Here’s an Obscure Dominican Lefty Throwing 93 a Minute Ago

Left-hander Marlon Arias hasn’t participated in affiliated ball since 2009, when he was a member of the Dodgers system. As for what he’s done in the meantime, it’s probably fair to say that his whereabouts haven’t been documented meticulously. His player page at FanGraphs suggests he’s passed at least a few of the subsequent years (2012 and 2014-15) in the Mexican League. Neither Baseball Reference nor Baseball Cube reveal much else of substance on the matter. Generally speaking, where the subject of Marlon Arias is concerned, mum has been the word.

And yet, for that demographic presently watching an illegal stream of Tigres and Aguilas in Dominican Winter League play (box), there’s no reason to suppose that Marlon Arias, who appeared in relief, is anything but the brighest star in the sky. Consider the footage embedded here of Arias facing Orlando Calixte, a player of whom the San Francisco Giants think highly enough to have added him to their 40-man roster. One finds Arias throwing a 93 mph first-pitch fastball, a back-door breaking ball for strike two, and a high fastball — again at 93 mph — for a swinging third strike. The average velocity among major-league pitchers in 2016? It was 92.6 mph. Which is to say, more or less the same figure.

Nor does this small victory for Arias appear to represent an exception to the rule: the 32-year-old entered tonight’s game having recorded a 22:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.50 ERA in the Dominican this winter over 18.0 innings. That’s excellent.

Is this to suggest that Arias ought to be immediately inserted into the back end of a major-league bullpen? Not expressly, no. What it does indicate, however, is that what we regard as impossible is likely only improbable. And what we regard as improbable is likely occurring at any given moment in the Caribbean.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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7 years ago