In what was the strangest season of Major League Baseball in recent memory, the retooling Miami Marlins began the process of allowing some of their top-level prospects to get their feet wet at the big league level.
Of the names who debuted in 2020, pitcher Sixto Sanchez - who the club acquired in the trade that sent catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies - had the biggest impact on a club in search of a frontline starter.
The team further managed to receive contributions from SS Jazz Chisolm (4), OF Jesus Sanchez (5), 1B Lewin Diaz (8), P Trevor Rogers (9), OF Monte Harrison (10), P Nick Neidert (11), and P Jordan Holloway (26).
Other than the above-named Sanchez though, the pitching prospect Marlins’ fans were most excited to see toe the slab in 2020 was Braxton Garrett.
The 7th overall pick out of Florence, Alabama in 2016 as well as their 7th ranked prospect in 2020, Garrett debuted on September 13th, hurling 5 innings of one-run ball against the division rival Philadelphia Phillies.
For the season - albeit just two starts - Garrett would finish his cup-of-coffee campaign with a 5.87 ERA over 7.2 innings pitched.
While not possessing an overpowering fastball, as the 23-year old’s four-seamer averaged just a hair over 90-mph, Garrett presents a four pitch mix which should see him project as a starter long term.
The lack of overpowering stuff is offset by the fact that Garrett is left-handed, with recent history showing us the likes of Kyle Hendricks, Dallas Keuchel, and more recently, Clayton Kershaw, have all experienced great success despite fastball’s that reach the upper-90’s.
With the minor leagues expected to resume play in 2021, Garrett could see more seasoning before returning to the majors for good in 2021. If all goes as expected, Garrett should start 2021 with Miami’s new AA affiliate in Pensacola. Garrett appeared in 1.2 innings with Jacksonville in 2019, allowing 4 runs (3 earned).
As of now, the team projects to feature a starting rotation of Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Elieser Hernandez, Sixto Sanchez, and Trevor Rogers, with internal options such the previously-mentioned Neidert, and incoming third-year man Jordan Yamamoto all with previous starting experience.
Don’t rule out new general manager Kim Ng scouring a vast free-agent market for veteran starting pitching either, as many established, quality arms will available at a reduced price this offseason.