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Marlins starting rotation in flux

Rule 5 draft pick Elieser Hernández gets a spot start, and reinforcements from Triple-A could be close behind.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers, the Marlins announced that scheduled starter Caleb Smith had been pushed back a day, with right-hander Elieser Hernández taking his place. It will be Hernández’s first career MLB start.

But wait, there’s more! April sensation Jarlin García is transitioning to a bullpen role. Over his previous two outings, the Cubs and Braves roughed him up for 11 earned runs in 10 innings (including six homers). García worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the 2017 Marlins, which is why the front office wants to be careful with his workload. They still envision him as a starter long term, Don Mattingly confirms (h/t Joe Frisaro,

With just a quarter of the 2018 season complete, Hernández is already Miami’s ninth different starting pitcher. And that number will inevitably rise with several intriguing rotation candidates performing well with Triple-A New Orleans.

Craig Mish of SiriusXM expects top pitching prospect Sandy Alcántara to get a call-up shortly. And the timing would be more than a coincidence—as of Tuesday, the Marlins extended their control of Alcántara through at least 2024 due to his lack of major league service time.

Hernández is likely to return to long relief duty soon, but even this one-time opportunity is notable. He’ll become the youngest Marlins starting pitcher since José Fernández.

José Ureña, Justin Nicolino and Kendry Flores were all 23 years old when making their Marlins starting debuts in 2015, but much further removed from celebrating that birthday. Hernández just turned 23 on May 3.

Now, we want to hear from you. Take a look at the organization’s starting pitching depth and give us your ideal five-man rotation.