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Reds: Underdog hurler James Marinan flashing brilliance at High-A Dayton

DAYTON, OH - JULY 9: A sell out crowd of 8688 fans flocked to Fifth Third Field for the game between the Dayton Dragons and the South Bend Silver Hawks. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
DAYTON, OH - JULY 9: A sell out crowd of 8688 fans flocked to Fifth Third Field for the game between the Dayton Dragons and the South Bend Silver Hawks. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
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James Marinan, a former top prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization, put together another scoreless outing for the Dayton Dragons on Thursday night. Marinan, who was traded to the Reds in 2018 from the Los Angeles Dodgers, went six innings and allowed just three hits while striking out six batters in the Dragons 6-5 victory over the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

Marinan, along with fellow right-handed pitcher Aneurys Zabala, was traded to Cincinnati in exchange for former reliever Dylan Floro. At the time, Marinan was the Dodgers’ No. 21-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

Marinan was LA’s fourth-round draft pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and signed for $825K. The Park Vista High School product battled injuries in 2019, finding his way onto the IL twice. The 2020 season was a lost one for Marinan, as the COVID-19 pandemic effectively cancelled the minor league baseball season.

James Marinan is an underrated prospect in the Reds organization.

James Marinan began the 2021 season with Low-A Daytona, pitching in his home state of Florida, just 200 miles north of his hometown of in Boynton Beach. After 10 starts and posting a 1-6 record with a 5.30 ERA, Marinan was promoted to High-A Dayton where he’s shined to this point.

Marinan has gone 12 innings, allowed just four hits and struck out 17 batters. Granted he’s issued six free passes, but control typically eludes young pitchers during the early part of their careers. That 38.6% strikeout-rate and 12.75 K/9 will play all day.

Combining Marinan’s last five appearances, the 22-year-old has a 29.2% strikeout-rate, 10.08 K/9, and a 0.72 ERA split between Low-A Daytona and High-A Dayton. In those 25 innings of work, Marinan has allowed just 12 hits and struck out 28 batters.

James Marinan has starting pitcher written all over him. It’s easy to forget about a pitcher like Marinan when high-end prospect like Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Graham Ashcraft are having such success at the upper levels of the Reds’ farm system.

Keep an eye on Marinan for the remainder of the 2021 season, and look for the right-hander to follow a path similar to what we’ve seen from Ashcraft this season. Ashcraft has vaulted up the Cincinnati farm system, and fans should expect to see the former sixth-round pick make his Triple-A debut in 2022 with a chance to crack the Reds’ starting rotation.

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James Marinan may be a year behind Graham Ashcraft, but he’s right on schedule as far as the Cincinnati Reds front office is concerned. If Marinan continues to dominate at High-A Dayton, look for the young hurler to make the leap to Double-A next season and be on track for his major league debut in the very near future.

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