30 Players in 30 Days: Jake Marisnick
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Jake Marisnick out of high school in the 3rd round of the 2009 MLB amateur draft. The Blue Jays sent Marisnick to Miami three years later as a piece of the package to acquire what seemed like half of the Miami Marlins’ 2012 team. The Marlins called him up a year later on July 23, 2013, to make his debut at 22 years old, but he only hit .183/.231/.248 with one home run in 109 at-bats. He started 2014 in Triple-A and was promoted again, but only managed eight hits in 48 at-bats leading up to the trade deadline.
On July 31, 2014, the Houston Astros sent Austin Wates, Jarred Cosart, and Enrique Hernandez to the Marlins for one Jake Marisnick, Francis Martes, Colin Moran, and a compensation pick that later became Daz Cameron. Marisnick joined the big-league club immediately and played well for the Astros in 2014, hitting .272/.299/.370 while showing an ability to play center field at a high level.
The Astros signed Colby Rasmus in the 2015 offseason, and the Astros were touted as having an “outfield of center fielders” because of the defensive ability of Rasmus, Marisnick, and George Springer. Marisnick got the Opening Day nod to play center field in 2015 for the Astros. He would go hitless in his first two games before going on an absolute tear through the rest of April.
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In 19 April games, Marisnick hit .379/.422/.621 with a pair of home runs and 10 RBIs. It was a pleasant surprise for the team considering that he hit last in the Astros’ lineup through his first 15 games. Marisnick owned an 11-game hit streak through May 3 before – to put it kindly – his bat went cold.
From May 3 until his average hit a season-low .224 on Aug.11, Marisnick hit .165/.194/.247 over 67 games and 182 at-bats with 66 strikeouts, six walks, and two home runs. Jeff Luhnow would have made moves to help the Astros’ team down the stretch regardless of Marisnick’s performance, but it’s interesting to think if things would have been different if he had maintained any glimmer of his April success.
Marisnick lost his starting center field job when Carlos Gomez joined the club and filled in at right and left field when called upon for most of August and September. When Gomez went down with an intercostal strain on Sept. 13, Marisnick took over his spot at center field.
On the season, Marisnick finished with a .236/.281/.383 line, nine home runs, 18 walks, and 105 strikeouts over 133 games. A disappointing offensive season after his start in April; in fact, he only hit over .205 in one (September) of the five months after April.
But to be fair, it wasn’t the young center fielder’s bat that kept him in the starting lineup through most of the season. Marisnick is a 6’4″ outfielder with sneaky speed, tremendous range and a strong arm to boot.
Marisnick was granted two playoff starts after Gomez re-aggravated his injury and he played well in his absence, going three for seven while playing center field and making plays defensively.
More Houston Astros Season Recaps:
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- Tony Sipp
- Jonathan Villar
- Preston Tucker
- Mike Fiers
- Hank Conger
- Chad Qualls
- Jon Singleton
- Joe Thatcher
- Marwin Gonzalez
- Josh Fields
What to expect in 2016
Marisnick has all of the tools to become an elite outfielder with the Astros. His 2016 season will rest largely on what the team does with in the offseason. It’s likely that, if the Astros stay put in the outfield market, he and Preston Tucker will compete for starting time in left field.
This most likely scenario would be a platoon between the right-handed hitting Marisnick and the left-handed Tucker. Marisnick does hold the advantage by a wide margin though because of his defense so Tucker would be the odd man out if Marisnick goes on a tear like he did in April. Both players will only be 25 at the start of the 2016 season, so they both have plenty of room to develop their offensive prowess.