

2019 In Review

With Urena on the IL, Gallen shipped to Arizona, and Straily/Chen firmly out of the rotation, Elieser got his chance in early summer to step into the Marlins rotation and took advantage. Despite a 4.05 ERA, Elieser carried an impressive 29% strikeout rate and 1.05 WHIP through his first five starts, on the back of his slider missing plenty of bats. We all didn’t know what to do with Elieser—was he this good? Can this carry across a larger sample?

After a stint in the bullpen, Hernandez returned to the rotation at the end of July and it wasn’t what we hoped. Ten starts of 4.88 ERA ball with a considerable drop in strikeouts and the magic wore off. Given a full season in the rotation, there’s still hope his slider and possible changeup development can transform him into a back-end option for strikeouts.

Fastball (56% usage)

It’s a four-seamer heavy attack for Elieser, but it’s not one to write home about. The pitch allowed a near .300 BAA last season, failing to record a significant amount of whiffs and was incredibly prone to the longball with 12 allowed in 777 thrown.

It’s easily the weakest part of Hernandez’s game, sitting 91 mph and needing to dance around the zone effectively in order to avoid damage. When it works, though, his secondary stuff is certainly good enough to take advantage.

Slider (33% usage)

In an effort to defuse batters salivating as his heater, Hernandez relies heavily on his slider in the zone (nearly 50% zone rate!) and is remarkably effective despite its constant call for swings. Its .152 BAA is all kinds of impressive and an 18% SwStr in the context of a pitch consistently landing in the zone is fantastic (Z-Contact of just 70% is great). There is a bit of wonder as to its sub 30% O-Swing, hinting at too many overthrown sliders that aren’t tempting enough to induce chases.

Perhaps raising its usage rate while reducing heaters can help with its development and continue its effectiveness. Growth in his changeup as well will only help Hernandez shift the pitch in more of a weapon in two-strike counts.

Changeup (11% usage)

Despite allowing just a .178 average on his changeup this year, there’s a lot to be done with the pitch. Its .125 BABIP is sure not to last with a paltry 6% SwStr rate, while mistakes were punished in the zone with four longballs on just 163 pitches.

It’s far from encouraging and while the pitch did have its moments, Hernandez needs a whole lot of polish with the pitch, as he needs another option to keep batters honest from cheating on heat.

2020 Outlook

Currently, Elieser’s success is heavily dependent on his fastball not getting crushed and allowing his slider to mop up those still around. There’s a lot to be desired in his changeup, but it’s possible for it to take a step forward as Hernandez gets more experience on the hill.

Don’t grab Elieser in drafts as he could be in for plenty of turmoil early, but there will certainly be opportunities to stream through the year that may turn into longer holds.

Realistic worst case projection: 5.00+ ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 20% K rate in 80 IP

Realistic best-case projection: 3.90 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 26% K rate in 170 IP

Nick’s reluctant Elieser Hernandez 2020 projection:

4.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 23% K rate in 140 IP

Jordan Yamamoto – Likely Starter

Nickname: Fair Jordan

2019 In Review

Like Hernandez, Yamamoto got his call in June and hit the ground running, allowing just 6 ER across his first six starts. The magic soon faded with his following five starts returning 23 ER and confusing owners heading into 2020. His “kitchen sink” approach can be seen as both a positive and a negative, adding more confusion to the mix. Having a variety of options can be helpful, but what if none of them are elite?

Fastball (50% usage)

Yamamoto’s fastball was his most successful pitch in 2019, a product of his solid command of the pitch and effectively mixing in his secondary options…plus a good amount of luck. Its .188 BABIP is sure to inflate in 2020, especially as it fails to return whiffs nor force poor swings outside the zone.

Sitting at 92 mph, Yamamoto will be relying on his ability to hit the edges and sequence effectively with cutters and sliders to keep batters off the hittable pitch. It’ll be a constant back-and-forth to get that feel (see his extreme success and failure from 2020), though there is a window for improvement if his secondary stuff maintains its growth.

Cutter (18% usage)

This cutter is just what Yamamoto needs. Typically with an fastball sitting in the low 90s, you need another pitch to confidently feature inside the zone, and this cutter does just that. At a 48% Zone rate and .231 BAA, he can turn to it constantly during at-bats, while also getting some poor swings as it hints the 40% O-Swing threshold.

When heaters just aren’t working, you can expect Yamamoto to turn to this pitch frequently as a backup plan. It’s not elite, but without it, Yamamoto has little chance on a given night.

Slider (15% usage)

I’m a bit surprised to see a small 15% usage rate for Yamamoto’s slider as it’s far-and-away his best offering. Across a small 206-pitch sample, the pitch allowed just five hits (.091 BAA!) while inducing an excellent 17% SwStr rate.

There’s still development to be had as it wasn’t quite the consistent strike-getter, nor tempting enough to push the 40% O-Swing we crave for secondary pitches to become putaway offerings, but the opportunity is there. It doesn’t have the upside of Hernandez’s sweeper, but there’s clear room to grow here.

Curveball (14% usage)

I’m not entirely sure why Yamamoto insists on using this breaking ball often. In just 190 thrown last year, the pitch allowed 13 hits—six for extra-bases—while missing bats rarely at just over 8% of the time. It’s often used as a surprise offering in two-strike counts, but the reward isn’t worth the risk as it gets clobbered often.

