The Miami Marlins sit at 13-17 and are fighting the injury bug. Can necessity prove the Marlins have more depth than previously believed?
For the Miami Marlins, there were question marks before the season began. After getting off to a hot start, things cooled off for the Fish as April closed and May began. Now, with injuries beginning to mount, Don Mattingly will be forced to rely on unproven players on a regular basis.
A Wild Card berth remains plausible if you’re willing to muscle up on some good ole’ baseball spirit. There are essentially two ways to look at the first handful of the baseball season for the Fish: The bad way, or the good way.
The bad way is obvious. It’s easy. It’s often the mindset Marlins fans have been backed into the corner to have after years of abuse from ownership.
All of these injuries to the teams Major League level talent will reveal the dearth at the minor league level. The team will struggle to win 70 games this year, and the clock on the functional young-core of the team will continue to tick. Having wasted another season, a number of the backloaded contracts the Marlins currently have on the books begin to bloat.
Giancarlo Stanton sees his wages increase an additional $10.5 million. Christian Yelich sees his income double. Edinson Volquez and Wei-Yin Chen will account for $25.6 million combined. With a fat payroll, and potentially the same closed-purse owner, the Marlins are forced to tear it apart and start from scratch again.
But, and this is a very big but, surprises happen in baseball. Currently, Edinson Volquez is on the disabled list with a blister, which made room Odrissamer Despaigne to start against the Mets. He was awful, and the Marlins didn’t stand a chance following a five-run first inning for New York. He was optioned back to NOLA the following morning, which led to Brian Ellington joining the ball club.
Ellington is only 26 years old and features a fastball that sits comfortably in the upper-90’s, occasionally touching three digits. A 16th round pick out of West Florida College, Ellington is a homegrown product in every sense of the word. If he is able to gain full command of all his pitches, he is a potentially dominant arm out of the pen.
Wei-Yin Chen’s “dead arm” also paved the way for José Ureña‘s encouraging performance in the series finale against the Mets on Sunday. Having served in a long-relief role this season, Ureña was operating on a very limited pitch count, bad news for an already overused bullpen. However, Ureña spinned a gem, allowing no runs on one hit through six innings on only 63 pitches.
In the bottom of the second inning, breakout infielder Miguel Rojas left the game with an injury to his right thumb. His injury isn’t serious, and he is listed day-to-day. However, because he was unable to continue, Martin Prado was forced into action and suffered another hamstring injury. He started the season on the disable list with issues in the same hamstring. Both will undergo examination before a decision is made, but it appears that shortstop J.T. Riddle will be rejoining the club.
New additions to the club
Despite the fact that Riddle’s numbers don’t look great, he was solid defensively and offered hope that his lowly .143 batting average were growing pains. As a 13th round pick in the 2013 draft, he has already exceeded expectations by making it to the pro level. Could he develop into the shortstop of the future for the Marlins?
Another indication that the Miami Marlins might be without their captain is the recent signing of Mike Aviles. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Aviles will be signing a minor league contract with the team. A steady hand and veteran player, Aviles has the ability to play multiple positions, and provides depth across the diamond.
Injuries are never ideal, but perhaps a little pressure will turn the 2017 edition of the Miami Marlins into diamonds. They’ve managed to stay only 4 games under .500 despite being 3-7 in their last 10 games.