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Hot starts in Jupiter

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Taking a look at which players are playing well so far this spring.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As Spring Training reaches the one-third mark, we take a look at how things are developing in Jupiter! Wins and losses are almost entirely meaningless in spring, but this does not mean that individual performances should go unnoticed. For the Fish, we have seen strong starts from some of the regulars, enticing moments from young prospects, and eye-opening play from sleepers eager to prove they belong in the club’s plans moving forward.

Players are often working on very specific elements during these exhibitions, prioritizing process over results. These numbers must be taken with a grain of salt.

However, with the appropriate tact applied, we can assess the overall performance of the player.


Expected Starters

CF Lewis Brinson (.421/.450/1.262, 5 HR, 1 BB, 5 K in 19 AB)

My oh my! If you could have chosen one player to have this type of spring, it would likely have been Lewis Brinson. Coming off of a sub-par and injury-riddled campaign with his hometown Marlins, Brinson needed to give Marlins fans something to be hopeful of.

He has!

Brinson’s new approach at the plate has not only yielded more discipline and contact, but significant power. He currently leads the majors in homers, and it should be noted that these at-bats have not been against replacement-level pitching, but rather quality starters.

3B Brian Anderson (.389/.476/.722, 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 K in 18 AB)

The most developed “young player” of the upcoming Marlins core, Anderson continues to impress with his bat as well as on the diamond. Don Mattingly appointed Anderson the current and future third baseman of the Marlins, and Andy has yet to disappoint. He has long been praised for his disciplined and advanced eye at the plate; his success this spring is a continued testament to his mature approach.

Anderson and Brinson—along with Jorge Alfaro—are the closest thing Miami has to an offensive core, so seeing them take full grasp of their starting position during spring is a welcomed sign.

SP Pablo López (1.80 ERA, 1 BB, 4 K, 0.80 WHIP in 5.0 IP) and SP Sandy Alcántara (2.35 ERA, 8 BB, 9 K, 1.57 WHIP in 7.2 IP)

Seeing the young pitchers take steps forward is a key element of the 2019 season. For Miami to achieve sustainable winning, it must be derived from the success of their controllable arms.

While López and Alcántara have both experienced success thus far, one player’s success is easier to generalize than the other. López has shown great stuff (his fastball has been dialed as high as 97 MPH), while Alcántara has been getting by on good velocity and movement despite control concerns.

His pure tools and Miami’s elite defensive ability will allow Alcántara to succeed more times than not, but he must continue working to develop a repeatable delivery before the season begins. His spring’s K/BB ratio is not acceptable.

Who do we need to see more production from? RF/1B Peter O’Brien and SS JT Riddle


Prospects

2B Isan Díaz (.200/.333/.467, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K in 15 AB)

Díaz leads the Marlins in both RBIs and walks, while showing many why his swing and mechanics are expected to play at the big league level. He would have more RBIs if not for a handful of spectacular defensive plays against him, and some bad luck on batted balls (.250 BABIP). Lady luck has limited his AVG to the Mendoza line, but this is not indicative of his approach or contact at the plate. Defensively, Díaz continues to flash his average to slightly above average glove at second.

OF Monte Harrison (.231/.313/.231, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K in 13 AB)

Harrison’s post-Arizona Fall League mechanics continues to yield an improved eye at the plate, but the trade-off has been diminished power. The few balls he has hit with impressive exit velocity are the exceptions to the norm.

On Tuesday, he took a walk with the bases loaded (a good sign of maturing approach), but for Miami to get what they need from Harrison, he will need to start stringing together some extra-base hits.

SP Jordan Yamamoto (2.25 ERA, 3 BB, 2 SO, 1.25 WHIP in 4.0 IP)

Yamamoto’s two spring outings have gone similarly to his 2018 campaign; he won’t overpower his opponent, but he continues to beat them regardless of velocity. His ability to induce weak contact, as well as locate his pitches has put him in an enviable spot at the one-third mark.

This is undoubtedly an incredibly small sample size, but it is good to see Yamamoto’s stuff get out major league-caliber talent. As his workload increases it will be of importance to monitor his velocity and consistency with his secondaries.

Who do we need to see more production from? LHP José Quijada and OF Brian Miller


Sleepers

OF Gabriel Guerrero (.308/.308/.538, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 6 K, in 13 AB)

True to his professional track record, Guerrero has been aggressive this spring. He is near the top of the strikeout leaders, but has also shown that DNA for hitting that comes along with the Guerrero surname. The non-roster invitee does not seem inclined to walking, as he much prefer put the ball in play and take his chances.

Thus far, his risks have paid off.

Defensively, he has put up 23 solid innings in the two corner outfield spots, and has shown himself to not be a liability out there.

Guerrero is likely a long shot to make the Opening Day roster, but if he continues to show that his aggressiveness can pay dividends, he may make the decision to not keep him a tough one.

OF Harold Ramírez (.333/.385/.333, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K in 12 AB)

Ramírez is building confidence that major league pitchers will not be able to put him away quietly. His consistent contact ability sticks out among a group that struggles with that as a whole. He has yet to show any power potential, but this approach at the plate has allowed him to get on base at a good rate.

Similar to Guerrero, the corner outfielder has shown adequate skills on the defensive side.

RP Riley Ferrell (0.00 ERA, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.55 WHIP in 3.2 IP)

Ferrell has been close to flawless. You can expect this Rule 5 draft pick to stick on his new team.

Receiving high marks for his work ethic (first player to report to camp workouts in February) as well as his tools, Ferrell is thus far validating the Marlins decision to pick him.

Honorable mentions: OF/1B Garrett Cooper, RP Austin Brice, SP Jeff Brigham


Analyzing Spring Training performance, particularly at the one-third mark, is dicey business. However, young players coming into this year motivated and producing so well deserve recognition. As spring continues to move forward, and we begin to see starters play deeper into games, make sure to keep an eye on the names listed above.

Will they continue impressing? Will a sleeper surprise and win a job?

Check back later in spring for further reviews on the team’s individual performers!