With his much better slider and cutter, look for this pitch to transition into an 0-0 offering and its 32% zone rate to rise at the expense of surprise strikeouts.

Changeup (3% usage)

Technically Yamamoto does have a slow ball as well, but it’s so rarely used and isn’t anything to consider moving forward. Over time, I wouldn’t be surprised if it disappears completely.

2020 Outlook

I’m really intrigued by Yamamoto’s cutter, but the heavy reliance on his fastball to squeeze out all of its value in each game is a tough ask. Even if he cuts his mediocre curveball, there may not be enough here to encourage a look in deeper 15-teamer formats, but you do worse with a late-round pick. He’s likely to get his chance at the very least, even if the Marlins do make a signing as spring could surprise us and boot PabLo or Elieser from the rotation.

Realistic worst case projection: 4.90 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 18% K rate in 120 IP

Realistic best-case projection: 3.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 24% K rate in 180 IP

Nick’s reluctant Jordan Yamamoto 2020 projection:

4.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 21% K rate in 140 IP

Robert Dugger – Fringe

Nickname: The Shovel

2020 Outlook

With the Marlins rotation hurting at the end of 2019, Dugger found himself starting a fair share of games for the Marlins and surprisingly produced across a four-start stretch for owners that were willing to but in against a trio of good matchups.

Dugger gets by with a pair of fastballs that bore inside to right-handers and fade from lefties and mixes in a slider that is good-but-not-great. His curveball is there as a surprise offering, but has a touch of potential if he removes its terrible and wasted variants.

Expect to see some Dugger this year as the first-option available out of the gate (save for a FA signing), but outside of a delectable streaming matchup, he’s not someone to consider.

Jose Urena – Fringe

Nickname: The New U In Blue

2020 Outlook

Rick Graham wrote an excellent piece today on the Marlins’ bullpen, highlighting Urena as the likely closer to enter the year. I’d imagine with the young options inside the Marlins’ system plus the possible add of a veteran arm, Urena stays put in the pen.

And honestly, that’s likely for the best. Urena was never expected to be more than a volume 4.30 ERA arm who could have moments when he’s spotting heaters off the inside corner to right-handers and mixing in sliders that could induce whiffs. There was never enough there to preach a redraft pick on him as a starter, but as the closer? That could work.

Sixto Sanchez – Fringe

Nickname: Bigfoot

2020 Outlook

This could be the year that we see Six-Toes Sanchez reach the majors with Triple-A likely in his sights to begin the season. Andy Patton took a look at Sanchez in his Marlins’ Prospects piece (it’s Marlins week!) and did a great job highlighting the potential heavy heater with two great secondary pitches. It’s what you’re looking for when considering a prospect in redraft leagues, but you’ll have to be patient. The Marlins are unlikely to promote Sanchez until they are confident the Super-Two has passed, which likely means late June/July as the earliest. Keep in mind, this could eat into the inning potentials of one of the young arms, though it’s often rare for a team to feature the same five starters through the entire first half in the first place

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When do you think the Marlins will make the switch from “rebuilding” to a team making a push to be a contender? In 2021 or 2022? — @OversteerTV via Twitter

Entering the third season of this process, clearly there is an ownership directive to improve. Losing 105 games in 2019 has created more urgency to start making progress in ’20. To expect a playoff run that quickly is probably not realistic, but the time is now to move this franchise forward.

For that to happen, starting pitching is key. Once the rotation shows it’s ready to compete is when the team will be primed to contend. In 2020, the rotation projects to have Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith, Pablo López and Jordan Yamamoto anchoring the staff, with prospects like Sixto Sanchez, Edward Cabrera and Nick Neidert not far behind. Behind them are left-handers Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers and right-hander Jordan Holloway. So, the hope is to get the pitching in order and improve in ’20, and by 2021-22, the Marlins should be better positioned to become realistic contenders.

I loved the [2019] Draft class. We all know about JJ Bleday. Kameron Misner seems like an intriguing prospect with a high ceiling. Could you give us your thoughts on him, and breakdown his game and potential? Thanks. — @Mick6298 via Twitter

There is a lot to like about Misner, taken 35th overall by Miami in the Competitive Balance Round A portion of the Draft. A left-handed hitting outfielder from the University of Missouri, Misner has above average bat speed and makes solid contact. He also has a swing that doesn’t need much tinkering with.

Misner, ranked the club’s No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline, can play all three outfield positions and first base, making him highly versatile. After signing, he started off with eight games in rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League, and then played in 34 games at Class A Clinton, hitting .270/.388/.362 with two home runs, 20 RBIs and 25 runs scored in 34 games. He has speed, shown by his eight stolen bases.

As his pro career progresses, pay attention to his strikeout rate. Misner struck out 22.2 percent of the time and walked 13.3 percent at Clinton. If he makes consistent contact, he can move quickly through the system. He turns 22 in January and probably will open 2020 at Class A Advanced Jupiter.
Marlins draft OF Misner No. 35

Jun 4th, 2019


Marlins draft OF Misner No. 35

Any news on Nicholas Castellanos, Yasiel Puig or Justin Smoak? — @Argayu09

Look for activity to pick up by the Winter Meetings, held Dec. 9-12 in San Diego. Right now, every club is dealing with a lot of internal business. On Wednesday, for instance, they had to add Rule 5 eligible prospects. In a corresponding move, they designated left-hander Wei-Yin Chen for assignment. That decision alone was time-consuming, and the organization is still on the hook for all or most of the $22 million Chen will make next year. Dec. 2 is the deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players.

