MO2 overview: Marlins look to navigate through injuries
With three regulars on the injured list, the Marlins depth is getting tested. Time for players to step up and pick up the slack. Here’s who to keep an eye on.
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
A year ago, the Marlins overcame injury adversity and reached the postseason.
The club now is dealing with some ailments that’s testing the organization’s depth.
The Marlins are in the midst of a three-city, 10-game road trip with three Opening Day starting position players on the 10-day injured list: center fielder Starling Marte (rib), third baseman Brian Anderson (oblique) and catcher Jorge Alfaro (hamstring).
Additionally, first baseman/outfielder Garrett Cooper has not started the past three games due to a groin issue.
More on Cooper shortly. He’s been a pinch-hit option, and manager Don Mattingly on Thursday night said he could be ready to return to the lineup on Friday night at San Francisco.
The Marlins lost 3-0 to the Giants on Thursday, and were limited to just two hits.
Dealing with adversity is nothing new to the Marlins.
Looking back at 2020, in the first week alone of the shortened season, the Marlins had 18 players test positive for COVID-19. Over the 60-game season, they used 61 different players.
Obviously, circumstances are different now, as the club is confronted with more traditional, baseball-related setbacks.
Mattingly added the hope is Anderson will be ready to come off the injured list after 10 days. The manager then added, the team wants to make sure he’s completely ready. Bottom line is, it doesn’t appear to be a serious issue.
Alfaro’s hamstring is a tough break, because the athletic catcher was showing signs of coming around at the plate. Now, Sandy Leon and Chad Wallach will share time at the position.
With three key players down, MO2 highlights a few players who need to step up.
1B/OF Garrett Cooper: When healthy, Cooper shows signs of being an impactful middle of the order hitter. But the 30-year-old last started on Sunday in right field, in a 1-0 loss to the Giants at loanDepot park.
Cooper has made a pinch-hit appearance in two of Miami’s last three games.
Slowed by the groin issue, the question will be if Cooper is ready to return to the outfield, or if the Marlins want him in a position where he doesn’t have to cover as much ground: first base.
Maybe Cooper is at first base on Friday night, with Jesus Aguilar getting a day off. Or if he is moving around well enough, he could play the outfield.
But, Cooper’s also been struggling of late. After his 3-for-5 game with three RBIs on April 12 at Atlanta, the slugger has three hits in his last 20 at-bats, with one RBI and seven strikeouts
OF Corey Dickerson: Dickerson has been shaky in left field, but pretty productive at the plate. The left-handed hitting veteran, in his last seven games, is hitting .333.
If Dickerson can pick things up at the plate, it would be a huge boost for a sluggish offense.
Marte’s production is missed. He was playing at an All-Star level, and had scored scored 15 runs in 15 games. Dickerson has scored eight runs.
OF Lewis Brinson: The Marlins have given Brinson a huge opportunity to play regularly in center with Marte out. The club had been using him situationally for more than a year. In 2020, he mostly started against left-handers.
Since Marte’s went down, Brinson is 2-for-10, and he’s hitting .111 on the season in just 18 at-bats.
It’s crunch time for Brinson with the Marlins. This is the final option season. Some are confused on the option process. Brinson entered the year with one option, and that was exercised early in the season, when he was sent to the alternate training site in Jacksonville.
To be clear, the option is available all season. What it means is next year, he will not have an option, so he would have to stick on the 26-man roster or have to be designated or assignment, unless he’s traded or let go.
How Brinson performs now could go a long way in determining his long-term future with the organization.
INF Jon Berti: With Anderson out, the Marlins are going with #BertiBall, the hashtag I affectionally coined a few years ago to define his style of play, which basically is to be fundamentally sound wherever he plays.
The Marlins are committed to Berti mostly at third base in place of Anderson. This is interesting, because prospect Jose Devers was added to the big league roster instead of Isan Diaz.
Devers fits the utility role more than Diaz, who is mostly a second baseman, who is getting some work at third base. If Diaz were a viable third base option, he might have gotten the call to replace Anderson. But Diaz doesn’t play shortstop, while Devers plays shortstop, third and second base.
Versatility, in this case, works to his advance.
As for Berti, he’s off to a slow start at the plate, hitting .194 with a .293 on-base percentage. Berti, however, in 2020 had a .388 OBP and in 2019, had a .348 OBP.
If Berti needs a breather, shortstop Miguel Rojas is an option at third base, with either Jazz Chisholm Jr. or Devers an option at short, with the other playing second.
2 thoughts on “MO2 overview: Marlins look to navigate through injuries”
How about Sierra? The guy could be a huge asset with regular plying time. He has a unique skill set that would bring something different to the lineup.
Not sure if you’re asking if Sierra should be playing more, or he is someone who needs to step up? Sierra’s role has been to come off the bench, as a pinch-runner, pinch-hitter or defensive replacement. For now, they’ve committed to Brinson to play regularly in center. Sierra certainly is someone who has a role. Thus far, they haven’t shown they view him as a regular.
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