Now that Derek Dietrich has been released by the team, who will the starting right fielder for the Miami Marlins in 2019?
While Derek Dietrich was one of the Miami Marlins most dependable players in his time with the organization, the veteran did not have a true position with the team. Playing right field for most of the season, now there is a hole created with his departure, opening the door for other players to step up and claim a spot in the batting order.
Who plays right field is really anyone’s guess right now. According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, he believes there are five players within the organization who will compete for the one spot.
There is also an opening in left field. The only outfield spot I think is safe to say is claimed is centerfield where Lewis Brinson will return to his familiar spot and bat leadoff.
"“With the Marlins ready to move in another direction, Dietrich’s playing time in the outfield diminished in the final two months,” Frisaro writes. “He had a solid season at the plate, batting .265/.330/.421 with 16 home runs and 45 RBIs. In the outfield, though, he had his troubles. According to FanGraphs, he was minus-15 in defensive runs saved in left field.”"
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The team could also seek a veteran bat and glove in the offseason and could be a topic of conversation at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas in less than two weeks.
Just a side note, I would love for the Marlins to take a swing at Nick Markakis, who is a free agent from Atlanta and would provide a veteran bat and leadership in the outfield and potentially at first base.
Because Brian Anderson spent time at both third base and in right field next year, he has a spot in the lineup and on the field. It is expected he will play the hot corner on Opening Day like he did last season.
Frisaro’s choices to fill the spot all have a chance to win the spot or play in the outfield at some point.
Austin Dean looked the part after his late-season call-up. The Marlins hope he can continue to hit the baseball as he did in the minors in 2018 and add quality defense as well. Dean was named the Marlins Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2018.
I like Isaac Galloway as the frontrunner for the position. A 10-year minor league veteran, Galloway finally got the call to the Majors last season and showed promise. He is a solid defensive guy who can hit and has speed. He may remind the front office of Cameron Maybin who the organization traded at the deadline.
Monte Harrison is a longshot to make the team’s 25-man roster, but he still needs to be mentioned in this article. Harrison showed power and defense at Double-A Jacksonville last season. I expect him to start in the minors at Triple-A New Orleans. Harrison showed more patience at the plate in the Arizona Fall League. He is the team’s No. 2 minor league prospect.
Garrett Cooper had a season that was marred by a wrist injury. He started the season in right field for the team on Opening Day. He played a total of 33 games last season in Miami. The Marlins like his potential and he could also get a long look at first base. Cooper is one of those players who could have a breakout season and replace Dietrich as the go-to utility player on this roster.
Finally, Magneuris Sierra has a lot to work on at the plate. His speed and defense are impressive. He still needs to develop more. I would not be surprised if he starts the season at Triple-A and once again makes his way back to Miami on the 25-man roster. He did play 54 games for the Marlins last season and was brought up to the Majors because of the team’s many injuries. Of all the candidates to play in the outfield, Sierra might have the least upside.