Scott earns 1st ASG honor, becomes 1st Marlins All-Star reliever since ‘16

July 7th, 2024

MIAMI -- had been looking at flights for a bit of a family vacation during the upcoming All-Star break.

Now, the Marlins closer has other plans.

When his wife Maddie and 9-month-old son Bo surprised him in manager Skip Schumaker’s office on Sunday morning, prior to Miami’s 7-4 walk-off win over Chicago, Scott was informed that he would represent the Marlins in the 2024 All-Star Game in Arlington.

After Schumaker broke the good news to the Scotts, it was announced to the rest of the Marlins clubhouse, met by raucous applause.

“It was awesome,’’ said Scott, who will enjoy his first All-Star Game in his third season with the Marlins. “Skip called me in, my wife and son were there, so that was cool. All the guys were great. It was awesome to hear that, and then everyone came up to me. That was very special.’’

What is Scott looking forward to in his first All-Star Game?

“Everything,’’ he said. “The whole experience, taking it all in.’’

Scott, who turns 30 on July 22, is the first Marlins reliever to be named to the All-Star Game since A.J. Ramos and Fernando Rodney represented the team in San Diego in 2016.

Less than 24 hours prior, Scott picked up his 13th save of the season in a 4-3 win over visiting Chicago, setting the White Sox down in order in the top of the ninth.

The left-handed Scott uses a lethal fastball/slider combination. He entered Sunday with a 1.42 ERA (the fourth-lowest among NL relievers with at least 30 innings pitched), and he has allowed an earned run in just three of his 37 appearances.

“In my career, I have been very fortunate to have some really good closers that I have played with,’’ Schumaker said. “Tanner Scott is right there in that group. You feel really good, when he goes in, that the game is over. Last year, we started putting him in the highest-leverage pockets -- whether it was the seventh, eighth, or ninth innings -- because we felt he was our best guy.

“There is no question, he is our best guy -- but I think he is in the conversation for the best in the league.”

Scott has gone 13-for-15 in save opportunities, with two of those saves requiring five or six outs.

“He is lights-out and is willing to do anything for this team,’’ third baseman Jake Burger said. “Look at his games and there are a few four-out saves, five-out saves in there. We feel great when he comes out there.”

It took Scott a little while to get to this place among the top closers in Major League Baseball.

Miami acquired Scott and right-handed reliever Cole Sulser toward the end of Spring Training in 2022 from Baltimore for two unranked prospects and a player to be named.

The knock on Scott was that, while he had a high upside, he struggled with his command through his first 170 MLB outings. Scott recorded a career-high 20 saves in his first season in Miami, but he was replaced as the team’s closer to start the 2023 season.

“The first year here was a little rough,” Scott said on Sunday. “But it has been a great process and I am going to try and keep it going. It is awesome to see what it has turned into. … You have to trust the process, keep going out there.”

Scott got the job back over the course of a breakout campaign, when he tied Baltimore closer Félix Bautista for the highest fWAR (2.8) among Major League relievers. He has continued that dominance this season -- and is being rewarded for it.

“When you get drafted, everyone hopes to be an All-Star one day,” Scott said. “The fact it came true is kind of awesome.’’

Scott will likely be in high demand as a pending free agent by contending clubs before the July 30 Trade Deadline.

“There is not a guy in the weight room who is stronger than him, who works harder than him,” Schumaker said. “I was here early [Saturday] morning and he was the first one in the weight room. He is that guy. It’s not showy, there is no fluff to him. He is on a mission. He wants to pitch every single day.”