The Marlins got things going officially this week with a couple of games against the University of Miami Hurricanes and the FIU Golden Panthers. Prospects Angel Sanchez and Justin Nicolino got the starts but had mixed results. Both show obvious needs to get back into the swing of things and get the dust off their promising arms.
In Sanchez, the Marlins have high hopes to see a return on their investment when they traded Ricky Nolasco away to his hometown Dodgers. Sanchez is the only player remaining from that deal but projects to be a lively arm that is learning how to mix in other pitches rather than just relying on his fastball.
Nicolino was a part of the 2012 deal that sent several star players to the Blue Jays and brought back key players that are continuing to serve as a foundation for the new team moving forward. Nicolino is a highly regarded lefty prospect (4th best in Marlins’ system, 7th best overall).
Brett Butler hopes to help change the clubhouse culture in Miami. He was brought in for the sole purpose of helping with the aspects of “small ball”, mostly base running and generating runs. Juan C. Rodriguez paints an excellent picture behind Butler’s intent. Using data, the Marlins are assessing their inability to generate runs due to poor base running, not just because of an anemic offense. Generating runs remains a fundamental part of the game of baseball, and Butler was among the best at it of his generation. His managing at the Double A affiliate in Mobile, AL for the Diamondbacks showed his influence in how his team ran the bases.
Some nice pictures of the guys in action over at the Bradenton Herald. Check out the one where Jose Fernandez is stretching and it appears he has a hat-mounted camera on his head…
Derek Dietrich remains a compelling subject for the spring. Is he the 2nd baseman of the future? Or perhaps another candidate for 3rd base, should Colin Moran need to be moved to 1st or just doesn’t pan out? We like Dietrich to be a Chase Utley type of 2B with the ability to drive the ball and put it over the wall every now and then, too. The Marlins haven’t lost sight of that despite rumors about the tiff with Tino Martinez embarrassing the organization, last season. The Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel both visit this topic.
One bonus Marlins thought – They have a player on their hands in Derek Dietrich. He flashed leather all day down at the hot corner and he was fun to watch. I’m not sure if he can force his way on to their roster with the veterans they have in front of him, but if he keeps playing like he did today they may not have a choice.
Jose Fernandez shows he is not a fluke. A lot of talk is being made about his offseason training, both physical and mental, and that he has the ambition to be a great player along with the talent and mindset. He was very impressive yesterday in his spring debut , throwing 2 shutout innings and striking out 2 on only 32 pitches. Jarrod Saltalamacchia admitted Fernandez was not as sharp as he usually is but still was “scary” out there in his ability to create movement on his pitches. All signs point towards a successful 2014 campaign that may be even more impressive than his phenomenal rookie season. If that is the case, you can bet agent Scott Boras will be twisting his mustache on this situation, looking to get a huge pay day down the road. The question remains, will the Marlins be able to keep Fernandez long term?
The Marlins will take on the Mets today in Port St. Lucie. John Lannan will face Kevin Slowey, who is looking to land a spot in the rotation much like he did last season. The 29 year-old got a few breaks with injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi at the start of 2013, and will most likely have to have the same luck to get the 5th spot this time around. He is competing with Tom Koehler and Brad Hand for the 5th spot currently.
Although things continue to be dire in Venezuela, Marlins players are uniting in support of peace. Henderson Alvarez, Jose Fernandez, AJ Ramos, and Arquimedes Caminero all posed for a picture with the word “paz” (peace) on it to protest the violence in Venezuela. The Miami Herald covered the gesture and Marlins.com also supplied the photograph.
Marlins coverage for the spring on the MLB network, courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel:
MLB Network will air a handful of Miami Marlins’ games as part of its Grapefruit and Cactus League coverage schedule, but be prepared to set the DVR or wake up early.
The only live Marlins’ game MLB Network is airing will be Feb. 28 against the Cardinals at 1 p.m. The rest are all on tape delay. Here is the full list (schedule subject to change): March 2 at Mets (7 a.m.); March 3 at Nationals (7 a.m.); March 6 at Mets (7 a.m.); March 8 at Cardinals (10 a.m.); March 11 at Mets (3 a.m.); March 14 at Tigers (4 a.m.); March 17 at Twins (3 a.m.)…
The Marlins have scheduled a ‘B’ game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie on March 10. They hope to add a few more the first week in March…