Keeping the Marlins pitching coach on staff for a second straight season will greatly help the team’s young arms progress this coming season.
Local and national media are praising the Miami Marlins for making major off-season moves to improve your 2020 roster, but the biggest move this team made in my opinion was retaining Mel Stottlemyre Jr. as their pitching coach.
As this team moves forward with what is considered to be still a young rotation, having Stottlemyre, Jr. back for a second season provides continuity. It also gives manager Don Mattingly the chance to plan for the future with somebody who has familiarity with how the staff performed last season.
Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith and the rest of the pitching staff will be more improved in 2020. It could be one of the more improved pitching staffs in the Majors. If there’s going to be an improvement with the rotation for the bullpen, that has been revamped, Stottlemyre, Jr. is the right man to make that happen.
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If the Marlins do make a jump in the standings in the National League East this year, much of a credit will go to the decisions Mattingly and his staff makes. Stottlemyre, Jr. had a hand in the second half development of Alcantara, who has become the ace of the rotation and could be instrumental in the development of young arms that may crack the Marlins rotation this season at some point.
A seasoned bullpen, that has been reassembled with many veteran arms should help this process. They also give their coach a chance to tinker with different roles for players in different situations. Miami had one of the worst bullpens in baseball last year. That looks like it will be a distant memory.
Accountability and consistency are what is needed for the upcoming season if there’s to be any real success.
What the Marlins have going for them is two strong starters at the top of the rotation in Alcantara and Smith and depth in the 3-5 spots in the rotation. As many as seven pitchers could be competing for three openings.
In the bullpen, the closer by committee approach is a memory now that Brandon Kintzler has been signed. Adam Conley looks like he will erase a miserable 2019 season and Drew Steckenrider hopes to bounce back from injury.
The Marlins have started this Spring 4-0. The right buttons have been pushed at the plate and on the mound. There is no reason to think this cannot translate to the regular season. Mattingly, Stottlemyre, Jr. and the staff must continue to plug along to make sure the start of this year finishes just as strong for there to be real change in 2020.