Miami Marlins Pitching: Seven starters, five positions to fill

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 27: Sandy Alcantara #22 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 27: Sandy Alcantara #22 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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What will the Miami Marlins do with their starting rotation once the team returns from the All-Star break? Who remains and what changes are made?

The Miami Marlins have some decisions to make over the All-Star break.

Now that lefty Caleb Smith is back in the mound against Atlanta today after two starts in Jacksonville on a rehab assignment, the focus of reforming the team’s starting rotation begins. Actually, it has already been discussed between the front office and the coaching staff, but with the All-Star break coming and Smith’s return, the Marlins have seven starters on the roster and a decision of who stays in South Florida, who might move to the bullpen and who will be reassigned to New Orleans.

The Marlins are currently 13th in Major League Baseball in ERA at 4.32 as a staff and 20th in the league in earned runs. The bullpen has 19 saves, which is ranked 24th.

There is a case for Sandy Alcantara moving up in the rotation. The team’s only representative in the All-Star game has had a roller coaster of a season where he looked like the goods when he was acquired last season in the deal for Marcell Ozuna. There are times, however, when one inning has unraveled him.

The Marlins will continue to be patient with him, hoping he can work it out and become the No. 1 guy the franchise envisioned when they made the trade last offseason.

Smith was the team’s fifth starter when the season started but showed he can handle being the “ace” of the staff. Four straight losses and a hip injury have derailed his momentum a bit. He can still throw it with speed and power and is a dominant arm on the mound. He should assume the No. 1 role in the rotation.

Jordan Yamamoto has shown he can be a front-line pitcher with a 3-0 record and 1.24 ERA in five starts. He has given this rotation more than expected when he was called up from Double-A Jacksonville. If the Marlins would support him at the plate, a 5-0 record would have been a real possibility. For now, the rookie remains in the middle of the rotation.

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Trevor Richards is the one pitcher who is often forgotten in this group of players. The 26-year-old is 3-9 with a 4.02 ERA and has 83 strikeouts in 17 95 innings of work. Richards was 1-4 for the month of June. The record isn’t as poor as it looks. The second half of the season could prove to be a turnaround for him as he uses his curveball as his most effective pitch.

Elieser Hernandez has pitched well but has faced the same issues as other starters this season. A lack of run support has done him in. He was an effective starter at Triple-A New Orleans before being called up last month and has the ability to become a long reliever out of the bullpen. If the Marlins decide to move a starter to a reliever’s role, Hernandez should be the guy.

I haven’t figured out how the Marlins will use Zac Gallen yet, although he has been effective this season in three starts. He is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

There will be growing pains as every rookie goes through, but the Marlins found a gem in Gallen, who was part of the Ozuna trade. Gallen is a raw talent who could still be a middle of the rotation star. He may get moved back to New Orleans is the team decides to thin its core of pitchers.

Pablo Lopez needs to stay healthy because he has such great talent. He moved quickly through the Marlins minor league system and made his MLB debut last year prior to the All-Star break. He is currently dealing with a shoulder strain and has begun a throwing routine with the hope of his return to the parent club.

Lopez will be brought along slowly, so his return is not set yet. Because of the depth with the rotation, the Marlins can take their time to decide when Lopez should take the mound once again. Also, Lopez is the only one of the original starters to have a .500 record this season at 5-5.

Next. Marlins predictions for the second half of 2019. dark

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