Which player will step up and replace Marlins OF/3B Brian Anderson in the field and at the plate?
It wasn’t how Saturday night was supposed to go for the Miami Marlins. Fresh off the most dramatic come-from-behind win in recent history in a 19-11 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night, the team sunk back into the abyss of losing, falling 9-3 to their National League East rivals at Marlins Park.
The Marlins are now 46-82 for the season and have guaranteed another losing season for the beleaguered franchise. The last time Miami had a winning record was 2009 at 87-75. For those counting at home, this is now 10 seasons of futility. It will also mark another season since 2003 that the franchise, which has played under the Florida Marlins and Miami Marlins name, has missed the playoffs.
The new era of the organization hopes the days of losing seasons and being a bottom feeder in Major League Baseball is close to being over.
The loss also signaled the first game the team played without Brian Anderson in the lineup after he suffered a broken hand on Friday night. While the slugger is expected to make a full recovery for Spring Training in 2020, the question of who replaces Anderson this season becomes a mystery.
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"Per Miami Herald Marlins beat writer Jordan McPherson, Anderson, 26, entered Saturday leading Marlins starters in RBI (66), home runs (20), doubles (33), runs scored (57), slugging (.468) and OPS (.811) in 126 games while also posting a .261 batting average."
The immediate answer is Austin Dean, who was called up from Triple-A New Orleans to fill the roster spot. The other answer is unknown as to who fills the loss of Anderson’s bat and his defensive skills in the outfield. Dean has made numerous trips to the Marlins parent club this season but has not been able to latch on for an extended time period.
The Marlins not only lose an important bat in their lineup, but Anderson, who was the team’s third baseman on Opening Day, but has moved to the outfield for the majority of the second half of the 2019 season, was solid defensively. The players on the team’s current roster aren’t as proficient in that category. Dean may be able to hit the ball better this time around in the Bigs, but he is not the same caliber of player. He and Anderson played together at Double-A Jacksonville in 2016 and 2017.
Curtis Granderson and Jon Berti could also work in his spot at times in the outfield. Cesar Puello, who has been on the I.L. is also another logical choice once he returns to action. Berti has been playing at shortstop while Miguel Rojas has been on the mend. Granderson figures to get spot starts from time to time.
"“We’ll miss that arm that was kind of dominant,” manager Don Mattingly said of Anderson. “It kept guys from running from first-to-third. If you get a fly ball there that’s shallow and a play at the plate, you had a shot.”"
Something also to consider is the team’s expanded roster next week. Would there be a player who comes in and plays the position and surprises the coaching staff? Both Puello and Rojas began rehab assignments this week, which will also affect the roster and the lineup once they return.