Brian Flynn Interview

August 28, 2012

Today I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview Brian Flynn, a recently acquired Marlins starting pitcher who currently pitches for AA Jacksonville.  Flynn was drafted last season by the Detroit Tigers in the seventh round and has been a top prospect since he began playing pro ball.  He was traded to the Marlins last month with Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly in exhcnge for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez.  I’d like to take the chance to thank Brian Flynn for doing the interiew and I wish him luck in his career, though with his skills he may not even need it.  Enjoy!  Be sure to follow Brain Flynn on Twitter @TheBFlynn as he comes up through the Miami Marlins system

Niklas Jarvinen: Being a southpaw pitcher is considered unique and special by most baseball fans and scouts.  Are you a natural Left Handed Pitcher or was it something you were taught?   Has anybody ever made a big deal out of you making a lefty?

Brian Flynn: I am actually completely right handed. When I was 3 I  picked out a ninja turtle baseball glove in KMart. On the way home my parents realized it was left handed, they decided I could just play that way. Solid decision.

NJ: You signed with the Tigers last season after the drafted you in the seventh round. What would you say your year in the Tigers organization like?  Did you have a favorite pitching coach in the organization?

BF:My year with the Tigers was amazing. They are a class act organization and they did nothing but help my career progress. Both pitching coaches I had in the organization contributed to making me the pitcher I am now.

NJ: On July 23rd, 2012 you were traded by the Tigers to the Marlins in a deal that involved Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly, Anibal Sanchez, and Omar Infante.  Can you take us through this experience?

BF: Being traded was a very surreal experience. I actually found about the deal on Twitter. My teammates in Erie started congratulating me and after the manager had heard it leaked and everything was official he called me into office to give me the news. It was an exciting unforgettable day.

NJ: What are your thoughts on the Marlins and the direction they’re headed in?

BF: It is an exciting time to be a Marlin. The new ballpark, uniforms, and faces have brought new energy to the franchise.

NJ: So you have been flying quickly through the Tigers and Marlins systems since you were drafted just last year.  You are already in AA.  Do you feel like you are flying up through the minors?

BF: It’s definitely been a fun ride to this point. The Tigers gave me great opportunities out of the gate and I just did my best to perform and improve as a pitcher the best I could. I am thankful for both organizations allowing me to continue to grow and challenge myself.

NJ: Also while on the minor league subject, What is life like in the minors for you?

BF: It is very simple and straight forward. Travel and play baseball. I am a very easy going person and I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.

NJ: Out of all the cities and teams you’ve been on since being drafted which team and city has been your favorite to this point?

BF: I’ve got to say my current team in Jacksonville. This has been my first extended taste of AA ball and it is a blast. Good crowds, nice city, and really competitive baseball. It’s fun showing up to the field here every day.

NJ: What was it like at Wichita State?  There have been a lot of baseball players drafted from the school in the past few seasons.

BF: Playing at WSU was great. The coaching staff did a good job preparing us for baseball not only at the college level but beyond. It’s also fun to keep up with the guys that are playing in pro ball as well.

NJ: Before attending Wichita State you were drafted by the Red Sox, looking back how do you feel about that and choosing to go to college before starting a professional pitching career?

BF: I think looking back it was 100% the right decision. I have hit the ground running in pro ball and I think that is all because of the development I experienced in college. Both on the field and off.

NJ: So you’re 6’8 and a lefty, do you consider the fact that you are much taller than most hitters as an advantage?

BF: Using my leverage and pounding the bottom of the strike zone is something that I work hard on. The angle I create is something that is vital to my success as a pitcher.

NJ: How many scouts did you talk to before being drafted and did you ever feel any pressure from them watching your games?

BF: I think any player that is drafted has to get used to interacting with scouts. I spoke to many before the draft but when it comes down to it no one can predict how the draft will turn out. Playing in front of scouts is something I think guys thrive on and enjoy doing. The only pressure comes from within.

NJ: The transition from college to pro baseball seems to have been an easy one for you as far as stats and pitching goes ,Is the transition easy? Like a “I’m just going to go out and pitch good” attitude?

BF: The attitude is the same yes. No matter what the level pitchers must work fast, throw strikes, and change speeds. The major difference in pro ball is that mistakes get hit harder and further. Eliminating the mistakes has been the key for me moving forward.

Three Quick Questions:
NJ: Favorite MLB Player and Team As a Kid (There are no teams in Oklahoma so I’m guessing Texas?):
BF:Favorite player: Randy Johnson
Team: New York Yankees
NJ: Your Favorite Baseball Stat? (Like a stat you like to measure your pitching by)
BF: ERA and walks. Really working on limiting my walks year to year
NJ: Who is your favorite Comedian?
BF: Jeff Dunham

