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Greensboro Grasshoppers First Half Review: Pitching Staff

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How did the Single-A affiliate’s pitchers fare?

Michael King has been an anchor of the Hoppers staff
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Overall, Greensboro has been the most successful team in the Marlins system thus far from a win-loss standpoint, with a record of 37-31 in the first half of the season, and a 50-45 record for the season. They have been the only Marlins affiliate with a winning record so far this season.

For today, let’s focus on how the Grasshoppers pitching staff has been over the first half of the season. We will look at their offense in the upcoming days.

Some of the most exciting prospects on the bump for the Hoppers have missed significant time with injuries. Jordan Holloway, the Marlins 16th overall prospect, came into the 2017 season with a history of a triceps strain last year, but got the opening day nod for Greensboro this year on opening day. Boasting a mid-upper nineties fastball, Holloway shone brightly at times this year, but was inconsistent overall with occasional control issues marring his season. Unfortunately he was placed back on the 7-day disabled list on June 3rd, and hasn’t pitched since.

The 2016 first overall pick, LHP Braxton Garrett, looked terrific in his first four outings as a pro. Garrett, ranked as the Marlins top overall prospect, threw 15 ⅓ innings, giving up 13 hits while walking 6 and striking out 16 with a WHIP of 1.24. He featured a low-mid 90s fastball with excellent secondary pitches. Sadly, his season ended after four outings, as he was shut down with Tommy John surgery and will be out 12 to 14 months. He will likely return the second half of 2018 at the earliest.

Tyler Kolek, the #2 overall pick for the Fish was with Greensboro in 2015 before requiring Tommy John surgery early in 2016. Grasshoppers fans are hoping that they may see him soon. He has made two appearances so far in the GCL, throwing 1.1 innings so far, giving up a hit while walking 4 and striking out none. The point of it was that he pitched, and hopefully he continues to feel comfortable and can make it to Greensboro by the end of the season.

On the positive side, Greensboro has had several pitchers who have done well, and have remained healthy. Their top two starters, Michael King and Dustin Beggs, are not considered as having quite as high of a ceiling as the previously mentioned arms, but their consistent success this season has increased their stock.

King, a 22-year old right-hander out of Boston College, has been solid all season,. With an ERA in the threes most of the season. Perhaps most impressively, he has gone at least 5 innings in all 18 of his starts, and he has yet to walk more than 3 batters in a game. Since June 1st, King’s ERA is 2.45 and his WHIP is under 1. His WHIP of 1.02 for the season leads the team.

The other top starter for Greensboro this year has been Dustin Beggs. This righty from the University of Kentucky has kept his ERA under 3.50 all season, and has been another hallmark of consistency; going less than 5 innings in only two of his nineteen starts. His current ERA is 3.33 with a WHIP of 1.14. Like King, he has had excellent control, and has only walked 23 in 113 ⅔ innings this season, while fanning a team-high 79 batters. Though he has surrendered 18 home runs this season, 14 have been in hitter friendly First National Bank Field.

While the pitchers with the highest ceilings have been hampered by injuries, the Grasshoppers have had a successful season largely due to these two steady arms as well as from promising relievers Kyle Keller and Michael Mertz. Otherwise, it’s going to be a waiting game for the most highly touted arms to return from the disabled list.