• Takeaways for the Marlins from the GM Meetings

All this affects how the Marlins approach free agents like Castellanos, Puig and Smoak. The team has, however, already reached out to the agents of players they are interested in. Also remember that clubs are monitoring which players may not be tendered on Dec. 2. So after that deadline and around the Winter Meetings, activity should pick up.

Are the Marlins in the market for a veteran starting pitcher to help lead the young staff? — @EspoBoomin

The priorities are offense, first and foremost. I’m expecting the Marlins to sign or acquire at least two established position players. After that, the focus is on the bullpen. Whatever dollars are left after that could possibly go towards signing a veteran starter. I don’t see having a veteran starter to help lead a young staff as a priority. Smith, Alcantara, López and Yamamoto have experience, and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. handles the staff well. There’s also Elieser Hernandez and Robert Dugger, who have pitched in the big leagues. So there are plenty of candidates to start. If there is a clear upgrade that makes sense, then perhaps they will pursue it. But it isn’t the top priority.

With Lewis Brinson’s struggles the last two seasons, is this a make-or-break season for him? — @real_fish_fan

Yes, 2020 is an important season for Brinson. Whether it is “make or break” will be determined by how much he shows in Spring Training, and we’re not just talking about how he does statistically. That often can be misleading. But remember that Brinson has one option left. Even if he struggles in Spring Training, he can start off at Triple-A Wichita. Or if he makes the Opening Day roster and at any time looks like he needs more refinement, he can be optioned to the Minor Leagues. Either way, it’s up to Brinson to show that he can produce at the highest level.
Brinson’s incredible leaping grab

Aug 17th, 2019


Brinson’s incredible leaping grab

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

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MIAMI — Twenty years ago, Josh Booty stepped onto the field at Pro Player Stadium fearing he’d trip over the first-base line as he was introduced in the Opening Day starting lineup for the defending World Series champion Florida Marlins.

“I was nervous about every little thing,” said Booty, a former Evangel standout. “I’m out here in this big moment. You get your name called and you’re running out to the starting lineup on opening day — they don’t do that every day, just Opening Day. That was a fun deal. Then they gave the ring for the World Series, so that was a big deal. So, opening day was a little more special.”

An injury to Bobby Bonilla paved the way for Booty, at the age of 22, to start at third base on March 31, 1998, against the Chicago Cubs.

The same two teams (the Marlins are now the Miami Marlins) open the 2018 season Thursday at Marlins Park, located on the former site of the Orange Bowl, about 14 miles south of where Booty made that Opening Day start and received his 1997 World Series ring.

“Man, I can’t even remember it, to be honest,” Booty said. “It seems like I’ve lived 10 lives since then. I just never really think about it.”

The immense talent and desire to win that made Booty a two-sport star also led to his downfall. He never was comfortable with the idea of picking either baseball or football, so he went with both.

The Marlins selected Booty fifth overall in 1994. He opted to forego the opportunity to play quarterback at LSU in search of the bigs.

But Booty couldn’t forget about chucking the pigskin. Ultimately, he deserted the diamond for a late start at LSU to team up with his brother, Abram.

“I dreamed about being the first person ever to play quarterback (in the NFL) and (big league) baseball at the same time,” Booty said. “That was my mentality — I have to go catch up on the football side. I was an idiot. You can’t do it. It’s impossible.”

Naturally, Deion Sanders, one of the few to successfully marry NFL and Major League Baseball careers, was Booty’s “favorite athlete of all-time.”

The Baton Rouge thing didn’t work out either.

“LSU wasn’t the best place for me,” he said.

Now, Booty lives in Newport Beach, California, but satisfies his competitive urge with action on the golf course, a healthy travel schedule — to some of the sweetest spots on the planet — and a couple of handfuls of business ventures.

“Nothing can replace (playing) sports,” Booty, a 3 handicap, said prior to a golf game in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

During a 20-minute phone conversation Tuesday, Booty was still unable to decide his No. 1 love. And that sparked his memory of those chaotic times 10 lifetimes ago.

While at Evangel, Booty threw for 11,700 yards and 126 touchdowns. He was named the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year and the National High School Player of the Year by several outlets.

As a senior, Booty, not Peyton Manning, was rated by many recruiting services as the nation’s best quarterback prospect.

A four-time All-State choice at shortstop, he batted .429, stole 25 bases, and clubbed 12 home runs in 70 at-bats as an Evangel senior. He also captured a silver medal as the starting shortstop for the U.S. Junior Olympic National Team.

“The ceiling for him is very high,” former major league general manager Jim Hendry said in 1994. “This guy has the tools to be a star some day, not just an everyday guy.”

Booty eventually signed for a then-record $1.6 million bonus.

“I didn’t really know what to do with the money,” Booty said. “I tithed 10 percent to First Assembly and Evangel, helped my parents with a down payment for a home, bought Abram a car and me a car, and a couple of cell phones.”
Josh Booty earned a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 1997.

