Bonifacio performing in Winter Ball
When Spring Training opens, touted prospect Matt Dominguez will be given every opportunity to win the Marlins’ starting third base job.
But the 21-year-old, who hasn’t played above Double-A, will have some competition.
Emilio Bonifacio likely will see a great deal of time at third base when Spring Training opens.
Since he was acquired from the Nationals for Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham after the 2008 season, the Marlins have regarded Bonifacio as an every day player. One of the fastest players in the league, the Marlins would like to maximize his game-changing speed and above average defense.
But the 25-year-old has yet to show the consistency at the plate to be a regular. Bonifacio spent time at Triple-A New Orleans, and he appeared in 73 games with the Marlins, playing six different positions — second base, third base, shortstop, center field, left field and right field.
In 2009, he opened the season as Florida’s regular third baseman, and he played the position in 86 games that year.
During the offseason, Bonifacio has been playing Winter League ball for Licey in the Dominican Republic. He’s been seeing steady time at third base. In 33 games, he’s batting .271 with a .344 on-base percentage.
A switch-hitter, Bonifacio continues to post better numbers from the left side, where he is batting .296 with a .350 on-base percentage, compared to a .222 average with a .333 on-base percentage from the right-side.
If Dominguez doesn’t win the job, there is another scenario that could play out. Bonifacio could go to second base, a more natural position for him, and Omar Infante could slide over to third base.
Infante will enter Spring Training as the starting second baseman, but Florida’s defense may shape up better with him at third and Bonifacio at second. That’s if Dominguez doesn’t claimed the third base spot.
– Joe Frisaro