MIAMI (AP) — Oz Ocampo already sees a similarity between the Miami Marlins and the two teams that just played in the World Series.
Miami’s new assistant general manager — who came to the Marlins from Houston — cites a stat that suggested that the World Series champion Astros and NL champion Philadelphia Phillies had the two most effective starting rotations in baseball this season.
The strength of the Marlins just happens to be starting pitching.
“Obviously, I did my own research as well,” Ocampo said Wednesday night. “The quality of starting pitching that we have is really incredible. And it’s not only minor leagues and big leagues, but it’s also top end, middle and bottom end, which is all important.”
That was one of the reasons why Ocampo — who had two stints with the Astros’ front office and has a stellar reputation around baseball as an evaluator of international talent — left the champions for a team that has had only one winning season in the last 13 years. The Marlins, he insists, are committed to winning and the pitching depth within the organization gives them a chance to make their plans a reality.
“This opportunity, knowing what we have in place and what we need to improve upon ... and that commitment to winning is really exciting,” Ocampo said. “And then obviously going through 10 years with Houston and seeing the players that our international team helped sign with Houston and seeing them perform at the highest level, I mean, that was just an incredible feeling.”
Luis Garcia, José Urquidy, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier were all signed by the Astros in large part because of Ocampo’s efforts. That foursome of pitchers went 3-1 in the World Series, with Justin Verlander getting Houston’s other win in the title matchup against the Phillies.
Ocampo also had a role in Houston landing Verlander and Yordan Alvarez, whose three-run homer in Game 6 against Philadelphia became the springboard the Astros used for their title-clinching victory.
Ocampo speaks five languages — English, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog and French. The Marlins hired him late last month and he remained with the Astros through the World Series.
In Miami, he'll be one of three assistant GMs working under Kim Ng. The others are Brian Chattin and Dan Greenlee.
The Marlins recently hired Skip Schumaker as their new manager to succeed Don Mattingly.
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Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press