Jhan Marinez Has Quietly Been Very Good For The Pirates


Quietly, Jhan Marinez has been very good out of the bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates

On May 18th, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a very under the radar addition to their bullpen. This move occurred when general manager Neal Huntington claimed right-handed relief pitcher Jhan Marinez off waivers. This came after Marinez was designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers.

When Jhan Marinez came to the Pirates, he brought a past history of success. He did post a 3.18 ERA, 3.68 FIP, a 50.3 percent groundball rate, and a 50:21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 62 1/3 innings pitched in 2016. However, his 2017 was off to an abysmal start.

Before getting designated for assignment Marinez pitched 16 2/3 innings for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017. He had allowed 12 earned runs on 23 hits and 2 home runs in these 16 2/3 innings of work.

Most concerning, though, was his control. He walked 11 batters in 16 2/3 innings, which comes out to an average of 5.94 BB/9. He had also hit a batter and uncorked a pair of wild pitches.

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It was easy to see why the Brewers designated Jhan Marinez for assignment. And while it may not have been as easy to see why the Pirates claimed him off waivers, it is a move that is working out. Marinez is joining the long list of pitchers who came to Pittsburgh and with the help of pitching coach Ray Searage have found success.

Since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates Jhan Marinez has pitched 14 1/3 innings. He has allowed 13 hits, just 1 home run, he has 14 strikeouts (8.79 K/9), and his control has improved immensely. He has issued just 6 walks as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, this comes out to 3.77 BB/9. While that number is still higher than you would like to see, Marinez’s ability to generate ground balls (52.5 percent groundball rate with the Pirates) and record strikeouts has helped him work around these walks.

During his time in Pittsburgh, Jhan Marinez owns a 2.51 ERA, 3.32 FIP, and a 3.88 xFIP.

A big reason for Marinez’s success has been a wicked slider. Opposing batters own a wRC+ of -42, a wOBA of .091, and a 48.4 percent strikeout rate against his slider this season. Credit to the Pirates, they have had Jhan Marinez increase his slider usage since he joined the team.

Marinez has also proven to be a versatile reliever for Clint Hurdle and the Pirates. He has been used to pitch multiple innings, as well as in single inning outings. As his success has grown, so has Hurdle trust in Marinez and his role in the Pirate bullpen.

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During his tenure as Pirate general manager Neal Huntington has done an excellent job of making under the radar acquisitions to boost the Pirate bullpen. This is a big reason why the Bucs have almost always had a strong bullpen under Huntington. Jhan Marinez is proving to be the latest such acquisition.