Phoenix, Arizona —— Entering play on Saturday night, Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect James Marinan is 0-0 with a 3.52 ERA in six games (six starts) in his professional debut with the Arizona League‘s AZL Dodgers, with five strikeouts against eight hits and ten walks over his first 7.2 innings pitched. I observed the 18-year-old, who the Dodgers drafted in the fourth round back in June, during his August 14 start on the road against the AZL Brewers; below is Baseball Census‘ full James Marinan scouting report, including video.
James Marinan Scouting Report — Video
Our video of Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect James Marinan shows his full two innings of work in that August 14 start against the AZL Brewers, where he allowed two walks, and no hits and no runs, striking out one batter:
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James Marinan Scouting Report — Notes
The Los Angeles Dodgers selected James Marinan in the fourth round this June out of a Florida high school, and they’ve been bringing him along very slowly in his professional debut; he has just 7.2 cumulative innings pitched over his first six starts in the organization, including a career-high two frames in our video viewing up above. A tall, well-built righty with some arm strength, Marinan had reportedly been up to the mid-90s during his prep days per True Blue LA‘s David Hood. The righty didn’t hit that in my look on Monday, sitting 88-92 mph with his fastball but showing off good, natural arm-side run and some decent sinking action to the pitch when thrown down in the zone. It’s clear he’s got good arm strength and can pop the mitt a little bit, he just needs to improve fastball command—a note you should expect on most any Arizona League rookie pitching in his first pro summer.
Marinan pairs the fastball with a slurve-like breaking ball and a changeup, neither of which I was too wild about on Monday. The breaking ball (slider? Curve?) isn’t hard enough at present and lacks consistent, late bite, though he does have the feel to spin it up for a strike and he can locate it surprisingly well depending on the count and situation. He’ll get hit hard with it unless it develops more consistent late, hard break, though; as the breaking ball sits now, it’s too soft and loopy to find success in full-season ball, and its growth ought to be on top of the to-do list for the Los Angeles Dodgers when developing their young righty. The changeup, too, was unimpressive; James Marinan has decent enough control of the pitch, but it lacks significant velocity differential (sitting as high as 84 mph in my looks) and showed little by way of tumble or arm-side run. It’s really just a show-me pitch right now, and if Marinan is to remain a starter in the coming years, he’ll need to develop it pretty significantly to help get through a lineup (and especially left-handed hitters) multiple times.
As you saw in our video up top, James Marinan has been working exclusively from the stretch here early in his career. That’s likely a temporary adjustment to get him familiar and comfortable with throwing with runners on base (even when there are none), and may also help simplify his mechanics to keep him in line to the plate. With that, though, he’s still more radically closed-off to the plate than I think is ideal right now, and he struggled at times to command the ball down to his glove-side because of it. There’s some natural deception in his mechanics, especially against right-handed hitters, by being so closed off like this but it’s ultimately of little value if he can’t locate to his glove-side with any sort of consistency, and at times he struggled in getting his arm up to his release point in time.
Above all, you ought to take James Marinan for what he is: a long-term project. He has the natural arm strength and pitch life to give him a good foundation upon which to build, but there’s a lot of work to be done between command issues and the need for vast improvement of his off-speed pitches. I think his ceiling is probably a back end (#5) rotation member, with a more likely future role as a middle reliever coming out of the bullpen, though improved arm strength and more consistency of his entire arsenal will be the most critical aspects in dictating James Marinan’s ultimate future role in professional baseball.