The Miami Marlins must find a way to effectively use Jon Berti on the bases. The utility player is one of the fastest players in the National League.
Jon Berti has become a forgotten man this spring. The utility player for the Miami Marlins hasn’t received much discussion during the offseason or even as the Marlins began camp back in February. The man who can play in the outfield, covering plenty of ground in the spacious Marlins Park or fill in somewhere in the middle of the team’s infield does something very well that the coaching staff hopes to capitalize in 2020.
Berti can fly around the base pads. For a team that has not scored many runs the past few seasons and has had issues with the long ball, it’s a wonder why manager Don Mattingly hasn’t used that speed to move the 30-year-old Michigan native around the bases.
Berti, who is part of the competition for one of the proposed 30 roster spots, should be part of the Opening Day roster, whenever that should happen. And with his speed on offense and defense, he could see more time at the dish.
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He’s also one of the fastest players in the National League East.
"“In their 27-year history, the Marlins have had just three players steal four bases in a game. Berti joined the list on Sept. 24, 2019, swiping four bags against the Mets. Berti joined Dee Gordon (who did it twice in 2015) and Luis Castillo (once in ’00),” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com."
The Marlins also have Magneuris Sierra, who doesn’t offer the team anything in the way of power at the plate, but he too is lightning on the bases and could be a solid leadoff hitter or at the bottom of the order to drum up some run support.
"“A super-utility player who promises to get ample playing time — either in the infield or center field — when the season starts, Berti is among the fastest players in the Majors,” Frisaro adds. “According to Statcast’s Sprint Speed metric, Berti’s average was 29.8 feet per second in 2019, which ranked 13th overall. Of his 145 competitive runs tracked by Statcast, 35 were termed Bolts. (A competitive run is 27.0 feet per second.)”"
The Miami Marlins did add power to the middle of the batting order in their offseason and figure to use that even more with the possible addition to the designated hitter this season. Adding an extra bat to the lineup may also change the direction of strategy later in ballgames for Mattingly and company.
As a pinch hitter or pinch runner, Berti will be a valuable asset to the team. Berti had 17 stolen bases in 2019 in 256 at-bats.