The Miami Marlins played two games on Saturday, both resulted in defeats for the team, but the team had many positives in both games that the team can draw from going forward. The two biggest positives for Marlins fans to look forward to were both featured in the loss against the Washington Nationals, top prospects Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich.
Jose Fernandez Debuts
Fernandez finally got his first chance to pitch in Grapefruit league action on Saturday, against the Washington Nationals. His previous two appearances happened in a simulation game and a warm-up against Team Venezuela.
Fernandez went two innings in this game, the sixth and seventh innings. Fernandez showed off his potential impact in a huge way. He needed only 11 pitches to get retire the side in the sixth inning and finished off the seventh inning allowing just one hit. Fernandez also struck out two hitters and did not record a walk. An impressive debut, especially considering the Nationals were employing their top players, including many who will be on the Opening Day Roster.
The rest of the Marlins staff did not fare too well, most notably Alex Sanabia. Sanabia, who is in the running for the fifth starter spot, allowed four runs in his 2 2/3 innings. He did strike out two hitters and walk just one, but the five hits he allowed were a bit troublesome.
Another pitcher in the Marlins starting pitching battle relieved Sanabia, in Brad Hand. Hand was actually impressive in most of the start, striking out two and walking one, a big bonus for him and his “come and go” command. However, Hand allowed back-to-back home runs to Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman that dampened his entire outing.
Christian Yelich Continues to Rake
The Marlins lineup in this game, featuring Christian Yelich, Joe Mahoney, and Chone Figgins, pounded out 12 hits. The leader of the pack, Yelich, went 2-for-3 on the evening with two walks. His line is up to an amazing .400/.516/.720 with five extra-base hits. In his 31 plate appearances, Yelich has actually walked (8) more times than he has struck out (6).
Yelich is making a strong case for himself to make the Marlins Opening Day roster, but the team needs to resist the urge and let him show he can handle Double-A first.
Mahoney came through with another home run in this game, his third of the spring. Mahoney is currently in a battle with Casey Kotchman to make the team as the first baseman until Logan Morrison‘s returns from his off-season knee surgery. His line of .231/.269/.615 in 27 spring training appearances has been unimpressive to date, despite his strong showing in power.
For all the position battles, I will have a post tomorrow updating them. Keep an eye out for that.