In the ever difficult quest to search for potential Major League pieces in the Minor League depths of the Marlins, Jose Quijada is an unfamiliar name to most. I think it’s time for a proper introduction.
Signed as an international free agent from Venezuela in 2014, the 6’1”, 175 pound lefty has quietly shown production in the lower levels of the minors, primarily as a reliever. There’s not too much public information about his background, but his numbers tell an interesting tale. The 21 year old has accumulated an impressive 9.38 K/9 with only 2.26 BB/9 in 127.2 IP (despite missing most of the 2015 season) between Rookie, A, and A+ ball. His GB% is a well above average hovering over 50% and he has only allowed two home runs since joining the organization.
Quijada pounds the zone, earning a strike in over 65% of his pitches. For now, his numbers prove that he has the stuff to overwhelm Minor League hitters. He only had 16.1 IP in Jupiter last year, but his 25 Ks to 3 BBs give promise. Right-handers touched him up in the small sample, hammering a .553 SLG% against him in 41 PA compared to a measly .093 in 23 PA from left-handers. But, again, this is a small sample.
With such little information, this season could be a defining point on whether or not his potential is legitimate. If his numbers trend in the same direction as last year, he could wind up being a useful left-handed specialist. Or, the Marlins might stretch him out to make him something more than that. He is still young, and clearly has enough talent to be aggressive in the Minor Leagues. This season could show us Quijada has a chance of being a future Marlin if he continues to put up strong numbers and, possibly, advance to the upper levels of the minors.