Opening day 2013 is just four days away. As the debut of the 2013 Marlins season nears, we are going to ramp up our season preview coverage in the coming days. I will also finish off the top 20 prospect list for the Miami Marlins before Opening Day.
MLB.com published it’s projected Opening Day lineups for every team yesterday. While it looks like it was a fun activity to do, there is no way that the writers know who exactly is going to play and where they will play. Although the Marlins roster is essentially set, there are still pressing questions surrounding the team, such as: who will play centerfield? Who is going to bat fourth, “protecting” Stanton?
Here is a look at the projected batting order for the Miami Marlins:
1. LF: Juan Pierre
Pierre is not a surprise to lead off for the Marlins. That is the main reason they signed him in the offseason. They want him to be the leader of the team. The number three hitter will be Stanton, something that Redmond emphasized early in camp. Redmond wants his best hitter to hit in the first inning.
Mar 26, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) fields an RBI single from Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (not pictured) in the third inning during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Other than Hechavarria hitting eight and Nolasco ninth, nothing else is set in stone. Redmond has mentioned both Brantly and Polanco as candidates to bat clean-up behind Stanton. Polanco has also been named as a candidate to bat second, along with Solano.
A case could be made for Kotchman hitting behind Stanton as well, but I have not seen that mentioned by the Marlins manager, so it does not seem to be an option. The truth of the matter is, whoever bats in front of or behind Stanton is not overly important. Stanton did not have proper “protection” behind him last season, as Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Collette pointed out in our interview earlier this month.
"In 2012, with Logan Morrison, Greg Dobbs, and Gaby Sanchez hit behind Stanton in 83 of his 122 games. That trio posted a .291 wOBA and a .670 OPS. Hardly much protection for Stanton in those games."
Stanton did well for himself last season, despite the hitters hitting behind him. I am not overly concerned about Stanton’s numbers dropping off because of the lack of “protection.”
Last thing of note, Redmond noted a couple of days ago that he could go with a platoon situation in center, between Chris Coghlan (if he makes the team) and Justin Ruggiano in center. With the tough right handed Stephen Strasburg pitching for the Washington Nationals on Opening Day, it could make sense to give Coghlan the start over Ruggiano for that game.
I would have no serious issues with the lineup that MLB.com has suggested, but if I were Redmond, this is the lineup I would throw out there against the Nationals on April 1st:
1. LF: Juan Pierre
2. CF: Chris Coghlan
3. RF: Giancarlo Stanton
4. 1B: Casey Kotchman
5. 3B: Placido Polanco
6. C: Rob Brantly
7. 2B: Donovan Solano
8. SS: Adeiny Hechavarria
9. SP: Ricky Nolasco
Mar 17, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins first baseman Casey Kotchman (18) connects for an RBI single in the third inning during a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
This lineup would get the Marlins two hitters that can get on base and run the bases well in front of Stanton. Kotchman hitting behind Stanton provides a decent contact hitter that could take advantage of the Nationals if they decide to pitch around Stanton. Polanco batting fifth would put less pressure on Brantly, Solano, and Hechavarria batting lower in the lineup.
Overall, this Marlins lineup is not imposing at all. Outside of Stanton, there are serious questions where power will come from this team.
What do you guys think the Marlins Opening Day lineup should look like? Will it even matter against such a talented pitcher in Strasburg?