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James Marinan Takes Step Back To Move Forward

When the 2021 minor league season began in May, righthander James Marinan was held back in extended spring training.

“To his credit, he never moaned, he never cried, never complained,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said. “He got to work on the business we asked him to work on, which was about his command, his control, taking his bullpens as serious as he needed to, his strength and conditioning.

"He was never lazy. He just wanted to pitch, and he wasn’t as interested in the other things that were a part of it.”

When Marinan joined Low-A Daytona in mid June he battled some inconsistency. In his first 10 games he walked 30 batters with 35 strikeouts in 39.2 innings and had an ERA of 6.58.

However, things began to click for Marinan in mid August and he earned late-season promotion to High-A Dayton, where he made two starts and won the High-A Central pitcher of the month award for September.

Over his final month he made five starts between two levels and allowed just two earned runs in 25 innings while giving up 12 hits, 11 walks and striking out 28.

“He really grew this year, proved to us how serious and committed he was,” Pender said.

The work put in paid off, and not just in the numbers on the stat sheet. Between Marinan’s first start and his final one, he saw his average fastball velocity jump more than 2 mph. He topped out at 98. That work and late season improvements led to an opportunity for the 23-year-old in the Arizona Fall League.

“This was a great way to extend his season and build those innings back in a very competitive environment,” Pender said. “So he is getting a chance to get innings and play with good players and compete against good players.”


— Lefthander Reiver Sanmartin is going to be extending his time on the mound in 2021 after pitching in Double-A, Triple-A and the big leagues with Cincinnati this season. He will be pitching in the Dominican League this offseason.

— Third baseman Elly De La Cruz reached the upper echelon of exit velocities at instructional league, picking up a single in a game that came off of the bat at 117.5 mph.

— Earlier in that same game, 2021 fourth-rounder Ruben Ibarra hit a 478-foot home run.


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