Sep 25, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins staring pitcher Brad Hand (52) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins are coming into Spring Training with most of their roster all set, save for two or three positions. One of the roles that the Marlins will have an open competition at is the fifth and last starting rotation spot.
Tom Koehler, Brian Flynn, top prospect Andrew Heaney, and Brad Hand are expected to battle for the fifth rotation spot. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, it seems like the left hander Hand may have the early advantage to win the role:
"The sense here is if Brad Hand pitches especially well this spring, he’ll win the fifth spot in the Marlins rotation, because he’s out of minor league options and the Marlins like him. But he has to pitch well."
Hand started two games for the Marlins in late September and did not have the best results. Hand posted an ERA of 4.50 and a 4.80 FIP in 12 innings of work. For his career, Hand owns a 5.49 FIP with an ugly 1.14 K/BB ratio.
Hand has always posted impressive strike out rates in the minor leagues, but he has struggled with control and walks in his pro career.
I don’t believe that Hand is one of the better Marlins options for the upcoming season in the fifth starters role, but the fun puns with his name would be endless and could make a rough game a bit more enjoyable.
An interesting thought for the Marlins and Hand would be a future relief role, as the second lefty behind Mike Dunn. In 5 relief appearances with the Marlins last season, Hand posted a 1.04 ERA and a 2.93 FIP.