Marlins’ Jose Gerardo Is Hungry To Reach Big Leagues

Rocket-armed outfielder Jose Gerardo grew up so poor that he was often forced to skip breakfast.

Lunch and dinner, too.

Now, the 17-year-old is feasting on minor league pitchers. He hit 10 home runs in his first month in the Dominican Summer League last year.

A native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and the youngest of six children, Gerardo said it was difficult going to the ballpark to train in the morning on an empty stomach.

“If I got lucky, somebody would give me a piece of bread or a soda,” Gerardo said in Spanish. “I would get home, and there was still nothing to eat. That didn’t happen every day, but it happened a lot. It was hard.”

There were times Gerardo felt like fainting, but he was determined to get signed.

“I was following my dream,” he said. “It didn’t matter to me if I ate or not. On the field, I was going to hustle.”

His dream came true when the Marlins signed him for $180,000 in June 2022.

Now that he has the money to eat regular meals, Gerardo is packing muscle onto his 6-foot-1 frame. He currently weighs 185 pounds, with room still to grow.

Clocked at 102 mph on a throw from the outfield this spring, Gerardo has the powerful right arm to ultimately switch to pitcher. But that’s not what he wants.

“I think my arm is a weapon in right field,” Gerardo said, “and I have power at the plate.”

Last season in the DSL he hit .284/.417/.551 with 11 homers and 18 stolen bases in 50 games. He drew 33 walks against 66 strikeouts.

“Nothing is natural if you don’t work on it,” Gerardo said when asked about his strong arm. “I like to hit, but if that doesn’t work, I have to find a way to get to the majors.”

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