Marlins 2022 season preview: Zach Pop has what it takes for high leverage

To visit this page for Fish Stripes’ full preview of the Miami Marlins’ 2022 season.

To continue the 2022 season preview series, we return to the bullpen with Zach Pop.

Left unprotected by the Baltimore Orioles entering the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Pop was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks and returned to the Marlins the same day for a player to be named later. The Miami Marlins sent tyler jones the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete the trade.

Pop is now entering his second major league season (second with Miami). He has at least 5 years left in control of the club – until 2026 – but the Marlins can earn an extra year if they offer it to minors for an extended period. Pop will get a raise starting his rookie season thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement that sets MLB’s minimum wage at $700,000.

Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports

The University of Kentucky product impressed many in 2021. Although he skipped the Triple-A level in his development, Pop was 1-0, 4.12 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 1,427 WHIP. He gained experience in a wide variety of situations, entering matches as early as the 2nd inning and as late as the 9th.

Pop was particularly impressive in the second half of the season, posting a low ERA of 1.90. Thanks to the sinking action of his fastball, he allowed no home runs after the All-Star break.

There were some struggles early in the season, but it became clear fairly quickly that Pop had enough upside to justify his place on the Marlins’ active roster. Missed time aside with a minor finger injury, he has been part of their bullpen throughout 2021.


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As the Marlins look to compete in 2022, they’ve kept their bullpen group essentially the same as last season. They trust guys like Pop to take the next step in their development.

ATC projections indicate that Pop is posting similar numbers to 2021 (2-2, 4.12 ERA, 49 SO and 1.38 WHIP).

Barring a last-minute signing or trade for a veteran reliever, I personally expect Pop to see an increase in high-leverage opportunities. He’s below Dylan Floro, Anthony Bender, Richard Bleier and Anthony Bass on the depth chart at the moment, but he has the potential to progress quickly. Hopefully his command will improve with him being another year taken out of Tommy John surgery.

Bold prediction: Zach Pop will lead all Marlins relievers in won games and hold the lowest ERA.

Survey

Over/under 50.5 strikeouts for Zach Pop this season?