The Marlins have claimed righty Ryan Jensen off waivers from the Mariners, the team announced. Seattle designated him for assignment last week after acquiring Seby Zavala and Carlos Vargas from the D-backs in the trade sending Eugenio Suarez to Arizona. Miami’s 40-man roster now has 38 players.
Jensen, 26, was the No. 27 overall pick by the Cubs back in 2019 but hasn’t made his big league debut. Command issues have plagued him throughout his minor league tenure, and the Cubs placed him on waivers shortly after the trade deadline, surely hopeful of sneaking him through in order to retain him without committing a 40-man roster spot. That didn’t happen, as Seattle scooped him up for what will go down as a brief tenure.
This past season, Jensen split the year between Double-A and Triple-A, working to a combined 5.32 earned run average in 64 1/3 innings of work. He operated primarily out of the bullpen, his first season doing so after spending the first few years of his career as a starting pitcher.
In parts of four minor league seasons, Jensen has a 4.42 ERA with a solid 26% strikeout rate but an untenable 14.5% walk rate. His strike-throwing struggles have only mounted as he’s climbed the minor league ladder. Like many prospects, Jensen was surely impacted adversely by the canceled 2020 minor league season, but his command troubles were present even before that lost season; Jensen walked more than 10% of his college opponents and issued 14 free passes in 12 innings of Low-A ball in 2019 following that draft selection.
Jensen has a mid-90s heater, plus ground-ball rates, above-average strikeout rates and a pair of minor league options remaining, so it’s not a surprise to see clubs continue to take a flier on him. He’s a former first-round pick who’s drawn plenty of praise for his athleticism, but he’s a clear project for the Marlins rather than someone on whom they’ll be relying to fill a key role next season. Miami has space on the roster for now, but once they fill the 40-man, Jensen is the type of fringe 40-man name who could again find himself in DFA jeopardy if the Fish feel they need to free up some more space.