Jordan Yamamoto will be the first Miami Marlins to set the tone for the 2020 Grapefruit League when he takes the mound against the Mets this weekend.
Want to hear a funny story? The week before Miami Marlins pitcher Jordan Yamamoto was called up to The Show, I had a discussion with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp public relations department about interviewing him while he cut my hair.
Luckily for Yamamoto, who has quickly become my favorite player in South Florida, he didn’t have to cut my flowing locks and went on to win his first four games as a rookie for the team that acquired him in the trade that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee.
This season is a bit different as Yamamoto heads to Spring Training, as a veteran on the staff instead of a neophyte wishing upon a baseball star. And with the experience he gained being on the team last season, this time, he is entrenched in the rotation, but it is not known whether he will be the Marlins fourth or fifth starter.
"“When right-hander Jordan Yamamoto takes the mound for the Marlins in their Grapefruit League opener on Saturday against the Mets, Miami’s rotation battle will begin,” writes Christina De Nicola of MLB.com.More from Marlins NewsMiami Marlins news: Another target goneWhy didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offerMiami Marlins are pursuing Michael ConfortoMiami Marlins need to spend to win“Yamamoto, 23, a native of Hawaii, stayed in Jupiter over the offseason to prepare for the upcoming season. He gained valuable experience in 2019, going 4-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 15 starts as a rookie.”"
When I spoke to him before the start of the Jumbo Shrimp’s Southern League season, he said he was excited to be here [in Jacksonville] with the Marlins. He was excited because he felt wanted, and was looking forward to putting together a strong season. It was evidently enough to catch the eye of the Marlins parent club and lead to a call-up to The Show.
As the Marlins get to know the new faces on the field and learn how to once again win as a baseball team, the lights are shining brighter in South Florida. Yamamoto is part of a young staff of starters, but the bullpen is a bit more mature and looks to be more stable. That bodes well for any of the five who start the game, leave and wait to see if their leads hold in place.
He also told De Nicola, the race to win a spot in the rotation is something he enjoys and looks forward to this spring.
"“It’s definitely a big competition,” Yamamoto said. “We have all these young guys here, including me, trying to fight for that one spot.“It’s funny, because everybody goes, ‘You’re here to make a team and don’t blow it up [on] Day 1.’ But in all our minds, it’s a competition. We’re here to compete and here to earn a spot. I’m going to do whatever it takes to earn that spot.”"
It’s a good thing since Yamamoto will make the first impression of the spring when he gets the ball in the team’s first game of the Grapefruit League. Don Mattingly, Miami’s manager, announced on Tuesday it would be Yamamoto taking the bump when the team faces the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie.