How will these three Marlins players deal with time away from the game? All of them were enjoying success with an eye for the season.
As Major League Baseball has determined the start of the 2020 season will be later than first anticipated and the Miami Marlins front office has closed camp in Jupiter, Florida what happens now?
"“On Sunday, the Marlins announced they were closing their Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. For now, the organization is in a holding pattern,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.“But whenever teams are cleared to get back onto the field, the Marlins still will have some unsettled business to take care of in finalizing their Opening Day roster.”"
The Marlins aren’t the only team in the Majors with decisions to make, but as fans saw early in camp and on the diamond in the Grapefruit League, making decisions to fill out the 26-man roster won’t come easy for manager Don Mattingly, who returns for his fifth season.
After four losing campaign’s the former Dodgers skipper and Yankees great hopes this is the year he can help turn the franchise’s fortunes around.
Players are still trying to keep some semblance of a routine and staying mentally prepared for a season that still has no start or end date.
The Marlins showed enough improvement over the course of the first 20 games to give fans something to be hopeful for. It might be enough to improve attendance numbers that have hovered around 10,000 fans per game the past two seasons. If the team shows more pop at the plate and the pitching staff shows more maturity on the mound, things could be different in 2020.
Even if it’s a small amount of success.
Time away from the game has to be hard on everyone associated with the game and the organization. But for these four players, not getting in the time they need to prepare might have the biggest toll on them.
Let’s just say Lewis Brinson has had a good camp and has shown he is hitting the ball better. But that does not guarantee a spot on the 26-man roster. There is plenty of competition to be had, especially in the outfield.
Brinson has come to camp the past two seasons and wowed the coaching staff and front office, only to stumble once he made the transition to the Majors. Because of the numbers of players still fighting for a spot and the fact two of the three starting positions in the outfield are already taken, he needs more reps to prove he is a more consistent hitter.
Brinson has one more option left, so he could still start the season at Triple-A Wichita and move to the Major League roster because of a player injury or inconsistency.
Jonathan Villar was acquired in a trade this offseason with the intention of playing at third base or take over at second base if Isan Diaz wasn’t ready for an everyday assignment. Evidently, Mattingly had other ideas.
Villar was moved to centerfield for a few reasons – one of which was to take advantage of his speed in the spacious caverns of Marlins Park. The other was to allow Brian Anderson to return to his natural position at the Hot Corner.
More from Marlins News
- Miami Marlins news: Another target gone
- Why didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?
- Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offer
- Miami Marlins are pursuing Michael Conforto
- Miami Marlins need to spend to win
Villar has only played a handful of regular-season games in the outfield, so getting him more time there to become comfortable with the speed of the ball of the bat is an important part of him making a successful transition.
If Nick Neidert makes the starting rotation, it says a lot about many things that are right about this Marlins pitching staff. One of the few prospects left on the Major League roster, can he male the rotation, which could set things in motion for a potential trade or two?
Neidert was impressive last year in camp and was sent to Triple-A only to have part of his season halted because of a meniscus tear. Had he been healthy, he could have been in the rotation the second half of the 2019 season.
The Marlins have several top-shelf starters waiting for their chance to make it to The Show. Neidert figures to be the first one there. But he also needs more time on the mound, facing MLB talent to work on consistency and control. Stopping his progress did him no favors.
Where does your fandom rank?
See 2019 Rankings