Depth improved at Triple-A level
MIAMI — By 3 p.m. ET today, all teams must finalize their 25-man roster. There will be no surprises for the Marlins. The biggest mystery will be which pitcher comes off the 40-man roster to make room for Kevin Slowey.
The Marlins have officially wrapped up a productive Spring Training, where they had some spirited competition at several positions.
Mananager Mike Redmond will have many more options to work with than a year ago.
From an organizational standpoint there is increased depth down on the farm. Double-A Jacksonville will get plenty of attention because it features top prospect, lefty Andrew Heaney. The Suns’ rotation will be fun to watch. Along with Heaney, it features Justin Nicolino, Anthony DeSclafani, Jose Urina and Angel Sanchez.
Those five will have additional time to develop because Triple-A New Orleans also has big league ready talent. In fact, a number of players on the Zephyrs already have appeared in the big leagues.
If Miami has an immediate need at a number of positions, there are candidates who are a text message away.
Reliever Arquimedes Caminero has the chance to be special. Based on performance, he made as strong a case as anyone to have made Miami’s Opening Day roster. But since he has an option remaining, he was squeezed out. Now, the hard-throwing right-hander becomes first in line to get called up.
Carter Capps is another hard thrower at New Orleans. He is working on refining his delivery, and he can do so without the pressures of the big leagues. At some point in the first half, Capps also could get the nod.
Sam Dyson and Chris Hatcher also have pitched in the big leagues.
This will be a big season for lefty Brian Flynn, who had his struggles in Spring Training. If Flynn steps up, he is a starting pitcher option with some big league experience.
Rob Brantly was the Opening Day catcher a year ago. Now, he will handle the staff and continue his development at New Orleans. Brantly has a chance to relax and polish his game. If needed, he adds immediate catching depth.
Perhaps the player to watch the most in New Orleans is Jake Marisnick. If he carries over what he was doing in Spring Training, he has the potential to become a star. He is a game-changer with his bat, speed, defense and arm. Even in his final Grapefruit League game, playing right field, he threw a runner out at the plate.
Marisnick, who turns 23 today, is motivated and focused. He’s had a long swing that has been dramatically overhauled. It’s a matter of continuing to get comfortable with it.
If he can show offensive consistency, Marisnick could give the impact of a mid-season trade if he is ready to be called up.
Another interesting hitter is Kyle Jensen, who possesses great power but hasn’t hit much for average. Jensen will see time at first base and left field.
So the competition created in Spring Training simply carries into the regular season. If players at the big league level are not performing, chances are there will be someone in the Minors knocking on the door to take over.
— Joe Frisaro