Josh Booty earned a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 1997. (Photo: File/Gannett)

In five minor-league seasons, Booty smashed 62 home runs, but struck out 621 times in 1,745 at-bats. The Marlins promoted Booty to the big club in three consecutive seasons, including Florida’s championship season in 1997.

He caught a break in spring of 1998 when Bonilla came up lame.

“I’d never be embarrassed to put Josh Booty out there,” then-Marlins skipper Jim Leyland told the media in spring training. “He’ll strike out some but he’ll play the hell out of third base.”

Said Booty: “I just like the fact that he believed in me — he put me out there at such a young age.”

Booty went 0-for-4 with an RBI-groundout on Opening Day against the Cubs.

While Booty enjoyed the life that Miami and nearby Fort Lauderdale offered, he played just seven games that season. Booty totaled just 26 at-bats (seven hits, four RBIs) in three major-league stints.

His big shot was cut short when a slide from Milwaukee’s Jeromy Burnitz injured the thumb on his glove hand.

“(Gary) Sheffield threw a ball in, and Burnitz was going first to third. The throw was offline. I caught the ball, dove to the base and dislocated my thumb and was out for three months.”

The injury only heightened his desire to throw touchdowns.

“All the guys I came up with had big careers in the major leagues,” Booty said. “Kevin Millar was my roommate and best friend. (Mark) Kotsay, (Scott) Podsednik, (Edgar) Renteria — we all came up together. They knew I wasn’t super happy. It affected me.”

Brother Abram flourished with the Tigers, and that was enough to make the difference. Booty thought he’d play with his brother, and make strides toward his dream of making history.

“I wanted to play football so bad I couldn’t stand it,” he said. “It was a tough time.”

In 1999, at the age of 24, Booty turned in the teal for purple and gold. Today, he says that was a mistake.

“It wasn’t the best place to go,” Booty said. “The coaching situation with (Gerry) DiNardo — it was a bad staff. I wish I could have started when (Nick) Saban got there.”

Booty began his sophomore season — Saban’s first year with the Tigers — but was eventually usurped by Rohan Davey.

In 2001, the Seattle Seahawks took a shot on Booty with the 177th pick (sixth round). He also spent three years with Cleveland (2001-03), but never saw game action.

Those tools, that mindset, they proved to be a curse.

“If I had to go back, I’d find the best place to play college football, and then push for the NFL,” Booty said. “LSU wasn’t the best place.”

Among other things, Booty helps broker deals and raise money for start-up companies. He’s also been involved in businesses with every one of his brothers (John David, Jake), including a credit card processing company with Abram.

He’s dabbled in gaming — helped create Dolly Parton slot machines — and enjoyed watching his siblings’ success in their athletic endeavors.

“JD at USC was great — I enjoyed that as much as playing,” Josh said.

If Booty had another shot at investing his money?

“I’d invest in real estate in California,” Booty said. “It’s worth more than 10 times what it was in 1994.”

By coincidence, Booty reconnected with Moises Alou, a former Marlins teammate and member of the world championship team.

“I’m going to see him in Santo Domingo,” said Booty, who also recently spent time in Colombia with Jake.

“I love travel, seeing new things,” Josh said. “I play golf — love to gamble on the golf course. But nothing can replace sports — that’s why a lot of these guys get depressed because they don’t know what to do with themselves.

“Sports is such a high — whether it goes good or bad, it’s extreme stuff.”

Booty has so many irons in the fire these days, he still doesn’t have to choose a favorite. As history shows, that’s probably a good thing.

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Bob Natal was born on Saturday, November 13, 1965, in Long Beach, California. Natal was 26 years old when he broke into the big leagues on July 18, 1992, with the Montreal Expos. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Bob Natal baseball stats page.

“Do you have a favorite quote from or about this particular player that you would like to see here? If so, please visit the Contact option on the menu above this line, send it to us, and we’ll update this page” – Baseball Almanac

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Taiwan last night advanced to the next round of the World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier 12 tournament after breaking a deadlock against Venezuela with late runs in their Group B game to win 3-0, while Japan shut out Puerto Rico 4-0 in Taoyuan to advance to the next round.

It was a tight affair over six innings at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, beginning with a duel of starting pitchers Chang Yi of Taiwan and Henderson Alvarez of Venezuela.

The hosts broke through for two runs in the seventh inning on two hits and a walk against Venezuela’s fifth pitcher, Miguel Socolovich.

Centerfielder Lin Che-hsuan reached first base on a walk before pinch hitter Chu Yu-hsien tagged Socolovich with a line drive near third base for a double, driving Lin home for Taiwan to take a 1-0 lead.

Wang Cheng-wei then delivered another RBI by hitting a single to the opposite side, giving Chu time to run in from second and put the hosts up 2-0.

After a scoreless eighth, designated hitter Hu Chin-lung scored on a wild pitch in the ninth. After reaching first base, he stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Earlier yesterday, Japan shut out Puerto Rico to seize their second win, assuring them top place in the group and a berth in the Super Round.

Puerto Rico managed only four hits, unable to get anything going against Japan starter Rei Takahashi and four relievers who came in after the six inning.

The Samurai Warriors scored all their runs in the bottom of the third with clutch hits after two outs.

After the two outs, Tetsuto Yamada reached first on a walk. Ryosuke Kikuchi then hit a bouncer and beat the throw to first base, while Yamada advanced to second.

