Miami Marlins Spring Training Weekly Update: The Backstops

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Rodrigo Vigil #80 of the Miami Marlins poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 22, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Rodrigo Vigil #80 of the Miami Marlins poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 22, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

As Spring Training progresses, Marlin Maniac will keep you up to date on the possible combinations of players that could make up the Opening Day roster.

The Miami Marlins started the spring with seven catchers in camp. If they’re trying to get down to two, they’re going the wrong way. This week, Miami’s fourth-round pick in 2018, Nick Fortes, joined the club. Career farm-hand Jack Murphy also joined the team.

Miami Marlins Active 40-Man Roster

Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro two-for-four, SO

After a week of resting his bruised knee, Alfaro has appeared in three games this week. He’s a career .270 hitter with 15 home runs in 143 games. As a backstop, he’s caught 26.5 percent of runners trying to steal.

Miami Marlins
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 20: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the Philadelphia Phillies knocks in a run with a third inning single against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on September 20, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Chad Wallach

Chad Wallach 0-for-1

Primarily a defensive specialist, Wallach is a career .161 hitter, but Baseball Reference projects him to hit .228 this season. Wallach has a 38 percent career kill-rate on base stealers.

Non-Roster Invitees

Santiago Chavez

Santiago Chavez two-for-four, sacrifice, double, two runs

Chavez hasn’t appeared above the double-A level in his seven seasons of professional ball. He’s slashed .198/.249/.251 during that time, but has made a place for himself with an incredible 47 percent CS rate.

Nick Fortes

Nick Fortes 1-for-2, run, RBI, SB

After Fortes was chosen 117th overall last June, he appeared at three minor league levels for the Marlins. In 19 contests, he was 14-for-62 with 11 RBI, and 11 walks in only 78 plate appearances.

Miami Marlins
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 14: Bryan Holaday #28 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 14, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 14-2. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Bryan Holaday

Bryan Holaday 3-for-7, walk, two runs, SO

At 31, Holaday is the old man of the catcher corps, but this old man led the National League in 2018 with a 45 percent kill rate on the base paths. Although he only slashed .205/.261/.258, he was only guilty of one passed ball and zero errors in 357 1/3 innings of work at the major league level. He also pitched twice (see picture, above).

B.J. Lopez

B.J. Lopez 1-for-2, double, RBI, SO

Lopez came up with the Arizona Diamondbacks before joining the Miami Marlins organization in 2018. He hit .185 last year between the Jupiter Hammerheads and the Greensboro Grasshoppers. In a recurrent motif amongst the Marlins catching group, Lopez pegged 46.5 percent of base stealers in 60 games last season.

Miami Marlins
JUPITER, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 20: Sharif Othman #82 of the Miami Marlins poses for a photo during photo days at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Sharif Othman

Sharif Othman 1-for-2

Othman has spent seven of his eight minor league seasons with the Miami Marlins organization, with the 2017 campaign in the New York Yankees system. He carries a career .202/.265/.302 slashline, and a 24.6 percent CS rate.

Rodrigo Vigil

Rodrigo Vigil two-for-six, run, RBI, three CS (Michael Brantley, Rafael Ortega, Ryan LaMarre), two PB

Vigil has smoked anyone who tries to steal a base on him this spring, nailing all three attempts. He’s also likely the best hitter of the group, with a career .245/.289/.343 slashline. He’s also pretty good at catching basestealers, with a 39.6 percent kill rate. Vigil’s Achilles heel is his propensity to allow passed balls, with 11 last season for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in 705 2/3 innings.

Jack Murphy

Jack Murphy joined camp after a season abroad. In his last look in affiliated ball, he hit .141 for the Cleveland Indians farm system in 2017. In 2018, he hit just .119 in 23 contests for the Sydney Blue Sox, in the Australian Baseball League. Murphy has a kill rate of just 29 percent, but has a career .994 fielding percentage behind the plate. That includes his last 1000 innings of error free ball across all levels of play.

In-Progress Verdict

The Miami Marlins currently have nine guys trying to make the team, and only Jorge Alfaro is guaranteed a spot. The other eight are in a tight race to back him up. Chad Wallach has the inside track, due to his being included on the 40-man roster, but Bryan Holaday had a great defensive season last year, and Rodrigo Vigil is probably the best overall package available right now. We’ll have to wait and see what the management group decides.

Tune in tomorrow for a look at the infielders trying to break camp with the Miami Marlins. Check back next Thursday to catch up with the catchers once more, and follow us on Twitter for breaking Miami Marlins news.