East County Sports

Former Pat Poteet reaches promise

Former Christian High Patriot Cody Poteet delivers a pitch on Wednesday.

2021 EAST COUNTY LOCAL PROS

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

MIAMI – As a student at Christian High, Cody Poteet was a professional baseball prodigy with a premonition.

In late April of 2009, the hard-throwing freshman pitched a no-hitter for the Patriots varsity baseball team against Serra High and told the late Bill Dickens of East County Sports following the victory:

“I’m just trying to stay healthy and go wherever God takes me,” Poteet noted. “I want to play in the Big Leagues someday, but right now I’m trying to get a (college) scholarship — but I want to go higher than that.”

Poteet went 9-1 with a 1.56 ERA that season with Christian, leading the Patriots – along with his older brother, Michael – to a San Diego Section Division 4 championship win over Madison (Michael was the star in that 5-4 win but it was Cody that pitched them into the final with a playback win).

And Cody was a great hitter, too, hitting .394 with nine home runs that first year before winning an East County batting title with a .509 average (along with 55 hits, both school records for a program that produced Tony Clark) in his junior season as a third baseman with the Patriots, although he notably opted to play club baseball during his senior year.

Like Clark, he also played for the Christian High basketball team, although not as prodigiously as the current executive director of the MLB players’ union.

Although drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 27th round after his senior year, Poteet chose to accept a scholarship offer from UCLA, where he, had a very good career as a pitcher with the Bruins.

Following his junior year in Westwood, he was selected a second time in the MLB Draft by the Marlins in the fourth round in 2015 and signed a deal for $488,000, spending six years in the minor leagues until Wednesday night.

The 26-year-old right-hander made his major league debut and threw five strong innings on Wednesday, holding the Arizona Diamondbacks to two runs on four hits. He struck out six and didn’t issue a walk. His first major league whiff came against Stephen Vogt.

He became just the third starting pitcher in Marlins history to pitch at least five innings and not allow a walk in his MLB debut. Anibal Sanchez (June 25, 2006) and Sixto Sanchez (Aug. 22, 2020) are the others.

Pretty good company.

“An amazing moment,” Poteet said afterward. “I spent a lot of years working for this.”

Poteet said he found out Sunday he would be on the team’s road trip. Once in Miami, manager Don Mattingly told Poteet that he would start one of the games in Phoenix.

“It’s incredible to be here,” Poteet said. “I have nothing but a thankful heart.”

While Poteet is not currently one of the Marlins’ top prospects, he was one of their better prospects when he was drafted and has been on the club’s radar as a potential call-up lately.

Poteet has a career 3.84 ERA over 99 minor-league games (95 starts), with 400 strikeouts over 510 2/3 innings, and was twice named a minor league all-star.

He dominated in his first start of the season with the Triple A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, giving up just one earned run on three hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out 10.

Poteet was averaging 96 miles an hour in his first minor league start of the season. Like most minor leaguers, he hadn’t faced live real-game action in over a year due to the pandemic.

Marlins assistant general manager Dan Greenlee told the Miami Herald last weekend, “and his curveball has always been a good weapon.”

For comparison, Poteet’s fastball generally sat between 90 and 92 mph when he was drafted.

“We liked what we saw in spring,” Mattingly said. “We felt like he was a guy that had a pretty good mix, had a good idea of what he wanted to do, locates the ball well.”

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