Who is winning this position battle on the Miami Marlins?
The Miami Marlins have an interesting dilemma coming in the corner OF. The Fish are pretty much forced to play Avisail Garcia and hope for a bounce back from him. Garcia will likely just stay in RF, Avi is currently batting .313/.353/.563 in 6 games and 16 AB with 1 home run and 1 RBI. CF is already covered so we're left with LF... There's one great option that I'm very high on, but there are others too. So will Bryan De La Cruz or Jesus Sanchez end up in LF in 2023?
The Miami Marlins might have a position battle in LF.
Bryan De La Cruz is going to be a star. He batted .310/.342/.535 in the second half of 2022 and was batting third in the batting order until the end of the season. He batted .320/.370/.620 in 13 games and 50 AB in the Minors in 2022. He also batted .324/.362/.518 in 66 games and 272 AB in AAA in 2021 for the Houston Astros. Even just in 2021 for the Miami Marlins he batted .296/.356/.427 with 5 home runs and 19 RBI in 58 games and 199 AB. The bottom line is that he's legitimately a good player. Did I mention his 90.8 Exit Velocity?!
How is Bryan De La Cruz doing in Spring Training at the moment? Unfortunately he hasn't been very impressive, he's currently batting .211/.211/.421 in 7 games and 19 AB. It's a very small sample size, but it's not exactly promising either. I still think that he'll have a big year, but there is a red flag with him...he batted .184/.253/.253 against lefties and .277/.309/.496 against fellow righties.
Jesus Sanchez is De La Cruz's biggest competition for the starting job in LF. Sanchez batted just .040/.172/.080 in 10 games and 29 AB. In 2021, he improved with a .251/.319/.489 batting line i 64 games and 227 AB. Finally in 2022, he batted .214/.280/.403 in 98 games and 313 AB. This was a very disappointing batting line, but he was better after a demotion to the Minors late in the season and a call-up back to the big leagues. He batted .282/.355/.582 during that time.
How is Jesus Sanchez doing in Spring Training right now? He's currently batting .316/.350/.421 in 8 games and 20 AB. Will he give Bryan De La Cruz strong competition? I think that there's always a chance that they will simply be platooned. Sanchez bats left-handed and De La Cruz bats right-handed. Of course De La Cruz actually hits worse opposite-handed.
I think that Bryan De La Cruz will have a big year, but I wouldn't count out Jesus Sanchez either.