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Marlins Call-Up Rob Brantly

August 14, 2012

Rob Brantly has shot up through the minors and has proven he is a good hitting catcher, who can play on both sides of the ball well.  The Marlins decided the MLB was the only level he had left to conquer and I agree with them, as he’s torn up every league since Single A last season. He was acquired from the Tigers last month, ina  good deal for both sides.  Brantly is a special player and I think he can hit at this level at a decent rate this season and keep getting better at hitting and have a good career.  He can also get familiar with some of the pitchers so he can help the Marlins out even more this year.  I’d have him split time with John Buck the rest of the season and I would try to trade Buck this offseason for a piece if the Marlins can get one, because Brantly will be better than Buck soon.  Brantly can play good defense and help out in that respect too and he will be another big part of the Marlins youth movement.  He could have a good stint in the MLB this season and could hit well in September if he gets in a groove against new pitchers.  His power could get a bit better with the Marlins but he will be a good player in the present and future for the Miami Marlins.  I like Brantly and having to personally get to see him play I think he’s going to be a great talent at catcher and possibly better than most people think, the Marlins are in for a good time with Brantly.  Brantly will do better at the plate than he did in his first game too.


The Direction of The Miami Marlins

August 8, 2012

The Miami Marlins have had a disappointing season, and they’ll be the first to admit it.  They made some splashes this off-season by signing Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle and trading for Carlos Zambrano.  The Marlins did it wrong, sure you can sign a few superstars and have a really good season like the Yankees in 2009, but the problem is the pieces have to gel together as a whole and the Marlins didn’t have that.  Hanley Ramirez stopped hitting and though I think he will again with the Dodgers that might have not happened if he stayed in Miami, reason being he needed a new start under new coaches and management somewhere else to motivate him like he was in 2006-10.  The Marlins also gave up pieces that were doing good in Anibal Sanchez, Randy Choate, and Omar Infante but they got some good prospects and young players who fit the team very well, so all in all that was worth it.  They traded Edward Mujica, a good reliever for Zach Cox, who was once a highly regarded prospect and still is very good, and they needed a future third baseman before the trade, they have one now and he’s good only for the cost of a bullpen arm that can be replaced.  Gaby Sanchez was a fan favorite and had some good seasons, but he wasn’t hitting and he’s not a for sure candidate to turn it around, although he can.  The Marlins got Gorkys Hernandez, a speedy, exciting and all-around good outfielder who can help the Marlins out right now.  The Marlins probably won’t have a winning record this year, but I think given the fact they’re building a team that should be good they could have success as early as 2013, but I think 2014 is the most realistic time for contention.  They have a core of Buehrle, Johnson, Stanton, Morrison, Reyes, and Cishek moving forward and put together with some of the prospects in the trades and a few signings or trade of veteran players that fill holes or make the team better can lead the Marlins to another playoff berth and possibly beyond.  Another note is I have seen Donovan Solano a bit now and I think he can stick around in the MLB and help the Marlins, adding another piece.  The Marlins have even found a good back-up outfielder in Justin Ruggiano who can help now and in the future.
Projected 2015 Line-Up

  1. SS Jose Reyes
  2. 2B Emilio Bonifacio
  3. CF Christian Yelich
  4. RF Giancarlo Stanton
  5. 1B Logan Morrison
  6. 3B Zack Cox
  7. LF Gorkys Hernandez
  8. C Rob Brantly

Bench
C JT Realmuto
OF Marcell Ozuna
IF Donovan Solano
OF Justin Ruggiano
OF Jesus Solarzano

Starters

  1. SP Josh Johnson
  2. SP Mark Buehrle
  3. SP Jose Fernandez
  4. SP Jacob Turner
  5. SP Nate Eovaldi

Bullpen is pretty unpredictable but the Marlins ahve lots of good arms and could make some nice signings and trades


August Trade Candidate: Carlos Lee

August 4, 2012

Carlos Lee has been traded once already this season by the Astros to Miami, but that was when Miami was still in it, now Miami needs to trade some of the older guys and get a young core group to help them win.  Lee is the perfect candidate to get rid of now, when you can get a prospect right now and his value is up being one of the best hitters contending teams can get right now. Lee might have lost a bit of power but down the stretch his power could be there in spurts and his average will be there and he can play first, outfield, or DH on an AL team.  He fits really well with the Yankees, although he can reject a trade.  He should go to a good hitting park to do the best at this point and Lee has a history of helping contending teams down the stretch and even though he’s older, he could still provide some magic.  He can hit anywhere from the middle of the order to the bottom and provide pop and just do a great job as a hitter.  He’s underrated and could be an x-factor in the playoffs being a big impact guy who can turn around a game in the playoffs or down the stretch.  Trading him would open a spot for Christian Yelich, or Kevin Mattison.  If the Marlins keep him he can help the rest of the year and if they re-sign him maybe for another year, but their best option is to trade Lee.


