Making his major league debut tonight in New York is 26 year old Jake Esch, who will get the start in place of the injured David Phelps. This was a late change to the lineup card, as Phelps seemed to be experiencing some oblique discomfort that will take at least 15 days to quell.
Esch has pitched at both the AA and AAA level this season, logging 118.1 innings with the Suns and another 23.2 across four starts with the Zephyrs.
In watching some minor league at bats with Esch on the mound, he seems to possess a fastball, changeup, and curveball, a basic repertoire with a slight emphasis on the changeup earlier in counts and the curve as a put away pitch. His only starts at the AAA level have granted mix results. Two very good outings where he lasted seven innings and allowed two runs or less, flanked by two other poor outings where he allowed five or more runs in both. As with most pitchers, he seems to succeed when his control is on point and falter when it isn't, evidenced by the fact that the two blowup starts I mentioned he walked three or more batters, while the other two seven inning outings he only surrendered one walk.
His motion doesn't draw any immediate comparison to a current major leaguer when watching him on the mound. His 6'4" frame is well maintained, and he has a simple, repeatable delivery from the windup, with a 3/4 release point. One distinct characteristic I noticed is that his throwing arm's deceleration is aided by it whipping down below his hip. This is a tactic often emphasized in getting pitchers to follow through with their pitches at lower levels, as the hand almost reaches into the 'pocket' of the pitcher, allowing for extension of the arm and increased rotation on the ball. In most pitchers you can't really notice it, but because Esch comes very square to the plate with his follow through and his delivery is otherwise very simple, it stood out to me.
With this likely being a spot start for Esch unless success becomes contagious for the rookie, I'd really like to see a strong first inning and good control against a lineup that doesn't pose too much of a threat save a healthy Yoenis Cespedes. Given the good control, Esch should be able to get through 5-6 innings and let the Marlins' defense work its magic as his sub 7 K/9 between AA and AAA this season suggest he'll be pitching to contact.
|Team||Starter||ERA||FIP||2016 ZIPS Projected ERA|
|MIA (AAA)||Jake Esch||5.70||4.92||4.63|
|NYM||Bartolo Colon||3.44||3.92||4.24 |
Opposing the youngster making his major league debut will be the ageless wonder, Bartolo Colon.
There really isn't much to say about Bartolo aside from pointing out his peak velocity of around 89 MPH and his near 90% fastball usage. He'll pound the strike zone and mix in his slider and change when needed, but expect his two-seamer to be biting in on righty bats most of the night.
Colon throws 50.5% of his pitches for strikes, which is good for third in the majors among qualified starters. Above him is fellow Mets arm Steven Matz and the breakout Royal, Danny Duffy.
In Colon's one start versus the Marlins this season in Marlins Park, he pitched five innings of five hit ball, with one walk, and allowing two runs, one earned. In 2015 the Marlins were very familiar with Colon as he started six times against them, posting a 2.49 ERA over 43.1 innings and earning four wins in the process.
|MIAMI MARLINS||NEW YORK METS|
|Dee Gordon - 2B||Jose Reyes - 3B|
|Marcell Ozuna - CF||Asdrubal Cabrera - SS|
|Martin Prado - 3B||Yoenis Cespedes - LF|
|Christian Yelich - LF||Curtis Granderson - CF|
|Xavier Scruggs - 1B||Wilmer Flores - 1B|
|Ichiro Suzuki - RF||Jay Bruce - RF|
|J.T. Realmuto - C||Travis d'Arnaud - C|
|Miguel Rojas - SS||Kelly Johnson - 2B|
|Jake Esch - RHP||Bartolo Colon - RHP|
Prediction: Marlins fall again to Mets, 6-3