As the 2020 Marlins continue to take shape during the offseason, we can make some educated guesses on how the Opening Day lineup is going to shake out.
The Marlins could go any number of ways, and after all, I don’t work for the team. Adding to that, there’s no telling how Spring Training will play out, if injuries will play a part, or if the Marlins are anywhere near done signing talent. With all that being said, here’s what I think the Miami Marlins Opening Day lineup will look like if there are no additional changes to the team.
Top of the Marlins Order
(1) Jon Berti CF
In his first expanded look at the major league level, utility infielder/outfielder Jon Berti made the most of his chances. In 73 games he hit .273/.344/.410 with six home runs, 24 RBI, and 17 stolen bases in only 20 attempts. He made starts at shortstop, center field, and second base, also appearing as a defensive replacement in both right and left field.
In 146 2/3 innings as a center fielder for the Marlins last season, Berti made one error out of his 40 overall chances for a .975 fPCT. Although advanced metrics suggest he’s somewhat below a “league average” center fielder, I think that suffers from a relatively small sample size. When it all boils down, I think Berti’s speed is an asset well suited to a job in center field, maybe better than anyone else on the roster.
Despite appearing in under half of Miami’s games last year, Berti’s 1.4 WAR ranked third on the team amongst their position players, tied with Garrett Cooper and behind only Brian Anderson at 3.8 and Miguel Rojas at 2.4. Extrapolated over a full campaign, Berti could be another 4.0 WAR player and a legitimate 20-40 threat.
(2) Miguel Rojas SS
Of all the players on the Marlins roster, Rojas is most clearly the team captain. As goes Rojas, so go the Marlins. Day in and day out through his first five seasons with the team, he can always be counted on to give his 100 percent.
Traditionally, Rojas could be counted on to play any of the infield spots as needed. Last season, the Marlins decided to let him run with the ball as the full-time shortstop. He rewarded them by hitting .284 over 132 appearances, and providing well-above average defense – 12 runs DRS above average in fact. That translated to a 1.7 dWAR, the ninth best mark in the National League regardless of position.
You know what you’re getting with Rojas as well. A guy who’s going to play hard, provide solid defense, and hit the ball between .260 and .290 with occasional bursts of power.