The Miami Marlins have precious few players “locked in.” As we outlined yesterday, the only starting pitchers to have a more-or-less guaranteed spot in the rotation are José Ureña and Dan Straily. There are 12 other pitchers who are vying for the other three spots.
The outfield is no different. There’s only two outfielders who are considered “locked in” for Opening Day.
It surprised nobody that Lewis Brinson started the 2018 season as the Miami Marlins centerfielder and leadoff hitter. By May 31st, Brinson had slashed .152/.198/.257, hardly a passable slash line. Despite later missing all of July and August with an injury, he rebounded to slash .246/.281/.419 through his final 55 appearances.
Although Brinson underperformed, to a 62 OPS+ and an MLB worst .248 wOBA, his potential remains unchanged. He needs to do a better job at laying off bad pitches, as evidenced by his rock-bottom 4.2 percent walk rate and his strikeout rate of 29.6 percent. He drew only 17 walks and struck out 120 times in only 382 plate appearances. Brinson also led the National League with nine outfield errors, but was at times spectacular in the field.
Despite all of that, Brinson’s 11 home runs tied for fifth on the team. He slashed .199/.240/.338 overall, with 42 RBI, and he enters 2019 Spring Training as one of two players guaranteed to start in the outfield.
Brian Anderson was one of few bright spots for the 2018 Miami Marlins, as they struggled to a 63-98 record. Although technically a third baseman, for our purposes we’re going to count him as a right fielder. There are several good reasons for that.
Anderson fielded at a broken looking .942 rate while stationed at the hot corner, but took in a .994 fielding percentage in right field. He also turned in eight outfield assists while making only one error through 91 contests at the nine. The Miami Marlins, who already struggle for hits both big and small, need his bat in the lineup.
Anderson was touted as a possible 20 home run guy last Spring Training. Despite not living up to that potential, he still did enough to finish third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. He led the Miami Marlins with 156 games while slashing a better than respectable .273/.357/.400 line. His 65 RBI ranked second on the team, as did his 62 free passes drawn through bases-on-balls through 670 plate appearances. The resultant 9.3 percent walk rate was the fourth best on the club, and his 19.3 percent strikeout rate was in line with his career minor league figures.
With Anderson in right and Brinson probably in center, who starts in left?