Poteet answers the call, wins MLB debut

May 13th, 2021

Mixing and matching the back end of their rotation all season, the Marlins finally got the start they had been looking for on Wednesday night. Right-hander earned the win in his Major League debut, as the Marlins snapped a four-game skid by beating the D-backs, 3-2, at Chase Field.

Poteet, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Jacksonville prior to the outing, allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts over five frames. In between David Peralta's first-inning RBI double and pinch-hitter Andrew Young's fifth-inning homer, Poteet retired 12 of the next 13 batters, including a sequence of striking out the side in the fourth.

Jesús Aguilar's two-run homer in the first helped settle Poteet's nerves as he took the mound with a lead, while his battery mate Sandy León's solo shot in the second proved to be the difference.

"That was nice,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I liked his tempo. [It] was like he got it and [was] ready to throw, but didn't seem like he was in a hurry. Threw strikes, used his breaking stuff. He was good. It was much-needed for us, obviously, and then he put us in a position that I could use all our guys the way that [they] need to be used. And that was huge obviously in this game; the bullpen was tremendous.”

A fourth-round Draft pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Poteet became the first righty selected by the Marlins to win his Major League debut since Ryan Tucker, a first-round pick in 2005, did so on June 8, 2008.

Poteet entered with a 3.84 ERA and a 1.156 WHIP in 99 games (95 starts) across six Minor League seasons. Last Thursday, he made his first start for Jacksonville, giving up one run on three hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts across 5 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old was at big league camp this spring, tossing three straight scoreless outings before permitting three runs in one-third of an inning in his final appearance. Poteet also participated at the Marlins' alternate training site in 2020, and again last month before the Minor League season began.

"Amazing moment, a lot of years working for this, so I'm extremely thankful and grateful," said Poteet, whose wife, daughter and other family members were in attendance. "Tonight I threw all my pitches for strikes. I really had it lifted off my shoulders to just trust [León] back there. I knew he knew the hitters really well with all his experience. So I was able to focus just on executing, and he did a great job calling the game and the defense behind me was amazing. So I'm just thankful."

Added D-backs second baseman Josh Rojas: "We had a pretty good scouting report coming in. First big league start, obviously he's pitching with a lot of emotion, and I think the emotion was on his side tonight."

With Elieser Hernandez and Sixto Sánchez sidelined, the Marlins have been unable to round out their rotation behind Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López and Trevor Rogers.

Below are the pitchers who have been given chances:

• Rookie lefty Daniel Castano: 5.19 ERA in four starts; optioned to Jacksonville on Sunday

No. 10 prospect Nick Neidert: 6.75 ERA in three starts; pitching for Jacksonville

No. 22 prospect Jordan Holloway: three earned runs allowed in 3 2/3 frames in first MLB start on Monday

• Rule 5 Draft pick Paul Campbell: 8.74 ERA in five games (one start); suspended for PEDs

Poteet, who was part of the taxi squad for the Marlins' three-city, 10-game trip, had been told by Mattingly that he would start at some point in Arizona. In the midst of a stretch of 13 straight days with a game, it didn't help that López was chased in the fifth inning on Tuesday night, forcing the bullpen into action earlier than expected. Marlins relievers entered Wednesday having thrown 31 of the team’s 62 innings over the past seven games. 

With a scheduled off-day on Monday, the Marlins could skip Poteet’s next turn. Still, he gave the organization something to talk about. 

“I don't think you can ask for more,” Mattingly said, “and I think like you said, you get opportunities -- they only come so many times -- and when that door knocks, you know the saying is, 'Hey, answer it.'”