Midseason Superlatives: Some shine, struggle in Marlins’ first half
It will be a battle of two rookies Tuesday when the Miami Marlins begin a three-game home series against the San Diego Padres.
And some Marlins fans will likely know the name of the Padres’ starter, considering the Marlins drafted him four years ago and traded him away a year later while he was still in the minor leagues.
Chris Paddack, the Marlins’ eighth-round pick in 2015, starts the series for the Padres and will make his first start at Marlins Park, albeit for the visiting team. The Marlins traded Paddack to the Padres on June 30, 2016, for reliever Fernando Rodney, and Paddack has flourished during his first major-league season. The 23-year-old rookie is 5-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 starts this season.
The Marlins, meanwhile, are countering with a rookie of their own in Jordan Yamamoto, who is on a historic start to his career since joining the rotation June 12. He’s 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA through five starts, giving up just 11 hits with 30 strikeouts to 15 walks in 29 innings. Yamamoto, obtained as part of the Christian Yelich trade, holds Marlins franchise records for lowest ERA, lowest batting average against (.165) and fewest hits allowed through a pitcher’s first five starts. Meanwhile, his 30 strikeouts are tied with Josh Beckett for the second most in franchise history through five starts, trailing only Dontrelle Willis’ 34.
“He doesn’t seem to rattle,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Yamamoto. “He’s had a couple situations this year with traffic on the basepaths, and he gets out of it with minimal damage. ... He’s really good.”
Paddack and Yamamoto are the first two pitchers to make their MLB debut with five consecutive starts with three-or-fewer hits allowed since Tom Cheney (1957-1959).
The Marlins (34-57) are hoping Yamamoto can give them another strong start and put them back in the win column after dropping two of three games against the New York Mets in their first series since the All-Star Break. The Padres (45-48) were swept at home by the Atlanta Braves.
Trevor Richards starts for the Marlins on Wednesday, and Caleb Smith throws Thursday. The Padres have not named their other two starters for the series.
Although the Marlins’ bullpen ranks 25th in ERA (4.90), there has been marked improvement from a couple of the team’s young relievers.
Austin Brice, 27, has a 1.88 ERA and has gone 11 2/3 innings without giving up a run.
Jarlin Garcia, 26, has thrown 14 consecutive innings through 11 appearances without surrendering a run.
Bleday, Misner updates
Both of the Marlins’ first two picks in the 2019 draft, college outfielders JJ Bleday (No. 4 overall out of Vanderbilt) and Kameron Misner (No. 35 out of Missouri), have reported to the team’s training complex in Jupiter and will soon begin their professional careers in the Gulf Coast League.
Because Bleday has not played in nearly to three weeks and Misner has not played in about seven weeks, the Marlins are going to ease the two in and make sure they are physically ready to play before putting them on the field.
But the Marlins’ are optimistic both will be able to move at least through the lower levels of the minor leagues relatively quickly.
“In my time with the Marlins, we’ve never added bats with this type of ceiling,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “When you talk about the college bats — we’ve been a high school-oriented draft philosophy in the past.”