The regular season is coming... I can almost smell it. Actually, that might be my dog. He needs a bath. Whatever it is, it is definitely close and making me quite excited. In two weeks from today, the Miami Marlins have their home opener to kick off their regular season. With Spring Training winding down, we should start seeing the everyday players on the field more often as they ready themselves for their 2015 campaign. Lets take a look at what happened over the last week in Marlins action.
Week in Review
Friday is the day that stood out in my mind the most when it comes to the action this week. It was a solid 5-1 victory for the Fish over the Atlanta Braves. Dan Haren continued to work off the rust and gave the crew five innings of one run baseball. Only allowing four hits, Haren's ST ERA dropped to 1.93. The most exciting part was seeing the projected everyday players start to make more noise. This was the first time this spring, in my opinion, that the heart of the order put together a string of runs that we would expect in the regular season. For starters, Giancarlo Stanton picked up his third double of Spring Training while Martin Prado drove in two. Other highlights from throughout the week include a 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday as well as three more earned run free innings from David Phelps on Thursday against the Braves (Spring Training ERA: 0.93).
Christian Yelich signs extension
The biggest news, and I guess you could say surprising, this week is without doubt the extension of Gold Glove outfielder Christian Yelich. The backloaded deal is for seven years and about $50 million (he will make more annually each season). There is also a club option for one year. Personally, I love the move by the Marlins management. Yelich is only 23 years old and has tremendous upside. Already a plus defender, a young outfield featuring Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Stanton could become a lethal legion of Smash Brothers that you don't see often in the game. He batted a .284/.361/.402 line in his first full MLB season while swiping 21 bags. This is uncharted territory for the Marlins as they aren't known for extending players this early in their careers. If anything, this proves to Stanton that the team is willing to surround him with protection and young talent. This sends the message that management is paying attention to their homegrown talent and is willing to spend to retain their personnel. This should also alleviate pressure off of the shoulders of Yelich. He's under contract for some time and now can focus on developing the skills at the dish. Well done, front office.
The Week Ahead
This week features only a couple of divisional games (Mets today and Nats on Sunday). The Fish get a fresh look on some American League foes, namely the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. The latter they will play back to back on Friday/Saturday. My main focus will be on the everyday guys this time around. I want to know if Dan Haren can continue to steadily improve with each start and I want to see the continued revival of David Phelps. Phelps has been lights out all Spring Training and if he can play his cards right, he will have a large impact on this rotation. Offensively I want to see more of what we saw on Friday which is top to bottom production. The heart of the order can clean things up, but it's up to guys like Dee Gordon and Jordany Valdespin to spark a rally. Gordon, specifically, I'd like to see more confidence on the basepaths. This is a runner who led the league in stolen bases last year and I want to see more of it before we head into the regular season.
Question of the Week
As always here is your Fish Stripes Question of the Week! You can use this opportunity to answer the question, make general comments or make fun of my hair.
What kind of player will Christian Yelich become? (statistical or observatory)
See you next week Fish Stripes!