Miami Marlins Must Overcome Depleted Pitching Staff

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A mere 12 months ago, the Miami Marlins boasted one of the deepest young pitching staffs in all of baseball. Today? they face uncertainty in three of the five rotation spots after injuries to Mat Latos, Jarred Cosart, and Henderson Alvarez.

When Alvarez hit the 60-day  disabled list to start 2013, the Marlins turned to 21-year-old rookie Jose Fernandez, and we know how that turned out. Fast forward to 2015, and the former Rookie of the Year is about a month away from returning from Tommy John surgery. While he finishes recovering, the organization will again have to turn to their minor league depth, but this time there are far fewer options.

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Over the offseason, the Marlins traded away three of their promising young arms: Nathan Eovaldi, Anthony DeSclafani, and Andrew Heaney are all pitching elsewhere. With those three out of the picture, Justin Nicolino and Jose Urena will likely receive their opportunities to start in the big leagues. Both Urena (the club’s number seven prospect according to MLB.com) and Nicolino (#2 prospect) have enjoyed success at Triple-A this season; the 23-year-old Urena has an invisible 1.21 ERA with 22 strikeouts against 12 walks in 37.1 innings. Nicolino has a 2.15 ERA in nine starts for New Orleans.

Urena already had his first cup of coffee with the Marlins back in April, and could rejoin the club in the coming days.

By all accounts, Fernandez appears to be breezing through his rehab process, although he hasn’t begun throwing in minor league games yet. No matter how well he appears to be doing, the Marlins would be ignorant to rush him back, regardless of the state of their starting rotation. When he returns, Jose needs to be as close to 100% as possible, which could take until after the All-Star Break.

While holding off until July would be the wiser decision, we are talking about the Marlins. The same team that just fired their manager after 36 games, and moved their General Manager into the dugout.

After a saddening, miserable, hopes-and-dreams-smashing week for Marlins fans, the bad news continues to pile up. Now, it’s again time for a couple of young pitchers to step up. After two straight wins against the Baltimore Orioles, things need to turn around quickly for the Fish if they want to force their way back into the playoff picture. One thing’s for sure, after an eight-game losing streak, things can only go up from here. Right?

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