It has been a wild first week for the Miami Marlins as they had to play two extra-inning games against the Chicago Cubs. Due to playing 45 innings in the four-game set, the Marlins needed to add a pitcher for tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox. For this outing, they chose right-hander Trevor Richards, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
Richards is a great story when you consider that he pitched the first two professional seasons of his career in Independent ball (Frontier League). Now, the lights will shine the brightest for the 24-year-old tonight against one of the top lineups in the American League.
Before tonight’s game, the furthest Richards had gone up in the Marlins organization is at Double-A Jacksonville, where he pitched the final 14 games of last season. In those games for the Jumbo Shrimp, he went 5-7 with a 2.87 ERA. He struck out 77 batters and walked 18 in 75 innings. For his success at High-A Jupiter and Double-A, he was named Marlins Pitcher of the Year in 2017.
Richards got the chance to go to Major League spring training this year as a non-roster invitee. In four appearances, he had a 0.75 ERA, struck out nine batters, and walked five in 12 innings.
Back in January, John had Richards ranked as the 18th best prospect in the Marlins organization. Here is what he had to say about the undrafted player out of Drury College in Missouri:
18) Trevor Richards, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, signed as undrafted free agent in 2016 out of independent Frontier League, posted 2.53 ERA in 146 innings between High-A and Double-A, 158/30 K/BB, 121 hits; all stats impressive; fastball around 90, mixes in plus change-up, mediocre breaking ball; relies on command and deception and it work so far; maximal outcome: Kyle Hendricks; keep an eye on him. ETA 2018.
Out of those 14 starts, Richards only gave up more than two runs three times and he struck out seven or more batters on five different occasions. His best outing in terms of strikeouts last season came on July 9 against Biloxi when he went seven shutout innings, gave up three hits, and struck out one.
While Richards may not have the high velocity on his fastball, the command that he has with his offspeed pitches is able to get him the groundball outs that he needs. According to Fangraphs, teams hit a groundball against him 49 percent of the time. That was the third best of any pitcher on the Jumbo Shrimp who threw over 75 innings.
The old saying goes that momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. Yesterday, Dillon Peters threw six shutout innings in a win over the Cubs. Richards will look to follow that up tonight at Marlins Park as he looks to make a good first impression on the new ownership.