Continuing a series of exclusive interviews with members of the Miami Marlins bullpen, our second guest is left-hander Steven Okert (5:00). He took us through his unorthodox path to becoming a major league setup man, including:
- Being drafted three separate times
- MLB debut with Giants
- Free agent limbo during COVID
- Working with Tom Koehler as his agent
- What makes him so effective
- Always resting on “Sandy Day”
- Pitching on back-to-back-to-back days
- Pranks and personalities in Marlins ‘pen
Enjoy Episode 2 of What a Relief!
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Okert wasn’t really even on the prospect radar until he transferred to the University of Oklahoma for the 2012 season. He signed with the Giants as a fourth-round pick in that year’s MLB Draft, making it to the big leagues in 2016. He shuttled back and forth between their active roster and Triple-A affiliate over the next few years and elected minor league free agency after the 2019 campaign.
With assistance from former Marlins pitcher turned player agent Tom Koehler, Okert signed with the Marlins in 2021. He got called up from Jacksonville just over a year ago—June 29, 2021—and has been one of their most effective relievers ever since.
Leaning very heavily on his low-80s slider, Okert induces lots of soft contact. Since the start of the 2021 season, he has allowed a .203 batting average on balls in play, lowest among all MLB lefties with 50-plus innings pitched during that span. He ranks in the 97th percentile in hard-hit rate so far in 2022.
The soon-to-be 31-year-old has found his niche in the eighth inning—that’s where Don Mattingly has used him in each of his last 13 appearances entering Thursday.
Okert is on track to become arbitration eligible for the first time in 2024. His club control extends through the 2026 season.
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