Get to know new members of Marlins' 'pen

February 22nd, 2021

It's a good thing the Marlins wear names on the back of their jerseys. The organization welcomed seven key bullpen additions when pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 17.

The Marlins had made it their offseason mission to improve the bullpen in 2021 after a lackluster '20 campaign. Miami signed Anthony Bass and Ross Detwiler as free agents, dealt for Dylan Floro, John Curtiss and Adam Cimber and acquired Paul Campbell and Zach Pop via the Rule 5 Draft. The new members join returners Yimi García, Richard Bleier and James Hoyt as relief options.

"I think the potential is high," said Floro, who won a World Series with the Dodgers last season. "I think we've got a lot of guys that can pitch late in innings and get big outs for us. And at the end of the day, that's kind of what you need."

Get to know the new relievers with this handy guide.

RHP Anthony Bass
Age: 33
Years in Majors: Nine (six teams)
Possible role: Closer
Reason for optimism: Elite xBA, xERA, xSLG, xwOBA and barrel percentage in 2020
Reason for concern: 25.6 chase percentage (28.2 percent MLB average) in 2020
Fast fact: Played in Japan in 2016

"I was tired of giving up hits, and my four-seam fastball didn't play like I thought it did, just looking at the numbers," Bass said. "I felt like I had pretty good control of my two-seam fastball -- I know it says a sinker, but I think it's a true two-seam. I'm able to keep it over the plate pitching in pitchers' counts more often than falling behind with my four-seam. I think that was the big game-changer is really getting ahead in counts, and then it allows me to basically use all my weapons. I think it really turned the switch for me."

RHP Dylan Floro
Age: 30
Years in Majors: Five (four teams)
Possible role: Setup man
Reason for optimism: Elite exit velocity against, barrel percentage, hard-hit percentage and walk rate in 2020
Reason for concern: 8.5 hits per nine innings in 2020
Fast fact: Struck out Randy Arozarena on three pitches during the 2020 World Series

"I feel really comfortable with it," Floro said of his changeup. "Going into the offseason, then the second part offseason or whatever you want to call it last year, I really focused on knowing the chances of me facing lefties instead of just righties, because the new three-batter rule does come in effect. I needed to come up with another pitch that just helps get the hitters off my two-seam. I started focusing on a changeup, and that was the big thing behind it is going with a new rule of three batters. We can't just go in there and face one guy; the chance to face some lefties or righties is going to be way higher for each person."

RHP John Curtiss
Age: 27
Years in Majors: Four (three teams)
Possible role: Flexible
Reason for optimism: Elite walk rate, pitched for the vaunted Rays bullpen in 2020
Reason for concern: Bottom two percentile for average exit velocity against in 2020
Fast fact: After rough postseason debut (five ER in 2/3 IP), he posted a 1.93 ERA in eight outings.

"The main thing I learned very quickly after my horrible outing against the Yankees in Game 1 of the [American League] DS was just how similar baseball is, whether you're on a backfield or alternate training site or if you're in a regular-season game against the Phillies or if you're in a Division Series, Championship Series, World Series game," Curtiss said. "When you get ahead in the count, you're going to do well. When you get behind in the count, you're not going to do well. When you execute the fundamentals, you're going to win. When you don't, you're not going to win. And so, it's a little bit of a pressure cooker and you obviously want it more."

RHP Adam Cimber
Age: 30
Years in Majors: Three (two teams)
Possible role: Middle innings
Reason for optimism: Unusual delivery for a new division to pick up on
Reason for concern: Strikeout rate went down 6.6 percent in 2020
Fast fact: Picked up breaking ball grip from former teammate Cody Allen, who saw sidearmer Joe Smith use it

"I always try to ask those guys, guys that hit me well, especially, I like picking their brains and seeing what they're looking for, seeing their game plan," Cimber said. "I think that that's a cool part about being a part of the team is that you can go up to talk to the hitters about what they're looking for, and they come up and talk to the pitchers about what we're trying to do, and it's cool to run across so many different guys from different teams. There's a lot of new guys here that some of you played in the past, some have played with guys that you've played with, and it's a great learning environment to be able to talk to a lot of guys with a lot of different backgrounds."

LHP Ross Detwiler
Age: 34
Years in Majors: 12 (seven teams)
Possible role: Lefty matchups
Reason for optimism: Whiff percentage increased by 11.7 percent in 2020
Reason for concern: Bottom seven percentile for hard-hit percentage in 2020
Fast fact: Longtime starter transitioned to the bullpen

"I finally got comfortable coming out of the bullpen," Detwiler said. "I really set a routine for a bullpen and didn't try to be a starter out of the bullpen. I kind of knew what I was doing. Plus, I added a [slider] and kind of stopped throwing my curveball so much because it kept getting hit. ... I started throwing a cutter about a year and a half ago, so really the focus [the] last two years has been that. It usually takes for me at least a year to get a bit of a feel for a pitch to be able to throw it to both sides of the plate and throw it with confidence. So I'm kind of working on that a little more, and then I feel like the sinker's coming back with more movement like I had earlier on in my career. So those two pitches are a focus, but also you have to kind of balance out you don't want to lose the other pitches."

RHP Paul Campbell
Age: 25
Years in Majors: Yet to debut (Rule 5 Draft pick)
Possible role: Swingman
Reason for optimism: High spin rates; heater plays better with cut action and command
Reason for concern: Doesn't miss a lot of bats (7.3 strikeouts per nine innings in MiLB career)
Pitch mix: Fastball, curveball, slider, changeup
Fast fact: Miami's No. 25 prospect was Curtiss' locker mate in Tampa Bay

"I think Paul is that guy -- he's been a starter for the most part, but we think he can be really good out of the 'pen," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "And usually Rule 5 [Draft] guys are a lot easier to be able to maneuver through the 'pen. It's hard if there's a starter, unless they just come and take over a job. Usually those guys are young, they haven't got past a certain point in their career at this point. Usually easier to break that guy in through the bullpen. We see him as a guy that started -- the fact he's got a pitch mix that can do it. But we'll be looking at him, you know, kind of both ways. He's a little bit like [Daniel] Castano who's pitched out of the 'pen and he's started."

RHP Zach Pop
Age: 24
Years in Majors: Yet to debut (Rule 5 Draft pick)
Possible role: Middle innings
Reason for optimism: 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings, 0.91 WHIP, 64.1 percent ground-ball rate in Minors career
Reason for concern: Uncertainty 20-plus months removed from Tommy John surgery
Pitch mix: Four-seam fastball, two-seam sinker and slider
Fast fact: Part of the Manny Machado trade between the Orioles and Dodgers

"Both guys are impressive. We're going to be able to see them in camp, and we'll see where that goes," Mattingly said. "They're in a competition. As we say competition, I hope it's not to a point of like every spot is a competition. I think that competition is just to continue to show what you can do, and give us some credit that it's not always the bottom line number that we see. It's like how a guy handles stuff, what's his pitch mix, can he locate, maybe had a little bit of a rough outing here or there. But give us credit to see what they could be. And so we'll let them pitch. Both guys have been impressive to this point of how they've gotten themselves ready. They're ready to go, so we'll just see how it plays out."