Placido Polanco, Ed Lucas, and Greg Dobbs are all solid defensively, however there is one consistent inconsistency among the trio of third baseman: they all have struggled at the plate when placed in the starting lineup.
Polanco was signed by the Marlins last offseason because the organization struggled to sign a free agent (like Mark Reynolds who Miami reportedly was very high on). Polanco and Lucas saw the majority of the playing time under first-year manager Mike Redmond, though the offense was slow to develop on a team that had difficultly scoring runs.
Miami made it clear last season that they have no issue with pushing successful prospects through their minor league system. Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, Jake Marisnick, Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich all made their major league debuts this season, significantly earlier than many expected.
As Colin Moran, the Marlins' 2013 first round draft pick out of North Carolina, who is a natural third baseman, continues to develop in the Arizona Fall League, his debut may too be imminent.
Moran was sent to Class-A Greensboro just after he received the second highest signing bonus in franchise history behind Josh Beckett, and after batting .299 in his first stint as a professional, Miami sought to challenge him again by assigning him to play in the AFL.
"I'm just excited to be here and obviously the talent out here is really good," Moran said in an interview with MLB.com. "I'm looking to just keep learning and keep getting better."
Moran was the second highest third baseman selected in the 2013 draft, and has been starting at third for the Glendale Desert Dogs. He batted a mere .185 in his first eight games, although he drew nine walks and only struck out twice in 36 plate appearances.
According to many draft experts, Moran was among the best overall hitters in the draft. He is regarded as a solid defensive player with upside offensively, although he said there was not a particular aspect of his game he was trying to improve during his stay in Arizona.
"I feel like I need to work on everything," Moran said. "I'm still adjusting to the pro game, just playing every day. As much as people talk about the grind, it is a grind. I'm just trying to learn and pick people's brains."
With a successful offseason, the Marlins may decide to give Moran a try at Double-A Jacksonville to begin the 2014 season. Miami has a history of promoting players directly from Double-A, and with third base being a key need, it may not be long before the former Tar Heel makes his major league debut.
"Obviously, everyone wants to get up there as soon as possible," Moran said. "I'm still just trying to learn and get better. I have a lot to work on before I get up there and I'm just trying to master skills and get up there soon. That's always exciting to hear stuff like that, but at the same time, I still understand that I still have a little while to go before I get up there and I still have a lot to work on."
More from Fish Stripes:
- How can the Marlins not lose 100 games next year?
- Marlins president David Samson: "We're not going to lose 100 games next year"
- Marlins, Giants involved in federal wage violation investigation
- Fish Bites: Marlins using 'build from within' approach
- Reactions to Jose Fernandez being named Sporting News Rookie of The Year