Everything is falling into place this season for New York Yankees prospect Ron Marinaccio, pitching for the Yankees Double-A affiliate Somerset Patriots. A native of Toms River, NJ and Toms River North High School alumni, Marinaccio is having the most successful year of his career on the field, and playing approximately an hour from his hometown.
“It's always nice to have family and friends out here,” Marinaccio said. Joking that it can sometimes be hectic gathering tickets for people who want to come to games. Players were limited to only two tickets for friends and family per game at the beginning of the season. Marinaccio, who said he has up to a dozen people asking for tickets each night, had to go around the clubhouse and ask teammates if they had any that they weren't using.
On the field, this season has been a breakout campaign for the 19th round pick in 2017. The right handed reliever owns an impressive 2.02 ERA, with 58 strikeouts in 35.2 innings, and opponents hitting .134 off him, all the best numbers of his career. If Marinaccio wasn't on the radar of Yankee fans before 2021, he sure is now.
The 26-year old Marinaccio, who played his collegiate baseball at the University of Delaware, grinded every single day during the canceled 2020 season to improve his game. “I was 24 turning 25 at the time of the shutdown, and you have to look at it and say, if you really want to do this, you need to put in a little bit of extra work now.”
He drove nearly an hour every single day to work with his new trainer, CJ Appenzeller, who Marinaccio greatly credits for his success. With Appenzellar’s help, Marinaccio gained a noticeable amount of muscle, while improving his agility in the process.
He also exchanged text messages almost daily with Somerset Patriots pitching coach Daniel Moskos, sharing videos of his workouts and bullpen sessions. Despite all of their conversations being virtual, Moskos made some mechanical tweaks in Marinaccio’s delivery. “Rather than trying to throw as hard as I can, I tried to find out how to move correctly this offseason,” Marinaccio said. “And it made throwing harder easier.”
Hard Work Pays Off
After all the work that Marinaccio put in, he upped his velocity on the mound from average, to elite. He’s now flashing upper-90’s on the radar gun, sitting at 96-97 MPH with his fastball and reaching 98 MPH.
“That's a huge tick up for me,” Marinaccio explained. “In previous years I've averaged around 90 MPH… seeing the results makes it a little bit easier to keep on going.”
Marinaccio also polished his changeup during the offseason, which has been a big help. ”I’ve been a bit more off-speed heavy this year,” he explained. “In previous years I was using it about 10 percent of the time. This year it's up to around 40 or 50 percent.”
A Look Ahead
Marinaccio has been key to the Somerset Patriots success this season. He has yet to allow a run while pitching in the ninth inning, and allowed only two hits in those nine innings pitched. “I definitely love throwing at the end of the game,” he said. “There's a bit more adrenaline, it makes you lock into each pitch a little bit more because every out is huge at that point in the game.”
The Yankees have been in need of some bullpen help lately, and with pitchers such as Janson Junk and Glenn Otto dealt at the trade deadline, Marinaccio may be in line for a call to Triple-A, and eventually the Bronx.
Adding to his motivation, Marinaccio grew up a Yankees fan. “It's been a dream my whole life to play Major League Baseball, and to play for the New York Yankees would just be even cooler. Everyones a Yankees fan in my family. That makes it a little more special.”