It’s a word you hear throughout the Miami Marlins system, from the parent club engaging in major league Spring Training through the lowest rookie-level. There’s a lot more of it now under the new ownership group — led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter — than we’ve seen in some time, coming out from under the auspices of the Jeffrey Loria regime.
This spring will likely see a rotation emerge that mostly resembles the Opening Day rotation of last season. For those who don’t remember, the five to start last season were Sandy Alcantara, Jose Urena, Caleb Smith, Trevor Richards, and Pablo Lopez.
Richards has since been traded away, along with Nick Anderson to the Tampa Bay Rays for major league reliever Ryne Stanek and on-the-verge outfielder Jesus Sanchez. Urena may or may not begin the 2020 campaign in the rotation, but is likely to break camp with the club, at a minimum as a long-relief man.
That leaves Smith, Alcantara, and Lopez from last Opening Day, joined by Jordan Yamamoto, who joined the rotation midway through the season and accrued 15 starts. There are several promising candidates for the fifth spot. Robert Dugger, Nick Neidert, Elieser Hernandez, and of course Urena loom as the most likely of those.
Some dark-horse possibilities outside of those four include top overall Miami Marlins prospect Sixto Sanchez along with fellow top-10 system prospect Edward Cabrera. Both seem as if they may be ready to run with the big boys.
But which starters are likely to turn the corner and begin the 2023 campaign as the vaunted “starting five?” It’s a question I asked the wide world of Twitter earlier this afternoon, with varying answers. So who’s going to make the cut? Let’s take a deeper look.