As the Staten Island Yankees season came to a close, they added right-handed reliever Ron Marinaccio from Rookie-Level Pulaski to help in the back end of their bullpen. While he was only in Staten Island for a month, he made a good impression on manager Lino Diaz for his body language in good outings and bad:
“One thing I really like about him [Marinaccio] is he stays even keel through hard situations. He doesn’t get rattled per say when he’s in trouble.”
In his first ten outings of the season with Pulaski, Marinaccio was dominant on the mound. He had a 1.77 ERA, converted on both of his save opportunities, and had 33 strikeouts to three walks with a .197 opponents’ batting average in 20.1 innings. Here is what he said about what he was working on with Pulaski pitching coach, Gerardo Casadiego:
“Working more on my changeup. I really want to add that both to righties and lefties,” replied Marinaccio.
“It’s better. He hasn’t thrown it much. He hasn’t really been in the situation to throw it much. Sometimes he gets a little quick with the body and the arm drags a little bit, but when he stays on it and says back, it’s very good,” said pitching coach Travis Phelps about his changeup.
Phelps also mentioned that when Marinaccio didn’t have his best stuff, he would still challenge hitters and that is always key for a reliever.
“He’s aggressive. He’ll challenge hitters. Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he’s not afraid to attack the strike zone and go after these guys. He steps his game up to a different level and bear down and make pitches when the pressure is on.”
With Staten Island, the ERA was extremely high for a reliever (9.22 in seven games). However, he threw two or more innings in an outing five different times and he has three or more strikeouts in five of his seven outings (six against Lowell in his debut outing on August 10).
Whether it has been with Pulaski or Staten Island, his fastball has been a major key because he can pound the strike zone with it. He can get the heater between 91-93 miles-per-hour on the radar gun and it is a major key for him finishing off hitters to go with his changeup:
“Attack, just throw a lot of fastballs early, try to get ahead. Later in the count, just go to the offspeed,” said Marinaccio about his strategy while he is on the mound.
Back in 2017, the Yankees took Marinaccio in the 19th Round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of the University of Delaware. He is from Toms River, New Jersey and he grew up as a Yankees fan watching some of his favorite pitchers, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina. This is what his draft day experience was like:
“I was just hanging at home. It was pretty exciting. Being a Yankee fan my whole life, it was exciting that was the team I got the call from.”
While the 23-year-old was at Delaware, he was both a starter and a closer during his final season with the Blue Hens. In 22 games, he had a 2.09 ERA and struck out 68 batters to 22 walks in 64.2 innings. For Marinaccio, there were positives in doing both roles and having to go back-and-forth wasn’t a bad thing for him in the transition process:
“I enjoyed both of them. As a reliever, it is fun being up every game. You kind of pay more attention to the game. As a starter, you only lock in for the game you are part of. The transition isn’t bad, it just takes time to build up to be a starter.”
The Yankees drafted a pitcher in Marinaccio that has a lot of talent and has a bright future if he keeps up his high strikeout-to-walk rate, but the Yankees also have someone in their organization that was a captain while with the Blue Hens, an honor that meant a lot to him:
“It felt good that I had the respect from the coaches and the players to be somebody that the team looked up to for leadership and where to go,” replied Marinaccio.
One of his goals for the remainder of the season was to not be too high or too low when he pitches. With that mindset, it could lead to a successful professional career down the road. If he can develop that changeup, he is another reliever to watch in the New York Yankees system.