An errant throw by Puerto Rico first baseman Jeffrey Dominguez on a grounder by Kensuke Kondoh, who reached first, allowed Japan’s first run of the game.

With runners on first and third, Seiya Suzuki hit a fastball from Puerto Rico’s left-handed starter Giovanni Soto over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.

Suzuki’s blast put Japan ahead for good and they had little trouble containing Puerto Rico the rest of the way to keep a clean sheet.

Japan starter Rei Takahashi handcuffed Puerto Rico’s lineup with his unorthodox submarine pitch. The 24-year-old threw six scoreless innings, yielding only one hit and one walk, while striking out three for to take the win.

With two wins from two games, Japan’s players and fans celebrated advancing to next week’s Super Round.

Taiwan head coach Hong Yi-chung replaced Chang Chin-te with Lin Hong-yu at catcher, while Hu replaced Lin as designated hitter.

Right-hander Chang, 25, a native of Hualien County, had a 2-4 record and a 5.93 ERA in six starts for Japan’s Orix Buffaloes last season.

Venezuela starter Alvarez, 29, played five years in the MLB from 2011 to 2015, with stints at the Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins. He pitched a no-hitter for the Marlins against the Detroit Tigers in September 2013.

Alvarez compiled a career 27-35 record, with a 3.82 ERA and 302 strikeouts over 95 MLB starts.

Two games today are to decide the final standings for Group B, with the first and second-placed teams advancing to the Super Round in Japan next week.

Venezuela are to face Puerto Rico at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium at noon, while Taiwan are to face Japan in Taichung at 6:30pm.

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Here’s a look back at the draft history (MLB draft began in 1965) from the Journal & Courier’s coverage area:


Mark Strader, Lafayette Jeff, Round 6, Minnesota Twins

The former Broncho catcher played three seasons in the minors for the Twins with a career batting average of .246, nine home runs and 74 RBIs.


Gregg Boehning, Lafayette Jeff, Round 29, Chicago White Sox

After helping coach Paul “Spider” Fields’ club win the 1969 state title, Boehning was selected as a lefty pitcher. He played one season in rookie ball for the White Sox, going 6-1 with a 2.55 ERA.


Donald Leslie, Lafayette Jeff, Round 9, Detroit Tigers

Like Boehning two years earlier, Leslie played just one year in the minors as a pitcher. He went 2-3 with a 7.63 ERA.


Kevin Sims, Lafayette Jeff, Round 31, Pittsburgh Pirates

Sims never played professionally. He later became a high school basketball coach and is currently the athletic director at Delphi.


Donald Pearson, Delphi, Round 13, New York Mets

Pearson advanced all the way to Triple-A but never made it to the big leagues. He compiled a career record of 31-45 with an ERA of 4.28 over five seasons.


Rich Stoll, Attica, Round 1, Montreal Expos

After a standout career at the University of Michigan, the Expos (now Washington Nationals) made Stoll their top draft choice in 1983. He never made it to Canada, pitching five seasons in the minors, including three in Indianapolis. Stoll compiled a 36-33 record with an ERA of 3.77. His jersey still hangs in the hall outside of the basketball gymnasium at Attica.


Rico Rossy, Frontier, Round 33, Baltimore Orioles

Rossy played at Purdue and lived the Minor League life for seven years before he got the call-up with the Atlanta Braves in 1991. He pitched with the Kansas City Royals the next two seasons before another long stint in the minors. After keeping his suitcases packed during Triple-A stints for the Royals, Padres, Expos and Mariners affiliates, he showed why so many former big leaguers continue to cling to the game in minor league baseball when he was called up in 1998, five years after his last MLB stint, as a Seattle Mariner. Rossy had 67 career hits in 147 games in the Majors.


Brian Goodwin, Frankfort, Round 38, Toronto Blue Jays

Goodwin elected to play junior college baseball instead of embarking on a pro career.


Kevin Tyson, Lafayette Jeff, Round 4, Atlanta Braves

Tyson played two seasons of rookie ball, hitting .161 with one career home run and 10 RBIs.


Bernard Doyle, North Newton, Round 24, Boston Red Sox

Doyle played two seasons in rookie ball, totaling 46 games. He hit .222 with seven doubles.


Brian Goodwin, Frankfort, Round 46, California Angels

After foregoing a pro career two years earlier, Goodwin was drafted eight rounds later after junior college. He never played professionally.


Jamie Sailors, Frontier, Round 13, St. Louis Cardinals

Sailors’ season at Parkland College caught the eye of the Cardinals. He pitched two years in the minors, compiling three wins and 160 strikeouts in 174 innings. He later became a high school football coach and athletic director.
Todd Dunwoody

Todd Dunwoody (Photo: AP photo)


Todd Dunwoody, Harrison, Round 7, Florida Marlins

After his outstanding high school career ended — and before he made these awesome Mike Raisor commercials — Dunwoody played 13 seasons of pro baseball, including six in the Majors. He was a member of the 1997 World Series champion Marlins and also played for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians. Dunwoody hit .233 in the Major Leagues with his best season coming in 1998 when he hit .251 with 27 doubles, seven triples and five homers in Miami.


Prenenyer Rodriguez, McCutcheon, Round 40, Houston Astros

Rodriguez was drafted but never played professionally.


