4. OF Bryan De La Cruz
2021 Season Stats: .355 AVG, .390 OBP, .473 SLG, .863 OPS, 2 HR, 8 RBI
De La Cruz has quietly been one of the top hitters in baseball since being acquired from the Astros at the trade deadline in his first ever big league action. Entering play Tuesday in New York, the 24-year-old outfielder has posted an .863 OPS across his first 28 career games.
With the ability to play every outfield position defensively, it is certain that De La Cruz will factor into Miami’s 2022 outfield plans, but what role will he play? While a player with his positional versatility makes sense as the perfect “fourth outfielder” who makes spot starts every couple of days, can De La Cruz claim one of three starting outfield spots over the next month going into next season?
3. SP Elieser Hernandez
2021 Season Stats: 1-1, 3.63 ERA, 1.075 WHIP, 4 BB, 23 K
Hernandez missed a majority of the 2021 season due to an injury, but has been good since returning, including another impressive start Tuesday in New York. While the 26-year-old has impressed this season, the remainder of the 2021 season is key for Hernandez as we have discussed before.
The Marlins have many potential internal options to fill their 2022 starting rotation, but where will Hernandez, a player who arguably was forgotten about a few weeks ago, factor into those plans? If Hernandez remains in Miami going into next season, whether he remains in the rotation or transitions to the bullpen may be decided over the next month.