Some time this summer, if not earlier, the climactic chapter of Tommy Eveld’s improbable athletic tale could be completed.
The 6-foot-5 former USF quarterback-turned-closer is a non-roster invitee to Marlins spring training, which begins for pitchers and catchers Feb. 13 in Jupiter. Eveld, acquired from the Diamondbacks in a trade last summer, is among a handful of names mentioned as candidates for Florida’s beleaguered bullpen.
The Jesuit High alumnus' career has remained on a steady upward trajectory since he was taken by Arizona in the ninth round of the 2016 draft, shortly after a breakthrough season (2.21 ERa, 67 strikeouts in 53 innings) as USF’s closer.
The highlight of his 100-appearance tenure in the Diamondbacks organization was a lights-out stint (1-0, 1.36 ERA, 14 saves) with the club’s Class-A affiliate in Kane County (Ill.). Eveld struck out 33 in 27-1/3 innings, registering a 0.651 WHIP.
He continued flourishing in the Marlins organization, striking out 14 in 9-2/3 innings (with a 0.931 WHIP) with Double-A Jacksonville to end the ’18 season. A few months later, he married his longtime girlfriend, former Bulls softball standout Erica Nunn.
Mostly a ground-ball pitcher to this point, Eveld possesses a mid-90s fastball complemented by a slider, curve and changeup.
The Marlins converted only 57 percent of their save chances in 2018, finishing 63-98.