Editor's Note: This Dakota Schmidt article was supposed to be published before yesterday's fantastic start by Anthony DeSclafani. In light of recent news, hopefully he gets a shot at the rotation, but for now, I decided to release it as a tandem article to the review of his tremendous start, which is coming shortly. Stay tuned for that and more at Fish Stripes! -MJ
In response to the season-ending elbow injury to Jose Fernandez, the Marlins called-up minor leaguer Anthony Desclafani to fill into that huge vacant spot. While that large void that's been suddenly created after the disheartening injury to Fernandez probably won't be completely filled during the season, there's still a multitude of in-house options that could pad that hole.
One of those first in-house options would be the aforementioned Anthony Desclafani. While the 24-year-old righty won't enter his big league debut on Wednesday with the expectations of Fernandez, Desclafani will still have a multitude of eyes directed at him when he toes the rubber at Dodger Stadium. One of the main reasons behind that could be contributed to the fact that the Marlins have a handful of minor-league arms that are itching for an opportunity to take that position in Miami's starting rotation. Despite the multitude of arms that are currently waiting in the wings, Desclafani will have that first chance to showcase his skills at the big league level.
As the little-known prospect that was acquired in the blockbuster deal that saw Justin Nicolino, Henderson Alvarez, and Jake Marisnick (among others), Desclafani has definitely had to make an steep uphill climb during his stint with Miami. Originally coming out of the University of Florida as a reliever, the right-handed Desclafani was almost immediately transitioned to the starting rotation despite his less than stellar repertoire that almost relied entirely on a 89-94 miler per hour fastball.
Nearly two years later, Desclafani's overall repertoire has definitely been elevated and improved. As he embarks on his major league debut against Los Angeles, the 24-year-old righty now has since added a pretty solid curve and an extremely raw curveball to his pitching repertoire.
With that in mind, Desclafani has been able to be a relatively solid starter during his time with Double-A Jacksonville. During the current campaign, Desclafani's overall repertoire has helped him progress as a strikeout threat as he has an extremely solid 7.95 K/9 ratio which is a steady improvement from the previous season (7.44 K/9 during the 2013 season).
Another key factor that could help Desclafani would be his ability to prevent unwanted batters from reaching base on a walk.. By only averaging 2.09 BB/9, the right-handed Desclafani would be the third best starter on the Marlins in that category behind Nathan Eovaldi and Kevin Slowey. While that current ratio will probably increase as he makes this transition to the big league club, Desclafani still seems like a solid, short-term option.
Of course, Desclafani will need to be a productive part of the Marlins rotation if he wants to have a stable role with the team. With Fernandez out of the picture for the remainder of the season, the team will probably be more impatient than usual considering the potential of the organization actually reaching the playoffs. In addition, the likes of Adam Conley, Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino remain in the background as prospects who are looking for that opportunity to make it to the big league club.