Most teams would feel embarrassed after getting shut out in an entire series the way the Marlins were by the Brewers. The Marlins, though, seem more impervious to public sentiment than most, so it wouldn’t have been shocking if they just stood pat and hoped to bounce back they way they seemed to throughout June and most of July. They didn’t, however — the Marlins demoted outfielder Marcell Ozuna and second baseman Derek Dietrich to Double-A Jacksonville, and promoted outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick. Both are in tonight’s starting lineup against the Rockies. Yelich will bat second and play left field, Marisnick will bat sixth and play center field.
Ozuna started off his Major League career on fire, posting an .834 OPS in the month of May, but as he logged more plate appearances and pitchers learned more about his weaknesses, he was quickly exploited. In June, he posted a .685 OPS, and in July, merely .484. Dietrich performed exactly at replacement level, posting a .679 OPS with subpar defense since making his Major League debut on May 8.
Yelich entered the season as one of the 15 best prospects in baseball according to both Baseball America and MLB.com. Still just 21 years old, he performed well against Double-A competition in 222 PA, leaving with an .883 OPS. Marisnick was rated as the #64 overall prospect by Baseball America and #70 by MLB.com. In 298 PA at Double-A, he had an .860 OPS.
After snapping their streak of 37 consecutive scoreless innings yesterday, the Marlins are hoping to end a skid in which they have lost nine of their previous 13 games. They own the National League’s worst offense (averaging 3.2 runs per game), and subsequently, the worst run differential (-96) as well.
We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.
It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.
He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four. He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.
He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.
Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.
Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.
This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.