Josh Loggins, Harrison, Round 7, Pittsburgh Pirates

Part of an unbelievably talented group of Harrison Raiders, Loggins was the first draftee among the 1995 state championship team (one class). That wasn’t enough to lure him into the minor leagues as he elected to play college baseball.


Jake Chapman, Rensselaer, Round 38, Minnesota Twins

Chapman returned to St. Joseph’s College after being a late pick of the Twins.


B.J. Schlicher, North Montgomery, Round 7, Philadelphia Phillies

The talented quarterback from the Chargers’ glory days (Mr. Football runner-up) also was an outstanding baseball player who was taken highly out of high school. He played two seasons at Rookie League Martinsville, hitting nine home runs and driving in 50 runs while hitting .262. After a decent season as a 19-year-old in 1997, Schlicher went back to school where he was a record-setting quarterback for the University of Indianapolis.


Jake Chapman, Rensselaer, Round 26, Kansas City Royals

Chapman had an eight-year run in the minors, eventually reaching Triple-A. He was 55-31 with an ERA of 3.31.


Brian Kennedy, Harrison, Round 28, Minnesota Twins

I talked to a scout a couple years back who recalled Kennedy when he wore the orange and blue of the Raiders. He remembered a debate with another scout whether or not Kennedy should get selected out of high school. Kennedy was drafted and elected to begin a professional career. Kennedy never advanced passed rookie ball and never played professionally past the age of 20, competing in just 118 games over three seasons.


Erik Sabel, Harrison, Round 42, Arizona Diamondbacks

This was the first draft class for the D-Backs, who wouldn’t become a Major League franchise until 1998. Sabel played for the team that won a World Series over the Yankees three years later. Sabel made it to the Majors in 1999 and didn’t come back until that 2001 season, where he pitched 51 1/3 innings. He made one appearance for the Tigers in 2002. Sabel compiled a career win-loss record of 3-2.


Juan Cruz, Lafayette Jeff, Round 70, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Cruz never played professionally.


Eric Bruntlett, Harrison, Round 72, Los Angeles Dodgers

The fourth member of the 1995 state championship team to be drafted, Bruntlett was selected behind 1,663 other players, making the decision for him to go to college easy.
Clay Snellgrove

Clay Snellgrove (Photo: File)


Clay Snellgrove, Lafayette Jeff, Round 24, San Diego Padres

After four years playing at Middle Tennessee State, the infielder made it as high as Triple-A in six pro seasons. He hit .295 with 12 home runs and 221 RBIs. After the end of his pro career, he wrote a book about the trials and tribulations of a struggling baseball player.


Josh Loggins, Harrison, Round 11, San Diego Padres

After hitting .384 for the University of Kentucky in 1998, Loggins would again be drafted. He never advanced higher than Double-A but was able to display his hitting power with 90 career home runs in the minor and independent leagues. Back in his home state in 1999 at the Padres’ Class-A affiliate in Fort Wayne, Loggins hit .297 with 14 home runs, 85 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in perhaps his best pro season. He’s still involved with baseball locally at the youth level and managed the Lafayette All-Stars in the Colt World Series.


Neal Musser, Benton Central, Round 2, New York Mets

The left-handed pitcher went high in the draft (73rd overall) and eventually did reach the Majors, eight years after being drafted and with another team. Musser made 17 appearances with the Kansas City Royals in 2007, compiling a 4.38 ERA. He made. He pitched one scoreless inning in 2008 for the Royals. He last pitched in 2010 on the independent circuit.


Sean Brummett, Frontier, Round 15, Anaheim Angels

The southpaw pitched Bob Warn’s Indiana State clubs to 13 victories between the 1998-99 seasons and was good enough to impress Angels scouts. He played three seasons in the Angels organization, reaching Double-A before going 7-5 on the mound in independent ball in 2002. Brummett compiled 19 career wins and a 3.87 ERA with 282 strikeouts.


David Beigh, Harrison, Round 2, Pittsburgh Pirates

The big lefty pitcher was drafted No. 59 overall out of high school. His career was plagued by elbow injuries that kept him from ever advancing past High Class A ball and he played in just four seasons with a career win-loss record of 2-10 and 109 strikeouts in 134 1/3 pro innings.
Eric Bruntlett

Eric Bruntlett (Photo: Paul J. Bereswill, ASSOCIATED PRESS)


Eric Bruntlett, Harrison, Round 9, Houston Astros

Not only did Bruntlett’s brains and baseball ability help him get a Stanford degree, it also allowed him to experience the big stage as the Cardinal went to the College World Series his senior year. Known more for his glove than his bat, Bruntlett’s defensive skills got him to the big leagues, where he played seven seasons in the Majors and was a member of three teams that went to the World Series in Houston and Philadelphia, including the 2008 champion Phillies. In that World Series, Bruntlett homered in Game 2, scored the winning run in Game 3 and scored the series clinching run in Game 5 to defeat Tampa Bay. He also found his place in baseball history in Philadelphia when he turned a game-ending unassisted triple play against the Mets, which earned special recognition in the Hall of Fame.


William Corbin, Lafayette Jeff, Round 24, Seattle Mariners

Corbin never played professionally.


Ryan Greives, Benton Central, Round 47, Philadelphia Phillies

Greives went to Northeast Texas Community College and the University of Nevada and never played professionally.


