March 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Gorkys Hernandez (2) bunts during the second inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Marlins Way: Miami Marlins to use committee to man centerfield?

If manager Mike Redmond had his way, Christian Yelich would open the season with the Miami Marlins big league club and be the starting center fielder. But Redmond realizes that the organization needs to make the best decision for Yelich going forward, and that would mean his star prospect beginning the season in Double-A.

“I play him all the time. I love him. Like I said, he’s had a great spring. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. But at the end of the day, he’s never had an at-bat above A ball, and we have to make sure we’re doing the right thing for him and the organization.”

With Yelich out of the mix for the job— until at least midseason — the competition for the starting center field role will be between Chris Coghlan, Gorkys Hernandez, and Justin Ruggiano.

Redmond could end up going with a platoon situation in center if one of the competitors does not separate themselves from each other.

So far this spring, Coghlan is hitting .318/.333/.455 with five extra base hits, but he has not walked or hit a single home run. Hernandez has hit .294/.385/.324 with four walks and stolen bases, but he has absolutely no pop in his bat.

Finally, Ruggiano was the favorite to win this job, but with back issues, he has not had a chance to be himself yet. He has gone 2-for-14 so far this spring. Of all the Marlins options in center, Ruggiano has the highest upside, due to his power potential.

At least two of these players should make the team. With Coghlan having a minor league option left, he is the most likely option to be sent down.

However, there is a good chance the Marlins allow all three to make the team and play them according to the hot hand. Coghlan would also provide the Marlins with the versatility of playing the infield, if the team allowed him to do so.

– Sam Evans of Fishstripes suggests the best time to call up Christian Yelich would be in August. Sam argues that the Marlins need to let Yelich develop as well avoid giving him a chance to become Super-2 eligible. I think he is on point. The Marlins rushing Yelich could hinder his development.

– Although it is not advisable, the Marlins promoting Yelich from Single-A Jupiter to the Majors would not be unprecedented according to Juan Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. As Juan points out:

According to, 21 players since 1990 have totaled 450 or more plate appearances in the majors as rookies during their age 21 seasons or younger. All but two logged time in Double-A or Triple-A.

– Miami Marlins closer Steve Cishek‘s biggest weapon is his side-armed delivery, but he is working on adding a changeup to his resume. Cishek tried the pitch out yesterday in a minor league game. Cishek said he felt the new pitch felt good.

– Mike Redmond recently suggested that Rob Brantly will be the Marlins fourth hitter in the lineup, behind Giancarlo Stanton. Rant Sports wonders whether that would put too much pressure on the young catcher.

– Looking for a good fantasy baseball sleeper? ESPN’s Fantasy expert Eric Karabell suggests that Marlins centerfielder Justin Ruggiano fits the bill as the perfect sleeper candidate in mixed leagues.

Who should start for the Marlins in center?

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Tags: Chris Coghlan Christian Yelich Giancarlo Stanton Gorkys Hernandez Miami Marlins Rob Brantly Steve Cishek

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