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Marlins hire Román Ocumarez as new international scouting director

The former Astros talent evaluator has an impressive track record of identifying unheralded amateur pitchers with big league potential.

@Rocumarez/Twitter

ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reported on Monday that Román Ocumarez has agreed to become the Marlins’ international scouting director. The Marlins haven’t announced his hiring yet. Ocumarez receives the title previously held by Fernando Seguignol, who was reassigned by the Fish in September.

SportsGrid’s Craig Mish clarifies that Adrian Lorenzo had been filling Seguignol’s shoes on an interim basis and will now permanently hold the top position in the Marlins international scouting department. Ocumarez will report to him, but presumably have a big influence in his own right.

While Seguignol played professionally for nearly two decades before transitioning into baseball operations, “Ocu” comes from a more traditional scouting background. With the Astros, he was directly involved with signing future big leaguers Luis García, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Enoli Paredes, Hector Pérez, Gilberto Celestino and recent Marlin Jorge Guzman. He had risen up the ranks to the role of Latin America scouting supervisor before Miami poached him with this promotion.

The news drops less than a month in advance of the scheduled start of MLB’s 2021-22 international signing period, though it’s possible that will be delayed as a result of the ongoing lockout. The Marlins already have deals in place with infielder Yoffry Solano and left-hander Julio Mendez. However, their upcoming class seems to be lacking an obvious headliner like they had with José Salas and Yiddi Cappe in previous cycles.

Ocumarez won’t be deterred. He exploited a market inefficiency when signing García, Valdez, Javier and Guzman (among others), all of whom were significantly older—and less desirable—than the industry’s consensus top prospects. Earlier this year, he explained to Kyle Glaser of Baseball America that age isn’t always a critical factor when evaluating developing pitchers like it is for position players.

In that BA article, Ocumarez notes how the Astros used to field two teams in the Dominican Summer League to accommodate more prospects (“so that gave us an extra spot for those type of arms”). As of 2021, 16 organizations still use that approach. Perhaps the Marlins will follow suit if he advocates strongly enough, especially with the construction of their expanded baseball academy in the Dominican Republic expected to be completed in 2022.