Miami Marlins

Rookie Garcia could be rotation candidate … or remain in bullpen

Jarlin Garcia has a solid 3.53 ERA in 46 games, and lefties are hitting just .172 against him while righties are only batting .215.
Jarlin Garcia has a solid 3.53 ERA in 46 games, and lefties are hitting just .172 against him while righties are only batting .215. BCereijo@MiamiHerald.com

The Marlins will likely look to replenish their supply of starting pitchers next year. But one possible rotation candidate, left-hander Jarlin Garcia, is already on the Marlins, more than halfway through a successful year as a rookie reliever.

Garcia, 24, is 0-1 with a 3.53 ERA in 46 games, covering  35 2/3 innings. Left-handers are hitting just .172 against Garcia, who is also faring well against righties (.215).

“Jarlin’s been a nice little addition,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He throws strikes. He’s been really dependable about getting left-handers out. But he has also shown the ability to get right-handers.”

Garcia has a 1.17 ERA in games in which he pitched the previous day. With one or zero days of rest, Garcia is holding hitters to a .162 average.

That means Garcia, who was a starter in the minors, has adjusted well to the bullpen life.

But the Marlins’ dearth of quality starting pitchers could change things.

“I like [Garcia] in the bullpen right now,” Mattingly said. “But a lot of teams in the past have brought guys up [as relievers] to get them comfortable and then they start.

“I don’t know what the organization has planned. I’m sure [Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill] was thinking about [Garcia as a starter] because of where our starting rotation is at right now.

“For the future, I think it’s something that you at least think about. But I don’t know that anyone has talked to Jarlin.”

Mattingly said Garcia’s mix of pitches — fastball, hard slider, curve and changeup — would play well as a starter.

Garcia, though, seems comfortable in his new job.

“I think now my role is as a reliever,” Garcia said. “I think I’ve done a good job. I don’t know if they see me as a starter in the future.”

Garcia, a native of the Dominican Republic, said his parents will be arriving at the end of this month to spend some time with him.

In the meantime, he continues to make adjustments.

“I’m trying to stay healthy,” Garcia said. “Trying to keep a daily routine, a good diet, a throwing program, working out — that’s been the hardest part. But I’ve matured professionally.”

MARLINS ON A ROLL

The just-completed series against the Washington Nationals was eventful. Former Hialeah High and Monsignor Pace pitcher Gio Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Marlins on Monday, and two-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer hit his first career home run on Tuesday, a three-run shot.

Yet the Marlins took two out of three against the National League East leaders, winning their fourth consecutive series for the first time since 2015. They also shut down Nationals star Bryce Harper, ending his 12-game hitting streak on Wednesday.

The Marlins will look to keep their momentum going this weekend in Atlanta against the Braves, who have won five of eight games against Miami this season.

The Marlins lost 1-0 to the Nationals as Gio Gonzales came within 3 outs of a no hitter on Monday, July 31, 2017.

PROSPECT HAUL

The Marlins made three deals leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, sending away veteran relievers A.J. Ramos and David Phelps as well as starting shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.

In return, the Marlins got eight prospects — five right-handers and three center fielders.

Vince Lara-Cinisomo, who ranks the Marlins prospects for Baseball America, said three of those eight players will likely make Miami’s list of top-10 prospects by the end of this season.

Right-hander Merandy Gonzalez, part of the trade for Ramos from the Mets, is likely moving to No. 3 on the Marlins’ list. He’s been compared to former Marlins prospect Luis Castillo, who beat Miami impressively earlier this year.

Two players acquired from the Mariners for Phelps are also ticketed for the new top 10 — center fielder Brayan Hernandez and right-hander Brandon Miller.

That new top 10 looks like this: LHP Trevor Rogers; LHP Braxton Garrett; Gonzalez; 3B Brian Anderson; 3B James Nelson; Hernandez; RHP Tyler Kolek; LHP Dillon Peters; Miller; and OF Brian Miller.

The other players the Marlins got in their pre-deadline trades were outfielders Ricardo Cespedes and Braxton Lee, and right-handers Pablo Lopez, Lukas Schiraldi and Ethan Clark.

Of those players, the most promising are Lee, who was rated the best defensive center fielder in the Double A Southern League, and Clark, who is 6-6, throws in the mid-90s and projects as a top-20 Marlins prospect.

COMING UP

▪ Friday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (4-3, 5.11 ERA) at Atlanta Braves RHP R.A. Dickey (6-7, 4.08), 7:35 p.m., SunTrust Park.

▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Dan Straily (7-7, 3.79) at Braves RHP Dan Foltynewicz (9-6, 4.08), 7:10 p.m., SunTrust Park.

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