A 27-year old who finally cracked The Show after more than half a decade of toiling in the minors, injuries saw Cody Poteet as a surprise debut for Miami in 2021. Unfortunately, his own injuries aborted a golden opportunity to truly establish himself.
- May 12: Contract selected from AAA Jacksonville; debuts the same night against Arizona, earning 1st career victory.
- May 15: Optioned back to AAA to make room for Braxton Garrett.
- May 18: Recalled from AAA to start series opener in Philadelphia.
- June 4: Removed from start against Pittsburgh with right MCL sprain.
- June 5: Placed on 10-day IL.
- June 18: Activated from 10-day IL to start in Chicago.
- June 28: Landed back on IL with sprained right knee.
- July 30: Began rehab assignment at AAA.
- August 13: Removed from rehab start with right knee inflammation.
- August 20: Placed on 60-day IL with right-knee sprain.
- October 15: Daughter Genevieve “Gigi” Kate Poteet is born.
By the Numbers
What data can be drawn from Poteet’s 2021 season is limited to only 7 starts at the Major League level.
On the surface, nothing about Poteet’s numbers indicates him to be a player of much note: a 4.99 ERA, 5.62 FIP and 16 BB over 30.2 IP. The San Diego native also allowed 7 home runs in that limited sample (2.1 HR/9). Again, not encouraging to say the least.
However, the mulligan in the totality of Poteet’s 2021 can be seen through the lens of the tale of Jekyll and Hyde.
In his first three starts, Poteet provided the Marlins with 17 mostly excellent innings (1.06 ERA and 2.76 FIP). He showed a deep mix and a better-than-advertised fastball.
Cody Poteet becomes the first pitcher in Marlins history to strike out 6 batters in his MLB debut without allowing a walk pic.twitter.com/fSqiSc37fn— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) May 13, 2021
The final four starts, however, tell a different story. Poteet allowed 15 runs—all of them earned—and 14 walks in just 13.2 IP, good enough for a 9.88 ERA. Hitters slugged .679 against the right-hander.
When looking at the Statcast data, courtesy of Baseball Savant, it isn’t far-fetched to assume that Poteet’s results came with some degree of bad luck. The right-hander’s fastball, while only in the 55th percentile of average velocity, finished in the 87th percentile in average spin rate. As for his breaking stuff (slider and curveball), Poteet finished in the 94th percentile in average spin with those pitches, respectively.
With that being said, the 42.9% hard-hit rate, an average launch angle of 18.8 degrees and expected stats such as xSLG (.464) and xWOBA (.343) go a long way toward explaining his surface-level numbers.
It certainly didn’t help that Poteet had to overcome a nagging right knee injury. Had the Marlins not been so desperate for starting pitching during the middle of the season, they may have taken a more cautious approach with Poteet’s rehab, allowing him extra time to sufficiently heal.
Cody Poteet is starting for Miami tonight. I had no idea who that was. Turns out his first 17 MLB innings have been excellent, 10 H, 1.06 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 21% K, 3% BB. He throws a ton of fastballs in the strike zone, 7th highest percent among starters, might be able to ambush. pic.twitter.com/UrX4Sfut3c— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) May 28, 2021
Will Poteet Return in 2022?
Should he be healthy come 2022, Poteet will certainly be given a look in Spring Training with a chance to crack the Opening Day roster. This is how it sits were ST to start today. But as has been mentioned repeatedly throughout this Season Review series, we anticipate a busy offseason for the Marlins that could impact players on the fringes of their 40-man roster.
Trading him could be another option, though only for modest compensation. Baseball Trade Values estimates his market value at $0.2 million (a glorified waiver claim candidate).
Chances are Poteet will begin the year at AAA, and like Braxton Garrett, could be called back up to the big league level as an injury replacement.