Can the five Miami Marlins starting pitchers lead the baseball team to the playoffs in 2020?
The Miami Marlins have their starting rotation. Now, can this group become a powerhouse quintet as the team quickly moves toward the 2020 MLB season?
It was a bit of a shock to see Elieser Hernandez snag the final spot over Jordan Yamamoto, Robert Dugger, and Nick Neidert, but it’s not without good reason. Hernandez, who spent time in both the rotation and the bullpen last season, was slightly better than Yamamoto in the second part of camp. He is a solid pitcher who has versatility on the staff – which is something manager Don Mattingly has looked for up and down his roster this offseason.
The Marlins pitching staff is better on paper than it was just six months ago and because of the expended roster pool, could be even better if prospects are brought to The Show and deliver during this shortened season. Mattingly has more options to work with at the start. There are young arms waiting patiently to show they are ready to help.
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Mattingly isn’t the only one pushing the right buttons this season as Mel Stottlemyre Jr, the team’s pitching coach will have a heavy hand in how the staff develops.
"“Our guys are going to be in a position to throw 90-100 pitches out of the gate,” pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said in a recent Zoom call via MLB.com. “I can safely say that they are ready for that. Our young guys kept themselves ready.”"
That’s a good thing as the time off because if COVID-19 and the battle between the owners and players over salaries and the baseball schedule muddled things. If Alcantara can be the ace the front office believes he can be and Smith and the other three pitchers show improvement from last season, then why can’t this team have a winning season in 2020?
I guess the only way to answer that question is to walk on the mound and pitch to the opposition and see what happens.
Alcantara takes the bump for the first game in Philadelphia on the 24th, followed by Smith and Urena. Mattingly and his coaching staff should get a feel for the starting lineup and any adjustments that need to be made. The hitters will be counted on to produce more than they did last season, which is why veterans were added this offseason who could swing for the fences.
The designated hitter should help the Marlins as much as any team in the National League this season. This is a team that cannot start slowly. It really depends on the pitchers and how they can overcome adversity.
These five arms could be the key to a successful future. There are more pitchers who are waiting for their chance. But for now, the focus is on them. Hopefully, Mattingly made the right moves prior to the start of the season. If so, this could be a fun team to watch both on the mound and at the plate.