Fer­rell looks to con­trib­ute right away

Rule 5 Draft pick ea­ger to make im­pact on bullpen

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Wells Dusen­bury

JUPITER — Ri­ley Fer­rell treated Dec. 13 like any other day.

Pitch­ing in the Hous­ton Astros or­ga­ni­za­tion at the time, the right-han­der showed up to the team fa­cil­ity that af­ter­noon for work­outs ‘‘ready to rock and roll.’’

Fur­ther west in Las Ve­gas, the MLB Rule 5 Draft was si­mul­ta­ne­ously tak­ing place and Fer­rell’s name had been ru­mored in mock drafts as a po­ten­tial can­di­date.

While Fer­rell went about his busi­ness and avoided spec­u­la­tion, the Mar­lins jumped on the op­por­tu­nity to nab the right-han­der, tak­ing him with their first-round se­lec­tion.

“I was ex­cited ob­vi­ously,” Fer­rell said. “I didn’t re­ally know what to think. I kind of waited to hear back from the or­ga­ni­za­tion. They say it’s a great op­por­tu­nity. Hope­fully I can do some­thing to help the team win.”

Un­der Rule 5 re­quire­ments, Fer­rell must spend the en­tire sea­son on the Mar­lins 25-man ros­ter or he’ll be re-

turned to the Astros.

While he hasn’t made his big-league de­but yet, Fer­rell fits the pro­file Mi­ami’s look­ing for in the bullpen. With a fast­ball hov­er­ing in the mid-90s and a strong slider, the

25-year-old brings a power arm to the Mar­lins or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Fer­rell split last sea­son be­tween Dou­ble-A Cor­pus Christi and Triple-A Fresno. At Cor­pus Christi, he posted a 1.90 ERA,

1.35 WHIP and .171 op­pos­ing bat­ting av­er­age in 232⁄3 in­nings. At Fresno, his ERA in­creased to 6.75 with op­po­nents hit­ting

.296 off him in 28 in­nings.

“The tran­si­tion from Dou­ble-A to Triple-A was pretty big,” Fer­rell said. “I had been in Cor­pus Christi for a year and a half — fac­ing the same hit­ters that are not will­ing to change their ap­proach.

“It got a lit­tle eas­ier for me, but go­ing to Triple-A and fig­ur­ing out guys who have ap­proaches for guys who throw like me and are a lit­tle more ex­pe­ri­enced for guys who have stuff like me made it a lot more chal­leng­ing. To­ward the end of the year, I started fig­ur­ing it out a lit­tle more and got on a lit­tle bit of a role and I fin­ished strong.”

While he’s with a new or­ga­ni­za­tion, Fer­rell’s ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity at hand. Af­ter speak­ing with new pitch­ing coach Mel Stot­tle­myre Jr. for about 30 min­utes a few weeks ago, that feel­ing only am­pli­fied.

“[Stot­tle­myre] was telling me he’s done a lit­tle home­work and re­search on me and that re­ally ex­cited me — that he’s got all these guys and to put to­gether a plan that’s go­ing to give me the most suc­cess,” Fer­rell said.

The new guy in the club­house, Fer­rell said he’s still get­ting ac­quainted with his new team­mates as he un­der­goes the te­dious task of learn­ing the names of the 68 other play­ers in camp.

“I’m not do­ing too well on that part,” he said with a laugh.

Fer­rell does have a fa­mil­iar face be­hind the plate in fel­low Texan Bryan Ho­la­day. While they’ve never been team­mates, both played at TCU — Ho­la­day fin­ished his ca­reer three years be­fore Fer­rell ar­rived — and have trained at the same off­sea­son fa­cil­ity for three years.

While his Rule 5 re­quire­ments may seem­ingly give him an edge on pa­per, noth­ing is guar­an­teed in the Mar­lins’ re­vamped bullpen — and Fer­rell is ready for the spring com­pe­ti­tion.

“If it was just com­pet­ing against your­self in the game and not against any­body else or chas­ing any­body, I don’t think it’d be as fun,” Fer­rell said. “I’m def­i­nitely ex­ited to see what ev­ery­one’s got.”

Since the team’s only been in camp four days, Mar­lins man­ager Don Mat­tingly has only seen him throw one bullpen ses­sion, but he’s look­ing for­ward to see­ing more.

“[Fer­rell’s] a phys­i­cal kid,” Mat­tingly said. “He’s go­ing to get a good look. [He’s] a guy with good stuff and a guy we’re ex­cited about.”

WELLS DUSEN­BURY/SUN SEN­TINEL

New­comer Ri­ley Fer­rell hopes to make an im­pact in the Mar­lins bullpen this sea­son.

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