Draft Day 2014, the Marlins are on the clock, they have the choice of two young arms. Polished NC State grad Carlos Rodon, or phenomenal high school flamethrower Tyler Kolek. When given the choice between the two, the Marlins took Kolek, the young Texan to hopefully anchor their rotation in a few years.
Ever since Draft Day, Kolek has been the product of unbelievable amount of hype starting the 2015 campaign with scouts and fans excited to see him light up the radar guns with 100 MPH heat. In April, Kolek was assigned to Single-A Greensboro, a favorite stop on the minor league trail among Marlins prospects. Most players are more than happy to return to Greensboro loving the fans, staff, and ballpark. After an unspectacular start to his professional career that only included 22 total innings pitched, everyone was eager to see Kolek finally get a full season of minor league ball under his belt.
The results, not so great. Through Wednesday, Tyler has struggled mightily going 4-8 with a 4.47 ERA in 20 starts. In those twenty starts, the flame-throwing Texan has coughed up 84 hits and given up 43 earned runs.
Better command has been shown, though, and he seems to be getting better control of his pitches, a major issue in many scouts' appraisal. As he faltered out of the gate, Kolek has showed progress from where he was at, during the beginning of the season.
With great expectations comes great responsibility. And while progress and improvement are big things, there's also the elephant in the room, expectation. When you are an organization's number one draft pick, there's a sizable financial and personal commitment to a prospect. The expectations are sky high and will continue to be, and if Tyler can't put up numbers that are better than simply pedestrian in the minor leagues, things may start to go south.
There's still plenty of time for the former first-rounder to get back on track and there's encouraging signs and improvements. It will just take time. Kolek was known since day one as a prospect who needs to be developed and his development needs to continue throughout his trip through the minors, and hopefully he will be the ace the Marlins thought they were getting, not an average reliever.