Jake Eder had to wait a while to make a competitive first impression on his new organization. By the end of his first inning on the mound, he had four strikeouts. Mission accomplished.
In his debut professional start, Miami’s No. 24 prospect struck out 12 against three walks and allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings, earning the win as Double-A Pensacola beat Mississippi, 5-1.
Eder’s first night as a Double-A starting pitcher began in a quirky way. After fanning Mississippi’s Justin Dean to kick off the game, the left-hander whiffed Braden Shewmake for what looked like the inning’s second out. A wild pitch for strike three, however, allowed Shewmake to reach first base. Trey Harris followed with a walk, and the pair combined for a double steal to put both in scoring position.
Eder was undaunted. The Vanderbilt product bounced back to strike out Shea Langeliers and CJ Alexander. One inning, two baserunners, two steals, four strikeouts, no damage done.
“For me, when you get in a zone and kind of find that rhythm and you flow, it’s just because you’re so in the moment," said Eder, who noted he had never had a four-strikeout inning he could remember. "You get done with it, and you kind of have to think back about different pitches and stuff. When you’re in the moment, not thinking about it, you’re just kind of cruising."
Throughout his five innings, Eder continued to work out of traffic and stifle Mississippi’s bats. The lefty’s only 1-2-3 inning came in the third, and Eder stranded six runners on the bases throughout his night and peppered his line with K’s. The 22-year-old fanned a pair in the second and fifth, struck out out the side in the fourth, and fanned one in the third.
Eder’s last matchup with Shewmake was an odd one, as well. With two men aboard, Shewmake was called out on batter’s interference for the second out of Eder’s final inning. Eder got Harris to fly out to left for the last out of his night.
"It goes by, and you’re not focused on those little details," Eder said. "You get done, it’s kind of a blur, and then to go back and evaluate it sooner than later, that way you don’t forget things. It’s helpful.”
Originally drafted by the Mets in the 34th round in 2017, Eder instead went to Vanderbilt where his stock rose through three years with the Commodores. The Marlins grabbed him in the fourth round of the 2020 Draft. Start No. 1 was a building block that set a good tone for the next one.
“I think there’s probably four or five hitters that I could’ve put out quicker as opposed to going as deep into counts," he said. "That’s just bearing down a little earlier, narrowing your focus a little earlier. That’s always something I’m working on and then just carrying the momentum into the next start.”
Pensacola’s top of the lineup paced its offensive showing. Victor Victor Mesa, JJ Bleday, Jerar Encarnación and Peyton Burdick, the Marlins’ 11, 2, 21 and 12 prospects respectively, combined to go 4-for-12 with a double, homer, four walks, three RBIs and four runs scored. Burdick belted the homer, a two-run shot to left-center after Encarnación’s double in the fifth.