January 22nd as it pertains to Marlins’ history is pretty unremarkable in the transactional sense of the word. However, seven members of the current (Karl Craigie) and former (Scott Cousins) extended Marlins’ family will take a little time to get one day (and year) older on this Monday.
Karl Craigie (23)
Karl Jason Craigie is a 6’1”, 215 lb. left-handed throwing pitcher from Austin, Texas. The Marlins chose him in the 34th round of the 2017 draft with the 1,019th overall selection out of the University of Texas-San Antonio. As a college player, he was 12-7 with a 5.28 ERA over 71 appearances, striking out 179 is 203 innings and racking up a 1.75 WHIP.
Once he entered the realm of the professional ballplayer, Craigie got into 12 games for the GCL Marlins, going 3-0 with a 4.76 ERA, 17 strikeouts in as many innings, and a 1.59 WHIP. He’s also pretty solid at keeping the ball down, as shown in this handy mlbfarm.com chart.
Craigie was one of our first player interviews here on Fish Stripes, and he prefers to come out of the bullpen:
I do think coming out of the bullpen is my personal favorite. The instant adrenaline of having to come in with runners on is something that I fed off of. However, I thing I can adapt to whatever role that I’m asked to do. Of course in college I thrived at getting to the team to the ninth and passing the ball off to our closer, Chris Muller (now part of the Tampa Bay Rays organization). My dream has always been playing in “The Show,” so whatever role asked of me to fill, would be fine with me. - Craigie
Look for Craigie to start the 2018 campaign with Miami’s short-season-A affiliate, still to be determined.
Chipper Smith (28)
Smith is a 6’2”, 195 lb. left-handed pitcher from Santa Clarita, California. In 2012, the Marlins chose him in the 38th round of the amateur draft, with the 1,157th overall selection out of Southern Nevada. He had posted a 7-7 record, a 2.90 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and 94 whiffs in 93 innings while part of the Scenic West Athletic Conference school.
Smith was solid after joining the GCL Marlins after the draft, allowing just eight hits for a 0.58 WHIP while striking out 14 over 17 1⁄3 scoreless innings. He was less so after joining the Jamestown Jammers, for whom he racked up a 10.38 ERA over 8 2⁄3 innings and a 2.42 WHIP.
2013 would see Smith move to the Greensboro bullpen, coming on in relief 28 times along with six Grasshoppers’ starts. He posted an 8-3 record, with a 2.74 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and 98 K’s in 88 2⁄3 frames.
Combined between the Jacksonville Suns and the Jupiter Hammerheads (along with two rehab starts with GCL), Smith went 5-7 in 2014 with a 3.22 ERA, a 1.142 WHIP, and 91 whiffs over 100 2⁄3 innings in 2014. He split his time in 2015 between the Hammerheads and the Suns once again, going 5-7 with a 4.39 ERA, a 1.491 WHIP, and 96 strikeouts over 108 2⁄3 innings. After the season, Smith was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the minor league rule 5 draft.
2016 would mark Smith’s last appearance in organized ball, after going 0-1 with the Frederick Keys, he was designated back to the Marlins. In six games spread across three teams, he racked up a 9.18 ERA and a 1.740 WHIP while still managing over a strikeout per inning, with 17 in 16 2/3.
Josh Spence (29)
Spence is a 6’1”, 170 lb. left-handed pitcher from Geelong, Australia. The San Diego Padres selected him in the ninth round of the 2010 draft out of Arizona State. Collegiately, Spence totaled a 37-8 record and a 1.67 ERA, with a 0.97 WHIP and 452 K’s in 372 innings.
Over the next two seasons, Spence quickly worked his way up to the Padres, making his debut for them on June 24th, 2011. In 51 games over two seasons, he went 0-3 with a 3.15 ERA, 41 strikeouts in 40 innings, and a 1.28 WHIP. After the 2012 season, he was claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees.
For the 2013 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Spence went 1-1 in 33 relief appearances, with a 3.98 ERA, 41 strikeouts in 43 innings, and a 1.56 ERA. The Marlins signed him to a minor league deal in January 2014, and assigned him to the New Orleans Zephyrs.
