MIAMI -- A fixture in the Modesto Nuts rotation for much of the 2017 season, right-hander Nick Neidert was a rooting fan of the club when it won the Class A Advanced California League championship in September.At the time his former teammates were celebrating, Neidert had already been promoted to
MIAMI -- A fixture in the Modesto Nuts rotation for much of the 2017 season, right-hander Nick Neidert was a rooting fan of the club when it won the Class A Advanced California League championship in September.
At the time his former teammates were celebrating, Neidert had already been promoted to Double-A Arkansas in the Mariners' system. His career path changed yet again on Dec. 7, when he was dealt to the Marlins as part of the Dee Gordon trade.
The Lawrenceville, Ga., resident is one of the prominent young pitching prospects the Marlins have added through recent trades. He comes from a winning culture, and joins a growing list of high-ceiling players.
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"He's another starting pitcher candidate for us," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo said. "We believe he will have a chance in the future to join our starting rotation. He's only 21 years old."
A second-round Draft pick of the Mariners in 2015, Neidert went 10-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts at Modesto. At Double-A, things didn't go as smoothly for the right-hander, as he was 1-3 with a 6.56 ERA in 23 1/3 innings.
"I got roughed up a little bit when I got to Double-A, but at the same time, I definitely learned a lot from those guys there, and from pitching," Neidert said in an interview with MLB.com. "I think it definitely helped me this offseason to prepare for the upcoming season to be even better than I was this past year."
With a fastball, changeup slider mix, Neidert made his biggest impact at Modesto, reflected by his impressive credentials. He struck out 122 and walked just 22 in 127 2/3 innings in 2017.
"I didn't get to go to play with them in the playoffs, but I definitely kept track with them, every single game they'd play," Neidert said. "I'd sit at home listening to every single game that they played -- sharing, yelling, just as if I were at the ballfield. I knew those guys had it. The coaching was outstanding, the players had a lot of heart. It was awesome to see that they won it. I called them and congratulated everyone."
The Marlins are restocking their system in hopes of creating a strong foundation from the ground up.
According to MLBPipeline.com, Neidert is Miami's No. 7 prospect. In the Gordon trade, the Marlins also acquired infielder Christopher Torres, ranked 14th, and right-hander Robert Dugger.
Spring Training will determine where Neidert starts off, which likely will be either at Double-A Jacksonville or Triple-A New Orleans. He could win a rotation spot for the Marlins in camp, but with just 254 career Minor League innings, coupled with the fact he turned 21 on Nov. 20, there's no urgency to rush his development.
"He has the ability to command his fastball," Denbo said. "His changeup is plus. We like the movement he has on the fastball because it's different than what you normally see. He's got deception, which makes it very difficult for batters to pick up the ball, and he's a good athlete. There's a lot of qualities there that make us believe he will help us in our starting rotation in Miami."
Neidert may be new to the Marlins, but he will see plenty of familiar faces when Spring Training gets underway in mid-February.
In July, the Marlins swung a deal with Seattle for reliever David Phelps. In return, they added outfielder Brayan Hernandez (No. 12-ranked prospect), and right-handers Brandon Miller (25th), Pablo Lopez (27th) and Lukas Schiraldi.
"Every single guy that's been traded over there, I have their number," Neidert said. "I texted them and said, 'Hey, it looks like we're going to be teammates again.' It's exciting to reconnect with those guys. At least I know a couple of people when I go into Spring Training. Yeah, I'm excited to see them again.
"There's definitely a lot of good, young pitching in this organization. It's going to be fun to get to know them and kind of pick each other's brains, and learn from each other. The Marlins have a very bright future, if you look at the entire farm system. They have all the talent in the world. It's going to be exciting to see what that team can do."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.