Feb 23, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna (68) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Marlins defeated the Cardinals 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
The injury bug has bit the Miami Marlins again. Joe Mahoney missed Monday’s game against the New York Mets with a hamstring injury and was unavailable as a pinch hitter. Giancarlo Stanton went down with a hamstring injury hustling down the line trying to beat out a ground ball. Stanton immediately went down and grabbed below his buttocks.
The Marlins announced that Stanton has a strained hamstring and he should miss a couple of weeks. As a result of these injuries, the Marlins placed Stanton and Mahoney on the 15-day disabled list. The team called up prospects Marcell Ozuna and Brad Hand to take their roster spots.
Marcell Ozuna has been on fire since his return from the DL with a broken hand. Ozuna owns a .333/.383/.810 slash line for the Marlins Double-A affiliate, the Jacksonville Suns. Ozuna has five homers and a total of nine extra base hits early on. I ranked Ozuna as the Marlins 6th best prospect earlier this off-season and projected he would be ready by the 2014 season:
"In 2012, in High-A, Ozuna posted a similar line of .266/.328/.476 with 24 home runs. He actually improved his strikeout rate a tad, moving it down to 21.5 percent. This all happened in the less hitter friendly parks of the Florida State League. Another positive step forward for Ozuna. Although his strikeout issues and poor plate recognition have yet to deeply affect him in the minors, he should face a major test next season as he moves up to Double-A. If he can continue to improve against more advanced pitching, the Marlins have a extremely promising prospects on their hands."
The Marlins promoting Ozuna seems to be an extremely aggressive move, as he has just the 57 at bats at Double-A. Ben Bradler noted that while Ozuna’s power is fun to watch, he may not be ready for the big leagues currently:
The Marlins also called up Triple-A pitcher Brad Hand. Hand has been successful early on in the season, posting a 2.45 ERA and a 3.25 FIP in 22 innings. Hand has continued to struggle with his commands, as he has walked 11 hitters in those 22 innings.
Hand has a career 4.95 ERA in the majors and has walked and struck out 41 hitters in 63 2/3 innings. Although he is the Marlins best option with Jacob Turner working out his kinks, he is not much more than a fringe player at this point.
Expectations for both these players should be low, as Hand is likely a career minor league pitcher and Ozuna may not be quite ready to handle major league pitching.
I would expect Hand to work out of the Marlins bullpen, as the team went through 11 innings of work from the bullpen in their 15 inning win over the Mets Monday.
The good news for Marlins fans, Adeiny Hechavarria is expected to back in the Marlins lineup on Thursday, when the Marlins travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies.