What do Greg Dobbs, Austin Kearns, Brett Hayes, Donnie Murphy, and Kevin Mattison all have in common? They are all active members of the Miam Marlins bench and play an important role in the success of the team. As with all teams, bench players are called upon to spot-start to rest your starters or pinch hit/pinch run during a game. Many times the game will actually come down to the performance of bench players, a key example was Friday night. Austin Kearns and Greg Dobbs alone provided enough runs for the Marlins to capture the win over the New York Mets. Today, I will break down the current Marlins bench and the role they have played.
Greg Dobbs- Perhaps the most reliable option on the bench, the Marlins inked Dobbs to a 2 year, 3 million dollar contract in the off-season. After joining the team in 2011 as a spring training invitee, Dobbs made the team and did more than what he was asked to secure a job for this year and next. Bringing a lefty bat off the bench, Dobbs is hitting .262 with 5 RBI’s and 1 stolen base. Capable of playing third base, first base, and even some outfield, Dobbs is a very versatile player and can hit in any order of the lineup. Greg is looked upon as a great teammate and brings a veteran presence to the clubhouse. Though I’m sure he will tell you his number’s are not where he would like them to be, Dobb’s has had his share of moments this year. Friday against the Mets, Dobbs lined a line-drive single to right field scoring the game winning run in walk-off fashion. Personally, I love Greg Dobb’s and feel like he is one of the best bench options in the NL East.
Austin Kearns- Austin Kearns has not had the career he envisioned when he was drafted 7th overall in the 1998 draft. After failing to live up to high expectations, Kearns now finds himself in Miami as a bench player. Thankfully for the Marlins, Kearns has been a solid addition to the team as of today. After getting a spring training invite, Kearns was viewed as a long-shot to make the team behind Aaron Rowand. Fortunate for him, Kearns had perhaps the best spring of any Marlin earning him a spot on the opening day lineup. Being mainly used against left handed pitchers, Kearns has appeared in 15 games hitting .258 with 3 HR’s and 5 RBI’s. Kearns is used in left field defensively and has aided Logan Morrison on a number of occasions. Though he is not the best defensive option, Kearns has not looked horrible in the field and has actually shown good range for a man of his age. If Kearns can keep providing power and flexibility off the bench, he should remain in Miami throughout the whole season.
Brett Hayes- Every team needs a reliable back up catcher to provide much need break days for the starter. The Marlins have just that in Brett Hayes. Hayes, who brings a better bat in my opinion than Buck, has started 10 games this season. Hitting .300 with 3 doubles, Hayes takes a very disciplined swing and actually has more pop than his power numbers suggest. Defensively, he is a downgrade from John Buck but that is expected. He has thrown out 3 of 6 runners on the year and has not allowed a passed ball on the year. A noticeable flaw in his game is his number of catcher interference’s that have been called on him this year. Fortunately for him, this is a problem that can be fixed. Hayes is a very reliable catcher and COULD be a starter later in his career in the right situation.
Donnie Murphy- Donnie ‘Bleepin’ Murphy has not had the start he was expecting. Murphy, an infielder who is capable of playing almost every position, is known as a fan favorite for delivering a number of walk-off hit’s in his past with the Marlins. Through 13 games played, Murphy is hitting .130 on the year with 2 home runss and 5 RBI’s. Though Murphy is struggling, he still provides the best option as of today in the organization as a reserve infielder. Donnie has average power and is capable of going deep if he gets the right pitch. He is average in the field and brings a pinch run option when needed off the bench. He is strike out prone and will not provide much excitement. Unless Murphy get’s hot soon, I cannot see the Marlins keeping Murphy throughout the whole season.
Kevin Mattison- Mattison, a recent call-up by the Marlins, made his major league debut Saturday when he grounded out to first. A 26 year old drafted by the Marlins in the 28th round of the 2008 draft, Mattison brings blazing speed to the club. Though he may be a temporary call-up, Mattison has good minor league numbers and is capable of making an impact. Through his 5 year career in the minors, Mattison has 149 stolen bases. Not only does he bring great speed, but he easily has the best mustache in the organization!