John Hensley, Fountain Central, Round 60, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Hensley made five appearances at age 24 on the independent circuit, racking up a 9.45 ERA.


Nick McIntyre, McCutcheon, Round 20, Detroit Tigers

McIntyre played at Purdue before the Tigers selected the infielder. He played six seasons, most recently at Double-A Erie in 2008. He hit 20 career homers with a .272 batting average and 56 stolen bases. He is currently an assistant coach at the University of Toledo.


Josh Lindblom, Harrison, Round 3, Houston Astros

Despite how highly the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher was picked, Lindblom packed his bags for Rocky Top, where he pitched for the University of Tennessee and went 4-6 as a freshman before coming home by transferring to Purdue.
Clayton Richard

Clayton Richard (Photo: AP)


Clayton Richard, McCutcheon, Round 8, Chicago White Sox

After going to the University of Michigan as a quarterback before embarking on baseball as his passion, Richard progressed through the minors and was called up by the White Sox in 2008 and helping them make the playoffs. A year later, he was involved in the Jake Peavy trade and pitched for the San Diego Padres from mid-2009 until 2013, when injuries ended his time out west. After making a Major League comeback with the Cubs in 2016, Richard wound up back in San Diego, where he played through 2018. He is currently on the Toronto Blue Jays.


Dan Sattler, Harrison, Round 44, Texas Rangers

Sattler had struggles with arm injuries but played 10 seasons professionally. After playing at Purdue post high school, Sattler advanced as high as Triple-A. He had a career record of 8-17 in the minors and has 241 career strikeouts. He also spent time playing independent league baseball and with a league in Mexico. Overall, he compiled a 29-34 professional record with a 3.52 ERA.


Dane Secott, Harrison, Round 27, Kansas City Royals

Secott pitched 15 games in Idaho Falls for the Royals’ short season rookie ball team, going 5-1 with a 0.79 earned run average. He gave up 20 hits in 34 1/3 innings.
Josh Lindblom

Josh Lindblom (Photo: AP)


Josh Lindblom, Harrison, Round 2, Los Angeles Dodgers

After transferring from Tennessee to Purdue, Lindblom transitioned from starter to closer and quickly became a favorite of another former Indiana high school baseball standout in manager Don Mattingly. In four seasons surfacing back and forth between the Majors and minor league baseball, Lindblom has yet to find a long-term place to call home during the summer, playing for the Dodgers, Phillies, Rangers and Athletics, before embarking on a baseball career in Korea. He returned to the Major Leagues in 2017 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the season, he returned to Korea where he’s been a star pitcher. But his biggest contribution may be his charity work with his charity, the Josh Lindblom Foundation.

MORE:Faith and family behind Lindblom’s return


Brandon Moore, Crawfordsville, Round 14, New York Mets

Moore was a big righty pitcher for the Athenians and served that same role for Indiana Wesleyan University. The Mets picked him and he rewarded their Single-A team Brooklyn with the first no-hitter in Cyclones’ history. He made it to Double-A, going 31-26 with a 3.76 ERA before trying his luck in the independent leagues in 2013.


Cameron Hobson, Crawfordsville, Round 37, New York Yankees

Hobson helped Crawfordsville win a state title as a senior before going to the University of Dayton. Despite being drafted after his junior season, he returned to school.


Cameron Hobson, Crawfordsville, Round 11, Seattle Mariners

Hobson smashed the Dayton pitching record books and improved his draft status by returning for a senior season. The lefty pitched five seasons in the minors, most recently in 2015, all in the Mariners farm system. He compiled a career 29-35 record with a 4.84 ERA and 328 strikeouts.
Nick Wittgren

Nick Wittgren (Photo: Kelley L Cox, Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)


Nick Wittgren, McCutcheon, Round 9, Miami Marlins

Once Wittgren went to junior college and stopped having strain on his arm from playing shortstop on non-pitching days, he thrived, found himself as the closer for the best Purdue baseball team in 100 years and has excelled in the Marlins’ minor league system, winning minor league reliever of the year in 2013. Wittgren made his Major League debut with the Marlins in 2016, where he pitched for three seasons. He is currently on the Cleveland Indians.


Logan Sowers, McCutcheon, Round 31, San Diego Padres

Having the look of a big leaguer can catch the eye of pro scouts, but when you can throw on a line from center to home as an 18-year-old, run like a deer and crank double-digit homers against tough competition in addition to that, you become an instant prospect. When it became apparent Sowers was going to use his scholarship to play for Indiana University, he dropped to round 31. Still, the Padres made him a selection out of high school.


Chandler Ferguson, Lafayette Jeff, Round 25, Cleveland Indians

After topping out in the mid 90s and leading the Bronchos to back-to-back North Central Conference championships, Ferguson skipped college and signed with the Indians out of high school. He made one appearance, striking out two hitters in one inning.


Logan Sowers, McCutcheon, Round 28, Chicago White Sox

After foregoing a professional baseball career out of high school, Sowers finished up a successful career at Indiana University before being taken by the White Sox. In rooke ball in 2018, he hit .296 with nine home runs and 35 runs batted in. He began the 2019 season at Class A Kannapolis.


