Elieser Hernandez grabs Miami Marlins rotation spot

JUPITER, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 23: Elieser Hernandez #57 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on February 23, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 23: Elieser Hernandez #57 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on February 23, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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The Miami Marlins have their five starters for the 2020 rotation.

And with one move, the Miami Marlins have now made things a bit clearer of how the starting rotation will look to begin the season.

“Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto was optioned to Miami’s alternate site, a transaction that likely clears the path for [Elieser] Hernandez to be named the fifth starter,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes.

The Marlins will start the season with Sandy Alcantara on Opening Day against the Philadelphia Phillies and then follow up with Caleb Smith on Day 2. Pablo Lopez and Jose Urena were all but locks to make the starting rotation, with Yamamoto, Hernandez, Robert Dugger, and Nick Neidert battling for one starting slot.

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Hernandez spent last season working between the starting rotation and the bullpen. He has shown enough that manager Don Mattingly appears set to go with the veteran as the fifth arm on the mound.

This is what happens when you are an organization with exceptional depth with your pitching staff. I’ll admit the move to option Yamamoto is a bit surprising given how he pitched last season in a half a year on the Major League roster. Because of his experience in the bullpen, Hernandez may give the coaching staff a little more versatility over a shorter season.

Frisaro said the Marlins figure to keep a few starters on the 30-man roster and use them out of the bullpen. Neidert, who has been one of the more impressive prospects in camp this year, and Dugger, who was in the rotation at the end of the 2019 season, could be two options Mattingly uses.

Yamamoto could still be an option this season.

"“Yamamoto, 24, made 15 starts as a rookie in 2019, going 4-5 with a 4.46 ERA,” Frisaro wrote.“Without a Minor League season, players who are not on the Opening Day roster will be training at the alternate site, which is the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter.”"

Of the pitchers who are part of the starting rotation, the name many tend to forget is Lopez, who has dealt with injuries the past two seasons. The 24-year-old has come back from last season to show he could be a dominant part of the rotation this season.

In his last outing, he pitched six shutout innings in a scrimmage. He gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out six batters.

Urena figures to be the veteran balance in the rotation. Mattingly has said on many occasions in the first and second part of camp how he has been a pleasant surprise this year and should be a big help to the younger arms who make up the rotation.

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