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Merandy Gonzalez: Marlin on the Rise

With a bit of work, Merandy Gonzalez could be the next big thing for the Marlins

(Instagram @gordondonovan)

Merandy Gonzalez, the right-handed pitcher acquired from the Mets last summer is ready to show the Marlins what he is made of.

Gonzalez, who turned 22 in October, was signed by the New York Mets as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 and spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons in the Dominican Summer League.

When Miami dealt closer AJ Ramos to New York back in July, Gonzalez was the headlining player the Marlins got in return, and for good reason.

According to MLB Pipeline, he currently ranks as Miami’s No. 16 prospect heading into the 2018 season.

What makes the right-hander so special? Let’s dive in.

As of now, his fastball is his best pitch. His heater usually sits between 93-95 mph but he has at times reached 96-97. He certainly has better control of the pitch when he utilizes it in the 93-95 range.

Gonzalez does not have a very large frame standing at six-feet tall and weighing 216 pounds, but that has not halted him from gaining velocity.

The Dominican-native also has an above-average curveball in his repertoire which stays in the low 80s with a good amount of break. This gives Gonzalez two above-average pitches, but not enough to be a solid major league starter just yet.

As Gonzalez pitched in the Mets farm system he was used primarily as a starter, but his skill set seems more like a reliever.

The right-hander has also begun to work on a changeup, but it still could use some work especially with its control and consistency in becoming a solid addition to his tool belt.

The main knock that scouts throw on Gonzalez when looking at his makeup is his inconsistent control and his struggle to hit his spots. At often times he leaves balls in the middle of the plate due to his lack of command and it winds up hurting him.

However, scouts believe that as Gonzalez progresses through his journey he will be able to improve his command using his athleticism and a repeatable delivery.

2017 was probably the best year Gonzalez has seen since arriving in professional ball from the Dominican Republic. In 22 games split between Single and High-A, Gonzalez went 13-3 with an impressive 1.66 ERA.

After being traded to Miami in July, the right-hander only made five appearances (three of which were starts). Throughout those five appearances, he sported a 1.11 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 24.1 innings for the Marlins’ High-A affiliate.

There is certainly a ton of potential there when it comes to this right-handed prospect, but it still unsure what route he will take in order to get to the majors. If he is able to improve his changeup to become a solid pitch he could be a starter, but if not he has the makeup to be in the bullpen.