, pub-3283090343984743, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 The Surprising Rock Of The Marlins’ Rotation
× Backyard GrillingWeekend WarriorsAdvice from DadBeard GroomingTV Shows for Guys4x4 Off-Road CarsMens FashionSports NewsAncient Archeology World NewsPrivacy PolicyTerms And Conditions
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

The Surprising Rock Of The Marlins’ Rotation

At last year’s trade deadline, the Marlins and Padres made a trade that largely flew under the radar at the time but is now proving to be fairly significant. The Fish sent Garrett Cooper and minor league pitcher Sean Reynolds to the Friars for left-hander Ryan Weathers.

Trades of star players like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer stole the headlines at the time, while other notable players like Paul Sewald, Jeimer Candelario and Mark Canha also changed teams. Even within Miami, the acquisitions of Jake Burger and Josh Bell garnered far more attention than the Weathers deal, and that was fairly understandable back then. Burger and Bell immediately joined the big league club and helped them reach the playoffs, their first full-season postseason appearance in 20 years.

Cooper has been a decent hitter at times but has also been frequently hurt and was an impending free agent at the time. Reynolds was a 25-year-old who had only recently converted to pitching after spending his earlier professional seasons as a first baseman and outfielder.

Weathers had been a big name a few years prior. The former No. 7 overall pick was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 84 prospect in the league going into 2021, but Weathers hadn’t been impressing prior to the deal. He had thrown 143 big league innings for the Padres before becoming a Marlin, allowing 5.73 earned runs per nine frames.


Even in the minors, Weathers wasn’t exactly mowing opponents down. He had a 6.73 ERA in 123 innings for Triple-A El Paso in 2022. That club plays in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, but Weathers had subpar strikeout and walk rates of 15.6% and 10.1%. With El Paso in 2023, he lowered his ERA to 4.20 and struck out 29.2% of batters faced but was still giving out walks at an ugly 13.5% rate. The Padres called him up for 44 2/3 innings in the majors last year, but he had a 6.25 ERA in that time, striking out just 14.8% of opponents. The fact that the Padres were willing to let him go for a pretty limited package suggests that they considered his stock way down relative to when he was a top-10 pick and top-100 prospect.

Weathers was largely an afterthought coming into this year. Even with Sandy Alcántara undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, Miami’s rotation mix projected to include Jesús Luzardo, Eury Pérez, Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garrett, Max Meyer and Trevor Rogers. Reliever A.J. Puk was going to be stretched out, giving the club another potential starter. Since Weathers still has an option year left, it seemed like he would have to start 2024 in the minors and earn his way into a big league job.

That’s not the way things have played out thus far. Garrett, Cabrera and Pérez all started the season on the injured list due to injuries, with Pérez ultimately requiring Tommy John surgery. Luzardo and Puk eventually hit the IL during the season, with the latter moved back to a relief role when the starting experiment failed. Meyer made three good starts but was optioned to the minors so the club could monitor his workload as he ramps back up from 2022 Tommy John surgery.

Amid all of that, Weathers has been the club’s best and most consistent starter this year. He has taken the ball 12 times and logged 68 2/3 innings, while no one else has topped 57. On top of the quantity, Weathers has also provided quality with a 3.41 ERA. His 22.1% strikeout rate is close to average, but his 6.9% walk rate is strong and his 51.5% ground ball rate is very good.

Manager Skip Schumaker recently appeared on MLB Network Radio and discussed the breakout from Weathers (X link, with audio). The skipper talked about how he had seen Weathers up close earlier in his career, as Schumaker was employed by the Padres through the 2021 season. Schumaker spoke about how Weathers managed to rise to the majors quickly due to his fastball but that hitters started to adjust. That prompted Weathers to spend the most recent offseason working to improve the other pitches in his arsenal, which seems to be paying off so far this year.

“He bought a TrackMan and different things and created kind of his own pitching lab back home,” Schumaker said, “and figured out how to spin the ball better and really manipulate the changeup into a way where he can throw it for strikes and to throw it strike-to-ball when he needed as well to get swing-and-miss.”

Weathers threw his four-seam fastball more than 50% of the time in each of his first three big league seasons, according to Statcast, but that number is down 40.2% in 2024. He’s going to the changeup 26.1% of the time but also throwing a sweeper at a 20.4% rate, a sinker at a 12.2% clip and a smattering of sliders as well. Opponents are hitting .174 against the changeup with a .349 slugging percentage, while those numbers are just .132 and .211 against the sweeper. The changeup has a 40.1% whiff rate and 36.8% hard hit rate, with the sweeper getting whiffs on 55.2% of swings and hit hard (95 mph or greater) just 11.8% of the time hitters make contact.

This is still a small sample size of just 12 starts, but Weathers was previously a touted prospect and has made a concerted effort to evolve. Since he charged so quickly to the majors, his struggles occurred at an age when many pitchers are still in college or climbing the minor league ladder. He’s still only 24 years old despite this technically being his fourth season in the majors.

Perhaps the Marlins have found a solid piece for their rotation from that small trade last year, which would be significant for them. Weathers came into this season with one year and 66 days of major league service time. That means he won’t qualify for arbitration until after 2025 and can be controlled through 2028.

Though they once seemed to be overloaded with starting pitching options, the group has been thinned out recently. They traded Pablo López and Jake Eder in recent years. Alcantara and Pere had Tommy John surgery this year. Well-regarded prospect Dax Fulton had a UCL repair (not a full Tommy John surgery) last summer and has yet to pitch this season. Sixto Sanchez has been consistently hobbled by shoulder injuries. And, Miami’s poor performance this year could lead to further selling, with Luzardo and Rogers speculative possibilities.

Even if those arms do end up being traded — Luzardo, in particular, seems likely — it’s possible to imagine the Marlins having a strong rotation consisting of Weathers, Alcántara, Pérez, Meyer, Cabrera and Garrett by late 2025, with all of those names controllable through at least 2027. Trades of Luzardo and others on the roster could bring in further rotation candidates as well. Plans rarely go that smoothly, as injuries and changes in performance will undoubtedly occur, but the continued evolution of Weathers is a huge bright spot during a season that’s otherwise been bleak in Miami.