As Spring Training progresses, Marlin Maniac will keep you up to speed with the picture in Jupiter, Florida.
On Friday afternoon at 1:10 P.M. EST, New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, also sometimes known as “Thor,” threw his first pitch of the day to Miami Marlins leadoff hitter, center fielder Lewis Brinson. It was a 77º partly cloudy day in First Data Field for the Spring Training contest, punctuated by Jeremy Vasquez swinging and coming up empty for strike three against Marlins reliever Jose Quijada on 4:08 P.M.
Between those two events, the two clubs played nine innings of “not important” baseball. But really, is any baseball so “important,” or do the “meaningless” games actually mean something?
For the guys trying to latch on with the parent club this season, it’s pretty important. Earlier today, the Miami Marlins optioned six players to their minor league system. They sent OF Magneuris Sierra, SP Jordan Yamamoto, RP Kyle Keller, and RP Elieser Hernandez to the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes, SP Jorge Guzman to the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and SP Jordan Holloway to the advanced-A Jupiter Hammerheads. In related activity, C Wilson Castillo was assigned to the Miami Marlins.
Here’s a grab bag of observations about today’s contest.
Tim Tebow is a Marketing Ploy
I know everyone really wants to believe in this guy, but if he makes the major league club, then it’s probably to get more people out to the ballpark. He’s a proven draw. The single-A Columbia Fireflies broke a bunch of South Atlantic League records when Tim Tebow was with the club, and the trend followed to the St. Lucie Mets and the Binghampton Rumble Ponies along with Tebow.
Never mind the guy can actually play – he hit .273 at the double-A level in the Eastern League in 2018. At 31-years-old, he may be a little long-in-the-tooth to be considered a true “rookie,” but stranger things have happened. Maybe he is a marketing ploy, at least I’m pretty sure it started out that way.
The best thing Tebow can do is continue to live his “best life” and become an every-day major leaguer. Love him or hate him, he’s really just trying his very best to do as well as he can. And that’s a little bit of what we all need, really, isn’t it?
JT Riddle Broke Out a Little, Neil Walker Broke Out a Lot
Coming into today’s contest, JT Riddle had opened 2019 Spring Training by going one-for-21 with a pair of walks. He went deep in today’s game, taking a little off the sting of his underperformance thus far. Baseball Reference is somewhat forgiving, and expects Riddle to hit .241 this season, with nine round-trippers and 44 RBI in 391 plate appearances.
Neil Walker started the year by going one-for-15, with a walk and no RBI. Today, he clubbed two homers and added a single, totaling four RBI and raising his spring OPS from .243 to .856. Walker in particular has been ice-cold at the plate, and boiling hot today. Of course, the truth rests comfortably somewhere in the middle, which is what we were expecting. Baseball Reference expects nearly the same thing of him as they do Riddle in 2019, and has Walker projected for a .244 average, 15 homers, and 49 RBI in 444 plate appearances.
Jose Quijada has Been More Solid Than Not
Quijada did allow four runs on a Pittsburgh Pirates walkoff Grand Slam in the second game of the spring, but has been very dependable since then. His 9.82 ERA collected through the exhibition season was wholly dependent on the Pittsburgh “incident.”
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
Since then, Quijada has allowed only one baserunner through three innings of scoreless work, and racked up five strikeouts. He whiffed two more in today’s contest, pitching a perfect ninth in a non-save situation. Look for Quijada to spend most of the 2019 season with the Miami Marlins.
The Miami Marlins Bats Explode
The Miami Marlins had 27 extra base hits through their first 14 contests, an average of less than two per game. That includes eight home runs. In today’s contest, they collected eight extra base hits, including four doubles, a triple, and three homers. Admit it, it was nice that someone besides Lewis Brinson went deep. (Brinson, by the way, went one-for-three).
Thanks for reading today. Subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter to keep up with the Miami Marlins.