Looking At The Players The Marlins Got for Sanchez, Infante

July 28, 2012

JACOB TURNER- The big piece that made this whole deal possible, he’s going to be a great pitcher but he may not be the ace he was once supposed to be, still at worst the Marlins got a great number three starter, with great stuff and who just a great pitcher.  He’s been hit around in his spot starts with the Tigers in the past two years but now he can take time to settle in, but don;t expect him to be good right away, but this will be worth it in a few years.  He will not turn out like Andrew Miller, like I have heard people say and he really is the centerpiece who should replace Anibal very well
ROB BRANTLY- A very underrated catching prospect who can do it all for a catcher.  He’s a great natural hitter who can hit for some power and he throws guys out.  I’d give him a bit more time to develop but when John Buck leaves, Brantly can take over and probably do better.  I think he could become a top catcher and be better than Turner in an overall rate, I believe in this guy and love to watch him play, Miami will too and he will be an impact player in year one and get even better after.
BRIAN FLYNN: He’s got a shot to be a pretty good five guy and even though the two other pieces are way better Flynn has a good chance to develop well into a good MLB player whether as a five starter or a good bullpen arm that helps.  I like him and though he probably won;’t debut until late next year he should be a decent southpaw

This is a great haul for the Marlins and though they won’t make the postseason this year you fans need to stick with them, they have a core group in the MLB and are building a winner that should work unlike a collection of stars like they had this year, these three prospects are talented and a great start, and the deal is a win-win because Sanchez and Infante should do well in Detroit.


Marlins Midseason Grades

July 16, 2012

Omar Infante: B+ (The team’s top offensive player to this point, besides Giancalro)
Justin Ruggiano: A (Has broken out but needs to keep it up)
Jose Reyes: C- (Decent leadoff guy, who has improved since slump in the first month, should continue to get better)
Logan Morrison: D (I like him as a player but the power and average have to come more)
Giancarlo Stanton: A (Having a breakout season, special player and has great pop)
Hanley Ramirez: D+ (Having same struggles as last year, look for second half improvement)
John Buck: F (He’s payed mostly to hit and that hasn’t happened)
Gaby Sanchez: D- (He is a good player but he can;t put it together right now)
Emilio Bonifacio: C (Has been hurt but average when he plays, more consistent playing time will hep a lot)
Greg Dobbs: A- (Go to reserve player and pinch hitter, very impressive in his roles)
Chris Coghlan: F (Fromer NL ROY looking to be a bust)
Brett Hayes: C- (Has done his job, but really needs to hit better)
Austin Kearns: C- (Has had a good year considering lack of playing time)
Donovan Solano: B+ (Has been an impressive surprise since call-up)
Carlos Lee: INC (Look for him to be a top hitter for the Marlins down the stretch)

Carlos Zambrano: B (Hasn’t been great but has been good in the five-spot)
Ricky Nolasco: D+ (season started well but struggles have haunted him)
Anibal Sacnhez: B (A decent number three but his ERA needs to go down some)
Mark Buehrle: A (Typical Buehrle season, an ace)
Josh Johnson: B- (Needs to lower his ERA, been doing okay since early season struggles)
Heath Bell: F (Biggest disappointment in the MLB this season)
Steve Cishek: A ( Has saved Marlins bullpen this year)
Ryan Webb: D (Hving a down season)
Edward Mujica: C (Been average so far, but could improve some)
Randy Choate: A (A great lefty to have in the bullpen)
Chad Gaudin: C- (He has been okay but not good so far)
Mike Dunn: D ( Has had a down season too, but I still believe in him)
Wade LaBlanc: A (Been great in limited action)
Dan Jennings: A (Could be a good bullpen arm real soon)

Top Marlins

  1. RF Giancarlo Stanton
  2. SP Mark Buehrle
  3. RP Steve Cishek
  4. 2B Omar Infante
  5. SS Jose Reyes
  6. SP Anibal Sanchez
  7. SP Josh Johnson
  8. SP Carlos Zambrano
  9. LF Logan Morrison
  10. 3B Hanley Ramirez

Three More Trades The Miami Marlins Should Make

July 5, 2012

I was going to make this post before the Carlos Lee trade and believe me or not, suggest the Marlins go out and get him, but of course stuff came up the last week, so my post get postponed today but I have three more trades to suggest.

  1. Miami Acquires Closer Huston Street from San Diego in exchange for 2B Noah Perio and RP Dan Jennings- This helps Miami because Heath Bell has been a disappointment to say the least, maybe moving him into the setup role where he was good in the years Trevor Hoffman closed for San Diego could let him regain his stuff and Street is a great closer, especially when he’s in a pitcher’s park.  Even at Coors he was decent and he could be an above average closer or even if Bell gets good Street can setup.  The Padres would get a good reliever they need and a future second baseman where they need a bit of help and depth
  2. Miami Acquires Catcher Kurt Suzuki from Oakland for 1B Mark Canha- Oakland needs a first baseman and Canha is a decent hitter with power but could be given up by Miami for Suzuki who could split time with a power minded John Buck, where he may be able to hit better with a new team and is better all-around, I like him, especially as a fit for Miami
  3. Miami Acquires Starting Pitcher Zack Greinke from the Brewers for OF Christian Yelich, C JT Realmuto, OF Marcell Ozuna, and RP Mike Dunn- More of a blockbuster, that probably won’t happen but another ace would be good and cost a lot and if they could sign him on, I’d do this trade because out of all the players Yelich is the only one I’m a firm believer will be an all-star and the rest could be good but are just prospects and Greinke could take over for a struggling Ricky Nolasco.