As the Miami Marlins clubhouse dynamic changes in 2020, which players will step up and become leaders both on and off the field?
It doesn’t always happen this way. A rookie with plenty of potential comes along and veterans help show them how to be a professional baseball player. The Miami Marlins are counting on Isan Diaz to become a future star at second base. Manager Don Mattingly is counting on veterans in the clubhouse to aid his growth as a complete player.
Diaz has been the hottest topic in the Marlins minor league system this season, pushing through and owning pitchers in the Pacific Coast League. Writers like myself putting our words on websites, begging the question of when the move to the main roster would take place and watching Diaz hit a home run against Jacob deGrom in his first game as a Major Leaguer while his father was being interviewed.
It was the stuff dreams are made of, as we baseball fans can attest.
While Mattingly is coming to the end of his fourth season in Miami without a new contract on the table, he reminisces about his time in New York with the Yankees, leaning on stars in the dugout to help him make the all-important transition, as Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes.
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"“There was just a whole group of guys in New York that were older guys,” Mattingly said. “If you acted right, and if you handled yourself right, they wanted to help you. It’s a good thing.”"
Who becomes that support system for Diaz and other players to come up from the minors? Who will be there when Monte Harrison makes the leap from Triple-A New Orleans? There will be plenty of roster movement this offseason. Which players will shoulder the responsibility?
"As Mattingly told the media, “Miami veterans Starlin Castro, Neil Walker, Martin Prado and Curtis Granderson have been offering support to Diaz, the organization’s fifth-ranked prospect, who is also rated No. 84 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100.”"
Those players won’t be on the roster next season.
"“Those guys have been through it,” Mattingly said. “They’ve been through it. They’ve had their bad days, their bad times.”"
Diaz plays a position Castro has owned since coming to Miami last offseason, he moved to third base to get the rookie in the lineup. It also moved Brian Anderson to the outfield. Those moves are indicative of players looking out for the youngsters. Anderson is developing into the centerpiece of the offense and should take another step next season. He could also become one of those “go-to” veterans.
Will Jorge Alfaro, who works with the young pitching staff become a player who will continue to help the team’s growth and development?
"“It’s the way it’s really been in the game,” Mattingly said. “The older guys are helping you when you first get to the big leagues. That’s what you pass down. Guys who have had some mentors in the game that have helped them out.”"