Jonathan Villar figures to be one of the busier players for the Miami Marlins this coming season.
Is it the one the team hopes will become the everyday centerfielder? Or, will it be the veteran who will assume the role at second base? Maybe it’s the player who will slide over to third base in a pinch or the one who is asked to play shortstop on a moment’s notice.
And let’s not forget, manager Don Mattingly might ask him to serve as the team’s designated hitter if he gets hot and sprays the baseball all over Marlins Park and over a few fences. The bottom line is Miami Marlins fans figure to hear his name called quite a bit this season on broadcasts in different situations.
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Villar, who the Marlins acquired this offseason from the Baltimore orioles, figures to be one of the busier players on the Marlins roster in 2020 as one of the veterans who is going to be counted on to make this team a winner.
"“When we traded for Jonathan, that’s one of those moves where you’re like … ‘Yes!’” Mattingly said via MLB.com. “He gives you a guy up top, which we needed. Switch-hitter. Power and average. He steals bags. A guy who is exciting up top.”"
And he also figures to make his teammates around him better. One of the players the Marlins front office and Mattingly are excited to see hitting in front or behind him is third baseman Brian Anderson, who is developing into a more consistent player at the plate and a solid defensive star at the Hot Corner and when he is asked to step out into right field.
Not only are the Marlins building a better team at the plate, which is one of the reasons they brought Villar in this season, but defensively, this is a team that must play better baseball.
"“Villar gives Miami a threat at the top of the order to not only run but also hit the ball out of the park,” Joe Frisaro adds. “With the Orioles last year, he slashed .274/.339/.453 with 24 home runs, 73 RBIs, 111 runs scored and 40 stolen bases.”"
That speed is also an asset Mattingly and his coaching staff hopes to use when playing small ball this season if the power source the team hoped for is not as hefty as once thought.
While the Miami Marlins are working out and preparing for a sprint to the finish of the 2020 MLB season, how Villar adjusts quickly and lights a spark in this batting order will be a key to whether the franchise can win more than 30 games in 2020. It does not seem like a daunting task, but wins and losses are magnified this year.
If Villar can remain in one position and play well in a new division on a new team that will see many of his old rivals in 2020, that means the Miami Marlins are showing success they have not been able to display in some time.
And maybe it means Villar is the most valuable player on the team’s current roster. But a lot can change in two months of playing baseball. Villar may also find his niche for this team as their leadoff hitter, which would be another role he is asked to fill.
"“In their history, the Marlins have had a player steal 40 bases in a season just 14 times. As a team, they stole only 55 bases in 2019, with Jon Berti pacing the club with 17,” Frisaro added."
Speed, power, defense, leadership, and consistency. They are all being asked of Villar. If he fills these roles successfully, it might be one of the best seasons a Miami Marlins player has had in some time.