Marlins September call-ups to lead to more debuting acts

Jeff Brigham became the 10th Marlin to make his MLB debut on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

He lasted only three innings and allowed three runs in a 6-1 loss but in all the wildness, the potential was palpable. That ties the 1996 Marlins team for the sixth most in a single season in franchise history. Most of them have been pitchers, such as fellow starters Trevor Richards and Pablo Lopez.

“It’s exciting to see a guy I’ve never seen pitch,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

Brigham earned his MLB debut by going 10-3 with a 2.36 ERA in 17 starts split between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. He came to the Marlins system as a part of a 2015 mid-season trade that sent veterans starting pitcher Matt Latos and first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

September means more debuting acts for the Marlins. Miami has played more rookies this season than any other team in the National League. And there may be more on the way. While the first wave of September call-ups were mostly players returning from the disabled list, a second wave is expected to arrive after the final day of the minor league season, which is Labor Day.

Any playing time that some of the rookies get will likely come against teams like them who are not in the playoff hunt. Against teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, who are playing this week, the Marlins will send out their best.

“I just think you throw the lineup out there that you think is best,” said Mattingly, in reference to remaining games with those two playoff contenders. “There’s going to be times when we play [young] guys because we want to continue to see them play. But in those games [against contenders], I’ve always felt that you owe it to the rest of the league and whoever else is in a playoff hunt to play your best club during those games.”

This was evident in the timing of Brigham’s debut.

“This is why we pushed [Jose Urena] back a day. It gives him an extra day’s rest, but it also gets him [on the mound] against the Phillies. It’s putting a guy that’s arguably our best guy, pitching in that series instead of pitching him [against Toronto on Sunday].”

Even if a prospect gets his first call-up this month and not play much, it will still be a valuable month for him. Mattingly knows that from experience.

“I didn’t play very much,” Mattingly said, “but I learned a lot [as a callup]. Being a part of it, the travel, being around the guys. For some of these guys, it’ll be their first time in the big leagues. To get to experience what the routine is creates a comfort level. Just to be able to watch games.”

Another important factor is the prospect’s exposure to their big league city. Like many cities with a MLB team, Miami is is culturally dynamic as it is big and a month of experience in town and in Marlins Park serves them well.

“To me, from a small town, I pulled into New York City scared to death of everything but the field. So I think it’s really important for the guys you think are part of your mix to give them a little taste.”


About: Tony Capobianco


Sports Kave senior writer

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