Marlins manager Don Mattingly announced this past weekend that second-year star Brian Anderson will start the 2019 season at third base.
Miami Marlins have a new third baseman. After some speculation over the offseason, manager Don Mattingly named Brian Anderson as the Opening Day starter, which also means veteran Martin Prado will now serve as a utility player and provide depth off the bench.
The move isn’t surprising and opens a few more doors for Miami, a team looking to fill holes in starting spots in the outfield. Anderson, a second-year pro who finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting last year, split time in both right field and the hot corner in 2018.
"Per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, “We do plan on playing him at third,” manager Don Mattingly told reporters at the annual FanFest at Marlins Park. “He was excellent in right field last year, but as an organization, we feel like he makes us a better organization playing third base.”"
More from Marlins News
- Miami Marlins news: Another target gone
- Why didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?
- Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offer
- Miami Marlins are pursuing Michael Conforto
- Miami Marlins need to spend to win
Anderson, who played third base at both Double-A Jacksonville and in New Orleans on the Triple-A level before being called up in Sept. 2011, played 91 games in right field last year and 71 at third. Prado, who has battled injuries the past two seasons, understood the reasons for the decision and stands by the move to play the rising star.
"“I talked with Martin this winter, and he’s feeling great,” Mattingly said. “He’s working hard, as he always does. He understands what happens with teams, with playing time and guys playing all over the place; guys get hurt. But Martin will obviously be working at third, and we’ll work him around the field a little bit.”"
The third base topic wasn’t the only one Mattingly touched on when he spoke with the media. He said that all three of the outfield spots are open in Spring Training. making Anderson an everyday third baseman takes one player out of the sweepstakes. It may also increase the chances for Garrett Cooper to start on Opening Day in right field, just as he did last season.
Anderson has been on the fast track to the Majors since he was drafted out of Arkansas in the third round in 2014. He is considered one of the cornerstone players the organization will build around for the future.
He batted .273 in his rookie season with 11 home runs and 65 RBI with 87 runs scored.
The goal of the organization is to still have Prado in the lineup when needed and to come off the bench and provide a spark for the offense. One of the most respected players in the clubhouse, he has spent more time on the disabled list than in the lineup.
Prado, 35, was limited to 54 games last year, missing significant time due to left hamstring, left quad and right oblique strains.
"“If we can get him on the field, there’s going to be plenty of opportunity for him, and he’s going to make us a better team,” Mattingly said."