A lot has been made over the past few months as to the depth of the Marlins minor league system.
With that in mind, it’s only natural to posit who may be the first few pitchers called up when injury or other misfortune befalls the starting five. For our purposes, we’re going to set the Marlins Opening Day rotation as Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith, Pablo Lopez, Jordan Yamamoto, and Robert Dugger, with Elieser Hernandez in the bullpen for spot starts as needed.
Who then, receives the first call?
23-year-old Nick Neidert is the conventional choice for next man up. Gained in the Dee Gordon trade along with the aforementioned Dugger and shortstop Christopher Torres from the Seattle Mariners, Neidert was Miami’s 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year award winner, after going 12-7 with a 3.24 ERA in 26 starts for the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League. With last season mostly lost to injury, Neidert acquitted himself quite nicely in the Arizona Fall League with a 2-0 record, a 1.25 ERA, and 19 strikeouts in 21 2 /3 innings against near-major league talent.
Following Neidert, we can likely expect to see Marlins top prospect (and FanGraphs #17 overall prospect in the entire minor league system) Sixto Sanchez. Standing just five-foot-10 and still just 21-years-old, the Dominican Summer League alum has shown the ability to make grown men miss, limit the opposition’s hits, and surrender very few walks. In 103 innings last season for the Shrimp, Sanchez walked only 19 while striking out 97, going 8-4 with a 2.53 ERA and an attention-getting 1.03 WHIP.
It’s only natural that the third man up, barring free agent acquisition, last second trades, or someone just setting the minors on fire, is Edward Cabrera. Less heralded than his countryman Sanchez, Cabrera is the Marlins current number six prospect, according to the MLB Pipeline.
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Standing six-foot-four and weighing in at 175 lbs., right-hander Cabrera just split his fourth professional season between the Jumbo Shrimp and the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League. Between the two levels, Cabrera notched a 9-4 record over 19 starts, with a 2.23 ERA while walking only 31 in 96 2/3 innings. More impressively, he struck out 10.8 batters per nine innings with 116 K’s, and finished the year with a combined 0.993 WHIP.
After Dugger, Sanchez, and Cabrera, the Marlins have former first round picks Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers following up soon after, maybe even as soon as the tail-end of this season. It won’t be the same as in seasons-past, as the September rosters will only expand to 28 men as opposed to the 40-man rosters to which we’ve become accustomed.
At any rate, continue to keep up with the Marlins by coming back to Marlin Maniac often, and following us on Twitter.