The Miami Marlins have seen very little production from their starting rotation, as they continue searching for consistent fourth and fifth starters behind the current trio of Dan Straily, Jose Urena, and Edinson Volquez. Since left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen landed on the 10-day disabled list for arm fatigue, the Marlins have turned to right-handed pitchers Vance Worley, Justin Nicolino, and, recently off the DL, Tom Koehler. This trio has produced trivial results and has prevented the Marlins from inching further up in the NL East standings, as they now sit 11.5 games back from the Washington Nationals. Miami sent Nicolino to Triple-A in favor of Koehler, who they believe could help keep them in games. He has done the opposite. The time has come for the Marlins to replace Tom Koehler.
Time for the Miami Marlins to Replace Tom Koehler with Chris O’Grady
Koehler’s Past Two Outings
It has been a week since Koehler rejoined the Marlins, as they still strive to capture at least a Wild Card spot in 2017. In that span, nothing positive has come from Koehler’s performances; he has allowed 10 runs in 6.2 innings of work. In his first appearance since May 16, Koehler could not get out of the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. He allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings of work, and walked two. The eighth hitter in the lineup made easy work of him, belting a home run to deep center. Koehler struggled to command his pitches and get into any sort of rhythm.
In yesterday’s outing against the St.Louis Cardinals, Koehler improved mightily but still produced average results, lasting only five innings. He allowed three runs on four hits three walks. He’s worked only through the fifth inning in eight of his 10 starts, which should be a major concern for the Marlins organization. It puts an undue amount of stress on the bullpen, which is already struggling even with the acquisitions of Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa. The last time Koehler pitched six innings came against the lowly San Diego Padres, who are the third-worst team in MLB right now.
Koehler can be Replaced
Though the Marlins pitching prospects are few and far between, one should be given the opportunity to show what he can bring to the big stage. Former 10th round pick out of George Mason University, LHP Chris O’Grady, is currently playing for the Marlins Triple-A team, the New Orleans Baby Cakes. This year, O’Grady has been leading starting pitchers in ERA, with a 3.29 figure in 54.2 innings of work. His season began with a rocky patch in mid-May, when his ERA sat at 6.10; however, in his last 30 innings of work, he has only allowed five runs.
This could be credited to the growth of his pitches, particularly the cutter that sits at 89-90 MPH with strong cutting and sinking action. He mixes this in with his slider to keep batters off balance, alongside an improving changeup that has shown success at times. To improve his changeup, he will need to be taking one baseball tip at a time from Marlins pitching coach Juan Nieves, who is in his second season with the Marlins. If Chris O’Grady does replace Tom Koehler, there will be some bumps in the road. However, with patience and work, he could be the answer they’ve been looking for.