Over the last two weeks, and the next three, we’ll be reviewing the possible Miami Marlins Opening Day roster.
This spring, the Miami Marlins had a total of 13 hopefuls in camp. The number has grown to 14 this week with the addition of Corey Bird, but there’s only room for four on the active roster, five tops. We’ll start with the 40-man roster. The stat line listed with the player’s name is for the last seven days.
Lewis Brinson 5-for-12, five K, four solo homers
Brinson had 12 plate appearances this week, and struck out or homered 75 percent of the time. Overall this season, he leads the majors with five homers to his credit, all of the solo-shot variety.
Formerly Miami’s overall top prospect, Brinson was the big piece the Marlins got in return for Christian Yelich prior to the 2018 season. He’s looking to rebound from an underwhelming rookie campaign, in which he hit just .199 and was hampered by injuries.
Garrett Cooper 1-for-9, two K
Cooper was three-for-four coming into this week, but has cooled off a bit since then. Still he’s tracking a .742 OPS thus far, and his modularity at first base makes him likelier to win a roster spot.
Austin Dean 2-for-7, three runs, one RBI, two walk, double, one SB, error
Dean has four hits in 12 at bats overall, and has also stolen a pair of bases. He only stole three all of last season (majors and minors) and seven in total over the past three years. This is part of the Miami Marlins new focus on running, playing small ball, and scratching out runs where they can.
Monte Harrison 1-for-7, one walk, two K, one run, one RBI
Harrison has three hits this spring in 12 at bats overall. The Miami Marlins number two overall prospect, he struck out a minor-league-wide-high 215 times last season, but also connected on 19 homers and stole 28 bases.
Rosell Herrera 2-for-8, two walks, one run, triple, one SB, two K
Herrera, who played in 86 major league games last season between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kansas City Royals, was 0-for-5 before this week. He’s a career .234 hitter.
Peter O’Brien 2-for-10, double, one walk, one run, six K
O’Brien, like a lot of guys on this team who have a lot of power, has trouble with the strikeout. He’s whiffed in 35.3 percent of his career major league plate appearances, while hitting homers in 6.5 percent of them.
Magneuris Sierra 3-for-9, two K, two run, one SB, one RBI
For a guy who relies on speed to get on base, Sierra needs to learn to lay off bad pitches. His 3.9 percent walk rate was the lowest mark on the Miami Marlins in 2018, and a leadoff hitter needs to be able to get on base however they can. When you add in Sierra’s .190 batting average last season, you can see why he hasn’t had a lot of success.
Sierra’s still just 22-years-old, and may mature into a more selective hitter in time. His 80 rated speed, along with his 30.5 ft/s sprint rate (second in the majors to only Byron Buxton) hasn’t translated into success in stealing bases either. Sierra has been successful just five times in nine tries in the major leagues.
NRI’s generally have more of an uphill battle to stick with a major league club. It’s usually an assortment of higher-rated prospects in the mid-level minors, players who appeared for a cup-of-coffee with a major league team recently, or previously established players who are believed by the larger world of baseball somewhat “past their prime.”
Corey Bird 0-for-1
A late callup to major league camp, Bird is entering his fourth season in the Miami Marlins system. Their seventh round pick in 2016, Bird was limited by injury last season to only 42 games in total. In his time with the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads, in the Florida State League, he hit .215.
Isaac Galloway 4-for-9, four run, one SB, one RBI, error
Galloway marinated in the minor leagues until the Miami Marlins were good and ready to call him up. Halfway through his 11th minor league season, he finally got his shot. Galloway hit .203 over 43 games, with three homers and seven RBI with the parent club in the second half of last year.
Curtis Granderson 0-for-4, two K
Granderson, who is about to turn 38-years-old, turned in a 115 OPS+ in the 2018 season between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Milwaukee Brewers. His career mark is 116, so the Miami Marlins are betting he’s got another quality campaign or two left in him.
Gabriel Guerrero 4-for-8, one K, three RBI, solo homer, SB
Guerrero struck out in each of his first six plate appearances this spring, and was one-for-10 coming into the Marlins 9-8 win over the Nationals on Monday afternoon. He hit two singles and a solo homer, collecting a trio of RBI in the game.
Guerrero has a career slashline of .273/.313/.410, in 1021 minor league games. For the last four seasons, he’s hung around at the double- and triple-A level for the Seattle Mariners, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Cincinnati Reds. Last year, he finally got a look in the majors, and was three-for-18 with the Reds.
"Because this is considered a “minor” injury, as Mattingly told the media, the move to send Mesa to a rehab assigment is for precaution. It is not known yet when he is expected to rejoin the team."
Mesa had been nearly two years removed from competitive play at the time of his injury, and may need a little time to get up-to-speed. He grades out as the Miami Marlins top overall prospect.
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Brian Miller 0-for-5, two walk, three runs, SB
Miller has totaled 70 stolen bases in two minor league seasons, while hitting an aggregate .301/.352/.368 slashline. With almost no power to speak of, Miller is the prototypical leadoff hitter who will draw walks when he’s not hitting very well. Miller has only struck out 12.3 percent of the time through his minor league career.
Harold Ramirez 2-for-8, three runs, two K, one RBI, one SB, one CS
Ramirez is a career .301 minor league hitter, through 579 games over seven seasons. He’s stolen 94 bases, and hit 30 homers during that time.