The Miami Marlins boosted their minor league depth by signing a former SF Giants relief prospect. According to Christina De Nicola of MLB.Com, the Marlins have signed former SF Giants lefty Steven Okert to a minor-league deal. The deal does not include an invite to spring training, so Okert is not competing for an Opening Day roster spot.
San Francisco originally selected the left-handed hurler in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Oklahoma. As a college reliever, the expectation was that Okert would move fast through the Giants’ farm system and he did just that as he excelled at every minor-league stop.
Former SF Giants relief prospect Steven Okert signed a MiLB Deal with the Miami Marlins.
Okert debuted for the Giants in 2016 where he posted a 3.21 ERA across 14 frames. In three seasons with the club, the 29-year-old registered a 4.28 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, and a 2.93 SO/W ratio.
When Okert joined the major league club, the hope was that he would form a future bullpen core alongside Josh Osich, Derek Law, and Hunter Strickland. San Francisco used up a lot of draft capital on Okert (4th round, 2012), Law (9th round, 2011), and Osich (6th round, 2011) hoping to get a good return on investment.
However, that never came to fruition. The Giants designated Okert for assignment before the 2019 season got underway. He cleared waivers and remained with the organization while pitching at Triple-A before electing free agency in the following offseason. However, for unknown reasons, the veteran reliever did not latch on with an organization for 2020 even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
While on the surface, Okert’s bottom-line numbers are not bad, he struggled to establish himself as a leverage reliever. Oftentimes, he was used situationally against left-handed hitters, but he did not demonstrate the type of effectiveness that the Giants had seen from fellow southpaws in Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez for the better part of the decade prior to his arrival.
With that being said, the University of Oklahoma product still has the potential to become an effective bullpen arm. He just needs a long look, which is not something he necessarily received with the SF Giants. It could be a different story with Miami as every team’s depth will be tested in 2021. Perhaps that could put Steven Okert in a Marlins uniform before the end of the year.