After more than a week of watching the bullpen either blow leads of make small deficits into big ones, the Miami Marlins made a change. Veteran right-handed pitcher Dustin McGowan was designated for assignment on Sunday to make room for young righty Kyle Barraclough to join the pen.
Barraclough was acquired last season from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Steve Cishek. Barraclough appeared in 25 games for the Fish in 2015, pitching 24.1 innings with a 2.59 ERA. He posted an impressive 11.10 K/9 but a very concerning 6.66 BB/9. Barraclough’s entire minor league career has been filled with tons of strikeouts but also tons of walks. Apart from brief stints lasting fewer than six innings, he has never posted a BB/9 lower than 5.18 or a K/9 lower than 8.68. He was pitching very well this season in Triple-A, though. Albeit an incredibly small sample size, Barraclough had only walked one batter in six innings pitched, with nine strikeouts.
Barraclough appeared in the game on Sunday for the Marlins and pitched a scoreless inning, striking out the side but walking a batter and allowing a hit while only throwing 18 of his 27 pitches for strikes. Fans watching the game saw his potential: high 90s fastball and a slider with tons of movement. But they also saw his issues: pitches nowhere near the catcher’s target. Still, Barraclough has upside that is absent from most of the Marlins bullpen, so he’s a welcome addition.
Meanwhile, McGowan, whose Major League career started when Barraclough was only 15-years-old, had pitched 5.1 innings over six games for the Marlins. He allowed two runs, two walks, two hits, and had two strikeouts. He wasn’t the biggest problem in the bullpen, but he hadn’t been great either. The team hopes he clears waivers and remains in the organization at Triple-A. He showed surprising velocity in his brief time with the Fish, touching 97 mph with his fastball and 90 mph with his slider. He could be worth hanging onto, assuming he clears waivers.