It’s official! JJ Bleday is on the Miami Marlins! The 2019 first round draft pick (#4) has finally been called up and it’s time to see just how good he is. He started his Major League career for The Fish in a 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bleday went 2 for 4 with a run and a stolen base. Let’s look at what we can expect going forward…
JJ Bleday could be the hitter that the Miami Marlins need.
The Miami Marlins needed center field help for months now. Jesús Sánchez has unfortunately not been the answer, batting .202/.265/.379 with a 0.4 WAR. I still think that he can live up to his hype as he’s only 24 years old. In the meantime however, JJ Bleday looks to be a legitimate upgrade over him.
How good will JJ Bleday actually be? Bleday batted .228/.365/.470 in AAA this season, hitting 20 home runs and driving in 52 RBI in 85 games and 302 AB’s. It’s obvious that Bleday has power and gets on base, but the question is his contact. The Miami Marlins need better hitting and it certainly doesn’t look like if we will get much contact from him.
Another problem with JJ Bleday is that he’s not a good contact hitter historically in the Minors, so this means that there’s less optimism that he’ll suddenly do so at the Major League level. That said, if his power stays the way it’s been, he could still improve the Miami Marlins lineup this season.
Here’s what manager Don Mattingly said about him:
"“It looked like he fouled one back that he just missed and took some pitches,” manager Don Mattingly said of Bleday’s first plate appearance. “A really quality at-bat, and I think that’s really been the trademark of JJ — he’s going to put at-bats together.”"
JJ Bleday himself added this:
"“It’s been surreal the past 24 hours,” Bleday said. “We get done with the game last night, and then [Triple-A Jacksonville manager Daren] Brown calls me back into the office and he said, ‘You’re probably going to be on the taxi squad, you’re going to be up there but get ready to play.’”"
JJ Bleday is ready to help the Miami Marlins. The question is just how much will his power translate to the Major Leagues. I have high hopes for him and think that he might just run away with the center field job.