Jake Marisnick could be the future in center field for the Marlins. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins could have a situation brewing in their outfield. As Christian Yelich heads to the disabled list, the Marlins have enlisted the services of young Jake Marisnick to fill his place. Marisnick was an easy choice, as he has been tearing apart pitching in AAA New Orleans, and has all the tools to be a solid major leaguer. Many view Jake as the center fielder of the future for the Marlins, but his career got off to a bit of a slow start.
Marisnick has flashed all kinds of talent in the minor leagues, dominating at AA Jacksonville in 2013 prior to being a midseason call-up last year. Unfortunately for him, his call-up was less than desirable. He struggled mightily and those struggles continued into spring training in 2014. He broke camp with New Orleans and after a slow start, has really come on the last few weeks.
This is where the problem resides. The Marlins have 4 talented outfielders that are all pretty unique with their skill set. No doubt the crown jewel of the outfield is MVP-candidate Giancarlo Stanton. He is entrenched in right field as long as he dons the Fish uniform. The other three players have potential, but they are all very young. Yelich, Marisnick, and Marcell Ozuna have shown flashes of all-star level ability, with Yelich probably being the more polished of the trio at this point. Ozuna certainly has the most raw power, but also the strikeout numbers to go-along with such a big, free swing.
Marisnick, on the other hand, might have the highest ceiling out of all of them. He has more power than Yelich, and more plate discipline than Ozuna. He has great instincts defensively, often showcasing surprising speed for the big outfielder. So what happens if Marisnick absolutely rakes during his call-up with Miami?
He just might force the Marlins to make a decision regarding the future of their outfield sooner than they would like. The question becomes, who is the odd man out? Obviously Stanton is safe, and Yelich will likely be manning left field when he returns, so it seems to be between Marisnick and Ozuna.
I believe the Marlins want Marisnick to take the job, but they aren’t going to hand it to him if he is struggling. He is going to have to earn it. Either way, Miami will roll with these 4 outfielders until the off-season, during which they will make a trade.
If Miami is unable to sign Stanton to a long-term contract, it is certainly conceivable that he would be trade bait. He would certainly bring back the best players in a trade, and if the Marlins feel that they are going to lose him anyway, I could see it happening. I am not rooting for it, but the move is at least defensible.
I am hoping that Marisnick plays well enough to take the center field job. He would be a fine leadoff hitter, certainly one of the best options that the Marlins have right now. Time will tell what Miami chooses to do, but that decision may be the difference between years of contention or prolonged failure. Do you trust them to make the right one?