Marlins Fan Fest seems like it was actually fun
Fan fest was this past weekend and given the upheaval of the off season, one could be forgiven if they were wincing at the thought of Marlins’ brass, coaches and players showing up with smiles on their faces trying to put a positive spin on things.
Show up they did, though, and by most accounts, they were successful. If you missed the whole thing, check out editor Ely Sussman’s thread (via @fishstripes) for a solid pictorial recap of the event.
At this point, you’ve either bought into re2pecting the process, or you haven’t. And if you haven’t, you likely weren’t going to fan fest anyway. Fan fest is for Marlins’ diehards, who the national media and general public would be surprised to discover actually exist...yes, even now. Games with the players, Q&A’s and picture-taking amounted to an awesome day of interaction for those who decided to attend.
There was, of course, some interesting news to come out of the staff and players talking with the media and fans. We saw both J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro very engaged and preparing themselves as if they will be in Miami on Opening Day. We don’t have to put blinders on and pretend that both aren’t still on the market, but they could’ve mentally checked out of this event and they deserve credit for not doing so.
Team VP Mike Hill said that Wei-Yin Chen will be in the rotation, though he may not be ready for the start of the season. It’s news in the sense that Chen was being used primarily out of the pen near the end of last season, not having the strength yet to pitch multiple innings, so some sort of progress must have made in the ensuing months.
Derek Dietrich is probably going to be the starter in left field, according to Don Mattingly, leaving two spots to battle over in the outfield (unless a veteran is signed this week). With Dietrich taken care of in the outfield, the logjam of infielders is reduced by one, though there are still seemingly three worthy starters for either second or third base (Martin Prado, Starlin Castro and Brian Anderson). It would seem to me that Prado would lock down third as he has in the past and Castro would start at 2nd, leaving Anderson out in the cold. One possibility is (if Anderson has a good enough showing in the spring) making Prado a super-utility type who rotates around multiple positions, playing almost everyday. Might help keep his legs fresh.
Brad Ziegler will be side-winding in the ninth again
One competition Hill shot down definitively was for the closer role, which has been handed to Brad Ziegler. A wise decision, as demonstrating an ability to lock down the ninth retains value throughout the league.
Ziegler is all but certain to be traded at some point in 2018 if he can continue to generate outs, and there’s really no reason to believe that he wont be able to do so.
He was particularly effective the final two months of last season, where he put up a 2.00 ERA/2.82 FIP and racked up all 10 of his saves.
Closer-hopefuls like Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider will have to wait a little longer...their turn will come.
Which prospect will have the greatest impact in 2018?
Marlins pitchers and catchers will be reporting in Jupiter on the 14th (happy Valentine’s day Fish fans), with the first team workout slated five days later on the 19th.
We are so tantalizingly close to real baseball, and this year will see a plethora of young players trying to break with the team, both those already on the 40-man such as Lewis Brinson and Sandy Alcantara, and those who aren’t, like Monte Harrison and Nick Neidert.
Some of these players will have a major impact on the 2018 Marlins. My question to you is who that player is most likely to be, in your eyes?
Who will be the best player for the Marlins in 2018 from the rookies trying to break camp with the team?
This poll is closed