Zach Huffins, West Lafayette, Round 13, Tampa Bay Rays

Huffins attended Arizona Western College out of high school, where he excelled on the base paths with his speed and became a formidable hitter for the Mastadons, leading the team in home runs and stolen bases as a sophomore. He committed to Arizona State University.


Bob Friend, Pittsburgh Pirates

Before there was a draft, the West Lafayette graduate signed with the Pirates out of high school. The area’s most notable baseball talent was a three-time Major League all-star and a member of the 1960 World Series champion Pirates. Friend was the National League ERA champ in 1955 with a 2.83 earned run average and led the league in innings pitched in 1956 and ’57. Friend finished third in the 1958 Major League Cy Young voting behind Bob Turley and Warren Spahn before the Cy Young was given out in separate leagues. He was sixth in the MVP voting the same season. Friend compiled a career record of 197-230 with a 3.58 ERA and 1,734 strikeouts in 16 seasons, all but one with the Pirates. He spent his final season in 1966 with the Mets and Yankees.

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From left to right: Michael Hill, president of baseball operations for the Miami Marlins, Don Mattingly, team manager, and Derek Jeter, chief executive officer, speak during a press conference at Marlins Park on Sept. 20. The Marlins would like to add at least one veteran bat this winter. MATIAS J. OCNER [email protected]

A quick six-pack of Marlins notes:

▪ The Marlins intend to sign at least one veteran bat but are disinclined to give him a longterm deal because they don’t want to block any of their top position prospects, according to a source.

Miami is exploring free agent outfielders and corner infielders, with a bunch of names under consideration.
Jeter’s free agency plan: ‘We must be responsible,’ but if
there’s fit ‘we’ll go get him’

Among the realistic free agent outfield options: Avasail Garcia (.282, 20 homers, 72 RBI for Tampa Bay), Corey Dickerson (.304, 12, 59 for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), Brett Gardner (.251, 28, 74 for the Yankees) and Adam Jones (.260, 16, 67 for Arizona). The Marlins and Jones spoke last offseason.
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And The Athletic reported that Miami has inquired about Nationals free agent infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick, who hit .344 for the Nationals, with 17 homers and 62 RBI.

Like nearly every team, the Marlins are slow-playing free agency at the moment. They might wait to sign a bat until during or after next month’s winter meetings in San Diego, though they haven’t ruled out doing something sooner.

“We need to get better [and] adding offense will be the focal point,” Marlins president/baseball operations Michael Hill said Wednesday night.

▪ The Marlins are not aggressively pursuing Cubs free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos but like the player and could enter the bidding if he’s still available in a few weeks and willing to accept a shorter deal, according to a source.

Agent Scott Boras is believed to be looking for a sizable multiyear deal.

Castellanos, a native of Davie, hit..289 with 27 homers and 73 RBI for the Cubs and Detroit last season.

The Marlins aren’t pursuing free agents that would require draft pick compensation, such as Cardinals free agent and former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna.

▪ At this point, the Marlins are leaning toward tendering arbitration-eligible Jose Urena but haven’t made a final decision.

Urena was 4-7 with a 4.70 ERA in 13 appearances as a starter before a back injury last season. He returned late in the season as a reliever but struggled, going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in 11 appearances.

Urena being tendered doesn’t guarantee he will be on the team; the Marlins tendered Dan Straily last winter but utimately released him before the season, with Miami required to pay only a small percentage of the salary.

Even with Urena’s erratic performance last season, he still has value as an established veteran starter.

The Marlins also must make a decision on whether to tender Adam Conley by the Dec. 2 non-tender deadline.

The Marlins moved on from Wei Yin Chen on Wednesday night, designating him for assignment even though Miami owes him $22 million next season.

▪ I asked Hill on Wednesday if there are position players – besides Brian Anderson, Jorge Alfaro and Miguel Rojas – who can be projected as very likely starters next season regardless of how they play in spring training.

Hill stopped short of calling anyone else a sure-fire starter but made clear that Garrett Cooper, Isan Diaz, Harold Ramirez, Jon Berti and Lewis Brinson “will have every opportunity to compete for at bats.”

The Marlins naturally would love for Diaz to be their longterm second baseman, but he needs to at least perform decently next spring.

▪ Pitching stuff: The Marlins want to sign at least two relievers to supplement the group of Drew Steckenrider (returning from elbow surgery), Ryne Stanek, Austin Brice, Jarlin García and José Quijada…. The Marlins’ decision to omit lefty Will Stewart from their 40-man roster seems like a reasonably safe gamble because he was erratic at Class A Jupiter, going 6-12 with a 5.43 ERA. It seems unlikely – though not out of the question – that a team would take him in the Rule 5 draft. The Marlins had several top prospects who needed to be moved to the 40-man roster, so someone invariably was going to get left out. Stewart “is still a very good major league prospect,” Hill said of the third piece acquired in the J.T. Realmuto trade (with Alfaro and top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez).

▪ Quick stuff: The Marlins shifted Triple A affiliates, from the New Orleans BabyCakes to the Wichita Wind Surge…The Marlins were encouraged by Nick Neidert’s work in the Arizona Fall League; he had a 1.25 ERA in five starts. “To make up for the time he lost due to injury [last season, when he was limited to 13 starts] was incredibly important,” Hill said…Victor Victor Mesa hit .271 in the Fall League and Jerar Encarnacion .269.
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Barry Jackson
Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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