Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Esch gets start vs. former collegiate foe

Marlins prospect, former Georgia Tech product will face University of Miami
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- Five years after leaving Georgia Tech, Marlins prospect Jake Esch will finally be a starting pitcher against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.

Esch will take the ball in the first inning at 1:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday in the Marlins' exhibition opener against the University of Miami at Roger Dean Stadium.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Five years after leaving Georgia Tech, Marlins prospect Jake Esch will finally be a starting pitcher against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.

Esch will take the ball in the first inning at 1:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday in the Marlins' exhibition opener against the University of Miami at Roger Dean Stadium.

Ranked as the organization's No. 9 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, Esch is no stranger to facing the Hurricanes. During his college days at Georgia Tech, he was a second baseman and a reliever for coach Danny Hall.

Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets | Complete info

One season, Esch was also a double-play partner with Marlins infielder Derek Dietrich, who was his roommate.

But in school, the 6-foot-4 right-hander never made a start as a pitcher. So when he was named the starter for Tuesday's game, part of him considered calling his college coach.

"I actually was going to call Danny Hall and say, 'Hey, Danny, I'm about to make the first ACC start of my career,'" Esch said.

In school, Esch had his moments against the Hurricanes. During his sophomore season, he homered at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Fla.

A year later, the Hurricanes made their imprint -- literally -- on Esch. He was at second base when former Hurricanes catcher, Yasmani Grandal, now with the Dodgers, doubled.

"I remember Yasmani Grandal slid into my leg," Esch said. "He hit a double, came in cleats high, probably by accident. It basically left a cleat mark from mid-thigh to my ankle. I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, this guy is huge!'"

Koehler to start Grapefruit League opener | Ozuna batting second in spring debut

Now a prospect, the Marlins believe the 25-year-old has a bright big league future.

The St. Paul, Minn., native made 15 starts at Double-A Jacksonville last year and posted a 3.48 ERA. In six Triple-A New Orleans starts, he recorded a 5.40 ERA.

If a baseball career doesn't pan out, Esch has something to fall back on. A civil engineering major, he is a year away from graduating. He plans on getting his degree after he's through with baseball.

"It's great to be smart, and all," Esch said. "It's even better to be athletic in this game. You can do a lot from a baseball platform. My whole dream my whole life has been to play baseball. I went to Georgia Tech to play baseball. I went to get drafted to play baseball. I'm here to play baseball."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

 

Miami Marlins, Jake Esch