Fantasy Baseball Sleeper: Brian Flynn

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Miami Marlins Pitchers

Feb 12, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins players go through stretching and running drills during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

For all the negative things that can be said about the Marlins’ lineup and their abysmal record, their young pitching staff has been one of the best in baseball. Anchored by the phenom Jose Fernandez, the Marlins rank 10th in the entire league in ERA (3.71) and 7th in starter ERA (3.75). The problem with young pitchers is that they hit innings limits right around this time. With Fernandez and fellow rookie Jacob Turner likely to be shut down soon, and Tom Koehler struggling, the Marlins will turn to rising prospect Brian Flynn to take over a rotation spot for the rest of the season.

Before we look at Flynn, let’s take a moment and consider the surprisingly great job the Marlins appear to have done in scouting the right type of pitchers and developing them into reliable starters very quickly. Look at these ERAs. Jose Fernandez: 2.33, Jacob Turner: 3.13, Nathan Eovaldi: 3.40, Henderson Alvarez: 3.95. They may not get wins with that miserable offense behind them but the Marlins pitching staff has been one of the most underrated in the league.

Now let’s look at their new arrival, the 6’7”, 240 lb., 23-year-old Brian Flynn. A seventh-round pick in 2011, the Marlins received Flynn as part of the Anibal Sanchez-Omar Infante trade last year that also brought over Turner and Rob Brantly.

Playing in Wichita State, Flynn was never a top recruit. His posted a 4.98 ERA and 1.52 WHIP his first year and a 4.63 ERA and 1.41 WHIP his second year. He was drafted by the Tigers purely on size and ability to throw in the mid-90s, not his college numbers.

He looked much more solid once the Tigers’ farm system got to him. In his first minor league stint in 2011, Flynn went 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 57 K/23 BB over 67.2 IP in Single-A. His second season he regressed somewhat, going 11-5 with a 3.91 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and 119 K/47 BB over 152 IP split between High-A with Detroit and then Double-A with Miami.

Remember what I said about Miami’s ability to develop pitching talent? You should, it was only a couple of paragraphs ago. The Marlins’ farm system has grown Flynn from a projected back-of-the-rotation guy to a potential phenom not unlike the rest of the Marlins’ rotation.

He began the season in Double-A but it didn’t last long. In four games, Flynn put up a 1.57 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 25 K/3 BB over 23 IP. In just a few months in Miami’s farm system and Flynn had finally outgrown Double-A. The Marlins brought him up to Triple-A and the kid hasn’t missed a beat. Through 23 starts, Flynn has posted a 2.80 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 122 K/40 BB while surrendering just seven home runs over 138 IP.

Even counting his Detroit numbers, his minor league career shows promise. Through 380 minor league innings, Flynn owns a 3.29 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, and a 3/1 K/BB. Since moving to the Marlins, it’s more like a 2.63 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, and 3.4/1 K/BB.

Forget everything written about Flynn while he was in Detroit’s farm. It shouldn’t be that hard, not much was written about him. Miami’s ability to pump out young acquired pitching talent has been impressive and the brand new and improved Brian Flynn should not disappoint – especially if you need to replace Jose Fernandez on your roster.

Igor Derysh is Editor-at-Large at XN Sports and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sun-Sentinel, and FantasyPros. He has previously covered sports for COED Magazine, Fantasy Alarm, and Manwall.com.
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