The Miami Marlins will continue to add speed up the middle in its rebuilding project for the 2019 season.
Not only will youth be served in the continuing rebuilding project, but speed will also become a key component for the Miami Marlins heading into 2019.
Per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, As the organization continues to construct its roster at the big league and Minor League levels, the focus is to bring in as much speed and athleticism as possible.
That could mean the team keeps the type of roster already in place, with a few tweaks to add some pop in the middle of the lineup. Right now, other than catcher J.T. Realmuto, there isn’t a consistent batter capable with power in his swing.
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It’s something the Marlins have focused on, remaining a strong team up the middle, since the start of Spring Training. The team has made these adjustments to compensate for the size of Marlins Park, which is spacious and the long ball is something that becomes harder to hit.
"“If you get to pick and choose what you like, our ballpark is a ballpark that’s bigger,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “A little guy who hits the ball in the air a lot doesn’t really do you a whole lot of good. You’ve got to really hit it good here in this ballpark. There’s a lot of ground to cover out there, so speed, obviously, is something you’d like to have.”"
The Marlins added speed to its lineup with the addition of Lewis Brinson this offseason in centerfield and has added chess pieces throughout the season in a series of minor league moves. Playing “small ball” may become chic in South Florida. The baseball park is designed to be a singles and doubles stadium.
That plays into what Mattingly and the coaching staff have focused on this season.
The opening at first base should allow Miami to locate or find a power hitter. But looking at the current lineup, top to bottom it is more about putting the ball in play, speed, moving runners over and finding key hits in pressure situations than a slugger clearing the bases with one swing.
"“Speed and athleticism gives you opportunities to do a lot more things,” Mattingly said. “You put pressure on the defense from the standpoint of being able to hit-and-run more, being able to [steal] more."
Mattingly’s approach since becoming the skipper of this team three years ago has been to put more runners on base and for the top of the order to work the count to draw walks.
If the infield remains the same (sans first base) this should continue to be the focus of Spring Training.
"“The more athletic you get, the type of players you want, should fit your ballpark,” Mattingly said. “It doesn’t mean you don’t want guys who can hit it in the seats, but I do think you want guys who are able to drive in runs with gap power, and line-to-line type guys who are more pure hitters.”"