For the Zeps, Spence played in 11 games and struck out 12 in 11 1⁄3 innings, putting up a 3.97 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. Later that year, he went 1-10 with a 5.23 ERA for the Windy City Thunderbolts in the independent Frontier League.
Ryan Wertenberger (28)
Wertenbertger was a 6’2”, 216 lb. right-handed pitcher from Mission Viejo, California. After going undrafted, the Marlins signed him through free agency out of the University of California in June, 2013. He closed out the season with the GCL Marlins, going 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA and two saves in 15 games. He had 17 strikeouts in 17 2⁄3 innings, along with an alarming 2.26 WHIP.
In 2014, Wertenberger split the season between the Batavia Muckdogs, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, and the Jupiter Hammerheads. He posted a 3-1 record and a 4.74 ERA while whiffing 49 in 62 2⁄3 innings and a 1.516 WHIP. Miami released him just prior to the 2015 minor league season.
Scott Cousins (33)
Scott Michael Jeffrey Cousins was a 6’2”, 190 lb. outfielder from Reno, Nevada. The Marlins chose him in the third round of the 2006 draft with the 95th overall selection, out of the University of San Francisco.
Over the following five seasons, Cousins made his way up the Marlins’ food chain, and was Miami’s #9 prospect when he made his major league debut in September 2010. In what amounted to a cup of coffee, Cousins slashed .297/.316/.459 in 27 games, striking out 13 times in 37 at bats.
In 2011, Cousins was redesigned as Florida’s #7 prospect, and in another extended look near the end of the campaign slashed .135/.224/.212 in 48 games. On May 25th, he was involved in a home plate collision with San Francisco Giants’ star catcher Buster Posey (see below). He managed to keep his rookie status for another year, and was Miami’s #9 prospect in 2012. His third season of major league ball would look like his second, as evidenced by his .163/.200/.267 slashline in 53 appearances. Miami waived him following the 2012 season.
Cousins spent the 2013 season with the Los Angeles Angels’ organization, going 0-for-4 in a callup to the parent club. It was the last time he appeared in affiliated ball. He slashed .264/.362/.325 over 43 games for the Somerset Patriots in 2015, helping the independent league club claim the Atlantic League title. Academically, former Marlin farmhands David Vidal and Robert Andino were also on the club.
Jimmy Anderson (42)
James Drew Anderson Jr. was a 6’1”, 207 lb. left-handed pitcher from Portsmouth, Virginia. The Pittsburgh Pirates picked him in the ninth round of the 1994 draft with the 242nd overall choice out of Western Branch HS.
High School picks don’t normally make as smooth a transition to professional ball as do their college counterparts, and Anderson was no exception. Despite above average metrics through his minor league career, he was brought along slowly, and made his major league debut with the Pirates in July, 1999.
Before making his way to the Florida organization, and after leaving the Pirates, Anderson would spend time with the Cincinnati Reds, the San Francisco Giants, the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Minnesota Twins, and the Houston Astros, with major league stops in Cincinnati, Chicago, and Boston.
Prior to the 2006 season, the Marlins signed Anderson to a minor league deal, and designated him to the Albuquerque Isotopes. While in the PCL that season, he went 2-3 with a 5.77 ERA, 35 strikeouts in 43 2⁄3 innings, and a 1.76 WHIP to his credit. It was his last appearance in organized professional baseball.
Dusty Keppen (41)
Keppen was a 6’1”, 210 lb. right-handed pitcher from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Marlins chose him in the 76th round of the 1995 draft out of Central Gwinnett HS, in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Keppen instead attended Georgia Perimeter College for two seasons, then made the jump to Division I with the Kennesaw State Owls in 1998. He would go 21-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 30 starts for the Owls, with a 1.11 WHIP.
Keppen didn’t appear on any affiliated club after that, but did play five seasons of unaffiliated minor league ball between the Sioux Falls Canaries, the Schaumburg Flyers, and the Winnipeg Goldeyes, all in the independent Northern League. Keppen was 9-11 over 112 appearances, all but a dozen out of the bullpen.
Thanks for reading today’s history report. If your birthday is also January 22nd, then Happy Birthday to you too. You’re one year older, and Spring Training is one day closer.