Spring Training 2013: Can Marlins Improve Up the Middle With Solano and Hechavarria?

1tsJGb.St.84Reports out of early Spring Training is that both Donovan Solano and Adeiny Hechavarria, the newly acquired Cuban SS from the Blue Jays this past offseason, are turning heads already.

Solano mashed a home run in a simulated game off of Steve Cishek on Wednesday then hit another home run today. Solano was able to turn heads last year, hitting .410 in the spring, and getting an early call up when the opportunity was available. He turned that into a .295 clip over the course of his stint with the Marlins last season, splitting time at various positions in the infield.

Hechavarria’s defense is easily his strength but his hitting is going to be where the Marlins are hoping for some upside. So far, they are impressed. He hit a triple to right center, showing his speed and ability to spray hits. This is the kind of thing the Marlins will be looking for to make sure Hechavarria does not become a Rey Ordonez-type SS – slick glove but no bat. He did hit .312 in Las Vegas but that is in the PCL where hitters tend to feast. Still, he did have a .363 OBP and he has the ability to steal bases – something he definitely will be expected to do when he gets on base for the Fish.

The two players already have been noted for having pretty good chemistry defensively, too. Solano is making his bid to be the full time 2B for the Marlins and Hechavarria has also been given the keys to the left side of the infield. It will be vital for both of them to have good chemistry when turning double plays as the Marlins defense looks to be a critical piece of any success they are to have in the 2013 season.

Another plus is that fielding guru Perry Hill returns to help the Marlins defense regain its composure. With a staff of mostly young players, it is critical that good coaching is instilled to help speed along their development. In Solano, the Marlins have a guy who is steady and doesn’t play outside himself. Defensively, expect the Marlins to at least be on par with their middle infield from last season (Omar Infante and Jose Reyes). In a way, the production of Hechavarria and Solano could illustrate the direction of this team.