2013 Miami Marlins Season Preview: Spring Training Position Battles, Week 1

Wade LeBlanc has the early lead on the Miami Marlins' fifth rotations spot. - USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins have a few interesting position battles heading into 2013, so let us look into those conflicts for the last few spots at fifth starting pitcher and first base.

The Miami Marlins have not entirely wrapped up most of their roster, given that the team's roster was gutted at the beginning of the preseason by a devastating, team-wide trade. But most of the roster was set by the time the Marlins arrived in spring training, with only a few spots remaining that had not been determined yet. However, those spots have yet to be determined as the Marlins wrap up their second week of spring training games. What positions are in question, and who is currently in the lead? Let's find out.

Fifth Starter

Player IP K BB ERA Trending
Wade LeBlanc 5 6 0 0.00 --
Kevin Slowey 6 1/3 4 0 0.00 Arrowupgreen_medium
Alex Sanabia 4 1/3 4 0 0.00 Arrowupgreen_medium
Tom Koehler 6 2/3 6 2 6.75 Arrowreddown_medium
John Maine 3 1 2 3.00 Arrowreddown_medium

The first race is the race between the five pitchers looking to earn a major league job and the fifth slot on the Marlins' rotation. LeBlanc came in as the incumbent and, thus far, he has not done anything to merit losing that position. He has shown a nice strikeout total since the start of spring training and performed well overall despite a limited skillset.

Kevin Slowey, with a very similar (if not more extreme) skillset, has also performed well, though he has had the advantage of not having an official "start." Expect the Marlins to give him a start given how strong his early performance is. He is clearly second on the list.

Alex Sanabia may also get a look for a second start, as he performed admirably in the first one. All three pitchers at the top have looked good on the mound, especially in terms of the strikeout department.

Tom Koehler struggled in yesterday's start versus the St. Louis Cardinals, surrendering two home runs and four runs in just 2 1/3 innings. His odds of earning a second start are probably a tad low right now, especially given how well he worked out of the bullpen last season. Maine was signed to a minor league deal, and thus far he has looked like a minor league pitcher. He has not done anything to separate himself from the pack.

First Base

Player PA AVG OBP SLG Trending
Casey Kotchman 12 .636 .667 1.000 Arrowupgreen_medium
Joe Mahoney 18 .294 .333 .706 Arrowupgreen_medium

Neither Kotchman nor Mahoney is likely to earn a starting job for any longer than Logan Morrison is injured, but that short starting string may keep one of these players in the majors for much of the 2013 season. Unfortunately, neither player is separating himself from the other as of right now, since both are hitting extremely well. Mahoney has two home runs to his credit, both coming in the same game, but has cooled off a bit as the week progressed. Kotchman has stayed hot since recovering from his laceration injury at the start of spring. Currently, Kotchman sits in the lead only because he is a "veteran" and the type of player the Marlins might overvalue, but Mahoney should pull it out in the end thanks to his youth and (relative) versatility, as he can play a mediocre but passable outfield.

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